Project managed bathroom, en suite & downstairs loo installations

Pinterest vs. Reality

With the overwhelming rise of Pinterest, this bathroom installer feels he needs to set a few things straight….

realistic bathroom title

Introduction

Websites such as Houzz & Pinterest are great.

Don’t get me wrong.

They’re great for browsing for ideas when doing up your bathroom, en suite or downstairs loo.

Hell, I’m even a registered contractor on Houzz and won their ‘Best of Houzz 2017’ customer service award, putting us in the top 3% of all providers on Houzz:

Best of Houzz 2017 - Client Satisfaction

But….

I feel I need to set the record straight and adjust peoples expectations somewhat, as the projects on these sites tend to reflect the upper to ‘even more upper’ end of the market when it comes to refurbishment.

Size matters

Lets face it, most UK bathrooms (even when fully renovated as below) are still only this big:

normal sized bathroom

…whereas most Houzz bathrooms are this big:

Houzz big bathroom

This is because Houzz is an American company and most American houses are 750% bigger than UK houses*

*probably.

For instance, who has an awkward corner like this?

awkward corner

It’s more like an awkward wing to most UK houses!

Your 3 bed semi bathroom (like mine) is going to be a bit more restricted for choice than these spaces, so bear this in mind….

Transparent glass pricing

Many high end bathrooms feature custom made glass dividing walls, and you may wish to include these in your project.

glass en suite

However, walls like this come with a £10K+ price tag, and this is before the rest of the bathroom is considered.

So feel free to Pin away to your hearts content, but your budget may force you into a compromise such as having a glass door instead:

glass door

On the subject of glass, lots of bathrooms on Houzz & Pinterest have custom made glass enclosures as here:

custom made shower enclosure

Regular fitters in the UK, outside of the more affluent areas of London will not usually work on these types of jobs as they are so expensive compared to off the shelf units.

large customer made shower enclosure with dwarf wall

They also have a long lead time as glass needs to be templated on site and then manufactured to order before being installed.

Therefore you may struggle to even find people willing to undertake this kind of work, and if you do, then it’s probably going to cost you more than you think.

Privacy

Us Brits like our privacy, so this modern trend tends to stay firmly on people’s Pinterest boards rather than in their houses in my experience:

toilet in the bedroom

Yes, en suites open to the bedroom.

Who wants this exactly?

There’s being comfortable with your partner but this is a step too far in many peoples minds!

Then there’s the practicality of steam from the bathroom spreading out into the bedroom, and noises of bathroom occupants disturbing sleeping partners.

Leave this idea for the hotels….

Body jets & implications

Body jets in showers are great, and who wouldn’t want to stand under this after a hard day?

shower body jets

However, if you have a combi boiler or a gravity fed system (that’s 90% of you UK readers by the way) then you’re fresh out of luck unfortunately.

This is because this type of installation is only possible with certain types of heating system that can generate the water flow rate required to produce more than a dribble out of all these outlets simultaneously.

Updating your hot water system to a pumped or pressurised system can remedy this, but is often beyond the budget of most consumers.

Speak to a knowledgeable plumber about this when planning your installation.

Specialist materials

This Carrara marble bathroom looks AMAZING!!

marble bathroom

And do you know what’s even more amazing than how it looks?

How big the price was to install it!

Those are not individual marble tiles that can be bought from a tile shop on an industrial park near you (which are still relatively expensive by the way) like this….

marble tiles

They are actually custom cut individual pieces of marble!

The piece over the bath is probably 160cm x 200cm alone and must weigh a tonne!

(not literally but you get the point)

That would pull some flimsy stud walls down with its weight, and I think you’d struggle to find many installers willing to take on working with these kinds of materials.

Mosaics

mosaic bathroom tiles

Mosaic tiles are very popular on Pinterest & Houzz, but in the UK market, mosaic bathroom tiles cost £100/m2+

This is up to 10 times the price of standard A4 sized ceramic tiles!
This means that to tile a standard 3 bedroomed house bathroom would increase the cost of buying the tiles from £300 to £2000 and that EXcludes the extra fitting costs involved with mosaics!

P.S. Please see here for more information on tiling costs.

Summary

So as you can see, much of the bespoke, high end work on Houzz & Pinterest looks great, but may be a bit over the top in terms of budget and / or practicality.

Not that I’m a hater, just wanted to maybe reduce a few expectations out there.
This will save you ringing up your local fitter, showing him this picture:

japanese bath

then saying “I’ve heard you can do fully fitted bathrooms for £3K”

(when the picture you’re showing shows a bath worth more than that on its own!)

The best way to use Houzz & Pinterest

Put your ‘designer’ head on, save the things you like and see how you can apply aspects of them to your own job.

For example, you may look at this bathroom furniture with a large custom made mirror & light above it:

large mirror

…and decide that you could use a custom cut mirror to make your (more modest) small space appear bigger:

large mirror custom cut

(This can be done quite cheaply from a local glass merchant but it takes a bit more effort on your behalf.)

Investing your own time getting to know what you like and then scouring the internet and sourcing deals is the best way to utilise the inspiration that these sites give.

Anything else?

If you have any questions or thoughts about this, please feel free to leave a comment.
Thanks for reading

Chris

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