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French provincial/country-style bathroom redo

I For Style
last month
last modified: 18 days ago

Client Brief: Much loved by the owners, ‘Hartley House’ is also used as an Airbnb, health retreat and is set up for corporate gatherings. Bearing this in mind the client’s upstairs guest bathroom desperately needed to be renovated. It was looking dated, dark, and very uninviting, so it was important that the new bathroom functioned well and looked welcoming too.

Our clients wanted the style to be in keeping with the previous renovations and makeovers I For Style has completed in other areas of this large home.

Solution: During the concept stage of this project, we decided to incorporate a variety of different materials, finishes, and colours to create avisual but subtle feast for the eye. This together with the clever, well-thought-out use of the existing space has takenthe new bathroom to the next level.

The result? Very happy clients!


The previous floorplan worked well so there was no need to change it, but there were several other things that did nothing to visually enhance the space or make the most of its size aesthetically and practically.

The floor tiles and the burgundy border visually pulled the space inwards as did the varying heights of the wall tiles throughout the bathroom. Burgundy-coloured capping above the wall tiles delineated the space and made it look a lot smaller than it is.


Black and white patterned floor tiles (without a border) help to ground the space.

The neutral colour and gloss finish of the subway wall tiles make a nice transition between the matt floor tiles and the wall paneling.

The vertical wall paneling was a must as we knew it would give the impression of a higher ceiling as well as being ideal for a French country bathroom.

There is ample room under the vanity for a couple of cane baskets to hold extra towels. There’s also a large cupboard in the hallway just outside the entrance to the bathroom which houses towels and other linen.


The small vanity had room for a little storage underneath but was completely impractical for placing items that needed to be close at hand on top of it. Over time extra ‘bench space’ and a wrought iron towel holder was added. The result was a rather messy-looking bathroom.


A recycled hall table was repurposed as a bathroom vanity, the timber adding warmth to the neutral colour palette. The above counter basin is a practical and very attractive option.

The subway wall tiles are a little higher than I would normally place them on the walls, but this is for practical purposes.

The black round mirror references the black in the floor tiles, creating a visual link between the two elements. An elegant wall light adds the finishing touch.


The previous heavy-looking shower frame and the burgundy border tile around it did nothing to visually enhance the bathroom and further delineated the space, making it look a lot more closed in.


This photo was taken by the builder during the renovation and while not of great quality it clearly shows the difference that the frameless shower screen has made to the overall look and feel of the bathroom. It visually opens the room up and is a lot easier to clean than the previous, heavily framed shower screen.

The subway wall tiles were extended to full height in the shower, again for practical purposes.

The elegant cornices are repeated throughout areas of the house that have thus far been renovated.

A glass and polished chrome shower shelf, in keeping in the tapware etc, has since been installed.

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