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Long, slim and trim!

26 Aug

What a week! On a positive note, the (unfinished) ensuite bathroom now looks like this…………………



There’s still a way to go, but when you think how it started out (I know I’ve showed these photos before but I just find the difference between the two shots mind blowing!)………….



But as amazing as this progress is, it has been a rollercoaster ride to get to this stage. First the tiler and I disagreed over what area of the shower should be covered in mosaic tiles – I wanted the whole thing done, he wanted them to stop a foot shy of the wall on the right. I won, but the victory was bittersweet as we didn’t have enough mosaic tiles and had to wait twenty four hours for a delivery of an additional batch. This meant  Mr Tiler couldn’t move on and start tiling the wall he wanted to once the floors were done, so he wasn’t happy with me. Apparently he plans out the order of a job in advance and HE DOES NOT like to deviate from that. But in the end it was worth enduring his wrath I think……….


Anyway, the mosaic incident was quickly overshadowed when Mr Tiler found he had ‘spontaneously chipped’ not one but two tiles AFTER they had been glued down AND grouted. He had to shimmy them up again, not an easy job when you consider all the tiles around them had also been stuck down and grouted.

Then there followed a ‘trim’ (you know the stuff that you put round the edges of tiled walls) disaster! As a result of two and a half hours driving round three different tile shops (including four visits and two phone calls to one) I now know more about tile trim than I ever thought it was possible to know. For instance did you know that trim not only comes in different widths, but also different lengths and it seems qualities.

After deciding late on Monday evening, under the advice of Mr Tiler, that we could do better than the Wickes own brand beige trim that IB had bought, I set out on Tuesday morning to buy some Homelux tile trim, thicker and curved with a smooth satin finish, it was a more substantial and superior tile trim. Unfortunately, only one of the local tile shops stocked it but only in white. Taking pity on me, the nice man in Reed and Harris introduced me to silver trim, an EVEN MORE SUPERIOR tile trim (who knew!) but it was pricey and a quick call to IB resulted in a trip to Wickes where I got a version (not quite as good) that was £5 cheaper. Ten sticks (I’m not sure if this is the official term!) of trim later I arrived home only to be told by a now once more irate Mr. Tiler (who was refusing to move on with tiling the next wall  wall until he had the trimmed up the first one!)  that the new trim was shorter (by half a meter) than the original beige one. So after a quick call to Reed and Harris to determine how long their trim was, it was back in the car again. A half hour later I was proudly brandishing the new longer length trim in front of Mr Tiler’s nose only to be told that I’d been sold 9mm trim that had been labelled as 10mm trim and so I needed to take it back and get the next size up (12mm in case you’re interested)…………. Anyway, it was all worth it in the end because  now we have the Louboutins of the trim world on our as yet ungrouted bathroom walls, and because Reed and Harris sell at trade prices we’re still in budget – Hurrah!


12mm wide, 2.5m long, silver trim in situ!


The rise of the sunken bath!

20 Aug

Well it’s finally gone. Not just the sunken bath but ALL evidence that it ever existed has been completely and utterly obliterated by hunky plumber man. Walking into the ensuite now instead of a gaping hole with spectular views into the garage below, we’re greeted by a flat solid floor that’s primed and ready for Mr Tiler who arrives on Monday (not last Monday as previously reported, I got a bit carried away in my excitement!). So here we are, one sunkenless bath bathroom floor !




IB has spent the weekend ‘tanking’ the ensuite – i.e. making it waterproof so that it can stand up to its new role as a wet room. This involved pasting a special waterproof gloop onto the walls and floors and glueing a waterproof ‘bandage’ into the corners of the shower area. I was so proud of myself on Friday evening when hunky plumber man called me up to the ensuite to explain what needed to be done over the weekend in order to ensure the room was ready for the tiler’s arrival. I concentrated very hard, asked lots of relevant questions and by the end of the conversation was fully briefed on the art of tanking. Of course my enthusiasm stopped short of actually wanting to the job myself!


Tanked up and ready to tile………..

