Bathroom Shaping Up

It’s been all systems go at the renovation of our Californian Bungalow in Sydney.

Architect’s drawings

The roofers were there last week and have finished tiling the roof. We asked that the old tiles, which were removed from the parts we demolished, be kept and put on the new addition which can be seen from the street. This makes the new bit blend in with the old. We really want the place to look like it was always like that so are trying to follow through with the period style fittings where practicable. Like the skirting boards, cornices and window hardware.

Original skirting boards and window architraves

The windows are in and the brickies have been busy bricking up the outside walls. The skylights have been put in too so you can really get a feel for what the place will be like when finished.

Bathroom windows – translucent for privacy

One of the new additions to the house is a full sized bathroom. It is located in the same position and is the same size as the old guest bedroom.

Old guest bedroom

The architects designed it with a bay window where the bath will sit. This bay is to replicate the bay window at the front of the house in the dining room.

Transition of the old house and new extension

Now that it’s built, we can see how clever this little touch is. It breaks the line between the old and the new part of the house so any change in materials or way of building (between 1920 and 2012) is not so noticeable.

On the inside, the bathroom has been framed up ready for the drop in oval bath to sit in the window and the nib walls enclosing the vanity are in place too.

Bath frame ready for drop in oval bath

So now I’m ordering tiles, light fittings and bathroomware and trying to heed my own advice! I’ve spent ages trying to decide on which tiles and have abandoned all the choices I made 6 years ago when we had the plans drawn up.

Final tile and paint selection

Of course my daughter is 6 years older now and naturally has her own opinions on how it should look and what she would like. As she will be the main person using that room I guess I have to at least listen to her requests.

Nib walls built to house the vanity

No matter what it looks like, it will be a vast improvement on the minute bathroom we used to have at this end of the house.

Good riddance old bathroom

If you would like assistance with your bathroom renovation, contact us for an online or in-person consultation.


Bathroom Stats

This past week I’ve been choosing all the bathroom fittings and fixtures for our home renovation. I’ve helped many clients design and/or remodel their bathrooms in the past so I pretty much knew what I wanted.

But I’ve still been going over and over all my choices, just incase there was something I hadn’t considered, that may be better. Agonising stuff! I’m usually pretty good at decisions but there’s alot riding on this renovation.

So, I bought the Australian House and Garden Bathroom Lookbook. It has a gorgeous bathroom on the front cover by the very talented (and very humorous) Camilla Molders.

I loved reading all the stats on bathrooms that was included in the back of the book.

Did you know?

1 is the average number of months it takes an architect to complete a bathroom renovation.

1.7 is the average number of bathrooms in an Australian home.

20 metres is the maximum distance you should have between your hot-water system and bathroom outlets.

14,500 is the number of litres of water saved per year in an average home by installing a water-efficient showerhead.

89 is the number of 300mm square sheets of mosaic tiles you’ll need to cover an average wall measuring 2.7metres square.

18 years is the lifespan of the average bathroom.

600mm x 300mm is the most popular choice for wall tiles and 450mm x 450mm for floors.

20mm is the recommended step-down in the shower area of a wet room to prevent water seeping onto other parts of the floor.

500mm is the recommended depth for a bathroom benchtop.

4 is about how many hours you’ll need to wait for the tile grout to dry.


$18,500 is the cost of the average bathroom renovation.

If you would like assistance with your bathroom renovation, contact us for an online or in-person consultation. Or for more bathroom inspiration, visit my Pinterest Bathroom Board.


**All bathrooms designed by Inside Out Colour and Design and photographed by Lyn Johnston Photography***



Light Up My World

I’ve spent this week looking at lights.

Looking for clients and looking for me. Just like paint colours everyone is different and every person wants something different in their home.

One of the trickiest rooms to light is the bathroom.

Quite often, downlights are placed in grid formation without giving much consideration to optimal locations.  Standing under a downlight, without any light around the face creates exaggerated and unflattering shadows.  This can also result in insufficient lighting for tasks like shaving, tweezing and applying make-up.  More than any other room in the house, it’s important to get the lighting right in the bathroom.

Appropriate facial lighting is key.  Ideally, mirrors should have a light source at face height or above that provides both reflected and direct light to the face, minimises shadows and provides even light distribution.  These can be wall lights on either side of the mirror or on/above the mirror.

Once you know where you want to place the lights, it’s then a matter of finding the right light that meets your style, task and budget requirements.

If you would like assistance sourcing light fittings for your home renovation, contact us for an online or in-person consultation.

