See how this tired bathroom in Kaiapoi received a luxe tile update

A tired bathroom in Kaiapoi gets the luxe floor-to-ceiling tile treatment. Get inspired by the before and after pics and discover this family’s renovation story


Who lives here?
Kerry Stevenson, manager/director, Ben Stevenson, builder, Knox, 6, and Frankie, 3, plus pugs Gavin and Moe.

See how this tired bathroom in Kaiapoi received a luxe tile update

Why did you purchase your home?
Kerry: Because it was untouched. It was an original mid-1990s home – a blank canvas. I loved the layout and the space; it had really good bones to work with. Although it’s always a massive job, we seem to be a couple of reno junkies.

What did you love about it?
It gets all-day sun, the living areas are open and they’re quite a distance from the bedrooms, which is great for entertaining when you have young children.

What did you not like about it?
The decor. The bathrooms and kitchen were horribly outdated. But luckily that’s all changeable.

What was the original bathroom like?
It was in three separate rooms. There were two tiny rooms, one for the shower and one for the toilet, and a large room for the bath and basin – it was a very bizarre layout.


What did you want to achieve?
The first thing we wanted to do was make the bathroom one big, luxurious room. We knew from the get-go we’d have a wet room for the shower as there was so much space, then we just had to figure out the rest of the layout. We took out the unnecessary extra walls and built one big, main wall along the hallway with only one doorway.

What style were you going for?
Modern-industrial with a luxury feel, but still functional and practical for a busy family. With the era of this house you can only really shoot for the stars in terms of style. It’s not a character home, there’s no charm or quirks to work with, so you have to put in the effort to make it have a cool and modern feel. There is nothing to preserve so you get to give the home a brand-new life.

What made you opt for such a bold marble look?
I have loved white marble tiles forever. I think they’re a classic; they never get old. Ben really wanted black marble to begin with, but I was able to overrule him – he knows it’s best to leave the design to me!


What was your budget?
We were hoping not to exceed $20K but it ended up being double that. Converting to gas was a hit to the budget.

What did you save and splurge on?
We saved on a builder and a designer; luckily we were able to do those tasks ourselves. We splurged on tapware – it’s a feature on its own. Real copper does not come cheap and I had my heart set
on it. It ages so beautifully, bringing in a timeless, industrial feel.


Did you use tradies or do most of the work yourselves?
We tried to do as much of it as possible ourselves to save money. We knew it wasn’t going to be cheap and we didn’t want to cut corners on quality. Ben did all the building work and we designed the whole layout ourselves.

What were some of the challenges of working with marble?
The tiling took a very long time. It was a huge job. I refused to have trim on any edges as I thought it looked cheap and drew the eye. I got the idea of not using trim from The Block NZ. We had to have special help getting everything fixed to the walls as Ben was too afraid to do it on his own in case he cracked the tiles.

What prompted you to convert to gas?
You cannot have a bath that big using only a hot water cylinder, you’d drain the cylinder with every bath. The water pressure was never the best so switching to gas was in our minds from the beginning.

Any major disasters during the reno process?
No, we had the luxury of time. With an ensuite to use in the meantime, no one was under any pressure to get it done quickly. And I think that can help to avoid any disasters.


Tell us about the styling.
We got the biggest possible round mirror custom cut, and I went shopping for art and plants. It was important to have some greenery because white bathrooms can look quite sterile.

How does the new bathroom work for you?
It’s perfect. It’s comfortable and there’s so much space. I don’t think the layout could be any better. We can get all the family in there easily.

Is there anything you’d change?
I’d probably add towel rails to the wet room as it’s a bit of a pain walking across the bathroom to the rails, but they can always be added. I also really wanted heated towel rails, but you couldn’t get copper ones in New Zealand. So I settled for individual rails instead, stacked above each other.

Words by: Fiona Ralph. Photography by: Kate Claridge.

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