en-suite room conversion
This post is in collaboration with
With our renovations, we have definitely become savvy and creative when it comes to maximising each and every square meter in our small home. Our conversion-build ensuite is a great example of what you can do with a small space. The en-suite is the only part of our renovation process that needed council consent, and thank goodness because it definitely adds time and a whole lot of extra cost to the project. Before this ensuite, we had this weird little front room at the entryway of our home which we never used for anything useful - wasted space for sure! Initially, Aaron wanted this whole room as the ensuite for fear it would feel too tight, but I pushed him to split it and keep it just under 1/3 for the entry. I'm glad I stuck to my guns because even though our ensuite is small, I feel it was integral to keep an entry as it really is the introduction to home (see the new entry HERE). And our en-suite ended up being just the right size, I mean, if I can still fit a massive plant in here that's twice the height of the toilet, then that's what I call a space win!
My favourite part of this room from a practical point is the underfloor heating. With wooden floors throughout our home, which are cold in winter, it feels luxurious to have that warm comfort underfoot. I would love to have this throughout the entire house - it's already on my wishlist for our future (dream) new build. I absolutely love the tiling, It was the first time Aaron tiling an ENTIRE room, including the ceiling - so we were able to create a full wet room here. The time, labour and stress that that went into the tiling work were all worth it in the end. And of course, all of the tapware is a favourite too - I just love how sleek it all looks together.
For this project, I asked Plumbline if they would like to partner with us, after an initial introduction to get the ball rolling from my friend Jules, thanks, Jules! I think they have the most incredible bathroom products to choose from, and we used their in-built toilet, shower, tap, mixers, concrete basin and the stunning LED lunar mirror. For the tapware, we chose from their Buddy range as there was a generous 12 colours to choose from in this collection, so it really gave us that flexibility design-wise. We settled on matte black so that it could tie it into the black framing for the custom glass shower screen. We were lucky that Pulmbline has a showroom here in Wellington so we could see the products in real life, but all of the products we found on their website were ones we stuck within the end after viewing them in person. I loved how their products were represented so well on their website - it made those initial choices that much easier from the comfort of my bed.
For all of the behind scenes to this build, see my Stories highlights from Instagram HERE, and a video I created on this room HERE. I can't wait to show you around. Come and have a look at what we did...
SHower | Plumbline
We went with the 'Round 3 Function Shower Column' (see HERE), and we loved that it has both a handshower and rainhead. This is from their Buddy range, which is designed in New Zealand by Plumbline and then made in Italy. When choosing our tapware we wanted quality pieces that would stand the test of time, and it's sleek and beautiful design brings a luxurious feel to the room.
PRO TIP: Have all of your fixtures on-site so that you can sit them in position and check that the layout works with your tradies. Once the lining is on the walls its difficult to make any additional changes, so take that time in the planning stages to get things right.
SHower screen | Glass and Glazing Solutions
We had the shower screen custom made by Hayden (a tradie mate of Aarons) from Glass and Glazing Solutions here in Wellington. We were a little limited in glass options due to safety restrictions here in New Zealand around shower screens particularly. We contemplated a frosted finish, but because the room is small, I didn't want to further shrink the size of it visually with frosted glass, so we kept it clear so that the room was as open as possible. In preparation for this screen, Aaron had to predetermine the shower screen size when tiling. The skirting tile and the wall till were not the same thickness, so he had to cut a notch out of the skirting tile so the wall sat flush for the shower screen. A little stressful as it had to be cut perfectly to the exact millimetre! Then we had a slight panic on install day for the screen - because of the sloped ceiling and the incredibly tight space, it made getting the glass in ALMOST impossible. But as you see, we thankfully got there in the end! Hayden also fitted the double glazed safety glass into our
re-purposed bathroom window (see below).
towel | Amber Interiors
(ABOVE) niche| Its all about the little details, and a foot rest niche for shaving is something I've always wanted in a bathroom. Soap| Pomegranate oil and pink clay from Sphaera. body brush | Amber Interiors
(Right) rose castile soap| from Wanganui based Light and Vessel (ordered via direct message on Instagram). body scrub | This lemongrass body scrub is one of my favourite products. It has Fair Trade organic sugar, Epsom salts, herbs infused in sunflower oil (chamomille,
calendula, comfrey roots & leaves, burdock root), camellia oil, rosehip oil, meadowfoam seed oil, tamanu oil and essential oils. It is made by my friend Lori - our boys are in the same class at school together. You can buy 'Crafted by Lori' products from Common Sense Organics here in Wellington or online from her Felt store HERE. PS: Lori's chest rub and calendula ointment are also amazing and love to use these on the whole family.
basin tap & mixer| Plumbline
Again, in the Buddy range, we chose the 'Wall Mount Mixer' (see HERE) as our tap for our basin to tie into the other hardware in the bathroom.
