Bathroom renovation – lessons we learned

November 14, 2019

We have just celebrated a year of living in our new house and this post is about some of the lessons we’ve learned when doing all the renovations required. The building is a town house G+2, and we had to tear almost everything down as the current style of the house didn’t really suit our lifestyle. I prefer a clean, modern style and every room in the house is portraying just that. We’re nowhere near finished as all the rooms are a work in progress, and we’re still adjusting (and stretching) our budget to accommodate all the changes and challenges we’re facing.

Figure out the right shape of the room before installing the tiles

Today I’ll be talking about bathrooms. The main bathroom, in particular. We had to work with a really weird shaped small room, which had a lot of unnecessary boxes covering pipes. We had to raise the floor and hide the pipes underneath, build a fake wall to conceal the toilet cistern and sink pipes and traps. The room became even smaller and to make it feel brighter we were really careful with choosing the fixtures and the tiles. After doing some research on the huge market of tiles, we ended up choosing to work with Topps Tiles and install white marble on the walls and floors.

Choosing the perfect tiles to suit your needs

For walls we’ve chosen Serac Honed Stone Tiles, which are honed matt finish dense marble with a luxurious feel. We didn’t install them all the way up to the ceiling, so we’ve chosen a mid hight on the walls, just to open up the space more and not feel crowded. What I would do differently now, I would dry lay the tiles first until achieving the desired effect, just so that the marble’s tones and veining will look more blended and more natural. This is a tip you would want to consider if you’re thinking about having marble tiles in your home.

“Dry lay the tiles first until achieving the desired effect.”

For floors we went with Hexmix Carrara Mosaic tiles which are absolutely beautiful! I loved the different textures of the hexagons. Each of them have a mixed finish, either polished, sandblasted or scored to create an edgy tactile effect. These tiles are really contemporary and tell a lot about why I love this style so much.

To preserve the longevity of marble tiles, we applied a special protecting sealer on top, and we’ll keep reapplying every year. This will make them resistant to stains, heat and vapours.

We wanted an accent wall above the sink, and I’ve chosen Sharme Caramel Tile, again from Topps Tiles. I wanted to stay in the same colour scheme of white/grey, but I wanted a different pattern, which is why we picked herringbone. The unique mixture of pearlescent and matt finishes emulates the look and feel of mother of pearl. The shine is not as obvious, but it still creates a really beautiful subtle feature wall.

Another tip in choosing the tiles for your bathroom is to buy lots of samples and put them together, see if they match, if you like the textures, if they will work in the space you have.

I think we ordered over 20 samples and in the end we picked these 3 because of their feel, texture and colour.

How to order the best items for your bathroom to suit the space

I’ve always wanted a modern freestanding bathtub to be the focus point in my bathroom, and the Ella tub from Soak is a dream. I was really worried that we might not be able to fit a freestanding bathtub in this room because of how small it is. I asked my sister in law, who is studying interior design to create a sketch which helped me visualise the dimensions of tub options. My bathtub is 160cm wide so a little bit smaller than standard ones, but to be honest, it is the perfect fit! It doesn’t feel small at all, and it still doesn’t take up all the room, but it makes a really great impression.

What I would change, I’ll have the drainage either on the side or controlled differently, as mine is located at the bottom of the tub, in the middle and it is easily accessible with a light touch. Annoying when the water is draining every minute you touch that button with your bum-bum.

Having a wall hung toilet was a no-brainer in my opinion, and the Florence toilet from is perfect. Slim, comfortable, I can clean underneath easily. It has an efficient flush as it circulates the bowl completely and it has the option of a 3 litre flush and a 6 litre full flush choice. This allows you to save on water and money for an environmentally friendly option.

The sink is a Crosswter countertop basin purchased from It is a little bit big, but still fits great on the marble counter we built on our feature wall. I’ve chosen the oval boat shape because it gives the bathroom a sense of tranquility and an overall minimalist look.

Hardware options

All the hardware in my bathroom are gold and it was quite a hard research on this one. Apparently, not a lot of options in the UK. We went for Crosswater again via I have always wanted a beautiful floorstanding bath tap and this one was love at first sight. Not the price though, as it was even more than we paid for the tub, but it really makes me happy every time I walk into my bathroom. It is majestic, breathtaking, it lends an air of luxury and style to the bathroom, without sacrificing ease of use or robustness – not to mention it’s incredibly easy to clean. 

The sink tap is from the same range, just to make everything flow seamlessly. I would have installed it a little bit higher, and when I say me, I am actually talking about the workers.

Just a little detour on the subject, it is REALLY important who you hire to do the work in your bathroom. From the tiler, to the plumber and electrician, they all need to be professional and understand what you want to achieve.

We had a few hiccups with ours, so now we know what to ask for when renovating our next house.

Moving on, all the other hardware such as toilet roll holder, toilet brush, towel rail and robe hooks are all from the same Crosswater brass range because they look absolutely gorgeous together. The only thing with choosing gold for your bathroom is the difficulty of finding everything else in the same shade of gold. We have brass trims installed on the walls to mask the tiles edges and we couldn’t find at all the same shade of gold as in the taps. It is much darker, the same for our wall mounted lights, which we purchased from John Lewis (now sold out).

The bathroom is not finished. We’re still missing a gold framed mirror, which I am still to find. I have researched for over a year and I can’t find anything within the right size. So we have one that I bought from John Lewis and it clashes with the feature wall so it needs to go. But not until I find the perfect one.

On the opposite wall I have another mirror just to make the room seem bigger, which again, it doesn’t really work. I bought it from West Elm. In the future, I will have a painting there, and some overhanging plants. Or a different mirror. We’re also waiting to build a door for our cabinet which rests on top of the toilet, which I haven’t showed in my photos.

Like I said, the bathroom is a work in progress, but at least I am really happy with the tiles we picked from Topps Tiles. We took a few trips in store to buy some materials we needed and the staff there was ever so helpful. The entire experience of working with the brand was great and we’ll be using them in the future.

*Topps Tiles and have provided me with a discount in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.