How to create a cute & compact period cottage bathroom

Rose Cottage completed bathroom

It’s great being busy, but I never get a chance to blog post everything in order!  Finally, here is the cutest little Georgian cottage bathroom you ever will see, Grade II listed Rose Cottage’s sanctuary all finished and dressed as it was for the TV filming. Of course, Mrs Rose keeps her bathroom looking this immaculate at all times, as do we all. Ahem.

So how did we get from the Avocado Hideousness on the left to the Eau de Nil Moregeousness on the right? Let’s have a little look…..

First was the concept and initial ideas. This is what I wrote in a blog post December 09, along with an image of a bathroom which inspired me:

“Georgian cottages like Rose Cottage 200 years ago weren’t noted for their extravagant bathrooms, so anything we do is really a translation of typical Georgian style, colours and detailing into a house which would never have originally had such a room. Cheating, actually. However if I gave Hannah a potty in the garden and a kettle, there’s a fairly solid chance I may end up with the potty on my head.

Shabby chic with a period twist is the order of the day; timber panelling, muted colours, wash stand style basins, subway style tiles, lace at the window…….”

Georgina Riverside Location image from blog at

We didn’t have the luxury of high ceilings, the space for a roll top bath or original panelling, and we didn’t end up with lace at the window, but on the whole I think we pretty much nailed it.

Here’s what happened along the way. First of all the bathroom suite was stripped out and the plaster taken (dropped) off the external and internal walls. Things were a little unsafe on the first floor so some acrows were called for – that’s the adjustable vertical green metal bar you can see holding up the ceiling. Taking off the plaster revealed a very rotten piece of timber embedded in the wall (bottom left) which had to come out…..

The Law of Sod dictated that when this was done the brickwork above it collapsed. Deep joy. As you can see the wall to the left which is the dividing wall between the bathroom and the second bedroom is plywood and not plasterboard – and entirely intentional. The front elevation (the one with the window in it) was so weak that the structural engineer specified that it was tied it back onto these 18mm plywood walls to give some extra strength to the property.

Kingspan for insulation was inserted to the ceiling area and plastering commenced to the very weak inner leaf of the external wall…..

The old upvc window was removed and the new Georgian style timber window installed, insulated plasterboard for warmth bonded to the front elevation and pink fireboard to the internal walls. Extraction for the fan was sorted and measurements for sanitary wear checked….

The slightly shorted than usual (1600 as opposed to the standard 1700) Bette steel bath was popped in, the pipes for the radiator hung ready and the upper walls were skimmed. I’d some tiles left over from the kitchen area where rustic copper slate had been mixed with grey for a cottage look, so used the grey only to give a slightly less ‘country’ look.

The timber panelling was fixed to battens on the walls, very Swedish sauna looking eh? And a complete buggar as every knot had to be treated with knotting solution to stop the resin leaking through the paint! You can just about see below the shelf we built above the sink area for towels etc and in which to fit the lights, bit of a stroke of genius that *puffs up with storage pride*

The cream Metro tiles were the cleanest thing in the house for a while!

IP rated downlights went in, the walls were painted Dulux Gardenia, the panelling Eau De Nil. The cutely named Monkey Tail window furniture was fitted and the loo went in.

And finally it looked like this and Mrs Rose could take her bath 🙂

Our fabulous suppliers were:

Burlington Bathrooms – for the basin, WC, chrome & ceramic towel rail and accessories

Sagittarius Taps –  for the perfect Churchmans basin taps, wall mounted bath / shower mixer and shower head

Topps Tiles – for the Metro cream wall tiles and slate floor tiles

Bette – for our dinky but deep steel bath

UK Oak Doors – for the lush oak door 

Danseal – for the cottage style latch door furniture / ironmongery

Dulux Trade for the Gardenia paint, Craig & Rose for the Eau de Nil

Hulme Hall Soft Furnishing – for making our lovely rose fabric blind

Fallowfield Timber – for the panelling

7 thoughts on “How to create a cute & compact period cottage bathroom

Add yours

  1. Enjoyed that little story / my fairytale. So proud that the fabric for the blind was from a vintage flea market in Bergen and was 4 quid! And also lace has been bought and will be going up shortly! My first bath was amazing x

  2. Quick answer to email from Michelle & Leon:
    “Hi could you please help me, We are trying to do our bathroom up but it will be on a definate shoe string budget. We have cladding already so we want to carry it on all around the bathroom but I’m scared it won’t look like the high finish like the one you have pictured which I absolutely adore. How could I achieve the exact same look? Thanks michelle and leon”

    Basic inexpensive cladding can be used but must be fitted snugly and screwed & glued to the wall, otherwise it moves and you get big gaps forming between the pieces – as bathrooms are full of steam and wood is a natural product which expands and contracts.
    Use a knotting solution on any knots in the pine otherwise these can show through the paint.
    One coat of a combined primer / undercoat, I used a water-based one.
    Then use a flat matt eggshell paint, high gloss is old fashioned and a bit naff! Dulux do a water-based one.

    Good luck

  3. Hi, Interested in your bath, which model bath did you use and is the size ok? 1500 being smaller than most. Would you recommend Bette as a bath manufacturer? Gorgeous bathroom by the way.

    1. I think it was a 1600 model Shoshana, and the client has been very happy with it in the ensuing years. I’ve never had an issue with Bette baths, always found the to be good consistent quality! Sian

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