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More isn’t always better, as Jen Rothbury (@crack_the_shutters) found in her 1920s South Manchester home. When her family moved in, it was, she says, “in quite a state of disrepair—there was dampness throughout and all of the windows were rotten.” Plus, instead of one large, functional bathroom there were three smaller ones: one box room with a shower (and a ceiling covered in mold), one room with a bath and a sink, and a separate toilet with a leaky sewage pipe. “It’s fair to say the whole house stank,” Jen says. “The stench that had infiltrated the wooden floor could not be budged with any amount of bleach!”
“Having a toilet with no sink, and separate bath and shower rooms did not work for family life at all,” Jen says. “We knew immediately on viewing the house that we would create a large family bathroom with space for the children to run around and have proper family bath times.” The focus of the renovation was to combine the three rooms into one usable space with a tub and enough room for bathing kids.
Knocking down walls to create the new bathroom took about three weeks. “The hardest part was living through the renovations whilst living in the house with such a young family,” Jen says. “My youngest was 5 months old when work started and my eldest was 2 years. At one stage we had no roof and when bathing the children they liked to try and spot the stars—sounds romantic but definitely lost its appeal after the first night!”
The newly opened space features large-scale tile on the floor, plus a sleek standalone tub. On the vanity wall, Jen chose a double-sink vanity and a tall storage cabinet. She painted the units herself over a couple evenings after work, choosing a soft pink for a playful hit of color. On the wall behind, she and her husband installed brick veneer over a weekend. That involved installing channels through which to run the cords for the vanity sconces—no easy task, Jen says.
For the other side of the bathroom, Jen chose a bold teal color (Farrow & Ball’s Vardo) that pops against the neutral tile. “The bathroom renovation was initially focused on one thing which was creating a large space for comfortable family life,” Jen says. “Once this was created we focused on making it a more interesting space with texture and color that would make it an uplifting space to spend time in.”
Among all the new changes, Jen’s favorite piece is the brick. “My favorite part is definitely the brick wall—I love how well the color works with the pink units and love how unique they are in a bathroom setting,” Jen says. “The brick wall is the view when lying in the bath and I love it! It makes me happy every time I go into the bathroom and for me that’s what your home should do.”
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