Wednesday, 17 October 2012

When Bad Things Happen to Good People's Bathrooms.

Lets be honest straight away: I am writing this post to enter a competition to win £2500 towards some serious home renovation.  I'll post the details at the bottom so if you live in a similarly afflicted house to mine you can enter too.  However, once you've seen my bathroom you won't need to enter because your house will look like a palace in comparison.  Seriously, I spend untold amounts of time praying that visitors won't need a wee because the bathroom is that shameful.

Cue some horror music to add atmosphere to the proceedings. We are going for the multi-sensory approach here, so if you could also waft a bottle of bleach under your nose at the same time, that would help too:
(ignore the video - we just need the sound effects for this journey)

We'll start gently:

That doesn't look too bad does it?  For a start, it's sparkling clean - I always make sure I keep our bathroom seriously clean as I don't want people seeing the mess it's in and thinking we live in total squalor.  Just because it's a DIY disaster area doesn't mean we're not clean.

See, sparkling. Albeit in serious need of some new sealant:

Moving on a little, lets take a closer look at those tiles:

These were the height of fashion in...wait...NEVER.  Although it's entirely possible that in 1992, someone saw them in a shop and thought "meh".  I loathe them.  I loathe them more than if the bathroom was a never-been-decorated-since-the-70s affair. At least awful 60s and 70s tiles have character.  These ones are just naff enough for visitors to imagine that we have no taste.  (We didn't choose them by the way - they were here when we moved in, along with the rest of the monstrosities that we inherited from the previous owners).

WOOAAAAAAAAAAAH! Just threw you in at the deep end there.  This is the result of a plumbing disaster of many moons ago.  Insect infestations tend to live in it and it cannot be hygienic.  Here we have tiles hanging off the wall, bare plaster, chipboard that's been hacked into and exposed toilet pipes. Hurrah.  

Aaaaaand here's a bit that looks like a rat's gnawed it.  I'm assuming that no rats have gnawed it, but hey - what do I know?

Home to a thousand spiders.

Yes, the floor tiles stop about 4 inches short of where the bath starts.  Because that's a great look.  Also visible is where the bath was particularly crappily installed and is coming away from the wall.  Oh happy day.

Not pictured (because it's too shameful to do so) is the grouting on the bath tiles that are orange with dirt. Disclaimer: they were like that when we moved in and it doesn't matter how much bleach/bicarb/whatever product it is that Jacko off Brushstrokes advertises I throw at it, it will not get clean.  Also not pictured is the crappy shower that graces your body with something akin to a spray of gnat urine rather than the thunderous elephant wee that dreams are made of (um, sort of, only less kinky).

"Why do you live like that?" I hear you ask.  Well, we moved into this house with the intention of doing some serious work on it, but then I fell pregnant with Rory unexpectedly (seriously - several gynaecologists who said I couldn't have children were proved wrong) so I gave up my salaried job to look after him we are, blessed with the child we thought we'd never have, but penniless because I stay at home to look after him. I'd rather have my time with my miracle baby than any amount of money, but that doesn't stop me from feeling utterly depressed at all the things we can't afford to do to the house as a result.

So...that's my bathroom as it is now.  This is your cue to stop the horror music above. We'll change the soundtrack now. You can put down your bottle of bleach also and breath in the light, fragrant scent of spring blossoms:

This is what I want:

OK, not two sinks (due to bathroom being miniscule) and not a corner bath, but a calming, old fashioned oasis in pale green and white with panelling on the walls and bath instead of those godawful tiles, a bit of storage under the sink so I can banish Rory's toys there (never again will I be forced to take a bath with Thomas the Tank Engine and chums grinning at me from the bath rack like steam fuelled pervs).  Floor tiles know...actually cover the FLOOR (imagine that!), I'll make green striped roman blinds for the windows to hide the unidentifiable bit of sticky stuff that nothing on this earth will shift from them (didn't photograph that - your constitutions are not strong enough) and - most importantly - NO GAPING HOLES where the wall has been hacked into.  There's a lot more on my Pinterest board here: and I've done a few (very vague) sums in my head and worked out that stripping the whole lot out and replacing with a lovely new bathroom suite, floor, panelling, curtains etc would probably come to around the £2500 mark, whereas a budget version of this operation (keep the current bathroom suite but strip off tiles and replace with panelling, new floor tiles, blinds, accessories etc would come to around £500 - which is handy because that's the runner up prize.  See what I did there?

What else? I'd get Rory to make some bubble art in toning greens and beiges to frame and put on the walls (good old charity shop photo frames painted white would be perfect) and a couple of bathroom/relaxation themed family photos too perhaps.  Plus I'd dig out some batteries for my much loved and trusty old cream Roberts radio as it would look perfect in there - and who doesn't need a bit of Classic FM in the bath?