PRO TIP: When installing the tap over the basin, make sure you don't have it set too high, have it at a lower level so that it doesn't splash out of the basin when in use.
concrete sink | Plumbline
When I saw a Plumbline advertisement in Homestyle magazine with these Concrete Nation sinks, it really was love at first sight. I had dinner with my friend Alice (editor of Homestyle) here in Wellington when we were in our earliest stages of this reno, so it was great to hear her recommendation in person too, and these basins were one of them. Because our cabinet/vanity is a little taller than most, I asked Plumbline if they could order in this particular option for me. It wasn't as deep as the others they stock, so it meant that the overall combined height of both the vanity and the basin was perfect. Concrete Nation have such a great colour range, but I chose 'snow white' as it was sitting on a wooden surface. If our vanity was white, I would have definitely have gone all out with one of their coloured options for sure. I love the soft curves to the sink and the matte finish of the concrete, it sits so well with all the other components in the bathroom. See the Concrete Nation range from Plumbline HERE.
led lunar mirror | Plumbline
The ring light on this mirror is so good for applying make up - it illuminates the whole face, which also makes it shamelessly good for taking selfies in too. It has a warm or cool light option, and I like how it can be turned on by simply touching the circle on the mirror itself. It has a diffused light through the Plexiglass edges, so it gives the bathroom a warm ambient glow. Plumbline have two sizes of this 'lunar mirror' and we have the 600mm option installed. See HERE for more details.
pendant light | Capricho soap holder | Made of Tomorrow. waffle hand towel | I Love Linen.
bathroom door handles | Mitre 10.
We used the same handle again which we used on the cavity slider in our kitchen pantry from Mitre 10. But this time we used two, one on each side.
It came in a chrome finish, so we primed and sprayed them black.
tiles | Tile Space.
This was by far the most challenging part of the internal fit-out for sure! Aaron calculated 100 hours were spent tiling this room, and he's definitely not a slow worker. On many days, he spent the majority of the time just cutting tiles.
All of the tiles placed around the niches and window needed a 45-degree mitre cut, which is difficult to do, but Aaron then faced additional challenges. Because the wall tiles we chose are organic in shape, and not perfectly symmetrical (which we love aesthetically), the challenge was achieving a straight mitred edge. Around the corners of the window and niches, two cuts intersected, so both a vertical and horizontal mitre cut was needed on the same tile...not fun. There
are other easier options for finishing corners (like inserting an L trim/tile bar) but a mitre cut gives the nicest and most clean edge when joining tiles. So it was definitely worth the extra hard work in the end. He also had to buy a wet saw for the floor tiles because they are a thick natural stone tile, they needed to be cut with water to get a clean finish. And then on top of an already challenging stage, I then suggested..."Hey, let's tile the ceiling too!". I'm glad Aaron could see how amazing that would look, so I didn't even have to twist his arm on this one. You really notice it as a feature when you first walk into our bedroom. The en-suite ceiling has a slope to it, so the tiled ceiling stands out in such a beautiful way when you're looking in.
All of the tiles, prepping products and grouting products are from Tile Space. We used their tiles in our kitchen (see here) and I love the diverse
and cool range they stock, and also their service
is excellent too. I found an inspo pic online which had this same terrazzo and vertically laid subway tile combo, and I loved it, so we rolled with the same. The terrazzo tiles are a true terrazzo, which means the pattern goes right throughout the stone
- so on any exposed edge, like at the entry and the skirting, you still see that lovely speckling. It would put these tiles on my 'ultimate wishlist' to have these throughout all living areas, as the pattern is really forgiving to everyday wear and use. We also laid underfloor heating, and to walk on warm tiles, especially now we are in winter is a dream! I wanted to keep the walls white so that the space
felt light, bright and fresh, and the tiles came in a random mix of around 3 shades of white in the one box, so it really gave this great dimension to the end look. The name of the floor tiles are Ecostone Oslo Polish 40 and the wall ties are Artisan White Gloss 6.5 x 20. We used the same grout colour for both walls and floors, and we used an epoxy option for longevity within this full wet room.
