DIY grandad helps granddaughter save thousands on amazing bathroom renovation

If you’re planning a renovation job, it might be a good idea to rope in a family member to help you.

This is exactly what Rachel Green, a midwife from the West Midlands, decided to do – and she and her 80-year-old grandad Michael, overhauled her bathroom – with incredible results.

Rachel and Michael also had help from Rachels’ partner Ben, and the multigenerational team managed to create the bathroom of their dreams on a budget.

The family turned their dull-looking bathroom into a gorgeous monochrome vision, each taking on different tasks, such as painting, woodwork and plastering, to save over £4,000 on the cost of a builder.

‘I get a lot of inspiration from Pinterest and Instagram. I also browse through some home magazines but I generally pick out bits I like from lots of different places and think about how they can all work together,’ Rachel tells money-saving community LatestDeals.co.uk.

‘I have always loved traditional styling and period homes so I knew that our new bathroom would have an element of this. As soon as I saw the sink on Victoria Plum I knew instantly that’s what I wanted.

‘We then selected the set which we thought was going to work best for the rest of the bathroom. The set chosen from Victoria Plum was The Orchard Dulwich stone grey washstand suite with a straight bath.’

Rachel, who shares her DIY tips on Instagram at @number14_renovations, says they originally loved the idea of a freestanding bath, but with the size of the room and the cost, they decided against it.

‘With the wood panel effect on the bath I felt like this was a nice touch that seemed to soften the appearance,’ she adds.

‘The suite cost about £1,600 which included the suite, taps and fittings. We chose a slightly more expensive shower head only because I’ve dreamt of having a large luxurious shower head.’

Rachel and Ben completely stripped the bathroom back to brick and started fresh with bathroom plasterboard and fresh plaster.

‘We primed the walls, and then started with new tiles including a small section of border tiles as I didn’t want the whole bathroom tiled,’ she adds.

‘I chose to paint the remaining walls in bathroom paint that I got colour matched through Valspar in B&Q to the same grey as the toilet seat and bath panel.

‘The white subway wall and patterned floor tiles were from Topps Tiles. The border tiles we ordered from a local tile shop called Tile Land via the original style Winchester collection booklet, all costing about £400 in total.’

Rachel says buying samples in different sizes to place in the room really helped them to picture what they wanted.

‘I thought having the black grid style shower screen it would really work well together and we were super pleased with how it turned out,’ she says.

‘The shower screen was from Plumbworld costing a bargain of £89.97 including postage. I searched for ages trying to find one in the style I wanted that didn’t cost the earth.

‘The Victoria Plum black grid shower screen was over £250 which I just couldn’t justify. The quality of the one we have from Plumbworld is lovely, it’s a real statement piece and we’re really pleased with how it looks.’

The trio also changed the layout of the room to help with space, which meant they had to move the toilet waste pipe and also accommodate a radiator.

‘Due to our ceiling being sloped on one side and the style of shower head we wanted, we had to put the shower on the opposite side of the wall due to the height,’ she adds.

‘Other materials such as grout, adhesive, boarding for the floor, black trim, tile spacers, architrave for the door and the skirting boards were all bought from either our local tile shop or B&Q.

‘Tools-wise, my grandad had everything we needed so luckily we didn’t have to buy any of those.

‘My grandad, even though he is 80 years old, did basically the whole bathroom himself with a little help from us.

‘He didn’t want us to have to spend a huge amount on getting it done when he knew he could do it just as well as they could.

‘He’s a perfectionist and so am I, which is why I knew that we could work as a team to get things sorted. He knows I am super picky about things so I reckon a bathroom fitter would have got sick of me and left.’

Rachel says her granddad has a deep understanding of her personality and is able to cope with her particular needs.

‘I have a huge amount of respect and pride for the work that he does and him doing this for us as a moving in present is more than I could ever ask for,’ she says.

‘He’s done countless DIY, decorating, plumbing and so on. He’s always fixing or faffing with something in the garage.

‘You’ll never find him without something to do. You name it, he knows something about it.’

The couple hired a plumber to fit a radiator and a plasterer for the walls, but they didn’t pay for any other labour.

‘We were very lucky to have free labour and can’t technically take much credit for any of the actual hands on work. However, I did paint all the woodwork and walls,’ says Rachel.

‘I have promised my grandad a meal out – or five – as a thank you.’

Rachel is over the moon with her gorgeous new bathroom, and has lots of handy tips for pulling off your own bathroom renovation on a budget.

‘We are super relieved it’s now done,’ she adds. ‘It’s taken us a long time to get it right – nothing is ever straightforward.

‘We were lucky enough to have a wet room downstairs that we used while the renovation took place, so the time pressure to get it done was a bit more leisurely.

‘The only things we have left to do are to pick out some new towels and other little bits of décor like plants and storage.

‘My top tip would be to do your research on where you can get the best deals but also be mindful of the quality of what you’re buying. You buy cheap, you buy twice!

‘Read reviews of the products you want and always have a buffer for if things don’t go to plan and set yourself a budget for what you need.

‘I googled before we first started and it says the average cost of a small bathroom being done by a professional is between £5,000 and £7,000.

“The total cost for everything in our bathroom was under £2,500. Our whole house needs renovating so being able to do anything and everything on a budget is crucial.’

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