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40 weeks after starting renovation work on our listed home, we have our first completely finished room.
I had meant to write our extension posts in order but — as ever — life got in the way and I know I’m going to end up writing about them front to back.
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Planning for a Downstairs Loo
A downstairs loo is something we’ve dreamt of having for a long time.
It probably sounds a bit odd but if you’ve never had one, you’ll understand my excitement!!
A downstairs loo is right up there with a utility room; something that, if you’re short on space, you can only dream of.
When it came to making plans for our downstairs loo, we were definitely limited on square footage — the room is only 77cm x 123cm (less than 3ft wide and only 6ft in length).
But small in size shouldn’t mean that you can’t go big on design.
Pinterest Is Your Friend
As ever, when I’m planning any kind of house project, Pinterest is my first port of call.
It’s the best resource; full of inspiration and imagery to help give you ideas.
I created a board dedicated to ‘Downstairs Loo Ideas’ and literally pinned everything (and anything) that took my fancy.
From the outset I’d decided that I was going to go with quite a heavily patterned wallpaper— with painted tongue and groove panelling.
But the colour of the panelling — and the look and feel of the room — was definitely something that was driven by the wallpaper in the end.
Fixtures and Fittings
As we’re tight on space, the fixtures and fittings had to work pretty hard.
I spent hours searching for the perfect sized sink — with no tap hole.
Typically, I found one — and ordered it — to receive an email a couple of week’s later, saying that the company had gone into administration.
Thankfully, I found another one that fit the bill!
It’s wall hung — formed out of smooth, solid resin, with no pre-drilled tap holes — and the perfect size.
Surprisingly, it was quite tricky to track a sink down that didn’t have any pre-drilled tap holes; so I’m thrilled with this one — it’s perfect.
The brushed brass bottle trap and matching basin were a really great find. They’ve made such a difference to the look and feel of the basin, and elevate it a notch or two, from basic to beautiful.
You can buy the tap we’ve used here. It’s lovely quality and — as it’s wall mounted — it really gives a luxe feel to our modest little downstairs loo.
The back to wall toilet came from Victoria Plum.
All the gubbins are neatly concealed, in the boxed in area behind, which meant that we could keep the look of the space nice and clean, without any pipework on show.
The Devil’s In The Detail
Since I posted the initial photo on Instagram, I have had loads of requests for information on our brushed brass loo flush.
Well… try as I might I couldn’t find one that didn’t cost an arm and a leg.
I found one for a little under £300 — which is a crazy price for such a small detail — so we decided to spray the chrome one that came with the toilet.
The finish is brilliant. I used Rust-Oleum metallic gold spray paint.
Who knows, it may chip over time but I’m not desperately worried about that. Hopefully, by the time it happens, someone will have produced a cost effective alternative.
The mirror was a charity shop bargain and the brushed brass loo roll holder was a steal from Amazon.
The liquid soap in the dark brown bottle came from Zara Home — they no longer stock this sadly.
The brushed brass bottle holder is in stock at the time of writing this.
Although this is a small detail, it’s made a big impact.
It means that the soap can be mounted on the wall and frees up the sink area — so it negates the need for a shelf.
Finally, talking of shelves; some info on the little oak shelf, covering the cistern.
It’s a simple, solid oak board that came from Homebase. Mr D cut it to size and I oiled it.
I love how it gives a nod to the original oak beam above.
And, I also love that it offers the perfect resting place for our ‘Kate and The Smelly Finger’ print (not it’s original name — think it’s called ‘Life’s a Joke’).
This came from Desenio and has been in our bedroom, dining room and snug, before taking residence in the downstairs toilet.
Pattern and Colour
As I mentioned before, the colour we chose for the paneling was wholly driven by the wallpaper.
I chose Blackthorn by William Morris, from the Style Library and had the colour of the paint matched to the dark green ground of the paper.
This is such a great way to keep a really cohesive look when you’re decorating.
It’s unlikely you’ll get a perfect match from a pre-mixed paint colour. And if you don’t want to spend hours and hours trawling through paint charts, I highly recommend getting the paint mixed up to match the paper.
We used colour matched Dulux eggshell on the panelling and the same colour emulsion on the ceiling.
I toyed with the idea of leaving the ceiling white but think it just would have looked unfinished.
In the end, I didn’t even bother to test it out. I just went big and painted the inky green directly onto the raw plaster. No miscoat, no undercoat.
The colour is a triumph; deep and rich and infinitely better than white.
The floortiles came from Bert and May.
They’re encaustic; a cement tile, handmade in Spain with crushed marble and natural pigments. The finish is really beautiful. They were worth the expense and the faff of having to seal them before use.
I wondered whether pattern on the floor and the walls would be too much but I love it.
And that’s it!
Little Space, Big Impact
Adding a downstairs toilet has made the world of difference to how we live. But also, taking a bit of time to plan every detail of our smallest room has meant that this little space is big on impact.
A small downstairs toilet needn’t be an afterthought. It’s one of the rooms that most of your visitors will see (when we’re not all in lockdown!).