YH&G editor Kristina Rapley reveals the results of her epic bathroom renovation with Mico Bathrooms – a beautiful blue-green retreat with brass details
Meet + greet
What didn’t you like about your old bathroom?
It was so grotty! It had years of baked-on grime that wouldn’t budge, the bath was all rusty, the mirror was hung so you had to bend down to see your face and the space was a mudroom, laundry and bathroom all in one, but separated by walls and doors – so a very strange space.
What was the inspiration behind your new design?
We knew we wanted to knock out the walls and create one big room, but were nervous because we’d never done a bathroom reno. We got our friend Lily Thompson from Ewing & Co Interior Design to draw up some concepts and show us some tile samples, which helped us decide on the palette. We chose stone-look floor tiles, brass tapware and ocean-coloured wall tiles.
How did you decide on the new layout?
This is where Mico Bathrooms’ expertise and online 3D design planner came in very handy! You just hop online and fill in your measurements, and then you can drop in your vanity, bath, shower and so on, and have a play. It really helped us visualise the space.
How did you want the new bathroom to look and feel? How does it fit with your home as a whole?
Our home was built in the 1950s and has lots of original mid-century features, so we wanted it to have a retro vibe. We ummed and aahed about the shower as we had a large space and wanted to do something special. I had my heart set on a tile enclosure – I love the cosy, cave-like feeling. We almost went for glass when we started getting tiling quotes, because it’s definitely costly, but I’m so glad we stuck to our guns. Glass would have looked too ‘new’. We also worked with Eric Thompson from Pacific Coast Kitchens on a floating plywood vanity which we love! We repurposed the brass knobs from some existing cabinetry.
How did you choose the materials?
Brass tapware was the first big decision and the other colours and materials were chosen to complement it. In hindsight, brass was a big call because it meant we had to follow through on all the matching fixtures and fittings, for example the tile trim, sink and bath wastes, and rails.
Did you DIY or use professionals?
We did the demolition and painting ourselves but got the professionals in for the rest. Ashton managed the rebuild along with our builder Nick from Evolution Builders NZ. Mico Bathrooms also steered us through the project from the design stage to completion. We had a great consultant, Lisa Kanthavong, whom we sat down with at the beginning, and stayed in touch with the whole way through. Mico have a huge range of products to choose from, much more than they can fit into their showrooms, so I’d recommend sitting down with a consultant to make sure you’re looking at all the options. We also had help from a sparky, plumber and tiler.
Any nasty surprises? How long did it take?
We were without a shower and toilet for five weeks. We hired a portaloo and portable shower which would have been okay, apart from the fact that I’m pregnant and was very sick during this time, which made my frequent trips to the portaloo pretty unpleasant! We also had a hard time finding a tiler to tackle the mosaics – most tilers avoid them because they’re so tricky, so tiling took much longer than expected.
Best lesson you learned?
You can spend a lot or a little on bathrooms! We went for a custom look which is pricey, but were able to save on things like an acrylic bath and a standard mirror and toilet, which helped keep costs down.
What do you love best about your new bathroom?
The shower – I adore it. The ocean-green tiles and the brass shower rail make every shower feel special. It’s like our own little retreat.
Shop Kristina’s mid-century look:
Shop the shower:
Mico Bathrooms mico.co.nz
Builder Nick Turner-Wright from Evolution Builders NZ (based in Tauranga) evolutionbuildersnz.com
Cabinetmaker Eric Thompson from Pacific Coast Kitchens, pacificcoastkitchens.co.nz
Design Lily Thompson from Ewing & Co Interior Design ewingandcodesign.com
Plumber LA Hughes Plumbing, lahughesplumbing.co.nz
Electrical TJ Electrical, tjelectrical.co.nz
Tiler Wong’s Renovations, 022 046 0038
Style to suit: Modern Memphis
Embrace colour with this graphic, fun and quirky look. Bring the striking 1980s Memphis aesthetic up to date with a statement candyfloss-pink tile as the hero element. Black accents in tapware will help to balance out the sweetness. Patterns are your best friend for this bold style – don’t be afraid to feature more than one!
Words by: Sally Conor. Photography by: Vanessa Lewis