A stunning sea-green bath spotted on Pinterest proved to be the inspiration for the transformation of an ordinary London loft into a luxurious retreat.
After living in their Victorian home for 10 years, events director Hannah Thomson, who shares the house with her husband Jon and their two young children, decided it was time to convert their loft-level storage space into something a little more special.
So, after a decade of dreaming about a total overhaul of the roof area, Hannah came up with a plan to create the perfect haven, away from the hustle and bustle of family life – for sleeping, bathing, dressing and working, and with a different atmosphere from the rest of the house.
Why did you decide to renovate your loft?
We bought a real doer-upper of a house 10 years ago and it was in a very shoddy state. Over the years we have done a very slow renovation of the building and we had planned to do the loft, but then one baby came along, then another, and then Covid. Having waited for so long and with the family extended, it was a very practical time to do it. Rather than just create a few rooms, we really thought it through and decided to make a peaceful space, just for us.
How did you go about planning the loft renovation?
I love to design and, back in 2020, I was on furlough for six months due to the pandemic, so I decided to use the time constructively and planned everything myself. We didn’t work with an architect, and instead enlisted East London Lofts, which is a local company, to convert and extend the space and then I did all the plans for the layout myself.
I spotted the bath on Pinterest, fell in love with it and then based the whole bathroom around it. Because it was our ensuite, I liked the idea of using lots of colour and different textures – and really have a bit of fun with it. I wanted to go bold but for the room to feel luxurious.
Having earmarked the bath, I then looked at the concrete basin company Kast and their beautiful curved designs – everything else in the room just needed to work around them.
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The design process of the loft ensuite
Was everything bought off the shelf?
Having completely blown the budget, I decided to make the vanity unit. I used a basic Ikea kitchen wall unit and stuck textured wall panelling to it. I then colour- matched it to the bath with Valspar paint from B&Q. It’s a cheap, upcycled job, but very effective. The green marble top is from Diesteker.
Were there any stumbling blocks?
Having chosen the bath and its position – the corner of the room – I then went to a bathroom design company with my ideas. They said the room was too small to do what I wanted and I shouldn’t include a bath in the plan. However, we’d already compromised on the size of the bedroom because we wanted the bathroom to be our sanctuary. So, I didn’t take their advice, walked away, and now I’m so glad I stuck with my gut feeling about it all.
Who did you enlist to help you?
We decided not to use an architect but approached East London Lofts to do the conversion work – adding a dormer and rear extension and dividing the space into four: a bedroom, dressing room, home office and bathroom.
Once I had decided on the basic elements, I then ordered – much to my husband’s dismay – about 70 tile samples! At this point I called my friend Alexa Page of Studio Page Interiors, who works as an interior designer. She pulled together the tiles and the paint colours, while I did the layout, chose the big items and the lighting.
The tiles are three very different looks and textures…
There are Forest Green handmade Bert & May tiles in the shower and large-format terrazzo tiles from Mosaic Factory on the walls. These are proper black stone set in concrete, with a flicker of pink, like the basins. On the floor, I’ve used handmade zellige tiles, which have a high-gloss finish but aren’t at all slippery.
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Did you add any special touches to the loft renovation?
I really believe that lighting makes a room. We have stayed at a beautiful hotel called The Newt, in Somerset, and their bathrooms are amazing and very spa-like. So, with this as an inspiration, we put in two different lighting circuits – one for the wall lights and two pendants, all of which are dimmable, and then in the shower there is hidden mood lighting, plus uplighters in the floor.
We wanted lots and lots of natural light in the room, so we put in a large skylight directly above the shower. To create more of a sense of space in the ensuite, I wanted to keep as much off the floor as possible, so both the vanity unit and toilet are wall mounted. And because the bath and basins are so colourful, we decided to have a white toilet.
The bedroom design
How did you plan the bedroom?
I wanted to create some connection between the bathroom and the bedroom but didn’t want it to be too matchy-matchy, so I picked a bedspread with a stripe that matched the tiles on the ensuite floor. And because we had the luxury of a dressing room, we really didn’t need to have any more furniture than the bed and one chair. I wanted it to feel simple, grown-up and elegant.
The ensuite links to the bedroom without a door…
Our original thoughts were that we would have reeded glass doors between the bedroom and bathroom. However, when we built the arch, we loved the connection between the rooms; it gave a boutique-hotel feel to the space, so we decided not to have any division at all. But we do have other bathrooms in the house if we want privacy!
Are you enjoying your new loft renovation?
It makes me feel very relaxed and… just a bit “pinch me”! It is a glorious space.
Photography: Darren Chung