A labour of love

One of Gardiner Haskins’s bathroom designers, Lee Watkins, lets us in on how he designed and planned his own traditional-style bathroom. Photography by Carine Butcher

This is a traditional bathroom style with a nod to the 1900s, incorporating beautiful green metro brick tiles and brass sanitaryware. What made you think of the design?

I’ve designed bathrooms for over a decade now and felt it was a special opportunity to finally put my own bathroom design together. There was an incentive to put together a statement room with a lot of wow factor.

The house was built in 1901, so there was a huge nod to the Victorian origins of the house – including a traditionally styled WC, bath and brassware, as well as the ever-popular metro ‘brick’ tile.

I wanted an up-to-date twist on the Victorian style, with the growing trend of ornate brass and gold fittings. Something that would really pop against green tiles while remaining classy and intimate – turn of the century decadence, with a softened masculine racing green.

Basin Tap, Shower System & Bath Taps: Roper Rhodes Keswick Brushed Brass

The build

There was a debate in the house about a large shower (Lee’s preference) vs his family’s desire to keep a bath. Taking advantage of the tapered wide end of the bathroom, he found a great little 1,300mm sit tub which would go under the window, while having a large walk-in shower on the right side. This was a great choice complimenting a deep sit tub, which would have been a common type of bathing at the time. The acrylic bath has the benefit of being more lightweight than steel or cast iron (less strain on the timber joists), plus it is warmer to the touch when getting in, keeps heat in longer, and is a more cost-effective material than cast iron. Furthermore, Lee and his family can enjoy views outside the window from the bath without compromise or lack of privacy.

Mirror Cabinet: HiB Exxos 1200mm Lit, Demisting, Charging, Mirrored Sides, Splashback Downlight

Shelving around door: Custom built 18mm MDF, painted with colour matched Calypso Pentland Slate

As a bathroom designer, layout is king. Lee’s number one principle in every room he plans is good design layout and functionality – think feng shui. To gain the best positioning and good functionality from the bath to the shower and towel rail, Lee ensured the opening of the shower, the bath, the WC and the towel rail were all equally distanced from a central point. This makes movement around the bathroom feel easy and efficient. Equally, he wanted to have taller fittings (like the WC) either side, so it visually frames the centre of the room and draws the eye toward the bath, placed centrally under the window.

The roll top bath required a freestanding tap because a conventional ‘deck-mounted’ tap cannot be installed on the rim of this model of bath. This gave an opportunity to make a feature of the tap centred in the window.

Towel Rail: Eastbrook Wingrave Matt Anthracite, with colour match towel brackets

Flooring: Malmo Brada Chesnut – multi-size plank effect waterproof bathroom flooring – Anti-Alip, Easy Clean, Insulated Underlay
pre-attached to flooring

Lee likes to work on a principle of three or four colours – two or three backdrop colours, and one highlight colour. In this case, the green and anthracite made a great background for the brass to pop against, while the brighter chestnut brown tone of the flooring added a little warmth against the cooler/bluer tones. An anthracite powder coated steel towel rail compliments the bluey-grey tinge in the tiles and the grey-grout used to lay them. These little details combine to create a beautiful bathroom.
The shower tray colour co-ordinates with the rest of the room.

It’s easy to walk into and is anti-slip because of its attractive natural slab-like texture, feeling lovely under foot. A hinged deflector to the shower glass eliminates splashing, which is overlooked when customers aspire to a super minimal walk-in shower.

WC: Burlington High Level Dual Flush WC & Cistern, Polished Gold

In traditional shaker style, compact fitted anthracite cabinets still house plenty of storage complimented with beautiful brass handle fittings and sanitaryware, complete with a durable and easy to clean marble effect worktop. Lee has planned it to fit perfectly centred between the shower and the storage shelving. Clever storage custom built by Lee and his father, around and above the door maximizes full height of the room. The anthracite paint is matched to the exact colour of the fitted cabinets – talk to Gardiner Haskins about its colour matching service to create the perfect shade for your bathroom.

A mirrored double door slim cabinet makes another impressive statement in the bathroom. This slim mirrored cabinet demists and contains a handy usb charge along with two-pin chargers hidden inside. It lights up and mirrored sides are a nice feature helping it to ‘disappear’ against the surroundings rather than the usual aluminium box shape. A downlight underneath the cabinet highlights the splashback. Wood effect anti-slip and waterproof flooring by Malmo also enhances the traditional feel, great for a bathroom.

• Visit Gardiner Haskins’s bathroom showroom and see its huge choice of bathrooms, showers, fixtures and fittings for yourself. You can talk to its bathroom planning team in-store, call them on 0117 9292288 or book an appointment at: gardinerhaskins.co.uk