The Florence Finds House Tour: Family Bathroom Part 1 – The Build

Well, hello! It’s finally time I shared our bathroom, in fact the whole house. I’m setting myself a goal to bring one room a month to the blog and I hope I can keep up! The majority of the house has been made-over in one way or another over the last 12 months via our big renovation and extension project. Some intentionally and others as collateral, either because they were damaged in the process or just seemed tired and dated. I think I’m going to split these posts into two where its appropriate, to divide the pretty from the nitty gritty of what and how we did things so I hope they’re both useful and inspiring. I’m going to start here with the Bathroom as it was the first room we actually completed and started using, as well as being pretty popular amongst my insta followers, so I hope you like it!


The pre-existing deco-bathroom of darkness

The Nitty Gritty:
Before we started this project, it was intended to be a single story extension ‘glass box’ on the back of the house. However we wouldn’t have gained much space if the resulting room had followed the line of the exterior wall at the back so we wrapped it around into an area that housed our bins. That meant I could have a utility room (whoop whoop!) and the living space would be bigger, which then opened up the possibility of addressing the family bathroom on the floor above. Our first floor has 3 bedrooms and had a small bathroom with a separate toilet on the landing. This made the landing an odd shape, dog legging around the loo, and there was no natural light there either so it was dark. The previous owners had renovated the house to sell but sadly their taste was dated and as a result I hated everything about the bathroom – black and white, art deco style tiles, and faux Victorian white suite.



Top left – shows the landing area dog legging around the loo. The bottom exterior shot hopefully shows the back area we built across but also the way we filled in the side to make space for the utility and bathroom, without extending the house footprint sideways.

It could have been a lot worse I’ll admit, but I really did hate it with a passion. It also wasn’t ideal for a family of 4, kids bathtimes or just spending any enjoyable time in it. There was a small north facing, (possibly original, read: draughty,) window so it was dingy too and basically didn’t have much to commend it. I dreamed of space and light and 2 sinks! Having extra space in the ground floor footprint of the house meant we could build out and over the utility room making a bigger family friendly bathroom, and creating space and light on the landing by moving the loo into the bathroom too. Pete was keen to make this a 2 phase job and come back to the bathroom but I was adamant I didn’t want to revisit the mess etc so we planned from the outset to just make it one big project.


Once the walls started to go up, the space took shape pretty quickly. We went away for the week in March and our ace builders used the opportunity to do all the horrific demolition bits while the kids were out of the house, lifting the floor downstairs to install our underfloor heating, demolishing the landing loo and making the new wall between the bathroom and landing. I remain eternally grateful – anyone who has endured a renovation knows what brick dust is like, and in a house as old as ours, removing ceiling sections means soot flying everywhere which is possibly worse and certainly more pervasive.


Once we could walk around in the space (at first climbing up via the scaffolding!) it seemed at once much bigger and much smaller than I expected. One of the only structural changes we made during the build was to this room, adding a velux when the walls were in, as it suddenly seemed very dark. I hadn’t factored in how the roof pitch comes quite low in this particular aspect of the house, which meant the wall wasn’t tall enough for our usual high windows. So we opted for a massive velux that matched the width of the window below and placed it directly in line with the window too which looked pleasing from the outside but also meant it was positioned perfectly over the bath. This also resulted in the vaulted ceiling that the velux made necessary and now I absolutely love. I’d like to say it was a pre-planned design feature and take credit but it was in fact a twist of fate with some good advice from our builders!


Once the shell was in place it was left as just that by our builders and our internal finishing team took over. Side note: We had 2 builders, one for the big structural stuff and another team that did all the internal specification like the wall panelling, bathroom, tiled flooring, utility and decoration. This played to each of their strengths according to our Architect and we were really happy with how it worked out. The internal finishing team had a fantastic eye for detail, shared my appreciation for Pinterest and basically were ready to do exactly what I wanted, as well as adding their own experience, and expertise. They first sorted out the plumbing for the double vanity, wall hung loo, bath and shower, all of which took quite some effort as each bit had it’s challenges. My main concern in this room was the width. On our architects layouts it seemed spacious enough but it was long and narrow in reality and I worried until the very day the vanity unit and bath were installed that there was enough space for them both and inbetween.


