My Ensuite Bathroom Renovation Experience, Before & After by Dainty Dress Diaries

Categories: Bathroom Trends, Bathrooms, Guest Blog, Homeowner's Tips

My Ensuite Bathroom Renovation Experience, Before & After by Dainty Dress Diaries

Catherine Carton Dainty Dress Diaries

We were delighted to partner with Dainty Dress Diaries to help Catherine Carton transform her bathroom!

Catherine's en-suite had a complete SONAS Bathroom makeover, guided by Sandra Roca, one of our fabulous SONAS Experts in our showroom. Make sure to check out her guest blog and YouTube video on the complete SONAS Bathroom journey, from start to finish.


One of the perks of lockdown was having more time to plan projects. While being tucked away at home, I started planning my ensuite bathroom renovation. If you are contemplating a bathroom renovation, I hope this post gives you inspiration and ideas on what to expect.

It was my first time to have any work carried out on my house, so I was both nervous and excited.

All the years of doing DIY jobs here and there meant I could save up some money to pay for a project.

I will be eight years in my home this Autumn, and it’s my first time doing a big project in my house, so I wanted to get it right. In this post, I will share all of the product details and info on my ensuite bathroom renovation. If I have left out anything, comment below in the comments section, and I will get back to you.


My Ensuite Bathroom Before

My home is not your usual layout. It is a dormer style cottage bungalow, so it has sloping walls that you see in bungalow homes. This ensuite is just off my bedroom, and I had never properly used it.

I had never used the shower in it and only used the toilet. It was an unloved waste of a room, and I wanted to breathe some life into it. When I first moved in, it had pine skirting boards, and the walls painted magnolia. There was a shower with a thick lip and old plastic fittings, and I never used it in the eight years I have lived here, as I always used the other bathroom.

A few years ago, I painted it white and added some paper. While it added some personality and made the room feel clean, it still wasn’t right, so I decided to leave it until I had the money to do it properly.

DAinty Dress Diaries Bathroom Before As my home is small, I hate the idea of wasting space and having unused rooms. I am so happy to have renovated this room and have it as a usable space.

How I Chose A Builder For My Ensuite Bathroom Renovation

When it comes to finding a builder, it can be overwhelming and scary, especially when you are new to tackling renovation projects in your home. You want to pick someone who will be efficient, professional and not a cowboy. Google searches and reading reviews can quickly become overwhelming.

I decided to reach out and ask locally. I asked around and reached out to Fiona in SONAS and she was able I recommend some contractors that were in my area.

After looking at their work and reading their reviews, I decided to go with Tomás Walsh from Walsh Tiling & Bathroom Renovations. I arranged an appointment to have a consultation with Tomás to see what I could do with my bathroom.

If you are struggling to find a builder to carry out the work you want, be patient.

  • Ask friends and family for recommendations
  • Use social media groups and pages for recommendations and reviews.
  • Take your time to look over their previous work, and make sure that the photos they use on their website are there of their very own work and not stock photos.

On the back of the easing of Covid restrictions, many builders are under pressure to carry out jobs from the previous year. So, you may need to wait to find the perfect one for you.

Walshs Tiling

Reconfiguring My Ensuite Bathroom

Tomás was able to reconfigure the layout of my ensuite bathroom. We decided on making the back wall a feature and turn it into a large shower. Reconfiguring the layout opened up the bathroom and meant the toilet and sink could be repositioned and were no longer the first thing you saw when you walked into the bathroom.

One thing that was always missing from my ensuite was heat, and I never had a radiator or a towel rail in this room. Not having heat isn’t ideal in an Irish Winter, so I was delighted to add some warmth into the ensuite.

With bathrooms, you don’t know what can be hiding underneath until you strip it back. I had some clogged pipes ( not sexy, I know! ), and this meant Tomás had to spend more time fitting new piping in the bathroom.

It’s always good to keep aside some extra money to use when you encounter problems in your renovation, especially in an older home like mine, where I didn’t buy it new, so what lies beneath the surface is a mystery.

Every corner of my ensuite bathroom was ripped apart, and Tomás did an amazing job managing the whole project. Tomás did all of the labour and organised the tiler, and my ensuite bathroom renovation took five days from start to finish. All I had to do was some painting and faffing.

If you are in Dublin, and need someone to tackle your bathroom ensuite renovation, then you can find Tomás Walsh business page here, and also follow him on Instagram here.

Choosing the bathroom tiles, Chevron or Herringbone?

