On The Tiles

Previously, on Bathroom News..



It’s been a while since we’ve taken a peek inside the bathroom. This is largely because the tiler spent September cycling around Europe and although there was much scurrying about on the home front most of it took place behind the scenes. There is a limit to how many more bathroom shops I can describe visiting and the attendant escalation in blood pressure levels is, of course, invisible to the camera.



This was how things looked on the day the tiler went away and the view we had for all of the subsequent four weeks. Minus those door stop thingies on the left wall. They hold the edges of the tiles together while the adhesive sets. Until they’re knocked out 24 hours later. These last ones therefore fell into Mike’s lap, figuratively speaking. The task, using the rubber hammer we were left with, is therapeutic apparently.

I really don’t begrudge anyone a holiday. Especially when they’re doing such a cracking job. It’s just unfortunate that the timing fell as it did for us.



And this is how it looks today.

The contrasting end wall is there for a purpose. Distant objects in a stronger colour appear closer to the eye, paler colours tend to recede. It’s difficult to replicate in photographs (the camera sees things differently to a brain), but it does seem to work. It leads to a foreshortening of the room, making the narrow space appear wider and squarer. Once the bath gets installed across that end of the room I hope the effect will be even more pronounced. And of course, the wall is a design feature in itself.

There are a number of differences between the two photos above. The completed tiling, the mirror, the painted ceiling and the changes to the door recess far left to name but four. But there is also another fairly significant one. A further source of September angst. Brownie points to the first person who can tell me what it is.



Alongside the proportions of the bathroom the second major design issue that we’ve had to confront is the lack of light given this room has no window. The niche behind the bath-to-be has a mirror as we’ve seen and will, by next week with luck, have an LED light strip fitted into its upper surface. Mirrors really are a great way of bouncing light around a room.



Ditto the shower



The view back up the room towards the door.

There are two much larger mirrors still to come. New doors are being made out of frameless opaque glass, to provide borrowed light from the adjacent rooms. Ignore the pipe lagging affixed to the edge of the shower screen! It’s to help prevent accidental damage while work is still ongoing.



The medieval doorway into the bedroom

In my eyes it would have been wrong to tile right up to the old oak doorway. Such an ancient feature needs to stand alone. So we’ve stopped the tiling at the bathroom facing wall and yesterday the builder carefully plastered right up to those tiles creating an almost seamless edge. He’s done a fantastic job. Once the plaster has dried and the door reveal has been painted the original woodwork will shine out once more.




The doorway from the bedroom side, complete (second image) with a new step. The difference in height has always been quite a leap. And that was before we raised the level of the bathroom floor!

One of the most tedious and increasingly fraught jobs on the September to do list was to source the wood for this step. We’d hoped to use an original wide floorboard that had previously come out of my study. And then disaster struck. The precautionary treatment for woodworm soaked from the back of the plank right through to the front, leaving unsightly dark blotches. Nothing for it but to do the tour of the architectural salvage yards and source a replacement. Easier said than done since wide floorboards are more difficult to find these days than those proverbial hens teeth. Many many miles and wasted days later we fell gratefully upon an ‘offcut’ just wide and long enough to suit our purposes.. for an extortionate £10!

Again the builder has done an excellent job. First we removed that existing piece of modern skirting board to reveal more of the original oak frame. The builder then used the undamaged parts of the treated floorboard and spliced it into the wall to fill in gaps above and below the lower door frame beam. He’s used our salvage shop find to form the tread for the new step. Frankly it looks as though it’s been there forever and we couldn’t be more pleased. The new opaque glass door will sit within the door recess rather than outside it as the current door does, exposing even more of the beautiful old wood frame.

Contemporary meets medieval. After all this fuss and bother I just hope it works..


2018-10-14T11:30:00+00:00October 11th, 2018|Tags: |


  1. Jill Chandler October 11, 2018 at 8:17 pm - Reply

    Patience! I have none.

