When we first began, not only was there no water supply; there were no bathroom walls!
As we were already having some plumbing work done outside, it made sense to install a mains water supply to the barn, together with sewage pipes connecting to an existing septic tank.
If this isn’t feasible for you, alternatives to a mains system could include, depending on practicality and preference, a rainwater collection system and a composting toilet – used with sawdust, or you can even get ones that flush. Off Grid Designs specialise in helping people to build and use simple compost toilets whether it’s for a boat, van, cabin, tiny-house or campsite. They also make high quality special toilets to ‘custom’ specifications, and their prices are very reasonable.
As we are fortunate enough to have good water pressure, being located next to a reservoir, we decided to install an unvented water cylinder. I initially had no idea what this was, but basically it means it doesn’t have a header tank, so is ideal for single-storey buildings. Fed directly from the mains water supply, it heats water and stores it in an insulated cylinder. (By the way you don’t have to be next to a reservoir, just have reasonable water pressure. We have used these elsewhere with good results.)
Quotes for various unvented cylinders from our plumber were as follows:
Labour – £200.00
Pipework and materials – £110.00
Telford Tempest 200L Direct – £442.00 (Lifetime guarantee)
Sapphire 210L – £506.19
Santon Premier Plus 210L – £814.93
We opted for the Telford Tempest and it is working very well so far. (Whichever you choose, don’t forget the annual service.)
Here is the actual cylinder we had installed – we find it heats water quickly and the water is still hot the next day!
So now there’s plenty of hot water to run a bath and have a lovely soak ?
Bath, basin, W.C.
We selected a traditional style roll-top bath together with a pedestal wash basin and matching W.C. to fit in with the vintage theme. You can find much more expensive ones, but this one fitted our budget whilst still being good quality, using high grade 5mm acrylic, without being too heavy. Avoid the thin flimsy ones!
You can buy a new, vintage or reconditioned bath, washbasin, W.C. etc on Ebay. Here is what we chose:
The wall behind the bath is a partition wall which we built using chipboard screwed to 4″ x 2″ uprights. The wall on the bathroom side, behind the bath, was covered using pieces left over from the waterproof, self-adhesive Gerfloor flooring which we used for the kitchen and bathroom floor – more about that later! The problem with sticking Gerfloor flooring to chipboard was that the chipboard first needed to be sealed with a couple of coats of varnish, and the flooring, although very sticky, then needed to be secured with sealant/adhesive, because of the movement in the chipboard caused by temperature changes.
After much searching, I found a shower tray and doors to fit the available space. The tray is a slate colour to match the rustic decor. I was so pleased with the product and service, including very helpful online advice. The company is home supply.co.uk. Some bathroom companies which advertise extensively have a bad customer review record. However, I can personally vouch for this one!
Shower Wall Panels
Rather than tiling the shower wall, we used waterproof wall panels in a wood effect. I can’t find a link to the exact ones right now but here is something similar: wall panels