The Wash Up

Remember at the beginning of the week I was racing off to check out a bathroom we’d been working on?

Ensuite ready to be tiled

It looked fabulous and the client is so happy with the extra room they now have.

Shower area in esuite ready for tiling

You see, there was a spare bedroom next to the master bedroom that had become the family dump-all. We all have those, right? And next to that was a long walk in linen closet.

Floor plan of proposed alterations

As you can see, the spare bedroom was home to drum kits, extra clothes, bench press and husband’s paraphenalia.

Spare Bedroom Before

So we decided to convert the two areas into a walk-in wardrobe and ensuite bathroom. This involved knocking holes in walls, relocating the access door to the master bedroom and creating a new linen cupboard.

New walk in wardrobe

Then, seeing we were giving the home an ensuite, we decided the existing upstairs bathroom needed updating too.

New Ensuite

Ensuite Shower

The shower was under the window, which wasn’t ideal, so we moved things around and gave the room a more streamlined look by getting rid of the feature tiles and installing a frameless shower screen.

Bathroom Before

Bathroom Before

New Bathroom

New bathroom vanity

The family home has a separate toilet next to the bathroom so we updated it with a back-to-wall suite and lay new tiles the same as in the bathroom.

New toilet

The end result is a better use of space for this family as well as giving everything a fresh new look.


If you would like assistance with your family home renovation, contact us for an online or in-person consultation.


Bathroom Niches


Just racing out the door to visit a client who has finally finished their second floor alterations. We changed a bedroom to a dressing room and ensuite, gave the original bathroom a makeover and had new carpet laid.

One thing I love in a bathroom is a bit of display space. A niche where you can display lovely bottles of perfume or some fluffy towels just seems to soften the room that is usually full of hard surfaces.

What about you? Do you like open shelving or do all those dust collectors bother you?

If you would like assistance creating a new look for your bathroom, contact us for an online or in-person consultation.

PS. I’m afraid I have had these in my folder of tear sheets for ages and so have no idea where they are from. Most likely, I’ve ripped them out of House and Garden, Home Beautiful, Inside Out or Queensland Homes magazines over the last 10 years. I do apologise.



Cool Things

I received an email last week with a load of photos of cool things for interiors.

I love Pacman

I thought a few of them were actually quite cool. Have a look, what do you think?

Nice to have an option

Me thinks this might be nightmare material

All the morning rituals

New look sunken lounge

Space saving bookcase

Would you like assistance creating a cool interior in your home? Contact us for an on-line or in person design consultation.

Seven Top Tips For Bathroom Renovating

I’m currently working on three bathrooms for three clients, so seem to be dreaming about bathrooms lately.

I thought I’d share my seven top tips worth considering when you are renovating your bathroom

  1. To make the floor area look larger, lay square floor tiles on the diagonal.
  2. To make the ceiling feel higher lay rectangular wall tiles upright.

    Bathroom by Inside Out Colour and Design Photography by Lyn Johnston

  3. To make the room feel wider, lay rectangular wall tiles on their side.
  4. For ease of cleaning and neatness of the room, choose a Back To Wall toilet.
  5. The ideal lighting is either side of the mirror at head height. It casts a warm healthy glow on your face and makes applying makeup or shaving easier.

    Bathroom at Shangri-La Hotel, Vancouver

  6. Wall hung vanities make the room look bigger and the floor easier to clean.
  7. If you are not tiling to the ceiling, keep the horizontal line of the room the same – shower screen, door, window, mirror and tile height should be the same.

    Bathroom by Lewin Wertheimer via desire2inspire

If you would like assistance renovating your bathroom, contact us for an online or in-person consultation.



Under or Over

I’m currently working on a number of bathrooms and one of the questions that keeps on cropping up is “What sort of basin should we have? One on top or one underneath?”

via Australian House and Garden Photographer Andrew Lehmann

The two most popular options at the moment seem to be basins that sit on top of the benchtop or basins that sit completely under the benchtop. I must admit the ones on top look pretty good in photographs but then I’m not convinced that they are practical. And being a Virgo, I’m all for practicality! So here’s my take on bathroom basins.

via Australian House and Garden Photographer Simon Kenny

The basins that sit on top of the vanity unit are called Vessel Basins. If you are going to have these then you need to have them deep enough so water won’t splash out when the tap is inadvertently turned on a little too hard. They require taps to be either wall mounted or a rather tall tap mounted on the benchtop. Both of these options will result in water being dripped on the benchtop when the tap is turned off with wet hands. They come in a variety of sizes, shapes and depths so the world of vessel basins is really your oyster.

