An unexpected bathroom renovation

We have lived in our house for two years now. It is a beautiful old Victorian property with bags of potential. However, having a large family, we really could benefit from a loft conversion. Last year the plans were drawn up, submitted and approved. We were excited to go ahead with the work this summer. Then disaster stuck. An unforeseen problem means that instead we will have to do an unexpected bathroom renovation.


What happened?

Early in the year we noticed a few tiles in the archway between the kitchen and dining room had buckled. We then found some worrying cracks. After tracing the source we discovered that the chimney that runs through the middle of the house was simply too heavy. It was pulling the adjoining walls down! We had the option of underpinning or removing the chimney entirely. Since it is an internal chimney we would have to dig the kitchen up to do this. This was likely to cost around thirty thousand without accounting for replacing the kitchen.

What was the alternative?

We have opted for the much cheaper option of removing the chimney breast altogether. Luckily we removed the external chimney when we had scaffolding up last year so only had to remove the chimney that ran through the loft, bathroom and dining room. It’s no small feat and will mean an entire bathroom renovation but will still be a great deal cheaper than the alternative.

A perfectly good bathroom will have to be renovated because of structural problems would have to renovate our perfectly serviceable bathroom

Safety first

You cannot just go around knocking chimneys out willy nilly. Consideration must be made of the structure above and below and whether steels will be needed to support the weight. We have 2 lofts and the chimney runs through the second, unused one. This had to be removed before we could deal with the rooms below. This work in the loft has actually turned to our advantage because we plan to board it out and leave the front loft empty ready for our eventual conversion.

Who would think that this chimney breast would cause so much trouble? An unexpectedbathroom renovation would think that this chimney breast could cause so much trouble?

 Bathroom renovation plans

Although not ideal our current bathroom was perfectly adequate for our needs and there were no immediate plans to change it until the issue with the chimney arose. However, removing the chimney will not only make it bigger it will also make it a more usable shape. We decided if we were having to remove it we may as well do a good job and restyle the whole room. Our plans include a roll top bath, vintage sanitary ware, tongue and groove paneling, period radiators and a waterfall shower. I’m planning shades of heritage green and grey, fluffy towels and ornate floor tiling. It is my idea of bathroom heaven.

 In for a penny, in for a pound

Our inital plan had been to just plaster the wall in the dining room after the necessary bricks were removed. Long term I wanted to make the 2 rooms open plan because the diner is quite a dark room. When this was mentioned the structural engineer pointed out that the later installation of steels would cause movement in the bathroom above and ruin our new plaster work. So now we are knocking out the entire wall and adding steels and making good until we are in the position to redo the kitchen. It won’t look great short term but in the long term it will give us a fantastic 27 foot kitchen diner.

A sneaky peak of the work so far on our unexpected bathroom renovation sneaky peak of the work so far! Apologies for picture quality, there is dust everywhere!

A frustrated property developer?

I do wonder if I have watched one too many property programmes because now I have started knocking down walls I cannot seem to stop. I’m sure a little bit of our builders’ soul shrivels up each time I plan a new addition. This week I have already decided to install 3 new doorways, a new wall and 2 new rooms to the house. All I need now is a lottery win or a money tree to fund my ideas!

In the meantime I’d love it if you came back and followed the work as it happens. I cannot promise pretty pictures as the work occurs. What I can promise is dust, rubble and a realistic idea of how to get the best from your renovation projects.

Check out my Instagram stories for snapshots and little videos of the work (that are not pretty enough to go in my main feed 😉 )


Pin for later:

A structural issue has caused us to embark on an unexpected bathroom renovation


  1. 30th April 2017 / 10:05 PM

    Wow, it sounds like a big job and not ideal that you have kind of been forced into it. It sounds like it’s going to be amazing in the end though, I’ll look forward to seeing the finished results 🙂 #BloggersHomes

    • Louisa
      2nd May 2017 / 10:24 AM

      Thank you. I was happily planning our loft conversion and my new craft room when this happened. I’m making the best of the change of plans and cannot wait to sink into my new bath (washing with baby wipes is wearing very thin at the moment)!

  2. 18th April 2017 / 9:28 PM

    Sometimes unplanned and just HAVING to do it is the best way 🙂 We know all about the dust, drowning in it currently over at our renovation place! Hope your builders are quick workers… #bloggershomes

    • Louisa
      28th April 2017 / 4:30 PM

      I think I have dust in every orifice at the moment, thankfully there is an end in sight!