Over the weekend, (as I supported IB through the tanking process) I started wondering if there are still people out there embracing the sunken bath. It occurred to me that while our avocado sunken bath was for us a 1970’s relic too far, there may be more appealing modern day alternatives.  A quick mooch around the internet shows this to be the case, although  none of them will tempt me back. I for one am much happier in the knowledge that I am no longer effectively having a bath in the garage ceiling!




From impactlab (the wooden planks can cover the bath over when its not in use so that would be ALWAYS for me!)

From bolligdrom

Let her eat cake!

12 Aug

It’s quite frustrating knowing that you’re not making much progress on your home renovations, particularly when you’re pumped and ready to go! We’ve done everything we can since coming back from holiday to prepare for the kitchen build and the  bathroom refit, but we’ve had to twiddle our DIY thumbs until the ‘professionals’ come in and do their bit! Anyway, a huge HURRAH because hunky plumber man started work on the ensuite on Thursday! Actually he arrived with a plus one, as there was no way he was going to be able to remove the sunken bath without some help (I would happily have lent a hand if only he’d asked!). So now, the bath is gone, the toilet and sink have been removed and the boarded up door has been plastered over, all ready for the tiler to start next week.

Remember this………..



And the view from underneath (i.e. in the garage)….


Well instead we have this………………


OK so its a work in progress!


We had a slight tile crisis on Monday as it turned out the Travertine tiles that we’d set our hearts on need sealing after they’re laid, plus resealing every couple of years after that. This all sounded like too much hard work – they were high maintenance tiles and high maintenance anything is to be avoided! On top of that, when the tiler came out to measure up the room and check out the sample tile, it literally crumbled into pieces in his hand!






Oh and this is what I’ve been getting up to when I’m not DIYing! Made from scratch – even the almond and lemon pastry! I’ve got to have an outlet for all this  pent up DIY energy…………


Wet rooms and water tanks!

1 Jul

Apparently you should never start a presentation with an apology, it gets the audience off on the wrong foot, changes their perception of you (not for the better). I hope the same is not true for blogs because today I’m going to start with an apology for not posting since last Sunday!  It’s all down to the fact that I’ve just had the busiest week ever and I’m afraid it wasn’t doing DIY! In truth, I was busy with my day job which included a 5am start on Wednesday, (which incidentally took two days to recover from),  I had to finish a short story for a writing competition, spend two hours with another middle age, highly verbal kitchen designer and attend a school sports day! So there you have it, an apology and an explanation!

Meanwhile things on the house have been progressing steadily thanks to IB and DIY dad. This week the new blinds went up in the bathroom, which means that once the new door goes on, that is one room COMPLETELY done. Having said that, the new door won’t go on until the building work in the kitchen is done, as otherwise I’ll be cleaning dust out of the grooves for years to come.

We also put up a new blind in the hallway by the front door. This means that when I do my middle of the night run to the kitchen for water, medicine for the boys or toast and jam (for me not the boys, I had the alcohol induced munchies!), I no longer have to worry that would be burglars are hiding in the trees in the front garden tracking my movement through the house.

The other big thing that happened this week was that hunky plumber man came back (remember him? Six foot four of brooding hulk) to replace our very old, very small (50litre – tiny for a house this size apparently) circular water tank (terrible for joining water pipes IB informed me, the joins usually cause stress to the tank, which eventually crack, leading to a large waterfall pouring out your ceiling, a sight we had to witness twice!). We now have a solid 75litre, coffin shaped water tank! Hurrah! Although I hate spending money on stuff like this, because you can’t actually SEE any visible improvement to the house…………………

Anyway, while he was here, hunky plumber man gave us quote for doing the plumbing work to turn the ensuite bathroom into a wet room. It’s been stripped of wallpaper, carpets and tiles over the last few weeks and now it’s ready for its revamp. I’ve been getting quite excited looking at pictures of wetrooms this week, particularly those featured recently in my very good Croatian friend’s blog Coffee and Lola. The pictures come from