The £20 Bathroom
As the Rolling Stones famously sang, “you can’t always get what you want…. but you find sometimes you get what you need”….
I pondered upon what to call this blog post… Bathroom Renovation sounds so pedestrian, 70s Bathroom doesn’t really cover it, the £20 Bathroom (truth, I’ll come to that later), the covid-19 bathroom or Ron Jeremys Bathroom… (again you’ll see why).
We’d lived with a white bathroom which was fitted probably 15 years previously (badly), it was damp, leaked, it was mouldy, the toilet had a crack in it, it was tiled on all four walls and the floor and had as much charm and grace as a public toilet… a bad one! The cistern didn’t work, the shower gave us an interesting water feature through the hallway light fitting, so we’d not used it for years, three to be precise. I hated it, in fact that is an understatement, we needed to save, and save we did on the promise that we would get it sorted (no more washing my hair with a plastic jug in a bath – hooray).
When I originally looked at getting he bathroom renovated I wanted a coloured suite, I adore coloured suites, I had a Shanks Jade Green in my last house, I find it so sad that these historic pieces are ripped out in favour of something so bland and the same as the next person, I also wonder why manufacturers no longer make them, what changed in the psyche or society that they wanted white over colour; they’re fun and can be styled in so many ways, with names like pampas, rose, midnight, primrose and duck egg, they are a talking point and oh so pretty.
We discussed having the archetypal 70s avocado bathroom suite; this was swiftly vetoed by His Nibs as “disgusting”, and “we had one as kids, I hated it”…. As it turned out I couldn’t afford a second hand suite, as they were going for upwards of £250 for something which had had someone else’s bum on it for best part of 45 years. We compromised on probably having a white suite (dull) and 70s reclaimed avocado tiles which I duty hunted and found on market place in Wigan, I sourced avocado accessories and cork tiles… and then something happened….
23rd December 2019, His Nibs was working at a Christmas Concert and I was alone…. Estelle being alone, at night, means one of two things, watching 70s sitcoms, or browsing ebay for random shite (hell, I don’t even have to be alone to do that). I typed in ‘retro bathroom’, looked under ‘Used’ and started scrolling, the usual fare of odd and broken bits, overpriced avocado and then I saw it, I laughed, scrolled on, then scrolled back…. The photos were awful, but as I skipped through to the end, I knew I could make this work. I instantly sent the photos to my comrades in Tat who, like myself said “Estelle, you NEED that bathroom”. I jokingly sent the link to His Nibs who promptly ignored it. Upon returning home I enquired whether he’d checked the link to eBay on whatsapp…. I was retorted with “I don’t need to, it says brown bathroom, brown is the colour of shit…” I begged him to look and as he sat on the sofa, beer in hand, the soft glow of 40-year-old fairy lights in the background, a wry smile spread across his face…. He said “you know what, love, I like that”. RESULT!!
The auction had a starting bid on it for £20, was located in Essex (minor issue) and was ending just after 10am on Boxing Day. I watched, and waited, and waited and watched…. Come Boxing Day, sat in the passenger seat on the M6, phone in sweaty hand, I bid £50 on the suite, and surprisingly no one else bid and we won it!
Research shows that it is a Twyford suite in Penthouse Brown cross Sandlewood colour and was produced in 1977.
I’ll skip the boring parts of my friend and long-time enabler, Ben agreeing to collect if for me and it sitting in the back yard for 10 weeks in every weather the North West could throw at it…. I had to find a plumber, a plumber who would agree to the suicidal mission of fitting a vintage suite. There was only one man mad enough for the job and that is Oscar. Oscar is bonkers, I love him, he’s an adorable, over sexed, Spanish guy who works alongside me at Christmas Decorating. I mooted the idea to him in January whist he was up a ladder throwing decorations at me. “Anything for you lovely” was his reply… I said “you best look at it first, before you agree to anything”….
Luckily for us, he looked at, laughed and said, I’ll give it a go”… I honestly think he came to regret those words!
I’m going to cover the renovation in a series of blog posts so as not to bore you all rigid.
Check out my instragram post on 13/05 to see the final result