As a result I was obsessed with making sure not an inch of space was lost to stud walls and pipes – any of you who have created a bathroom will know often pipes are just hidden behind stud walls which built around all the perimeter can mean precious space is lost. We already had some tricky aspects with some decorative brickwork (see above) that stuck into the room at the shower end and differences in the old thin walls and new building regulation thickness block and breeze walls. Our finishers took the opportunity to hide some pipes where the walls had to be built out to meet the new thicker ones but also recessed some pipework into the bricks, even chiseling out space for the super slim cistern to hide in the wall. We chose wall mounted sink taps which also needed accommodating and placed the shower controls as you walk into the shower on the right, where you can turn them on without getting wet while the water heats up, so they also needed the pipework sinking in.


Next up was the floor and my beloved encaustic tiles. Oh my, I absolutely love these tiles. I plan to write another blog post about how incredibly high maintenance they are – think full on drama queen, but I don’t think you can beat them for texture and pattern. They are very thick so scuppered the floor level a little and we have a lipped threshold on the door frame to allow for the thickness of not only the tile but the stabilising cement board beneath them which added to the depth. Next the loo was installed and then the vanity I think, where more trickery went on to again maximise the width. That decorative brick work I mentioned actually extended along the wall to where the vanity was supposed to be positioned right against the wall and was higher than the bottom of the vanity unit, even on its legs so our builders cut a section out of the back corner to allow it to be pushed right up to the wall.

We chose a Swoon Editions sideboard which we converted into a vanity unit which required a bit of consideration of the storage layout – for example many of them have drawers to one side which would have been much trickier to convert and make space for the plumbing, and we actually chose a different design which ended up being delayed again and again so we opted for the current one instead and I actually think it was the better choice now. It was 10cm longer than the first design we chose which I think was better for the proportions of the usable worksurface on top, and the first one we chose had a brass upstand around the back which in retrospect wouldn’t have worked well with our sinks either. I think the bath was next and the free standing tap (chosen because the window position prevented us having wall mounted bath taps,) and the custom shower screen was last to go in.

A nitty gritty post wouldn’t be complete without a note on what I would have done differently and despite the planning there are still things I would change. The freestanding bath tap wasn’t a big deal aesthetically but became pricier because they are vastly more expensive than wall mounted ones, because: bigger. Adding the Velux cost us about another £2000 which seems a lot in the scheme of the bathroom but wasn’t in terms of the over all build (the Velux itself is massive and was ~£900.) My main and currently very prominent regret given that it’s January, is the underfloor heating we ditched as it would have been on a separate electric system to the water circuit on the ground floor and was an added cost. We felt we didn’t need it as we would have enough heat from the radiator but however the ambient heat is achieved, a cold tiled floor is still a cold tiled floor, which I think we notice more in contrast to the warmer floors downstairs and the vaulted ceiling makes it a very big space to heat.

Other than that I’m really pleased with our choices. One other thing I would say that made this project is the team we had working on it. When looking for trades people find yourself a YES man! All too often trades people will tell you it can’t be done or won’t be right, or will cost a lot more – whilst details like herringbone tiling will take longer so involve more labour its not that significant in my experience and you don’t want to settle then regret it all because a tiler wouldn’t just do their job! Ours did everything I asked of them and more when things didn’t go according to plan. I’ll pop the links for the builders and bathroom fitters below. I’ll also be back with the finished reveal next – the post is all written, I just need to add in the photos and product links so it shouldn’t take too long, (she says – it’s the most time consuming part!!)

Back soon!
Rebecca

ArchitectSpace AP
BuildersBoarshurst
Interior finishing/fitting108 Builders.

