When Ryan Smith was asked to design five bathrooms for a new-build in Holywood, he had no idea it would turn out to be one of the biggest and best projects of his career to date.
As showroom manager at Bassetts Simply Bathrooms in Belfast, he’s worked on many jobs over the past 20 years but says, “This was my biggest and best and the most enjoyable.”
The project, which took between two to four months to complete, required four ensuites in total, along with a separate downstairs cloakroom. Working closely with the site foreman, interior designer and clients, Ryan says the trickiest part was in getting the layouts just right, ensuring that everything would work together. Several site visits later, however, and they were ready to get on with things.
“This was my biggest and best and the most enjoyable.”Ryan Smith – Bassetts Simply Bathrooms
“I did about 30 drawings at the outset,” he says. “At the first visit, the clients came in with the interior designer and told me what they wanted for each room – a classic traditional theme throughout to match the half-panelled effect they had, with some wallpapering. We looked at what would fit practically in the layout. Once we did that, then we got into the styles and colours. They wanted certain rooms to look more minimal than others.”
Stunning master bedroom ensuite
As the clients’ own personal bathroom, the master bedroom ensuite was perhaps the most important to get right and the brief was to make it “a little different from the rest.”
“They wanted a really nice, luxurious ‘wow-factor’ bath, which I knew we could only achieve by getting a traditional cast-iron bath that could then be painted to suit their colour-scheme,” says Ryan. “We got a matching bespoke vanity unit to complement that colour, a powder-blue which was suggested by the interior designer. The bath had to be stylish but also functional and comfortable. Cast-iron baths are more comfortable than the modern styles of roll-top baths.”
A striking vanity unit with his ’n her custom washstands adds to that period-style look, with a three-tap-to-hole basin format for each wash area. Below, there is ample storage in a central nest of three drawers, with two cupboards on each side of the unit. Meanwhile, a large rectangular mirror hangs above the wash basins, its frame painted the same dusky blue as the unit.
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All of the fittings in this ensuite come from Imperial Bathrooms, including the vanity lights – Segovia Wall Lighting with Glass Shade from Imperial Bathrooms’ Classic Collection. These are attached to each side of the mirror. The taps, mirror, toilet and shower are also from Imperial.
“It’s one room but split to create a separate shower and toilet area, so to the right, is the shower and to the left, the walk-in WC area,” says Ryan. “The tiles in the shower are polished marble from our All-marble Lasa Natural 600X600 range. We needed a nice tile to blend in with the herringbone-style wooden floor-effect tiles. The herringbone was a style the clients specifically wanted.”
The wet room/walk-in shower subsequently boasts a traditional drench showerhead, with plank-effect flooring which meets the herringbone in the rest of the room. As with all of the bathrooms in the house, a Geberit CleanLine Wet Room Drain was installed for optimum convenience and to continue that minimal look, making it easier for the water to drain.
“It also meant they could use larger tiles as opposed to the usual smaller mosaic style in the showers, which are harder to maintain,” says Ryan.
Each shower/wet room in the house was further given its own recess in the wall for bathroom products, which proved a little bit more challenging for the builders because of the brick walls.
“That was a requirement the clients wanted,” says Ryan. “I think it’s essential for every bath and shower, if it can be done.”
Elegant front bedroom ensuite
Moving onto the front bedroom ensuite, this is fitted out primarily with the sleek, clean lines of Villeroy & Boch bathroom products, including the toilet and surface-mounted wash-hand basin. The overall look is one of understated elegance – a room designed to have minimal fuss.
Like all of the house, this ensuite enjoys good natural lighting, courtesy of two large windows opposite the washstand unit, which is part of a range provided exclusively to Bassetts from Burbidge in England. This Langton unit is a solid oak piece of furniture hand-painted in soft moss, with a 25mm solid surface top and a single drawer underneath for storage. The base is left open, with wooden slats allowing for further storage of towels.
Above the Villeroy & Boch basin, a vertical rectangular mirror is shouldered by wall lighting on either side from Imperial Bathrooms.
“That’s becoming more popular, so people can change their paint colour later on,”RYAN SMITH – BASSETTS SIMPLY BATHROOMS
The front bedroom ensuite also has a walk-in wet room, with only the essential areas – floor and shower – tiled and the rest of the room painted in warm creamy tones.
“That’s becoming more popular, so people can change their paint colour later on,” says Ryan.
Minimal back bedroom ensuite
In the back bedroom ensuite, a Laura Ashley floor-standing cotton-white unit with a small brick-style tile splashback provides the focal point of the room. This oat-coloured gloss tiling continues in the shower while the rest of the room is painted.
Continuing the theme with a mirror above the washbasin and two Imperial Bathrooms side lights, the wash area also has cupboard storage room below. Designed with a neutral theme, the back bedroom ensuite has a walk-in wet room with large wood panel-effect tiling, while the shower itself comes from Aqualla’s Luca range in Newtownards.
Modern guest bedroom ensuite
The guest bedroom ensuite was designed specifically with the clients’ grandchildren in mind, for when they come to stay, and has a slightly more modern look than that of the back bedroom ensuite.
Here, there is a very minimalist floating, or wall-hung, toilet, along with a floating solid oak, hand-painted grey unit from Laura Ashley, which has two drawers for storage. An impressive rectangular recess mirror stretches right across the top of the wash area and toilet, with four small circular lights discreetly embedded into the tiling above.
The guest ensuite is all about simple, modern and practical design, which continues with its walk-in shower/wet room, fitted again with a no-fuss Aqualla shower. Large floor tiles are used throughout this ensuite and are the same within the shower, while the wall tiles are in a large brick-style, with a feature wall in the shower using much smaller brick-style tiling.
The final bathroom fitted in this stylish new-build is the downstairs cloakroom, which was to have a dash of wow-factor while being styled in a more traditional way. Overlooking the sea, a large, almost wall-length window floods this space with natural light. To the left of the window is the toilet and a Victorian-style washstand, both from Imperial Bathrooms.
“We definitely have a bit of wow factor with the basin and washstand,” says Ryan. “It has a nice traditional feel to it but still manages to look stylish and modern.”
The washbasin is fitted with a three-tap hole and has a mirror above, as per the other ensuites, this one in an arch shape, with the Imperial lights on either side. Below, a single glass shelf allows for towel storage, while the exposed metal framework of the unit sets it off in elegant style.
“The floor tiles here continue through from the hallway,” says Ryan. “They’re beautiful and are Rainforest White from Vitra. They have a nice warm feel to them, which is why the clients liked them. Initially, they thought about getting real wood for the floor but they were happy to have these instead.”
The cloakroom also boasts a bespoke coat rack, with overhead pelmet and double storage cupboards underneath, which is built into the wall and was specially constructed by the clients’ joiner.
Five fabulous fit-outs
While this was undoubtedly a large project, with five ensuites to fit out, it was nevertheless highly rewarding and one which was much very much enjoyed by Bassetts Simply Bathrooms. With each room requiring its own distinct style, while following an overall brief of a classic traditional theme, with minimal design, the end result surely achieves all of this and more …
Boucher Place, Belfast BT12 6HT, UK
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