I found picking tiles the hardest, and I couldn’t decide which patterns and colours to put together. I knew I wanted light tones and a timeless tile pattern so that the bathroom would age well.

As I could sell this house in the future, I played it safe and went for neutral tones that wouldn’t date quickly. Tiles are expensive, and they are costly to replace, so I wanted something classic. While I adore the fancy pink tiles you see in coffee shops, they aren’t practical in the long term in my home.

Both Tomás and Fiona from SONAS recommended going to Laceys for tiles. I arranged a showroom appointment with Aine in Laceys and picked my tiles. Aine is an expert when it comes to tiles, and helped me think about practical things like cleaning and maintenance when it comes to tiles.

When I first went in, I was thinking of a feature wall of herringbone for the shower, then Aine showed me the chevron pattern tile, and I was in love! I loved that it was modern but classic.

I teamed the chevron tile with a marble tile, and I decided to use the same tile on both the walls and floors. Originally, I was going to pick a different tile for the flooring until Aine said I could do both on the floor and wall, and Im delighted I went with it.

You can call or email to arrange an appointment to visit Laceys tile and bathroom centre. The marble I choose is on display in the showroom. However, the chevron I picked was ordered in by Aine for me. I chose a matt finish on both tiles.


Choosing The Bathroom Fittings

One of the exciting parts of renovations is picking the items you want to use inside your bathroom, and I spent hours flicking through the SONAS catalogue trying to decide on what I wanted.

There was so much to think of, from a toilet to sinks and a shower. However, Tomás had given me a list of items from our initial quote, and I used this as a base to work off.

You can also reuse old items in your bathroom, and while I had a full kit out, you can see where you can keep old pieces to cut down on renovation costs.

Dainty Dress Diaries Bathroom

Arranging A Showroom Visit In SONAS

While I had an idea of what I wanted, I did a virtual showroom tour with Sandra in SONAS to see the items. Now that restriction is eased, you can arrange an appointment for showroom tours, which I highly recommend.

While I don’t mind shopping online for a dress, when it comes to higher ticket items for the home and furniture, I prefer to see, touch, and measure things in person.

If you are unsure where to start with your bathroom renovation project, check out the SONAS Instagram page and keep an eye out for virtual workshops. I did a virtual class with SONAS back in February, and I found it helpful for planning.

It made me realise I was a bit naive with my budget and expectations, so I spent more time planning and put more money aside for the project.

If you do a showroom visit, I highly recommend Sandra in SONAS. Sandra was so friendly, patient and helped me pick items that would match. She had loads of product knowledge, and I wasn’t afraid to ask silly questions.

Going Rimless?

What is a rimless toilet, and why should I consider one?

Rimless toilets are easier to clean and more hygienic compared to traditional toilets. Rimless toilets don’t have a traditional rim, making it easier to clean as those hard to reach areas in a traditional toilet are gone.

They have advance flushing systems that flush those pesky germs away. As there is no rim for the germs to hide, it is a more hygienic option for your bathroom.

I have the SONAS Claire rimless wall hung in my ensuite. Click for more info. 

Dainty Dress Diaries Bathroom

Adding Storage In The Ensuite Bathroom

I am very minimal when it comes to having cosmetics in the bathroom, and I hate seeing shower bottles all over the shower floor. However, I still needed some storage in my bathroom.

I choose the SONAS Malmo single drawer unit in grey, and I went for chrome fittings and a gloss basin. This unit has deep drawers and an open shelf for added storage. I can fit my cleaners, creams and shower gels perfectly in the drawers. Also, I pop my toothbrush inside the drawer, as it’s more hygienic to have the toothbrush in a drawer than on display in the bathroom.

For the tap, I chose the Devon mono basin tap as it has a pretty waterfall feature.

Dainty Dress Diaries

Dainty Dress Diaries Bathroom

A massive thank you to Tomás Walsh, Fiona and Sandra in SONAS and Aine in Laceys for all of their help, input and advice with this ensuite bathroom renovation, as I would have been lost without their guidance and help. It really did take a village to pull this together, and I am delighted with the result.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help along the way with your renovation project. Now I have the renovation bug, but sadly my bank balance doesn’t, so I will have to wait and save up for the main bathroom renovation.

Thanks for reading, Catherine.

Make sure to check out Catherine's fabulous projects on the Dainty Dress Diaries website, Instagram and YouTube Channel.

** This post contains PR gifted product from SONAS Bathrooms Ireland**