    • Jessica October 13, 2018 at 8:20 pm - Reply

      Me neither. Amazing to think that when all this started back in July it was going to be a 3 week project.

  2. Tracy Perez October 11, 2018 at 8:56 pm - Reply

    Love the blue tile.

    • Jessica October 13, 2018 at 8:21 pm - Reply

      It’s gorgeous isn’t it. Love at first sight!

  3. Charles October 11, 2018 at 9:10 pm - Reply

    Good Lord you do live a life. I went to Rosemoor and it is now my favourite RHS garden. Have you been to Forde Abbey, it’s deep in Momerset but very pretty with a very nice garden and a great kitchen garden. I do love a walled kitchen garden.(and good fruit cake)

    • Jessica October 13, 2018 at 8:26 pm - Reply

      I haven’t been but I looked it up. It looks very pleasant indeed. My sort of garden. And I particularly liked the mention of a Plant Nursery. I feel another visit coming on..

  4. janesmudgeegarden October 11, 2018 at 10:08 pm - Reply

    It looks fabulous, Jessica. The blue tiles do exactly the job you anticipated and are a beautiful colour, and the wall above and ceiling are immaculate. I can’t see the source of angst at all. Not long now, and you’ll be having your first bath!

    • Jessica October 13, 2018 at 8:31 pm - Reply

      First they have to carry the bath down the drive from the top of the hill to the bottom, through the front door and hall, up the stairs which turn through 180 degrees under a low ceiling, along the upstairs landing, through the bedroom, through the little medieval door and, finally, into its place. All without damaging it..

  5. Cortney October 11, 2018 at 11:22 pm - Reply

    It looks beautiful! I can’t wait to see it all kitted out and done. I’m so impressed with the workmanship seamlessly blending the historical with the new.

    • Jessica October 13, 2018 at 8:35 pm - Reply

      Thanks Cortney. It’s what we’ve aimed to do all along. I do so love all the character of old buildings and today’s minimalist look fits so well with it.

  6. Snoskred October 11, 2018 at 11:23 pm - Reply

    Oh my god, that back wall is absolutely stunning. 🙂

    • Jessica October 13, 2018 at 8:37 pm - Reply

      Thank you. Not that expensive either. The tiles are just glazed ceramic. Sometimes you just find the perfect thing.

  7. germac4 October 11, 2018 at 11:37 pm - Reply

    I love the almost finished bathroom, the back wall and the mirror…a very striking way of solving the small dark space problem. I can’t wait to see the bath in there. How lucky you are to have a builder who obviously enjoys the project/challenge!

    • Jessica October 13, 2018 at 8:40 pm - Reply

      It’s not often that happens is it. We’ve tried to engage him to do more work elsewhere but he’s booked solid. Isn’t it always the way.

  8. wherethejourneytakesme October 11, 2018 at 11:37 pm - Reply

    The pipe wrapped in blue protruding from the wall with the electric cable has moved presumably your source of angst was that you had to fit a new tile and move the pipe up?

    • Jessica October 13, 2018 at 8:42 pm - Reply

      Give that girl a gold star. Well done Viv! Yep, we discovered the basin waste pipe was in the wrong place. And thank goodness we did before the tiles were all grouted in.

  9. wherethejourneytakesme October 11, 2018 at 11:39 pm - Reply

    PS It is looking rather fabulous though – you will enjoy it when it is finished and your blood pressure returns to normal!

    • Jessica October 13, 2018 at 8:44 pm - Reply

      Thanks. I keep saying every project is the worse one yet. The next one will have to go some to continue the trend. Sadly there is plenty of scope..

  10. Kris P October 12, 2018 at 2:02 am - Reply

    The tile is gorgeous. I couldn’t detect the source of your September angst but then I was never particularly good at ‘Where’s Waldo?’ either. Do you have a target completion date yet, or is it bad luck to speculate? We still don’t even have the city’s answer on our proposed kitchen bump-out, much less a start date for the work. I can see why this renovation stuff becomes painful.

