The Hoover Building Bathroom

Some of you will remember the apartment I helped work on in The Hoover Building a couple of months ago… well today I wanted to show you the last room that I didn’t share before. That’s the bathroom. I didn’t show you because a) I had nothing to do with it and b) bathrooms – especially small ones – are incredibly difficult to photograph so I wanted to wait until the professionals ( in this case Paul Craig) had been in and worked his magic.

So this is the view from the bedroom. I visited the flat before Lucy started decorating and while the bathroom was fine it wasn’t her style at all. It’s a fairly small windowless room and the brown tiles make it even darker. It was slightly at odds with the rest of the apartment.

But there were practical issues too. Lucy is tall and the original shower over the bath raised the whole thing too high and meant she couldn’t stand up in the shower. The basin unit was dark wood as well which together with the brown tiles made the room darker than it needed to be.

bathroom by west one at the hoover building
Cielo Narciso basin and stand – in Cipria (PINK) basin with Matt black stand and BRINA ( GREY) storage below TILING – floor and behind WC and basin – Mate Hexagon in GRIGIO

There was also a large mirror (with nice fan detailing on the edges) but as Lucy said: “While the style of the mirror was in keeping with the rest of the building I did not need to see my naked body at such close quarters during a shower.”

Here you are if you want a look:

In addition to that the floor showed every drip and watermark and there was no storage. In short, there was nothing right with it. So she turned to West One Bathrooms on my advice as I had been writing about them on these pages and I knew they had just launched a full design and build service. This costs around £450 but is redeemable against any purchases you make for the room.

Cielo Catino Oval mirror cabinet black
Cielo Catino Oval mirror cabinet black Brassware – all West One Bathrooms 5th Avenue in Brushed Brass with the new GEO handles

Lucy’s brief, it won’t entirely surprise you to learn, was feminine and statement. But not too girly (hence the black). There needed to be a reference to the Art Deco period of the building, which was done with the herringbone tile pattern. And there had to be lots of storage as Lucy is a self-confessed “product fiend”.

“I did have to persuade them to let me have a shower recess as they said it was old fashioned but I hate having lots of product sitting on the floor and I’m so glad I talked them into it and it’s really handy.

Cielo Narciso basin and stand – in Cipria (PINK) basin with Matt black stand and BRINA ( GREY) storage below

The oval mirror over the pink basin is also a shallow cabinet (remember in a bathroom you can get away with a cupboard that is only one bottle width deep so you don’t have to worry about losing lots of space).

There are also drawers under the basin which hide even more stuff.

West One Bathrooms DIESEL Shades of blinds in PINK in herringbone pattern
West One Bathrooms DIESEL Shades of blinds tiles in PINK in herringbone pattern Shower screen – Deco door and inline panel

Louise Ashdown, designer at West One, created the original design and Lucy tweaked a few details such as the mirror cabinet, in which she added a shaver socket so that her toothbrush can charge out of sight. She also added the drawers to the vanity unit and suggested the crittal style shower doors go all the way across instead of half way as she thought that would have more of an impact. It’s less private but it is more dramatic.

allpaper – on basin and WC wall in Olimpo – a deco black and white abstract marble pattern
allpaper – on basin and WC wall in Olimpo – a deco black and white abstract marble pattern Brassware – all West One Bathrooms 5th Avenue in Brushed Brass with the new GEO handles

Louise said: “Lucy’s initial thoughts were that she loved matt black, brass and wanted a bit of pink – but had thought these would be applied to wall coverings and taps only.

“With the Hoover building being such an iconic building, I wanted to show hints at a bygone era in a contemporary way – you can’t just use standard products in here – so I encouraged her to push her boundaries a bit and suggested the stunning Cielo Mini Narciso basin in CIPRIA ( Pink) with BRINA ( GREY) storage drawers on a matt black industrial stand.

West One Bathrooms DIESEL Shades of blinds in PINK in herringbone pattern

“This  also nods to the former factory use of the building, but incorporates some deco colours and fun too. I placed the Cielo Brina WC next to the basin to blend with the unit and tie them together for a more cohesive look… additional storage of the lozenge style cabinet above the basin with black task light on wall.

“Ripping out the bath with shower over opened up the floor space plus made best use for showering and created a stunning feature as you enter meaning the whole back wall would be the walk in shower with a deco crittal effect pattern.

“For the brassware we used our own brand, West One Bathroom Industrial feel 5th Avenue taps in Brushed Brass with our new GEO handles. The shape of the handles is also reflected in the subtle grey shades of the hexagonal floor tiles – again to tie with the grey loo and unit.

Underfloor heating under the floor tiles creates warmth from floor up plus keeps the internal bathroom fresh and dry, which is especially important with a walk-in shower.

The impact wall opposite door has the stunning Diesel Shades of Blinds tiles in a clever herringbone pattern which accentuates to shading on the tiles and the side wall for the basin, loo and part of the shower has the stunning abstract glamour of the Olimpo marble effect Waterproof wallpaper.

