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Shower vs bath: How to get everything you want into a small bathroom

Are you a bather or a showerer? As a couple we are opposites on this one and it’s hard make both the shower and the bath the star in a small bathroom like ours.

If you’ve been following the progress of our design house project (the gradual renovation of our ‘money pit’/passion project of a house in south east London) you will know that last year we took on the main living spaces, designing wallpaper, sanding floors and designing our downstairs WC of joy (check out previous columns to have a look). The first evolution of the house was intense and this year we promised ourselves a shiny new bathroom as a treat.

So what do you do when one of you wants a freestanding bath, the other is all about the walk in shower and your civil partnership is threatening to get not so civil if you don’t both get the bathroom of your dreams. After 18 months of crouching in a freezing bath with a hose on the taps to wash your hair while you wait til you can afford to do your bathroom makeover properly, it’s important to do it right.

On that note, a word about process – in a popular culture that is obsessed with makeovers and big reveals, we want to turn the tide and focus on process. It’s about the journey, not just the destination. Finding the fun along the way during the design process and the renovation work, it’s important to be present in the process and stand up for your vision all the way along.

So here we are to let you into that most personal of processes, the renovation of our own bathroom. It’s all laid bare here for you with some, pretty gross, before shots that give you an idea of what we’ve been living with up until now. If you embrace the space, in all its grotty glory, then you will be much better placed to get what you want out of it.

To keep us both happy, after much wrangling, we’ve designed a wet room scenario with a free-standing vibe. This solution, putting the shower in the open space across the middle of the room rather than over the bath or in a small cubicle, allows us to have a walk-in shower that feels spacious and also a stunning freestanding bath under the window, as part of the shower area. The bath itself is made from cast lava stone, making it lightweight and allowing for the flowing lines that give it it’s 80’s vase like shape. With matching sink, it’s called the Amiata and is made by our new favourites, Victoria and Albert Baths.

The elegance of the bath is set off with brushed nickel taps and shower in a traditional style, also by V&A, and frameless glass shower screen to keep the room feeling modern and grounded in it’s victorian setting.

Treading that fine line between period architecture and contemporary clean lines, we have gone for the same tiles on floor, walls and shelves. This keeps the room fresh and the tiles themselves are authentic victorian unglazed quarry tiles from Tile Giant.

Usually found in diamond checkerboard patterns on the paths and doorsteps of Victorian properties, we are giving them new life in a wet room. And they are perfect for this if you seal them with the right product to keep it all waterproof. We searched high and low and to be honest weren’t expecting to find the perfect tile for us in Tile Giant, but their new ranges took us by surprise and gave us the perfect matt pink base to showcase the stunning bath.

As we write this, everything is ordered and the builder is on his way to begin the rip out, and we cannot wait – although no doubt there will be some unexpected hurdles along the way since this is an old house and you never know what’s under the floors or behind the plaster until you start chipping away at it. We will try to take our own advice and see those issues as all part of the process.

Head over to our blog for more updates on this ‘Best of Both’ bathroom renovation and we hope this has given you some inspiration to resolve your design dilemmas without too much compromise. If you are about to embark on your own bathroom project, remember that it will all be worth the mess and the endless decisions when you are laying in that hot bath with a G&T, some candles and the latest London Grammar album soothing your soul.

Follow 2 Lovely Gays on Twitter –@2lovelygays

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