The times they are a-changin’, as are our bathrooms. This bathroom in particular, from the town of Yarrambat, Victoria, was given a facelift from its outdated gold accents to a gleaming, modern interior. With electrical expert and Clipsal ambassador Bec Sparky the team at M.J. Harris Group swapped out formality for functionality, and left their client with a bathroom far more spacious and bright whilst still showcasing the home’s original woodwork. 

Before: the old bathroom with gold accents, stained timber and patterned tiles

The clients wanted a space that was simple and elegant, freshened from the duller tiles of their original bathroom. The initial design functioned perfectly fine, but was boxed in by a vanity, linen cupboard and (hardly used) corner spa that occupied potential storage space. Led by head designer Jenni Price, the team scrapped the spa, introduced a freestanding bath, and installed modern fittings into the room. New LED downlights brighten the polished splash backs, and two concrete glass pendants were suspended above the bath.

Before: protruding vanity, linen cupboard and corner spa.

After: freestanding bath, stainless steel towel rack, dimmable pendant lights. A stained glass window remains from original bathroom design. 

Price stayed true to the woodwork profile. “We didn’t want to disrupt the flow and make the new renovation feel out of place,” she said. To complement the original stained timbers, the team synchronised texture and tones through re-laid tiles and stone. “Using such a neutral palette allowed these beautiful characteristics to stand out and show that new can easily blend with old.”

Before: dark-coloured vanity.

After: smarter sink storage solutions and polished splashbacks. 

“The sky is the limit when it comes to renovations so stick to your budget. Like most things in life, it also pays to work with what you have,” electrician Bec Sparky says. So sort out your bathroom priorities — would your cold winter feet crave a heated floor, or would your complexion prefer an illuminated mirror?

After: a lighter, brighter space.

If you haven’t the funds to go the whole hog, Bec says “updating one big component of your bathroom can change the whole look without the price tag. If your bathroom doesn’t have a focal point then add one. This can be as simple as bringing in some greenery like hanging succulents or adding a pop of colour to your light switch for an art deco vibe.”

After: modern shower fittings.

For houses of this age, major challenges always seem to come out of the woodwork (pun intended), but the M.J. Harris team rolled through a “hiccup free” renovation — which they had taken the time to plan in advance, so that every adjustment was foreseen and prepared for. “The difficulty is that when you get things like lighting, plumbing and insulation wrong, correcting them can be both timely and costly,” Bec adds.

After: dimmable light switches to change the mood in the bathroom. 

And to homeowners embarking on a first-time reno, Bec says, “the planning stages are key. Taking the time to work with an expert to guide you in the decision making process makes for a much smoother and headache-free project.”

Before: dark wood and tile features.

After: modern tap fittings and splashback.