There is a lot going on within such a small space but the colour pallet moves and blends beautifully, creating a fun and practical space for showering more befitting of the building it’s in.”

So, whaddyafink? I have seen it in real life and it is a gorgeous job. I have


This was not a sponsored post but I have worked with West One before as you know and I agreed to write about this bathroom transformation for them. 







Kate Watson-Smyth

The author Kate Watson-Smyth

I’m a journalist who writes about interiors mainly for The Financial Times but I have also written regularly for The Independent and The Daily Mail. My house has been in Living Etc, HeartHome and featured in The Wall Street Journal & Corriere della Sera. I also run an interior styling consultancy Mad About Your House. Welcome to my Mad House.


  1. I find this to be at odds with the “do less harm” post. Wasn’t the original bathroom almost brand new? Did they manage to find a new home for the old fittings? I do understand the lack of storage and height problem but this doesn’t sit right with me.

    1. This was a post I promised to write a long time ago and while I can make changes in my own life and compile a directory of places so you can all make informed choices about where you shop, I can’t change all the content overnight. This is still a blog about giving advice and inspiration and ideas and not everything will sit well with everyone all the time. I understand completely your point of view and can make inquiries as to what happened to the old fittings.

  2. Using a specialist firm has got to be the secret to success. Developers build the ” before” bathroom time and time again . There should be an option if you are lucky enough to be first purchaser or buy off plan. Hope the new stuff that was thrown out was recycled.
    We wanted changes but the developer said it was impossible to have a flat floor, no shower tray. This is another reason to have a specialist in and dam the cost, magic can happen!

    1. On the other hand, if the shower is going to be a problem for the owner every day for the next X number of years why shouldn’t she change it? I totally understand it’s not the most environmentally friendly thing to do but if she is tall and has to limbo into the shower everyday her physio might be seeing her a lot more. No one would be critical if she was adapting a bathroom because of a disability after all.

      1. I guess the environmental cost/wasteful element could be justified -possibly- on the grounds that the owner can’t stand up in the shower. But look at the photograph of the original bathroom. The shower head is practically flush with the ceiling. Even a 7 foot tall man should be able to stand up in that shower, whether it’s inside the bath or not. That particular sentence in this piece really raised an eyebrow with me. It doesn’t seem like a credible claim, but there we go.

  3. Sorry…too many disparate elements going on in a small space though each element is appealing. I just don’t like the mix but I’m super conservative so maybe it’s just me.

  4. I’ve just had two bathrooms done and also had to argue for recesses – the designer said that bottles of shampoo would spoil the look but had no other suggestions for storage so I won. However I think the real reason designers hate them is because they can be tricky to install. In both of our bathrooms the renderer managed to accidentally knock through to the adjoining room and then had to repair and repaint the walls. At the time I started to question my wisdom but now it’s all done I’m pleased I’ve got them.

    1. I think it’s an installation thing rather than a fashion. I know lots of builders hate doing them and they can suffer from leaks too. Having said that, I had one once and it was great… till it leaked!

      1. Oh dear – that’s NOT what I wanted to hear Kate! Mind you, I’ve had one in my en-suite shower for 10 years and it hasn’t caused any problems so I’ll keep my fingers crossed!

  5. How is a shower recess old fashioned? What? It’s functional and makes the shower stuff look far neater than anything else that I’ve seen.
    The pink tile is lovely, as is the sink. The cool gray of the marble, toilet and cabinet feel off and like they clash a bit with the floor. I think a white toilet and cabinet in the tone of the white from the marble wall would have worked better.

  6. I love this Kate, so in keeping with the building and the perfect blend of femininity and something more edgy. We have a space without a window that we are thinking of converting into a bathroom – does the room get enough light? What about keeping condensation down?

    1. You often see bathrooms without windows in flat conversions for example, so I don’t think that’s a deal breaker. You could see if you could create an internal window high up over the door or at the top of the wall so that you can steal light from the room next door – it’s what they would do in a hotel and if it’s high enough then privacy isn’t an issue although you could use frosted glass if you weren’t sure. Then you will need a good extractor fan for steam and condensation and it should be fine. Install big mirrors – well as big as you dare to bounce the light around. You could have a mirror the same size as and opposite an internal window to reflect the light back out for example.

      1. Thank you, that’s great advice – off to measure the possibility of a window above the door!

  7. Goodness that is lovely. Have a similar issue with a tiny shower room for the teenagers. Do you have any idea what her budget was? I know all things are possible with an enormous budget!!

    1. It was very expensive but you probably don’t need waterproof wallpaper and all the different coloured sanitaryware. Maybe splurge on the crittall style shower door, use metro tiles laid in a herringbone on the walls and make sure you incorporate enough storage.

  8. Really lovely! Not my personal taste but that isn’t the point – it looks good and has been done well! Are recesses really out of fashion? They are so immensely useful! Also love a mirror cabinet with built in charging point – practicality all the way, I can’t stand seeing a charging point either. Great job!

  9. I really like this bathroom
    Do you happen to know where the shower screen/door is from?

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