Parisi Basin

Undermount basins are the ones that seem to be suspended UNDER the benchtop. They are mainly square, round or oval in shape. Most require the taps to be mounted on the benchtop allowing for water to drip down when turning the tap off. The beauty with undermount sinks is that the water and dirt can be swept straight into the bowl making cleaning up a little bit easier.

via Molly Frey Design

I have managed to find a few of both undermounted and vessel basins that incorporate a tap shelf which alleviates all the dripping problems. Music to my ears, as not only are Virgos practical, they hate mess, too. Especially when they have to clean it up.

via Australain House and Garden Photographer Dan Magree

I’m often asked “Will vessel basins still be popular in 5 years time?” And unfortunately I have no idea. However, I have just received an email advertising the new Laufen range of basins designed by Alessi and the vessel basin is 40cm deep.

II Bagno Alessi One Half Tam Tam

So what basin would you choose, vessel or undermount?

If you would like assistance in creating your perfect bathroom, contact us for an online or in-person consultation.

Federation Style on Australia Day

One of the most popular style of houses around my area, is the Federation House. It was an early style of Australian architecture and consists of a sprawling, assymetrical structure. It often will have a verandah that encircles the house and roofs with gables, turrets and dormer windows.

via Domain

There are often unlikely angles, bay windows and towers at corners. It was developed to meet the demands of the prosperous middle classes who wanted to show off their new-found wealth that coincided with Federation itself in 1901. The Federation House borrowed styles from many countries and eras which is fitting for this melting pot of a nation, we call home.

via Domain

Inside the house, colours were muted but decoration was ornate. Australian motifs abound with flora and fauna both displayed in the plaster ceilings or used in fabrics, wallpaper or tiles.

from "The Federation House" by Hugh Fraser and Ray Joyce

Coloured glass or lead-light was used throughout Federation homes and the top panels of the front door often featured panels of colour in soft pastels with Art Nouveau or Australian motifs. Round bulls-eye windows as well as bay windows were popular. The bay window would often house a window seat which is such a versatile design.

Colour choice by Inside Out Colour and Design

Fortunately today, these houses are being remodelled (rather than bulldozed) to include many of the period details but with an emphasis on more contemporary living. The dark, muted tones of the turn of the century are gone and the window coverings are more streamlined and suited to today’s busy lifestyles.

Modern take on a Federation Living room by Inside Out Colour and Design

The verandahs are sought after and have often been extended to create an outdoor living space adjacent to the modern kitchen.

Wide verandah

The bathrooms have been updated but still include that old world charm.

Bathroom Design by Inside Out Colour and Design

I love working with these houses. Not just because they are iconic Australian houses but they lend so well to being enhanced and modified to suit today’s families. If you require assistance with colour or decor for your Federation Home, contact us for an on-line or in-person consultation.

Happy Australia Day

Beautiful Bathrooms

I hope you’ve had a good week. It’s getting a bit frantic around here as pre-Christmas delivery deadlines approach.

We have also been working on a bathroom plan for clients who are remodelling their existing space.

Original Bath

New Bath

Bathrooms can be tricky and costly. If you are remodelling and the existing floorplan works, it’s more cost effective to leave plumbing as is and update fixtures and fittings.

Old Vanity

New Vanity designed by Inside Out Colour and Design

One thing you need to work out before you start is who uses the bathroom and how?

Combined bathroom and laundry by Inside Out Colour and Design

If it is an ensuite in a busy home then double basins could be the key.

Double Vanities in Ensuite

If you have young children, or are considering selling your home anytime soon, then make sure you include a bath.

This bathroom was on the ground floor of the house and the clients wanted a bath so they could bathe the children while keeping an eye on the dinner.

And don’t forget storage. Towels don’t store that well in bathrooms as the steam and moisture can effect them so, if possible, keep them in the linen cupboard outside.

Recessed mirrored cabinet above vanity designed by Inside Out Colour and Design

Do think about storage for beauty and hygiene products, though and a great place is in a mirrored cabinet. They’re a bit better these days than the old shaving cabinet with the sliding mirrored doors!

Bathroom designed by Inside Out Colour and Design

And add some colour. Tiles come in every shape and colour these days and there is no limit as to what you can do with them.

Mosaic feature wall in children’s ensuite, designed by Inside Out Colour and Design

Again, think about how the bathroom will be used and add colour accordingly.

Bathroom designed by Inside Out Colour and Design

I hope you get some time for a soak in the tub this weekend.

If you would like assistance with your bathroom renovation, contact us to enquire about our bathroom design services.


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