Built in 1726, Jo and Joel Harding’s Georgian-style home is one of the oldest in all of Sussex, England. With that title comes endless original charm: Exposed ceiling beams run opposite parquet floors; mossy scalloped siding dresses the exterior; and a stately stone fireplace anchors the sitting room.
But in a twist, the classical elements are joined by a trio of newly renovated, unapologetically modern bathrooms of Jo’s own design (she’s an interiors consultant by trade): an emerald green powder room, a rosy guest bath, and a new top-floor loo for their three kids—Dylan (9), Flynn (6), and Lila (3)—featuring celestial tile that mirrors the cosmos just beyond. “I wanted to live in a house with character, not a museum,” says Jo. Here’s how she pulled off the trifecta in four months with $25,000.
Yes, You Can Spray-Paint Your Sink
In hopes of smoothing out her little ones’ morning routine, Jo hired a team to turn the unused bonus room at the peak of their three-story home into a spacious retreat just for them. The $8,000 rehab—exposing the ceiling’s wood beams, installing plumbing, and blanketing the floor in tile—went as planned until the sink arrived. When Jo placed the matte white fixture next to the shiny soaker tub and coordinating toilet, the finishes clashed. Instead of returning it, she paid a detailer at a friend’s auto shop $200 to spray-paint it gray. Now it perfectly matches the shower floor.
Seek Out (Fixture) Support in Unlikely Places
The crew spent the next two weeks taking the kids’ previous second-story bathroom down to the studs. “It had linoleum flooring and a tub with a broken plug that had to be removed using a plunger,” recalls Jo. “It needed a lot of TLC.”
Outfitting the now guest bath with a new shower and herringbone tile set Jo back $11,000—the priciest of the three spaces—but she balanced the budget by grounding the room in leftover hexagonal tile from the attic makeover and sourcing affordable accents.
Below a $150 arched mirror from H&M stands a vanity held up by—get this—a $30 metal curtain rod. “The sink was supposed to be positioned on a floating shelf, but the wall wasn’t strong enough to support it,” she explains. They cut the shower staple down to create supporting legs and screwed them into the two ledges. “Luckily it came with caps for the ends,” she adds. “We popped those on to hide where the pole had been cut.”
Browse eBay, Not Just the Stone Yard
Shutter doors, an impractically tiny mirror, two kinds of checkerboard tile—the first-floor powder room had way too much going on for Jo’s liking. In three weeks, her team stripped it all away and started anew.
She was originally going to design the space around a vintage scalloped pedestal sink, but everything changed when she came across a curvaceous green marble countertop on eBay for the price of just $85. “It was salvaged from an old property in London that was being gutted. I don’t think the builders who listed it realized what they had,” she says.
Inspired by the piece’s rich hue and unusual profile, she encircled the room in equally verdant beadboard and mounted a mirror to mimic the counter’s swerves. The total cost was $7,000, but clearly throwing out the rule book pays dividends.