Our Renovation Diaries: Functional wet room to luxe bathroom, part three

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With their impressive bathroom transformation complete, Sean and James share their top tips and how to get their luxurious look

Written by Olivia Simpson

WHO: James McNaught, Faculty Head of Science at a Glasgow Secondary School, and Sean Horsburgh, Graphic Designer

WHERE: Dennistoun, Glasgow

PROJECT SPEC: A total revamp of the only bathroom in a tenement flat, taking it from a functional disabled-access wet room to a relaxing and chic space the couple could be proud of

COST: £18,500

BATHROOM INSTALLATION: ESG Installations

DECORATOR: AM Decor

CEILING ROSE: Reproduction Plater Company

In parts one and two of their renovation diary, Sean and James took us through the process of transforming their bathroom from an accessible wet room (see below) to a chic and relaxing space that chimed with the elevated feel of the rest of their carefully revamped flat.

A disabled access bathroom
The accessible wet room style bathroom was adapted to suit the needs of the previous resident, who suffered injuries when a helicopter hit the Clutha Bar in 2013. The practical but plain finish was a stark contrast to the rest of Sean and James flat, as seen below
a hallway with a chandelier and a dining table
“We loved our hallway chandelier so much, we bought another for the bathroom,” says James. “We couldn’t find anything we liked more, plus it helps tie the whole flat together.”

a garden with trees, plants and flowers in large pots

“We love the new bathroom,” they enthuse. “It’s zen and relaxing, just like we wanted.”

Their favourite feature is the built-in Sonos speakers. “Baths and showers now take twice as long!” shares Sean. “James is always running late for work because he’s too busy singing and dancing in the shower.”

They’re not the only ones who’re impressed: ESG Installations secured eight new bookings when they shared snaps of Sean and James’ bathroom to social media.

Timeless versus trends

Sean and James were initially keen to redo their bathroom as soon as they moved in, but in the end, leaving it until last really paid off.

“We had been planning, researching, shopping about and saving for years, but we started to get more serious a little over a year before,” James remembers.

This long build up also helped them hone in on what styles they really loved.

a luxe bathroom, with while tiles and gold finishes Details of items on a sink, including face cloths and Aesop soap

For example, they liked the look of black metalwork and subway tiles, and had seen this trend grow in recent years, but when it it came time to make final decisions on their bathroom, they felt these styles didn’t have that timeless feel that they were going for, and opted for their white and brass scheme instead.

“We realised avoiding trends was the key to getting a look we would continue to love for a long time,” explains James. “We put a lot of time, effort and money into the bathroom, so we’d hate to feel like it needed updated in a few years time.”

The work on the bathroom took longer than anticipated, but that too is something Sean and James are grateful for: “You really do need to go slow and steady: there’s a desperation to get things done, but quality craftsmanship costs time and money.”

“Everything in life is so fast fast fast – in the grand scheme of things, taking three weeks instead of two really was worth it to ensure we got the final product we were hoping for,” continues Sean.

a marble vanity unit with two sinks

A close up of a light fitting and a ceiling rose
Sean and James turned to Reproduction Plaster Company for their bathroom ceiling rose. ‘We have them in other rooms, so it helps tie the bathroom in with the rest of the home,’ says Sean

Social media savvy

Sean and James turned to social media to help them with the planning process, and have plenty of tips and tricks for ensuring your scrolling is as successful as possible.

“Social media is your friend,” shares James. “We used Instagram and Pinterest to gather ideas and create moodboards, so that over time, we got a sense of what we were really being drawn to.”

A hidden cupboard above a toilet, tiled over so that when it's shut, it looks like a plain wall

Looking at brands’ tagged photos on Instagram was also helpful to the couple, as seeing non-professional photos allowed them to see what products looked like in ‘real’ spaces and in different light.

“We also used Facebook to reach out to people in our local area to get reviews and recommendations of tradespeople,” says Sean.

“Getting the right tradespeople is essential, so this is one place you definitely have to do your research.”

It sounds like a lot of work, and it is. But it’s oh-so worth it for Sean and James.

“Before the renovation, we found themselves apologising to guests for the bathroom’s clinical look,” remembers James.

“Now, if someone comes round, we practically insist they use the bathroom! We’re delighted with it.”

Get the look

VANITY UNIT: Burlington 130 Vanity Unit in Matt White with Carrera Marble Worktop & Double Vanity Bowl

TOILET: Burlington Back to Wall with Soft close seat

CONCEALED VALVE SHOWER: Core Concealed Thermostatic Valve, Fixed Head & Shower Rail Kit

SINK TAPS: Core Mono Basin Mixer Tap

BATH TAPS: Core Freestanding Bath Shower Mixer Tap

BATH: Catania 1500 x 720 Double Ended Bath with Chrome Waste

MIRROR LIGHTS: Clamp Large LED Gold IP44 Wall Light

CEILING CHANDELIER: John Lewis Helix Chandelier Ceiling Light, Gold

FLOOR TILES: White Marble Effect Matt Rectified Porcelain Floor Tile – 600mm x 600mm

WALL TILES: White Marble Effect Satin Rectified Porcelain Wall & Floor Tile – 600mm x 300mm

MIRROR: Custom cut in Glasgow by Forsyth Glazing

FISH PAINTING: “We purchased the fish painting in Bali. We had it removed from its wooden frame, rolled up and transported to Glasgow. When we took it to our local framer to be stretched and remounted, he called us to say it wasn’t actually a canvas – it was in fact a bedsheet that had been painted on. Knowing this, we love it even more!”

DANCE PRINT: Galletly & Tubbs – “Our favourite interiors store in Glasgow!”

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