The littlest room in the house and it’s had pretty much the most on-going time invested in it. I know. We’re crackers. But I love it! I love it’s quirkiness, warmth and angles, it’s nooks and crannies and it’s teeniness. But before you see it, you know me, there’s some practical stuff to get out of the way first. Let’s talk Little Room Design.
As No1: a landlord and No2: an interior designer for ‘regular clients’, rather than footballers and oligarchs, I’ve fitted lots of fabulous bathrooms and cloakrooms where the phrase “The best things come in small packages” might be applicable. No two ways about it, not having huge spaces to play with forces you to be clever with design. In the past many ‘small space suites’ have come in handy; those loos and basins designed especially for ensuites and downstairs cloakrooms, where the loos are shorter in length and narrower in width and the basins tend to be long and thin against the wall with just enough space for a single hand! And, just as they are designed to be, they indeed are very practical.
But. You sensed a ‘but’ coming on there didn’t you? I didn’t want a compact, scaled down suite in our downstairs loo at Moregeous Mansions for three main reasons. Without going into detail (and ladies, do I really need to…), this has always been a house of boys and sometimes the banishment of stinky boys (sorry boys) from main bathrooms is a necessity. Not only that but men also have a tendency to spend enough time in there once they lock the door to read War & Peace. And more pertinently than both of those things, this, the littlest room is the house, is our guest loo for events and pop ups thus needs to cater for all derrieres. Sometimes a teeny loo just won’t comfortably cut it.
Result – compact loos were out. Not only that but I’d already set my heart on fitting a reclaimed school chemistry sink I snapped up for £20 at this Arthur Swallow Fair last year. The reclaimed vibe for the sanitary ware and the exposed brickwork dictated a more traditional loo and the very plain one we’d fitted in there during building works no longer suited the space.
Result – Another issue. Period style loos are generally all around bigger than their modern equivalents. Traditional loos aren’t pared back and simple but have ornate detailing and authentic box cisterns. Add to this a ‘comfort’ style, i.e. higher than the average loo so tall guests are comfy too and my cloakroom, only 1100mm x 1800mm, simply didn’t have the space to fit a regular back to the wall WC. As you can see below, a loo fitted on the ‘680’ wall wouldn’t leave enough room in front of it to be used comfortably.
Result: A corner loo was needed. And not only a corner loo but a traditional corner loo. And not only a traditional corner loo but a gorgeous one, approved by me. Fusspot me.
I searched and also asked my Twitter plumbing pals for recommendations and one name came up several times: Heritage Bathrooms and their Dorchester corner loo. There wasn’t another one I could find that came close in terms of ticking all the boxes I needed ticking and though it was slightly more pricey than modern versions, oh my goodness, is it ever a gorgeous loo, as loos go. It’s a perfect fit, look!
I love it against the timber memory wall we’ve made from sections of timber saved and hoarded during our renovation: pieces of skirtings, architraves, windows frames and mouldings. Renovated houses are often jam packed full of new stuff but I want Moregeous Mansions to always reflect what was here before. The board which our basin sits on is a section of pine with a beautifully curved edge which framed the old bay window in the living room, sanded to smooth perfection by you know who. (Hint: not me). Though I’m the one who’s tripled sealed it with flat matt vanish to ensure it stays looking this pristine.
Can you see the original sash wheels which still move round? And the piano keys from the broken old piano left here when I very first bought the house? The 9″ skirtings we had copied from some of the original arcs are looking boss too, elegantly high in such a small space.
There’s a glamorous golden edge to the room to contrast with all the wood, coming from the Tom Dixon light (which I won in a competition!), the brass mirror, electro-plated taps and vintage vases. Super happy with the mix of patterns too: the hexagon tiles all jumbled up, the linear feel to the Ikea sink cabinet and the metallic gold geometric wallpaper. Such fun* to hang in such a teeny room with so many slivers of wall.
*Not as much fun as I imagined.
**It’s a good job I’m patient.
I’d highly recommend thinking about a corner loo if you’re tight on space, they work brilliantly as in our little loo here. My new Dorchester is a beautiful piece of sanitary ware, well designed and ahem, super comfy. A bit like a bed, a good loo is a decent investment, given the amount of times it’s sat on in a regular household. Of course, it may be that you have a super modern pad and a sleeker model is more your thing, in which case there are a tonne of contemporary styles out there to chose from. In terms of it’s size as the Dorchester is a grand ol’ loo, in such a compact room most people would probably pick a compact version, but it works, primarily due to recessing neatly into the corner but also because I’ve just gone with the idea that it is after all the main feature of the room, why try to make it smaller than it needs to be, both width and height wise?!
I bought my loo at trade price as I am, as you know, in the trade, but you can find info about it here and on lots of sites online.
Let me know if you’re having any plumbing issues in small spaces, and I’ll give advice where I can!