Small wonder: the compact, deluxe family bathroom of a West Sussex home

A compact space has become a luxurious contemporary family bathroom, thanks to considered design and stylish fittings

With busy lives as property developers, Tim and Becky Field asked West One Bathrooms’ head of design Louise Ashdown to tackle the bathroom refurbishment in their new home.

Real life home: Small wonder
BIJOU LUXURY Measuring a compact 1,493mm long, the Vetralla bath is deep and made from smooth matt white Quarrycast stone resin for luxurious bathing

‘We had undertaken bathroom projects before, but they were all quite perfunctory in design,’ says Tim. ‘We needed Louise’s help to create something more special.’

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Real life home: Small wonder
CONTEMPORARY TWIST Matt black brassware crisply contrasts with the matt white bath, offset by the natural veining effect of the porcelain wall and floor tiles
Real life home: Small wonder
GREY TONE The compact WC is made from Brina matt ceramic to match the basin washstand

With children Madeleine, Theo, Nathaniel and Rafferty all under 10, Tim and Becky had chosen the five-bedroom home in West Sussex not just because they needed more space for family life.

The house is in a conservation area of properties built in the 1920s and 1930s by Harold Turner, an architect known for his Arts and Crafts style, distinctive metal windows and high-quality construction.

Real life home: Small wonder
CLEAN LINES A modern take on a classic washstand by Italian company Cielo, the Catino Ovale basin and shelf are made from matt grey ceramic on a matt black metal frame

‘We had always wanted to have a Turner house and this is a great example of his work,’ says Tim. ‘We wanted the bathroom to have a contemporary look, but one which also reflected elements of the architecture.’

Real life home: Small wonder
IN THE FRAME The shower screen adds simple definition to the room, without blocking natural light

The couple decided to convert a former bedroom into a family bathroom, ‘shaving off’ some of its space to make room for a new corridor to the extension.

Real life home: Small wonder
OFF BEAT The hexagon-shaped wall tiles are highlighted by the way they stop short of the window and keep their edging by the shower, accentuating the originality of this design

‘Although the new bathroom is quite shallow, we needed it designed for family use, with a bath and walk-in shower,’ explains Tim. ‘Louise designed a brilliant layout with everything we wanted, but without any sense of feeling cramped.’

Real life home: Small wonder
HONOURING HERITAGE Accents of matt black punctuate the design and give a nod to the home’s Arts and Crafts heritage

Matt black taps, shower fittings and detailing were chosen to echo the original black metal-frame windows of the house, while the position of the freestanding bath showcases the original bay window. ‘The bathroom has shown us how a beautiful design can make all the difference to the success of a home,’ says Tim.

Project profile:

Q&A with Louise Ashdown, head of design at West One Bathrooms

How did you develop the layout? The room measures about 1.75m in depth by 3.6m in width, so the shallow size meant there was really only one position for the bath – under the bay window. We chose an elegant but simple freestanding tub to both catch the eye and create a more spacious feel than a fitted, boxed-in design. This left one end of the room for the walk-in shower, with the level access chosen to make it easy for the children to use and leaving enough room for Tim and Becky to supervise them. This meant there was space at the other end of the room for a modern take on a washstand with basin, and the WC.

How did you choose the brassware? This is from our Fifth Avenue collection, finished in matt black. The wheel handles are inspired by industrial design, particularly engine rooms, while the black finish picks up on the metal-framed windows of the house. 

And the palette of materials? The grey ceramic of the basin and WC is quite unusual and blends well with the white and grey marble effect of the porcelain tiles and the cool grey-white shade chosen for the walls. The hexagon tiles create a honeycomb effect on the wall, adding a little interest and fun without destroying the overall feeling of calm.

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Photos by Paul Craig.