French vintage finds and Parisian style influenced the transformation of a tired and tiny bathroom into a haven of luxury. Curious to see how it came together? Then let’s take a look…
Homeowners Tom Lipop and his wife Emma settled on a six-bedroom property in East London. Built in 1903, the Edwardian terraced home was instantly attractive. As part of the whole-house renovation, the couple knew the poky family bathroom on the first floor was a priority.
Here, he explains how their plans came together…
Luxurious bathroom tour
What was your vision for the luxurious bathroom?
The family bathroom was tiny, especially given the size of house, with a bath but no shower. We wanted to create a larger room with plenty of space for relaxing, ideally with a steam shower.
Since the pandemic, we’ve been exercising at home, rather than going to the gym and enjoying the sauna there. So, we felt it would be good to introduce a spa-like element to the bathroom if we could.
How did you begin the project?
We decided to remove an internal wall between the bathroom and an adjacent bedroom, knocking them into one. At the same time, we replaced the old uPVC windows with original-style timber box sash frames. And, we restored the original fireplace in the former bedroom.
Then it was a case of plotting out where the largest pieces would be best positioned: the bath under the window as the focal point of the design, opposite the double basin, with the steam shower cubicle behind the entrance door and WC tucked into the corner.
How to assess your space before you start a renovation: click here
Can you tell us about the double basin?
We both love antique pieces that pay homage to the history of our home. The Serpentine double basin by the French manufacturer Jacob Delafon, dating from the same period as the house, was a natural choice. Its statuesque form and sinuous lines were perfect for the vintage French feel we had in mind.
I hunted high and low and eventually tracked one down. It had been ripped out of an old mansion in Essex, so I snapped it up. Unfortunately, it didn’t have the original taps with it as they had been scrapped for a measly £40 at some point along the way. I knew it would be incredibly different to find replacements, but I was persistent and eventually, eight months on, found some originals. They make a fantastic finishing touch.
And the bath?
We wanted to find a tub with a similarly curvaceous shape to the double basin and came across this design while staying at Soho House. Lots of research later, and I tracked down the model to the Senator bath with bun feet by BC Designs, which is a replica of a traditional Parisian-style fireclay design. Its grand proportions suit the size of the bathroom and it is ideal for a luxurious soak.
What was your inspiration for the tiling?
I spend a lot of time in Istanbul and have always admired the traditional hammams, which have tiled ceilings. At the same time, I came across a picture of a bathroom in Paris with a tiled ceiling. I loved the way this accentuated the height of the space, which we wanted to do here.
So, we chose simple square ceramic tiles, inspired by the design of handmade Arabic zellige, in a colour that isn’t completely uniform. Each has a slightly different thickness, which adds depth to the room.
Then we added a border of decorative tiles to break up the mass of cream. The tiles feature a swan design by the Arts & Crafts artist Walter Crane, so they echo the style of the fireplace.
To complete the tiling, we added a pencil tile in a shade of green chosen to match the swan design, creating a cornicing detail similar to that of the original ground floor reception rooms.
Can you tell us about the steam shower?
I’m not a fan of wetrooms, mostly because I don’t like water splashing everywhere. So, the starting point was to create a spacious 1.5 x 1m cubicle and, once we’d decided to add steam to the shower, to include a bench seat for comfort.
We chose a steam room generator system by Insignia, which comes with aromatherapy and salt spray therapies. The final element was a custom framed powder-coated steel door. It was designed to create an efficient steam seal and allow for correct air inflow and exchange.
Tom’s words of wisdom
- Be clear about what you want to achieve at the outset and be focussed on that. Ideas can come at you from every angle and it is easy to get distracted, with the potential for a mish-mash – a sort-of bathroom Frankenstein – at the end.
- Try to buy vintage if you can. Not only is re-use better for the environment, but you’ll have something different to everyone else.
Photography: Darren Chung | As originally told to: Amelia Thorpe