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Article: A Bathroom for Shell Lovers

A blush pink coastal inspired shell Cornish bathroom

A Bathroom for Shell Lovers

When we moved into our house 16 years ago we inherited a perfectly nice bathroom, travertine tiles, new bath, taps etc. We lived with this for a few years but I was never really happy with the layout and its blandness. The shower was over the bath yet there was a perfect little alcove just crying out for a shower to fill the space.

The room is an awkward shape created from leftover space from when the house was split in two in the 60’s, with many curved and straight elevations forming a very disjointed ceiling full of curves and strange angles. There are also two alcoves, a pillar housing a soil pipe from the guest bathroom above and the bulkhead of the stairs to contend with as well! As if that wasn’t enough the room faces north and there are a set of stairs leading up to the garden less than a metre away right outside the window; this cuts out a lot of light, so we needed to brighten the place up.
Allison's beautiful bathroom
We ripped everything out and started again from scratch. We had a cupboard built into the widest alcove to hide everything away and tiled the top in a mix of tonal blue/grey neutral rectangular handmade glazed tiles - you can find similar ones at Stone Tile Company. This is topped with 2 wash basins each with a single pillar tap, keeping it nice and simple to clean.

The other unused alcove was just the perfect size to fit a shower in and just about tall enough. We tiled this in the same tiles as the top of the cupboard and also used them on the window ledge as well, which helps to tie everything together. We decided on a wall hung toilet as this makes it easier to clean around. The bath was never up for discussion, I had my eye on this one for some time! I love its simple clean shape and very generous proportions with a tall pillar tap that just tucks into the corner perfectly.
Allison's mood board for her coastal inspired bathroom
We chose a light coloured porcelain tile that imitates a natural stone for the floor - can can find a similar one at Fired Earth, Umbrian White - so that we could install under floor heating to keep us cosy all the time, because as I said the room doesn’t get a lot of sunlight so can feel quite cold. At first we painted everything white to try and hide the disjointed walls and ceiling so as not to draw your attention to the strange angles and curves, but I always knew this wouldn’t be a forever choice. 
After a few months I decided that we needed some colour to lift the space, the white was nice and clean but it lacked warmth, so I decided a dash of pink was needed. We settled on a pink from Little Green called Confetti for the lower part of the wall and kept the white above so as not to draw the eye to all the conflicting angles. There seemed to be a natural point to draw the line for the colour divide. We followed the centre bar in the window as our guide and this gave us just enough of the pink without being overwhelming. It is important when splitting a room with colour like this to take a focal point like this in the room to use as your base, if you have too many different levels or points the eye is drawn too it can feel chaotic.
With all this done we were still missing something, it was all looking a little too perfect & clinical so it was time for a little fun. At the time Rebecca & I had been looking at a lot of shell grottos for some inspiration and I had seen some amazing shell faces at an exhibition in Paris and thought that they would be great to decorate the bathroom, but they were a little out of my price range. I ordered up some shells and set about making some of my own. Not really sure how I would do it and armed with a glue gun and a big box of shells I decided to give it a go. I had a weekend of fun creating 3 faces from the shells that are now hung on the walls.

I used a canvas covered frame from The Range as the base for each of them and started gluing. I laid the shells out roughly on the side and then started adding them from the middle and building them out. Once you get past the edge of the canvas you can keep on adding so long as you have a good solid foundation on the canvas. Each got more and more crazy and three dimensional.
Shell faceShell face
So we now had art for the walls but I wanted to change the very boring mirrors above the basins so again off I popped to The Range & found 2 round wooden mirrors just the perfect size and set about again with the glue gun & a box of shells and another lost weekend of sticking shells! They were just what was needed to fill the wall above the basins and create a bit more drama. There is still plenty of spare room to cram some more beach & holiday shell & starfish finds around, and I have a beautiful hand painted tile from Capri proper on a shelf above the loo that I just adore. I love to bring back little treasures from holidays as a beautiful reminder of happy times.
Coastal inspired designer shelf for home
Then finally I needed to address the window. We never need to cover the window as no one can see in but it did need to be dressed with something. I decided on a blind as this would take up little space and wouldn’t cut out much of the precious light. I have used our Manderley pink shell fabric, an obvious choice really in this shell obsessed room. This fabric is printed to order only and can be ordered  by contacting customer service. 
Of course no bathroom would be complete without a wonderful fragrance. I find that a room diffuser works particularly well in a bathroom, especially if you keep somewhere that you walk past often and as you waft by you really get the benefit of it. I have one of our Beachcomber Reed Diffusers in the bathroom at the moment which has the most wonderful fresh summer fragrance that fills the room, in fact it’s so good I can smell it as I come up the stairs before I even get to the room.
Coastal reed diffuser with shell design and unique long lasting beautiful scent
I hope you feel inspired for your next project!
Allison X

1 comment

I am about to start on my last bathroom which is already pink and full of shells. I am a Pisces and live by the sea so have always loved shells and sea creatures. I recently bought an old stone fountain in a shell shape and filled it with shells, it sits on an old heart shaped set of drawers in the corner.
I am updating an old sideboard for the vanity unit and storage, it’s painted the same pink as the vintage bath I am keeping. It will have an under mounted sink and I have had a marble top cut to follow the curves.
When updated the bathroom will still be pink, vintage and full of shells but just refreshed ( at the moment broken tiles etc).
I tried to add pictures but wasn’t able to.

Debby Bond

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