  3. 13th April 2017 / 6:53 AM

    Wow go you! Although unplanned you have now got the bug. I can’t wait to see what else you do. However, yes a lottery win would be lovely 😉

    Thank you for linking up with #Bloggershomes

    • Louisa
      28th April 2017 / 4:38 PM

      I think it’s a case of now we’ve started we can’t stop. I stay awake at night plotting my next move and have just had a cracking idea for one of the bedrooms 😉

  4. 11th April 2017 / 8:48 AM

    Oh, can’t wait to see the finished results. I love other people’s DIY projects 😉 Good luck

    • Louisa
      28th April 2017 / 4:36 PM

      Thanks. I also love looking at what other people are doing in their homes.

  5. 8th April 2017 / 9:53 PM

    Oh gosh what a palaver!! But better to find out now I suppose before the damage got too much. I do think that renovating becomes a little addictive once you get going 😉 X #HomeEtc

    • Louisa
      28th April 2017 / 4:36 PM

      I totally agree that it gets a little addictive. I don’t know what I’ll do with my time once it’s finished!

  6. 8th April 2017 / 8:40 AM

    Wow that sounds like quite a project! Love your plans for the bathroom though and the kitchen diner. Good luck with all the renovation work. #WotW

    • Louisa
      28th April 2017 / 4:35 PM

      Thank you Louise. Some days it seems a little overwhelming but on the whole it is running along quite smoothly (touch wood)

  7. 7th April 2017 / 8:30 PM

    Oh my – lucky you found out and didn’t do the head in the sand trick. It’s a lot of work, but not having a house with walls would be so much worse. Looking forward to seeing how it progresses – thanks for sharing with #PoCoLo

    • Louisa
      28th April 2017 / 4:33 PM

      I’m glad we found out now and not half way through the loft conversion. That would’ve been a disaster and although unplanned, I’m excited for a new bathroom.

  8. 7th April 2017 / 6:52 PM

    Oh gosh! That sounds like a lot of work…
    I can’t wait to see the end result x

    • Louisa
      28th April 2017 / 4:32 PM

      Thanks Kim, I can’t wait to be able to have a nice long bubble bath!

    • Louisa
      28th April 2017 / 4:31 PM

      Thank you. It has escalated again since we started and we have added another room into the mix!

  9. 7th April 2017 / 12:03 PM

    Oh goodness. Always the way. When we were gutting our place, I used to dread my phone ringing if I knew it was our builders. It added ££s every time. Silver lining that it will give you more space and a bathroom of your dreams. I still squeal inside when I look at the bathroom we put in eight years ago, which was my design. Your plan sounds amazing. #wotw

    • Louisa
      7th April 2017 / 12:07 PM

      Touch wood, it has gone smoothly so far and we have actually been able to keep the costs down. However, the last couple of projects we’ve had have thrown up all sorts of issues that blew our budget out of the window. You really have no idea what’s lurking beneath your walls do you? I’m so looking forward to having a beautiful bathroom and focusing on that when the dust gets a little too much x

  10. 7th April 2017 / 10:36 AM

    I always shiver at the thought of renovations like this. We needed so much work in our last house and I was glad we never got around to doing it, even rewiring the house was a complete nightmare for me. Although the end results are always welcomed 🙂 Thankfully, I moved to a new build house and hopefully we won’t be planning any big renovations any time soon. I hope yours goes well and I’ll be looking forward to watching your progress and the end result which I’m sure will be amazing. #WOTW

    • Louisa
      7th April 2017 / 12:30 PM

      I sometimes dream about a hassle free new build but I’m getting quite adjusted to living somewhere that needs lots doing to it. Knocking everything down is the closest I’m going to get to my fantasy of building a house from scratch!

  11. 7th April 2017 / 9:44 AM

    You are going for it, that’s a lot of new plans! It must have been so worrying when you first realised about the chimney and the costs, but sounds like you’re making the best of it and I love the sound of your new bathroom x Thanks for sharing with #WotW

    • Louisa
      7th April 2017 / 12:25 PM

      My heart sank when we realised what was happening. I’m still a little angry that we paid for a full survey and not one issue was flagged up.However, we’re making a good job of sorting it out and will just have to save up again for the loft!! x

  12. 7th April 2017 / 9:37 AM

    Good luck, such a big job you have but your dream bathroom sounds heavenly, I would have loved a roll top bath in our new bathroom if space allowed x #homeetc

    • Louisa
      7th April 2017 / 12:13 PM

      Thank you. I can’t tell you how much I am looking forward to having a nice long bath!

  13. 6th April 2017 / 8:02 PM

    You certainly don’t do things by halves! Looking forward to seeing the end result!

    • Louisa
      7th April 2017 / 12:09 PM

      Go big or go home! 😉

  14. 6th April 2017 / 5:51 PM

    Looking forward to seeing this all unfold, Louisa! Lovely to discover your blog x #bloggershomes

    • Louisa
      7th April 2017 / 12:12 PM

      Thank you! I’m excited to share it

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