Before & after: Classic, contemporary Adelaide bathroom reno

Located inside a 1912 sandstone villa in Adelaide’s Kensington, this bathroom makeover combines classic and contemporary elements that complement the home’s original, period features. Designed by the home’s owner Tahirih Mortal-Duff, who is a property stylist too, the renovation came sooner than expected after water ingress made the makeover an urgent necessity. 


After putting in a pool, Tahirih’s carpenter was looking to add new cladding to the exterior wall of the bathroom when he noticed that all of the shower and bathroom wall studs were rotten. “To our horror, and with only a few months until Christmas and the in-laws arriving, we had to completely gut our only bathroom and adjacent laundry,” says Tahirih.

First up, Tahirih had to come up with a solution that allowed her and her family to remain living in the home throughout the bathroom renovation. She subsequently had a storage cupboard converted to a toilet and an outdoor shower installed next to the pool. “This was all in the peak of winter too!” says Tahirih who project managed the renovation herself using trusted trades in a process that saved her thousands of dollars. All up, the renovation cost around $20,000.

The bathroom was completely stripped and rebuilt – rotten studs were replaced and all the key items were left in their original locations in another cost saving measure. A new shower, bath, vanity and toilet were installed as well as Axon cladding on the walls and fresh tiles on the walls (matte white subway tile) and floor (Carrara-look mosaics).

The shower was enlarged slightly to make it a standard 90cm x 90cm space and the bulky corner spa bath was replaced with a narrow Highgrove Bathrooms freestanding alternative. The pedestal basin was replaced with a compact 700mm wide Birch & Oak Vienna vanity that fits seamlessly between the wall and window but still offers plenty of storage. “This is the only bathroom in the house and it’s on the smaller side, so I wanted it to be functional but still feel spacious. The room now feels so much bigger than it did originally,” says Tahirih.

With a background in science, Tahirih made a career pivot recently when she studied interior design online through the Interior Design Institute – skills she obviously has put to excellent use in this project. Her husband Michael is a real estate agent, and he shares her passion for property. “We have renovated four homes in the past six years. In my spare time, I design and project manage all of our renovations. I think it’s safe to say that we have the renovators’ bug!”

AFTER laundry
AFTER Adjacent laundry

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