After four decades with a lilac colour scheme this Johannesburg bathroom begged for a makeover

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“Clad top to bottom with lilac floral tiles with matching mosaics on the floor, the bathroom looked as though it was stuck in the ‘70s,” says PR consultant Natalie Madies. “And just to be sure everything matched, all the sanitaryware was lilac too, from the bath to the soap holder. Plus there was nowhere to hang anything, so towels and clothing were forever draped over the bathroom door and the surfaces were cluttered with toiletries.”



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With a fresh Victorian-inspired scheme as their goal, Natalie and her husband Stefano tackled the renovation themselves. The first to go were the tiles. “We actually delighted in chipping them off even though it was hard work and took us a whole week,” says Natalie.

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Then they dealt with the fittings. “The bath was surrounded by so much hardened foam infill that at one stage we considered dynamite,” she laughs.

As the shower wall blocked essential light, they lowered it to waist height. “Instead of a glass door, we hung a custom-made shower curtain which has proved very practical as it hides the sports gear we leave to dry on the rail behind it.” Toiletries are hidden on a shelf they mounted behind the shower wall.

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In keeping with Victorian style, the Madieses clad the lower sections of the walls with tongue-and-groove panelling and used bevelled metro tiles in the shower. A romantic ball and claw bath replaced the built-in original and an elegant pedestal basin the bulky vanity. “These freestanding features combined with all the light that now streams in make this room seem so much bigger,” says Natalie.

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The additional space they gained enabled them to introduce an antique chest of drawers that Stefano found in Durban which provides extra storage space and gives the bathroom a furnished look. The final touch was the classic black and white checkerboard vinyl flooring which they laid over the existing tiles using a self-levelling screed.