My Annexe Plans: The Shower Room
So work has started! If you haven’t read my previous blog or been watching my daily story updates (you can catch up on all of them on my highlights), I am currently repurposing a room above the barn garage and creating a self contained mini annexe by taking half of the garage space away and using it as accommodation. Downstairs will be a large entrance hall accessed through barn doors and a fully equipped shower room. Stairs will lead to the first floor which will contain a kitchenette/living space (a sink and a fridge with a sofa, coffee table and log burner) and a large, hopefully luxurious bedroom (I’ve already bought the iron four poster a la Artist Residence much to Mike the builders amusement). As I write, we are currently at the insulation stage and on Thursday, the ceiling was pulled down in preparation for upgrading. But the first step in the build has been to create a space for the shower room. The current drainage wasn’t appropriate for use so this week, the drive has been dug up in order for the new drainage to be put in place. Now this is done, we can plan out where the toilet, sink and shower will go and make sure that everything is in the right place. It’s a long game.
Anyway, it’s all coming together which means it’s time to start sorting out the fun stuff. I have to admit that I’m finding it difficult not to think too far ahead and am already working out where I’m going to put the furniture and planning textiles, despite the fact that the walls aren’t even up and there’s water coming through the roof. However, the shower room is almost ready for installation so this week I’ve sat down and thought about exactly how it’s going to look. There’s been much pinning, a fair amount of pacing the space and a lot of waking up in the middle of the night thinking about tile pattern. Joe has absolutely no involvement in any of these decisions, you’ll be surprised to hear. Every now and then he’ll walk into the annexe, try and work out what has changed, fail miserably and walk out again. I could easily be harvesting marijuana and running my own drug cartel and he wouldn’t even notice, tbh.
The most exciting thing about planning this shower room has been the fact that it’s not actually in my house. I know, that sounds a little odd, but because it’s separate to our living space it’s encouraged me to throw caution to the wind. It’s a much smaller area and therefore a great opportunity to add impact by implementing ideas that I’ve seen and loved and wanted to try. The annexe as a whole will have several purposes - accommodation for family and friends, a location for brand campaigns and work stuff and also, most probably, for use as an occasional Airbnb during York Races and holidays. It needs to have some serious WOW factor. Because creating a space that DIDN’T have the WOW factor would be missing the most brilliant opportunity. Quite frankly, it would be rude not to.
So what are my plans? Hold on to your hats because it’s the most un Dawson like bathroom you’ve seen to date. I’m adding colour to the bones of the house in a move never before seen in the history of my room revamps. Oh yes.
Bring Through The Floor
So the main hallway entrance will be tiled in terrazzo and I intend to bring this through into the bathroom to bring together the space as a whole. It’s a good, chunky design and as someone who thinks long and hard about pattern, it was a brave choice to make. Tiles are part of the bones of your home; you can’t just swap them up like a cushion or a rug, they’re here to stay. So I’ve gone for it. I’ve been considering terrazzo in my home for a while so it’s great to have a space where I can try it out. It’s timeless and I’m unlikely to tire of it and it’s a practical option for both and entrance and a shower room floor.
Add A Colour Pop
Again, this is revolutionary move. But I simply could not resist the colour pop tiles from Artisan Of Devizes that I viewed when I recently took part in a panel talk at their showroom in Chelsea Harbour. The colours are HEAVENLY. From pale pink to mint green, from subtle yellow through to the palest lilac, they come in both squares and rectangles and it was almost impossible to choose. I’m going for a square coral and I love the 80’s feel to both the tile and the laying pattern. Will I love it? Of course I will.
Tile The Countertop
I’ve also been obsessed with tiled countertops and this is one feature that I’m definitely going to be bringing to the shower room. I’ve checked with Mike the builder - he’s going to build a metal frame into the wall so that we can hang an MDF base from it and then tile on top. Apart from an initial sigh, Mike didn’t even quibble with this suggestion. A contentious decision, some may say, but I’m feeling confident that it’s going to work. At this point, can I say that 16 years ago, I asked a tiler to put grey grout between white metro tiles and he looked at me pityingly as though I’d lost my mind. Watch this space. Underneath, we (Royal we) will make a wooden slatted shelf for towels and baskets.
Keep It White
I’ve chosen a white, wall hung toilet, the cistern of which will be hidden behind a tiled wall. Sink wise, I’m thinking a simple countertop basin. I want to keep the basics light - the only natural light will be through a fluted glass door leading in from the hallway.
I’m going to put in a chrome drench shower head coming from the ceiling. The good thing about doing a room from scratch is that it gives you free rein in regard to what you can do with the pipes and drainage. Taps throughout will also be chrome which I think will be a good contrast to the colour going on elsewhere. I’m going to have the basin taps wall mounted for simplicity and I’m adding a small towel radiator.
Build A Wall
The shower will be walk in (although a shower tray, not a wet room) with a wall built alongside, not dissimilar to my family shower room set up. I get asked a lot about this and I can confirm that it’s super practical - no glass to clean makes a huge difference, plus I love the fact that the top of the wall can be a feature for trailing plants. I’ll be sourcing some good faux for this room as there’s no window.
Light It Up
The shower room is the one place that I can’t get away with subtle lighting so spotlights will be going into the ceiling. However, there’ll be a mirror above the sink with a wall light beside (I’ve already ordered one from La Redoute who have the most amazing wall light range, FYI). These will be on individual switches outside the bathroom plus we’re putting in a motion sensor. We put one of these into the family shower room - they’re really cheap but make the biggest difference (AKA no walking around turning off all the lights every morning).
I think there’ll be space for a towel ladder and I’ve found a really reasonably priced one in Habitat which I’m considering. I’ll add more natural texture with baskets for storage and hooks for the wall. Fluffy white towels stacked on the lower shelf will finish the room off nicely.
So that’s the plan. I’m really looking forward to trying out some new colours and I think the contrast with the floor will work really well. It’s going to be a fairly big space, albeit window free, so I can’t wait to see how it all comes together. Now I just need to plan the kitchenette, living room and bedroom space. No pressure!