You might also like to read about our inspiration here: #FFHouseReno: The Bathroom

Found: Mid-Century style chandelier lighting

A quickie tonight readers… (I just can’t stay away after the warm reception you all gave me yesterday here and on Instagram. Thank you!)

I’m hoping to bring you all a before/after reveal of our dining room renovation very soon, but for once in this Forth Road Bridge of a house, I’d like to actually finish the room first. I’m very good at sorting the big stuff like fireplaces and decoration but not so good at styling the finishing touches. Must try harder.


Left – Made.com Tangle Chandelier, Right – M&S Sputnik

Anyway, we are currently short of some kind of mirror or art installation on two of the walls and a light. Lighting and I have a complicated relationship. I’m a bit of a fussy madam when it comes to light fittings and have expensive taste. Show me a design classic or something pricey and I’m likely to be all over it, but as my post alluded to yesterday, we’ve got a few outgoings planned (understatement of the year) with this extension so something a bit kinder to the budget would be preferable. Maybe it won’t be a forever light but let’s face it, it’s unlikely I’ll find another one soon and if I have to look at the Laura Ashley circa 2009 butterfly shade that is 50 shades of wrong in there any longer, I may just shut the door and never go back in.

So help me choose readers! Sputnik style or Asymmetrical glass shades? I need to move quickly on this one as the Sputnik style is 20% off until tomorrow night at M&S!

Love, Rebecca.

PS, before I spotted these two today, I was considering this Multi-outlet industrial style light fitting from Dowsing and Reynolds, with the plan to get longer cable and spread the bulbs out across the ceiling – let me know if you prefer it!

Lighting up the Night…

Since we decorated out master bedroom, finishing the decor has kind of fallen by the wayside in favour of, you know… the rest of the house and having a baby. After all it’s nice, but the lack of detail has been bugging me. I already have a new dressing table on order – mirrored again to match the chest of drawers and with several more drawers so hopefully it will hide way more of my stuff that currently resides in baskets under the existing dressing table. That should take care of some of the clutter.


(Bedding: Secret Linen Store // Pink velvet cushions & Gold sequin cushion: H&M Home // Geo cushion: Conran for M&S // Wall colour: Cornforth White – F&B)

However a more pressing practical consideration has been bed side lights. We had a small lamp on my dressing table but it was really awkward to reach round (as the bed was slightly forward of the dressing table as it is against the chimney breast,) and turn off, and meant the only light was on my side. It’s a small thing to turn it off but it drove me crazy that it had to be me to do it every. single. night! The other issue was that the wall above the bed was really a blank canvas waiting to be used. I didn’t want a simple print or canvas up there and started to think some wall lights would be great. One big ‘but’ stood in the way and that was the fact that our bedroom walls have been lined as well as painted, so having something wired in would have been a massive cosmetic issue and hard to patch up, so whatever I chose had to be plug in.

After looking at lots of different options we chose these Ogilvy swing arm wall lamps from Made.com. They were a budget friendly £50 each and despite my dislike for black, actually work really well in here because of the black accents on the mirrored furniture and of course the black iron bed frame. I had considered the white but think it would have looked very wrong in retrospect. Initially we were looking for more industrial bare bulbs but it didn’t fit with the room at all and I’m glad we didn’t force it.

Look out for a post later in the week on some other options I found for plug in wall lamps. I hope you like the result here!

Rebecca xo

Triple Temptation: Festoon lights


Seletti Bella Vista Outdoor light, £85 Heals // Auva string lights (50 lights) £29.98 B&Q // Pink festoon lights, £85 Out there interiors

Last year I wrote a post about festoon lighting and listed some sources available at the time. You can still read that post here and see for yourself if they are still available, but the trend is going nowhere and thankfully the strings of globe lights with a soft glow perfect for pretty outdoor illumination are getting more widely available. I’ve spotted 3 in the last couple of weeks and thought I’d share them in case anyone is still looking for them. Do let me know if you have spotted any too! (The B&Q set looks like great value.)