shower drain tile insert |
I wanted to mention the drain insert in case anyone building a small bathroom comes across this same issue. We wanted a drain which had an insert where we could lay the matching tile in it for a sleek and tidy finish. But our shower space was smaller than most (ours is 700mm) so it was difficult to find one that fit. We searched everywhere, and internationally online too, but came up with nothing of quality. So we brought the smallest one possible, and then took it to an aluminium joiner to have it altered to fit. This cost an additional $250 to have it done but love that we didn't give up on the finished look we knew we wanted. Also, Aaron installed the 'Marmox tile over shower base' into the floor before we tiled. This is basically a slope in the floor so that the water travels down into the drain. We stayed at an Airbnb once where they didn't have one in their open shower and the water flooded everywhere. Definitely one to add to your planning stages if you are doing an open shower like this.
toilet | Plumbline
For the toilet, I definitely knew I wanted an in-built cistern rather than a traditional option. Its more expensive, but I like how tidy it looks having all of the piping and the tank hidden within the wall behind. Plumbline had a great range to choose from and we went with the 'Evo Floor Mount Toilet Package' (see here) with a white glass flush panel (see here).
Toilet roll holder |
cabinet | Small Acorns
Again, because this is a small space, no standard vanity (that I liked) would fit in here - they were too large in both width and length. So I had to look outside the typical bathroom options and I found this absolute gem from Amanda, owner of Small Acorns here in Wellington. Amanda's store is gorgeous and really reflects her unique style - you'll be sure to find treasures both vintage and new. I also appreciate the support Amanda has shown me over the years by stocking my cookbooks in her store, something I will always be grateful for. The cabinet is a vintage piece which she brought back from India, so I love that no one else has this exact one. The wood softens the room, and the vintage 'imperfect' feel brings character which was so needed among all the new. I love floating basins but knew I needed a cabinet for storage, and I will always choose function first if it came down to it, so this piece really had it all for me. Aaron fitted the sink to the vanity and sealed the wood by applying two coats of Osmo. We also had a double plug point installed inside the cabinet, so our toothbrushes could charge in there without them having to be out in the open. Cos a red electric toothbrush really isn't the vibe! ;)
fiddle leaf plant | My large (and yes real!) fiddle leaf plant I brought as
a baby a few years ago from California garden centre in Lower Hutt, and it's really taken off in the en-suite. I got Aaron to make a bunch of round ply bases with fitted castor wheels on them (a better pic is at the end with the before and after shot) for my large and heavy pot plants. It makes moving them so much easier when cleaning etc.
shelf | Bauhaus
The shelf can also be used as a towel rail and depending on the placement within the room (ours is too close to our vanity), it could also be used with a coat hanger as a rack.
fiele fragrances | Good as Gold
These fragrances smell as divine as their gorgeous packaging looks, and I actually love mixing the two scents together! I have only had them since lockdown, a Mothers Day gift from Aaron. I want to give a shout out to my friend Ash who went out of her way to organise samples for us to smell from home when their physical store was closed. Thanks, Ash! You can buy them instore or online from Good as Gold.
Hand lotion | the Frama hand lotion is from Slow Store in Queenstown.
small plant | The small planter pot on the shelf is from my friend Felicity / Wundaire and I like the texture she has added to it. The plant is from California Garden Center in Lower Hutt.
master bedroom |
I look forward to
sharing with you our master bedroom next!
thank you | A huge thank you to Plumbline for the opportunity to collaborate with you on this space. It was an absolute pleasure working with you, and your products made our bathroom dreams come to life! Thank you also to my cousin Jamie, for all the weekends you pulled with Aaron on the building side of this job. You have helped us with all our renovations so far, and we are always so grateful for your hard work and love. Thank you to Aarons friend, Scott Marriner (Innovative Plumbing and Gas) for helping us with our bathroom consent process, we really appreciated the advice and the time you took coming over to help us through the stages! And to our son Jah for his help with the plumbing too, it was awesome to see all the things you've learnt so far, I'm so proud of you. And also to another one of Aary's tradie bro's, Richard Evett (Evett Electrical), thank you for helping us out with all things electrical.
To see our master bedroom room reveal, see that blog post HERE.