A dated bathroom gets a modern makeover

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A cluttered 1970s bathroom is now a modern day beauty thanks to hard work and clever planning.

Photographs George Oosthuizen | Styling Lientjie Wessel

Who lives here? Natalie and Stefano Madies
WHERE Glenvista, Johannesburg
SIZE about 8m²

Reason for renovation

True to that inimitable seventies style, the Madies’ bathroom boasted lilac porcelain tiles and matching mosaic floor tiles, complete with a lilac bath tub and toilet. “I hated it!” laughs Natalie.

In addition, the shower wall blocked out half the light, making it dark and dingy, and the overhead lighting was awful. “The vanity was a very inconvenient solid concrete slab (with tiny lilac mosaics, of course) with too-low cupboards that we never used, so the countertop was always cluttered with toiletries. It was also very cold.”

After living with the lilac bathroom for 14 years, Natalie and Stefano were over it! They wanted a bathroom with “oldeworlde style” and a luxurious feel that’s both fashionable and functional. The project took about two months to complete and they did everything themselves, except for the tiling.


Q&A with Natalie

Any cost-cutting tips? Shop online before you trawl the malls or home centres, and look out for all the specials in community newspapers.

Where did you get your ideas? Home, and various décor shops.

Any other tips? Get an idea of what you want first, then start researching and budgeting to make that dream a reality. What do you enjoy most about your new bathroom? Its vintage style and lack of clutter.

What’s next? We both work from home, so we’re planning to convert a shipping container into an office...

Main alterations

  1. The tiles were chipped off the walls and half the shower wall was broken down to let more light in; the remainder was retained to hide toiletries on a shelf inside the shower – and for the toilet roll holder on the other side!

  2. In the shower, metro tiles were used on the walls and beehive tiles with grey grouting were used on the floor.

  3. The  old ceilings were replaced and new downlighters installed. The bathroom door was converted into a sliding door to save space as it slides behind the bath tub.
  1. The concrete vanity had to be removed with an angle grinder as it contained steel reinforcement rods.

  2. After removing the toilet and bath tub and filling in the sunken gaps, self-levelling screed was thrown over the existing porcelain floor tiles to create a smooth and even surface for the new black and white checkered vinyl floor.  A new toilet and bath taps were installed, as well as a pedestal and basin. To finish off, tongue-and-groove wall panels were mounted all around the bathroom.

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April 2023

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