Love,
Rebecca
xo

Light the Way…

Yesterday I spent the morning marking out the ‘first fit’ of our kitchen electrics with our builder and as part of that, although I hadn’t really decided what we wanted exactly, we had to mark out the lights for over our peninsula island. We went for 2 hanging pendants evenly spaced, which is about right for the size of the island and space, but now I need to decide what lights they will be.


Image via (BTC Stanley Copper pendant)

Lighting is kind of an obsession of mine (along with chairs,) and as a result I have a dedicated Pinterest board, which has expanded rapidly over the last couple if days. If you are interested have a look here.


Image via

I’m thinking of three key styles. Metallic (most likely copper,) to warm up the cold marble and cool tones kitchen units; Bare bulbs in vintage or decorative styles; Or Delicate glass shades.


Courtney Adamo’s kitchen

What do you think readers, I think I have decided but could be swayed…

Love,
Rebecca
xo

Found: OUT THERE INTERIORS

A new home interiors brand was recently brought to my attention that I thought I would share today, OutThereInteriors.com. At the moment particularly I’m always looking for new sources of furniture and decorative items for my home, but even the old faithfuls can get samey and of course I’m on the look out for a budget bargain, so I was pleased to see an eclectic mix of pieces there with some at very good prices. There are also several ‘in the style of’ items that you may have seen elsewhere, that are at much lower prices. (As with all designer reproductions, make sure you check the dimensions thoroughly if you’re looking for a good ‘copy’.)

Here’s my pick of the best items – the range is diverse with everything from mirrored furniture to shabby chic armoires and retro sign lighting.


Copper hammered light £49 // Vegas Alphabet lights £295 // Arrow wall light £35 // American Flag wall hanging £55 // Turquoise jewellery cabinet £35 // White dressing mirror £195 // Embossed silver Chest of Drawers £255 // Tall factory stool £110 // White Chair with wooden legs £79 // Fifties style bedside £220 // Glass topped driftwood table £754

I’ve tried to show a broad selection of items here to illustrate the breadth of styles available. Out There Interiors is well worth a browse if you have an item in mind or if you are just browsing for something different.

Let me know if you see something you like readers!

Love,
Rebecca
xo

Triple Temptation: Statement Standards

Of course since I knew where we were moving, my mind has been all about interiors. In our old house we had pretty much filled everywhere we could and couldn’t justify a single extra item, but now we have several extra rooms to fill and I’m in my element.


Navy Tripod lamp £99 Alfred tripod lamp £149 // Chicago floor lamp £179

One of the pieces I love most that we brought with us (and that gets a lot of comments) is the film light that we had in the dining room – it’s gone into the new dining room too. It was bought from Home Sense, one of my favourite shops, but their online presence is terrible so when I found these statement standard lamps at Made.com, I had to share them.

Each of these has a different style and feel, and they are all well priced considering the impact they will have in a room.

I’ll write more about Made.com soon, but in the mean time, have you purchased anything from there?

Love,
Rebecca
xo

PS Apologies for the late post – truth is, I intended to write about the house, but I can’t find my camera cable to download the photo’s! Bear with me!

Saturday Survey…

Happy weekend folks!

I’ve decided I need to get to know you guys a little better and as a result I’m going to run a little series of mini surveys here on the blog over each weekend until…. well until I found out enough I guess!

In return, I’ll post a selection of things I’m loving around the web this weekend, like a little treat for completing the Survey. 🙂 All you have to do is copy and paste the text of my five questions into the comments box and fill in your reply.

I can’t tell you how grateful I will be and hopefully you will all reap the benefits by me learning how I can improve the blog for you in the coming months.

Five Things…

Dashing Magazine is out now – put your feet up and have a read this weekend, it is only their second edition but you wouldn’t know it – it’s a joy to browse.