    • Jessica October 13, 2018 at 8:50 pm - Reply

      It is definitely bad luck to speculate. The big unknown is the basin unit which arrived damaged and is going back to Italy. They are manufacturing another one but as the things are made to order there’s a lead time. It was the fuss over the new unit that led us to realise its waste pipe had been put in the wrong place. That was the source of the angst. Or one of them!

  11. Beth @ PlantPostings October 12, 2018 at 2:20 am - Reply

    Oh yes, I think it’s working well. “Modern meets medieval” is a great description. I really, really like the blue/green tiles–fabulous! Sorry about the spots on the wood. Always challenges with a home remodeling project, but yours is looking good!

    • Jessica October 13, 2018 at 8:54 pm - Reply

      There are so many challenges. But as it starts to come together it feels as though it might all have been worth it. I shall just be glad when it’s all over and the feeling of “What on earth can happen next?” will slowly diminish.

  12. derrickjknight October 12, 2018 at 11:10 am - Reply

    Very tastefully done. The contrasting wall really does the trick, and I am pleased you have kept the door.

    • Jessica October 13, 2018 at 8:56 pm - Reply

      The door itself will be replaced but the old oak frame definitely stays. The door is a relatively modern one in any case, tongue and groove!

  13. Peter Herpst October 12, 2018 at 3:07 pm - Reply

    I so admire your vision, patience, and tenacity in creating this lovely space! It’s looking great already and I’m looking forward to seeing the final product.

    • Jessica October 13, 2018 at 9:00 pm - Reply

      It’s the light in there that I’m loving already. When it’s all finished we might even be having to dim it down.

  14. grammapenny October 12, 2018 at 9:49 pm - Reply

    The deliciousness continues……

    • Jessica October 13, 2018 at 9:00 pm - Reply


  15. Virginia October 13, 2018 at 5:53 am - Reply

    I go weak at the knees just reading about the hurdles you two (and your superb tradies) overcome! That is going to be a sumptuous bathroom. Your tenacity is amazing! Perhaps that’s why you don’t fall down the precipitous bank!

    • Jessica October 13, 2018 at 9:06 pm - Reply

      Perhaps fortuitously the bathroom has kept me mostly away from the Precipitous Bank this summer.. but there have been moments!

  16. Mary October 13, 2018 at 10:47 am - Reply

    I am envisioning you having a long, long, long soak in your new tub (accompanied by wine, of course), when this project is done. The two of you (and your skilled artisans) have done a masterful job of marrying old and new.

    • Jessica October 13, 2018 at 9:08 pm - Reply

      That’s exactly why I put the niche behind the bath. To hold a wine glass. 🙂

  17. hb October 13, 2018 at 2:30 pm - Reply

    Something odd on the wall there directly above the yellow pipes? Is that it?

    Those blue tiles–like a wonderfully patinated copper, as so gorgeous! You did find a superb tiler, so maybe that made the wait more bearable. The way the patination is placed at the bottom of the tiles is just right. Best wishes that it is all done soon and to perfection.

    Here we’ve got the fixtures picked out, and the design just about 100% finalized, and most of the tile selected. The agony will soon begin.

    • Jessica October 13, 2018 at 9:19 pm - Reply

      Directly above the yellow pipes is the flush plate for the loo. Or it will be when it’s fitted. No, it’s the pipe to the right of the yellow pipes that has moved. The one wrapped in a blue freezer bag because it’s a waste pipe with a direct connection to the big hole in the ground underneath the drive..
      It’s at your stage in the project when I just want it to be over quickly. Fast forward to completion. At least it is Fall. Planting is a good distraction from construction works I’ve discovered.

  18. Charles October 13, 2018 at 6:08 pm - Reply

    Our three bathrooms have been refurbished. It only took 18 months, to be fair only 6 once we realised original nice plumber did not want to do the job but could not bring himself to turn down the job, talk about Shakespearean inner turmoil. Anyway enough of plumbing, have you been to Forde Abbey in deepest Somerset. I loved Rosemoor but for your compact steely home garden with kitchen garden to die for this is the place. If I won the lottery I would be tempted.