I'd like to imagine that all of this will automatically make us into the sort of family who lounge around the house stylishly in matching understated pyjamas and always eat organic.  I'm also imagining that it will magically make my jeans fit again and mean that the house will never need cleaning.  The chances of that are slim to none, but what I can promise it would do is stop me from feeling embarrassed whenever guests have to use our bathroom and assuage my guilt over giving up a decently paid job to stay at home with my son and write for a pittance.  Fingers crossed, eh? Builders

Tots100 Home Decor/Renovation Competition in association with rated People.  to enter, go here:

Image credits: sinks and panelling originally published online here:
Panelled bath originally published online here:


  1. I have those tiles too... only mine are a reddy orange. And all the tiles underneath are the same red colour. And the blind. And random white tiles above the border have the same shell design only bigger. And it had matching carpet when we moved in. Who the hell puts carpet in a bathroom.....?! The place where children pee on the floor. Previous owner was a childminder too - so other peoples kids peeing on the floor. Ming ming ming. So we ripped half of it out... and ran out of money before we could finish. So it's now half sleek square basin and modern tap, and half bare plaster, floorboards and visible plumbing. I share your misery.

    1. Ew, ew, ew, ew, ew, ew, ew. That sounds horrendous! And you're right - anyone who deliberately puts carpet in a bathroom deserves all the stale wee on it that they get. Not fair to you though.

    2. Nope. Absolutely do not understand why someone would put carpet in a bathroom. Ever. And you know what... it absolutely HUMMED when I ripped it up. Had to do it by myself too cuz the man has a "highly sensitive sense of smell" (read: weak stomach). Oh how I long for a tiled floor!

    3. The renovators who did our house before we bought it put carpet in the bathroom and the loo :( Mind you, they also painted every single flat surface cream - walls, ceilings - everything.

      I particularly love the waft of damp carpet that greets me about half-way up the stairs as my nose reaches bathroom-floor level.

      I long for Dalsouple rubber flooring...

  2. I hope you win Lise! You totally deserve it and I know how much you hate that bathroom! Good luck, my friend! XX

  3. Lovely ideas I totally agree about not having to bath with your kids toys staring at you! lol! My friend inherited those tiles too... must have been popular! lol! Good luck with the competition! x

  4. I hear you on the bathroom woe and I am tempted to enter myself. My MIL lived here before we did and she has an issue with tiles. So round our bath she had sheets of clear acetate put in. It looks horrendous, like a dosshouse. Plus there is mildew in the joins and I can't get it out.

    Plus, spiders have crawled underneath the acetate and died. Dead spiders, people. (!!!!11!!!!)

  5. I actually recoiled when I saw the tiles! I hope you win so you can get them out of your life!

  6. The house we are moving into has a separate loo, with cork tiles on the floor - they are peeling up around the base of the loo, where the current owners 3 boys have no doubt missed on many an occasion, soaking said cork tiles. The walls are proper early 90s showhome red and white stripes, making the tiny room seem even narrower, and peeling where the current owners have thought about re-decorating. The window frame is rotting. It's going to be fun.

  7. I'm happy to say my bathroom itself is fairly inoffensive (except the fact I remove at least two huge spiders each time before we use the bath. I have a sneaking feeling my kindness of taking them outside simply means they crawl back in the bath again.
    Oh and our door is currently missing, so instead we have an old red curtain pinned where it should be. Which knowing me will become a permanent feature.

  8. Ouch. Those are some good DIY failures. On the other hand, we live in a rented house and I think I'd actually swap our reasonable bathroom for one in our own place that we could (one day, eventually, possibly) do up. Silver linings on all that...

  9. I can sympathise with you, I also dread people needing the loo when they visit, over the last year our bathroom has gone from looking ok to well god awful! We are in a new build, and instead of putting tiles on the floor it is of course...carpet, cream carpet that now has stains all over it from our son so lovingly squeezing red, yes RED, bubble bath all over it. Our laundry basket hides the horrible mouldy(?) bit of carpet in the corner where water runs down after every shower. The bath gained a huge crack by the plug in the summer, and leaked, so the the skirting board in the hallway has slightly come away from the wall outside the bathroom. We tried to fix the crack with some repair kit, only the crack reappeared and now it just looks like we have used polyfiller and clumped it in the crack...yuk! My partner ripped off the bath panel which is wood so has all bowed where water has got into it to see what damage the leak had done/catch the drips now, but we can't put it back now. And don't get me started on our manky grout and silicon, but of course there is no point redoing that until the bath is replace...which isn't going to happen for some time due to money! Our bathroom also doesn't have a window, so it always smells damp no matter how many spray/diffusers I use!
    Good luck!

    1. Urghhh, know exactly where you're coming from there - I lived in a flat before this house and the bathroom didn't have a window. There was a constant scent of damp everywhere because of it.

  10. O my goodness! I truly hope you win.
    On another note- what is it with spiders and bathrooms? I went to take a bath the other night and about gave my husband a heart attack with my scream. I.never.scream. There was this horrible, awful, and huge thing in the tub. Husband tried to wash it down the drain, kill it with hot water, but it was something out of a horror movie! He finally trapped it and squished it. After some research (from now on I am arming myself before taking a bath)we discovered that it was a brown recluse, a very deadly spider. We did plug in a sonic pest repellant shortly after that and so far have seen no insects in the bathroom. Hopefully the local pests have gotten the hint.

    1. I sometimes think the only thing that makes living in the miserable, rainy climate of the UK bearable is the lack of deadly spiders.

  11. One thing to also be aware, and it might be very obvious, thinking about adding vinyl or carpet tiles to your bathroom?? Then you might want to think again! it can stink! especially if youve a bloke living there.

    You might get away with the vinyl though.

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