Want more pretty? Have you seen the new Mulberry SS12 ad campaign? Giant ice creams, Brighton Beach and pastel shades. Super sweet.

I’ve been focusing on interiors after last weeks Kitchen renovation and fell in love with this image by Elise Blaha from flickr.com. Look out for the post that it inspired next week.

A little behind the scenes styling video, sneak previewing the H&M spring summer collections – If you like your fashion affordable you can’t do much better…

Bangles seem to be everywhere this year and I’m loving the shades from Banana Republic.

Now it’s your turn…

Five Questions
1.How did you find Florence Finds?
2.How often do you visit Florence Finds?
3.What is the most common time of day for you to visit?
4.If you had to choose one area of the blog (i.e. menu bar categories… home, fashion etc,) which is your favourite?
5.(The hard one) – How would you describe Florence Finds in one sentence?

Just copy and paste these five questions into the comments box and add your responses. Thanks so much in advance!

Have a great weekend everyone!

Love,
Rebecca
xo

Win a Lee Broom decanter light with Heals

Just a short interlude to let you all know about a competition that I think is well worth entering.

Lee Broom won Designer of the Year at the 2011 British Design Awards. Already a favourite at Heals (who have previously worked with him in their Heals ReDiscovers collection, on the exclusive to Heals Architrave series) they’ve teamed up with Lee in celebration to offer one person the opportunity to win a Lee Broom decanter light from his collection.


Each light is sourced from vintage suppliers and antiques markets and transformed from the original lead crystal decanter into a repurposed light.

I think they’re gorgeous and the competition is only open for another 3 days so head on over to the Heals blog for more information and sign up to the Heals newsletter (at the bottom of the page on the left side) to be in with a chance to win!

Good Luck!
Rebecca
xo

Shed some Light on it…

Well good afternoon! After all the excitement of this morning’s launch, lets settle down to some of the fabulous finds you can expect on a regular basis. We’re getting straight to the good stuff (or some of my favourites at least!) …Interiors.

I enjoy lighting so much that instead of over indulging and having rather too many lamps and statement lights, I am caught in a quandry of indecisiveness. Our dining room has been the subject of much ‘lighting’ discussion, many a walk around a lighting department and 5 years on, we are still with the same pendant shade. ( – a tin punched lantern bought in the souks of Marrakesh but now slightly rusty. Nice.)

Today, I thought I’d do a round up of task lighting, inspired by this stunning salvage look creation (Teak and Brushed Aluminium desk lamp) from Cox and Cox. You might have seen it adorning the front of their Autumn catalogue. As I searched I found quite a few, including a bargain from Laura Ashley with a similar look and some very utilitarian clamping lights from Plumo


*Teak and Brushed Aluminium desk lampCox and Cox, Cream enamel and wood lamp – Laura Ashley, Utilitarian Clamp light – Plumo.

Of course, no round up of task lighting is complete without the design classic that is the Anglepoise. The 1227 is the one I’m referring to, but I love equally the slightly retro, jewel bright glass shaded 1228. It’s inspired many a reproduction and you can even get a similar look from stores like Ikea.


*Blue Work Lamp – Ikea, Anglepoise 1227 in Cream – John Lewis, Anglepoise 1228 (with blue shade) – John Lewis.

I do rather like a bit of a retro feel to a desk lamp, and the blue one below has an air of late fifties design about it. Traditional lamps don’t look out of place even on a modern desk (Ikea coming up trumps here again) and this white lamp would be just as at home in a sleek all-white scheme as a rustic home office in the garden shed.


*Penelope Task Lamp in Slate – John Lewis, Hector Table lamp – Baileys, Nickel work Lamp – Ikea.

King of Quirk, Graham and Green make a couple of bobby dazzlers if you want something really different.


*Teacup desk lamp and Reclaimed Tap lamp

Not given your desk lamp a second thought? Or have you got a special piece to share? Drop a comment in the box and do let us know!

Love,
Rebecca.
xo

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