Renovating a barn – three bathrooms and a lockdown loo!

Having swopped our 1960’s utility style home in a busy town for a brick and timber barn conversion in the country there were some big style changes to be wrestled with.  I didn’t feel the urge to go completely country, rustic this and shabby chic that, it just ends up looking, well, shabby, or is that just me? But I did feel a responsibility to retain the look and feel of a village property albeit an up-to-date one. 

It was an hilarious and stressful move; a broken glass table, shouty removal men, me driving long distance with the lawnmower full of petrol, the dog, husband and the two bbq gas cylinders because the cheap remover’s insurance didn’t cover that.  Eventually resorting to locking husband and dog in the sitting room, I carried on sweeping up the shattered glass – do you know just how far that stuff travels into every nook and cranny? Plus trying to apply antiseptic and sticking plaster to a removal man’s extremely hairy leg! I’m sure we all have our nightmare moving stories, it’s never going to be perfect, but I never did like that table.

Deciding where to start renovating the barn was easy – everywhere – with the most pressing upgrade being redecorating the master en-suite.  20 years overdue, damp and smelly with that kind of dusty ingrained dirt that can never be cleaned.  

Fortunately it is a spacious room, positioned over the garage. Unfortunately big means costly.

Determined to begin the begin anyhow with no plan, no budget and certainly no idea where it would lead, I extracted an extremely lukewarm agreement from husband.  Hammer and chisel in hand and with a gung ho approach I began popping off tiles like a crazy woman in my love hearts onesie… I guess it was comfortable.  A vision was forming.

Plumbers were found to cap off radiators and de-function plumbing which then, unfortunately, heralded the onset of The Beast from the East winter, sleeping with hats and scarves and glacial “I told you so looks.” I’ve never been so cold. 

The research and online purchasing was the best fun. The bathroom world at my fingertips.  Sketching designs and measuring became a code cracking puzzle until enlightenment perfected the final fit and look. Begone telephone box shower cubicle, begone strangely positioned bath and white kitchen cabinet units. Welcome walk-in shower, shiny tiles and traditional bathroom sanitary ware.

With ever-changing tile fashions, peach with romanesque borders (never again, please), wall to wall sandstone, metro tiles etc., I thought it best to stick to classic in such a costly exercise. Cool marble for the walls and glossy grey for the floor.  Oak cabinets for the inset basins, one each hurrah, with motion sensor LED lights fitted into the kickboards to illuminate night time flits to the loo.  A quirky cupboard for towels from Homesense (oh how I love that shop) and a ceramic drum just because it was the right colour.  The joy of choosing accessories.

Whether you live in the countryside or just prefer a comfortable and soft decor to reflect a love of nature, I discovered a home can still be a contemporary yet traditional living space that accommodates today’s lifestyle and, where necessary, modern day possessions won’t look out of place.

With a two year break and other projects completed, full permission to refurbish the ‘lockdown loo’ came next.  I can hardly wait!

Thanks to Valerie Gough for sending us this post. Read her previous post “We Live Behind A Clump of Trees” here.