    • Jessica October 13, 2018 at 9:26 pm - Reply

      It’s a West Country thing apparently and it’s taken us many frustrating years to realise it. If a tradesman doesn’t want a job he won’t tell you, he just doesn’t answer your calls. We shall be going to Forde Abbey, I’ve added it to my list, it looks delightful!

      • Jayne Hill October 28, 2018 at 3:56 pm - Reply

        Not just West Country – they do exactly the same in West Cumbria too. Fortunately, we sussed that out years ago, saved us months of waiting around 🙂

        • Jessica October 28, 2018 at 4:49 pm - Reply

          It’s infuriating isn’t it. How long do you give them before you write it off? We’ve another case brewing, he seemed so keen too.

  19. Charles October 13, 2018 at 6:10 pm - Reply

    For steely read stately, can you imagine the boring and sheltered lives the people who write Apples algorithms must live….

    • Jessica October 13, 2018 at 9:29 pm - Reply

      Yes indeed. Not a job that I could do for very long. Anyway, I’d put it down to red wine. If a little early in the evening..

  20. wherethejourneytakesme October 13, 2018 at 10:43 pm - Reply

    Being married to an architect and subjected to magazines like Galvanised Monthly, Car Park monthly and one on toilets and basins (that I cannot recall the name) it was not hard to spot Jessica – and we also had to take out a tile or two and replace in our new bathroom when our fitter put the towel heater brackets in the wrong place.

    • Jessica October 15, 2018 at 8:31 pm - Reply

      I get something about floor coverings (industrial ones, nothing useful!) since I got put on the mailing list while doing an interior design course. But I can see I’m missing out big time. Please don’t feel it’s necessary to give them my name though..

  21. bittster October 14, 2018 at 3:53 am - Reply

    Well it is coming along, in spite of the delays. I love the blue tiles! They’re a wonderful accent.
    Good luck getting the tub up!

    • Jessica October 15, 2018 at 8:32 pm - Reply

      I’m dreading the tub. I’ve put off the evil day once already. But I can’t keep doing it forever..

  22. offtheedgegardening October 14, 2018 at 12:32 pm - Reply

    I love those tiles on the far wall, beautiful. You are getting there!

    • Jessica October 15, 2018 at 8:33 pm - Reply

      Slowly but surely. Very slowly..

  23. Linda from Each LIttle World October 16, 2018 at 9:35 pm - Reply

    These big projects do seem endless and are always fraught with surprises that are rarely pleasant. But this is going to be so worth the effort. It looks wonderful already. Once it’s done all this back story goes out of your head and you just enjoy the results — until you need a horror story for another home remodeler!

    • Jessica October 17, 2018 at 8:28 pm - Reply

      Once it’s done there’s another project waiting. Such is life. Eventually it will all be done and perhaps we will have a couple of years off before the need to start again back at the beginning!

  24. bumbleandme October 17, 2018 at 6:51 am - Reply

    It’s looking fantastic already. It’s going to be a beautiful sanctuary when it’s finished. X

    • Jessica October 17, 2018 at 9:31 pm - Reply

      Thanks. When it’s finished can’t come soon enough!

  25. pollymacleod October 27, 2018 at 3:52 pm - Reply

    I love those tiles Jessica. Your tiler is a true craftsman. Love the “Previously, on Bathroom News” 🙂

    • Jessica October 28, 2018 at 4:45 pm - Reply

      I have cleaned all the residual grout off the tiles today. Now they really sparkle!

  26. Chris N October 31, 2018 at 6:55 pm - Reply

    Oh my, it is beautiful. And so big. Alas, our tiny bathroom is just plain and tiny!!! I’m so envious,plus that blue tile is gorgeous!!

    • Jessica November 5, 2018 at 6:33 am - Reply

      Thanks Chris. The camera angle is deceptive because it is tiny! I’ve gone for minimalism to try to get as much space as possible.

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