If you’re a hard-working kinda gal or guy, who’s always on the go, don’t you deserve that extra-special bit of luxury? In our latest bathroom style guide, Helen Skelton helps us create an Oasis of Calm for busy mums and dads, as we show you how to “Get the Look”.
Hi, I’m Ruth, Victoria Plum’s resident interior designer, and I’m here to show you how you can transform a humdrum, run-of-the-mill bathroom into a tranquil and luxurious spa-like space in your own home. And joining me on this creative journey is none other than Strictly Come Dancing star and TV presenter Helen Skelton, who, as a busy mum of 3, knows more than most just how precious a relaxing bathroom retreat can be.
A few weeks ago, I was lucky enough to catch up with Helen in the beautiful Cumbrian countryside, to swap ideas and begin imagining just what our bathroom would look like.
This bathroom is aimed primarily at busy parents with hectic schedules, just like Helen, who desperately need somewhere to chill out and relax for an hour or so. And, if your free time is priceless, you certainly won’t want to spend it scrubbing away at mould and mildew, which is why easy-clean surfaces are an essential aspect of this design.
From the start, Helen’s love of the outdoors shone through (as demonstrated in her country style bathroom, which we worked on previously), as we attempted to introduce organic shapes and natural materials into this look. Plus, to help reconnect with nature, promote a sense of seclusion and offer an escape from reality, we decided greenery, in the form of plants, would also be a major feature.
Many of the colours and materials, which we began to pull together, came directly from these ideas and, soon enough, we had our mood board.
From this point, we were able to start planning the layout of our bathroom and, to demonstrate the full potential of this design, we opted to show it off in a large space. Obviously, not many of us are blessed with such a cavernous bathroom, which is why we’ve also created smaller versions (which we’ll get to later!).
Striking a balance between style and functionality is always one of the hardest aspects of bathroom planning, and storage is key to keeping your space (and mind!) free from clutter and distraction.
As part of our design, we wanted both a freestanding bath (the most luxurious of options) and a walk-in shower, making life easier for busy parents on the go. However, you could just as easily combine the two by fitting a multi-functional shower bath instead.
Another element that helps to lift the bathroom space is natural light, which we’ve attempted to exploit as much as possible.
The result, we feel, is a functional yet stylish and relaxing bathroom—a genuine Oasis of Calm.
Next, let’s take a closer look at the individual elements which make up our bathroom design.
Which products did we use?
Luxurious freestanding bath
The centrepiece of any oasis is always a relaxing body of water. And our bathroom design is certainly no different! Both Helen and I felt a simple yet stylish tub, like the Harrison freestanding bath (pictured below) would provide the perfect setting for that long, relaxing soak.
Top tip: To help you raise your game, a split level bathroom will elevate your bath—quite literally—allowing it to become star of the show!
With the bath and ceramics in place, it’s time to really take the look to new heights with some dazzling tapware in brushed brass. We’ve opted for sleek and stylish matching taps from our new Calatrava range, complete with easy-grip side handle for precise control.
Top tip: Metallics are a great way to bring a different dimension to your bathroom space, and this can even be echoed in your choice of shower and accessories.
- Mode Calatrava brushed brass freestanding bath shower mixer tap
- Mode Calatrava brushed brass basin mixer tap
If you have enough space for it, a walk in shower enclosure is a must for all hard-working mums and dads. For convenience, it simply cannot be beaten, allowing you that brisk, morning wake-me-up or a quick jump-in-and-jump-out after exercise.
To keep with the same metallic theme, we opted for the Mode brushed brass mixer shower, which also comes with cool touch technology, to help prevent accidental scalds.
Finally, we used stunning stone-effect shower panels around the interior walls, which bring an organic feel to proceedings.
- Mode Burton 8mm walk in glass panel with stone shower tray
- Mode brushed brass cool-touch thermostatic shower mixer system
- Showerwall Gold Slate Gloss shower wall panel
Top tip: If your bathroom lacks space or natural light, a walk in shower enclosure will help keep things feeling light and bright.
Stylish wall hung vanity unit
Storage is essential in any modern bathroom and especially so in our Oasis of Calm. Imagine trying to unwind and relax amidst a sea of clutter? The best way to address this is by fitting a vanity unit. And, if you’re going to do this, do it in style!
With the Oxman vanity unit (coming to Victoria Plum soon!), we’ve introduced gorgeous textural variation, thanks to the unique fluted frontage.
Top tip: By choosing wall hung bathroom furniture, you can keep your floor space free, which makes cleaning much easier. Perfect for busy people!
Back to wall toilet
Bringing the outdoors indoors was something Helen was keen to incorporate into our bathroom design, which is why we’ve opted for warm wood finishes wherever we can. The back to wall toilet allows us to do just that, with a look that is organic and welcoming.
The soft, round shape of the toilet is sympathetic to the overall design, with rounded shapes bringing a soft, cosy appearance.
Top tip: Back to wall toilets are sleek, stylish and, with a dual eco flush, help to save water. Plus, with no awkward nooks or crannies, they are more hygienic and easier to clean.
While it’s all too easy to focus on the bigger picture, it’s those smaller details—the finishing touches—which bring the whole look together.
Starting with your walls and floors, natural materials like stone, slate and wood all bring character and texture to a bathroom. However, they may not be the most practical or cost-effective options, especially in what can be a damp and humid environment. Instead, we’ve gone for wood-effect wall coverings and flooring. The shower wall panels feature a salvaged plank effect which is beautiful and organic, but without the maintenance issues, while the herringbone wood-effect Stone Plastic Composite (SPC) flooring is easy to fit and simple to clean. Both materials, along with the rustic shelving, bring a sense of comfort to the overall design.
We’ve also mixed things up a little, by “zoning” the split level bath area with cooling mint green wall tiles in a vertical arrangement. This results in a more relaxing backdrop for this part of the bathroom.
To achieve a truly cohesive look, we’ve stuck with the same metallic theme throughout, with a carefully selected heated towel rail, mirror and even wall mounted accessories. These rustic-looking metals result in a luxurious and unified design.
- Calcolo Annecy green matt wall tile 75mm x 150mm
- Multipanel Linda Barker Salvaged Plank unlipped shower wall panel 2400 x 1200
- Calcolo Elkington beechwood herringbone SPC flooring 5mm
- Terma Alex ONE brass electric towel rail
- Accents Higgins round antique gold mirror 800 x 800mm
- Accents Deacon brushed brass accessories
Get the Look in a small bathroom
While it's highly unlikely that many of us have a bathroom as large as the one above, recreating this look in an average-sized bathroom, ensuite, or even a cloakroom, is certainly achievable.
In our average-sized bathroom (below), space constraints mean we've had to lose the shower in favour of a bath (keeping with a contemporary design that's easy to clean). However, we've managed to maintain the luxurious, natural look with the same herringbone flooring, tiles and shower wall panels as our larger room set.
Brushed brass accents continue to shine through—accentuated by our choice of bath tap—tying the whole look together and creating a bathroom that is warm, welcoming and wonderfully opulent.
In a smaller space like this, storage (in the form of the vanity unit and rustic wood shelving) plays an even more important role.
Get the Look
Working with Helen to produce this fabulous bathroom design has been an absolute joy; I hope you've enjoyed it too. And, if you’re in need of inspiration, you’ll be delighted to know this is just one of many, many different bathroom style guides available exclusively at Victoria Plum. Whether you’re interested in a chic, contemporary design or something that’s traditional yet timeless, you're guaranteed to find a look you’ll love. Browse all our “Get the Look” guides today by clicking below.