Antipodean couple Janene and Wayne needed some very specific sanitaryware to complete their bathroom renovation. However, our founders, Kelly and Mark at The Remarkable Toilet Company came to their rescue with the perfect piece…a blue and white toilet pan!
Seasoned travellers – and experienced house renovators – Janene and Wayne Beattie aren’t fazed by much. In fact, they initially lived in London and Scotland, before settling back in Melbourne, Australia. So, in house terms, when they want something, they really go for it. After all, they purchased their current property in Australia by phone auction from Hong Kong! However, this wasn’t one of the typical Australian suburban homes on offer, as Janene explains: “We weren’t excited by the architecture of the typical Australian suburban homes. However, on a visit, we spied this property that my father described as ‘very interesting but I don’t know what you’d do with it.’ It was stone and mud brick with a slate roof. It had character and needed renovation so we thought it sounded perfect!” In fact, the couple has now been living here for 13 years.
An English country house
Their home is not as old as it first appears and Janene describes the style as that of an ‘English country house’. Apparently, a manor house that featured in Australian Ideal Home magazine in 1949 inspired the original builder. Then he completed the first phase (comprising three buildings) in the 1950s.
The builder dug clay from the actual grounds to make the mud bricks used in the construction of this home. Then the main cottage was built later, using reclaimed bluestone, topped with a Welsh slate roof. In fact, organic materials and reclaimed/recycled pieces have been a key component throughout this renovation project. So, the couple’s home still features reclaimed timbers, beams, windows, doors and flagstones.
Then, in 2009, the couple extended the cottage. Janene’s home still boasts a large 1880s lead light window and a reclaimed cedar staircase and marble fire surround. However, in addition, this home now has a gorgeous, main bathroom.
Janene says: “Having completed all the other rooms, the time finally came to tackle the bathroom at the start of this year.” In fact, Janene discovered us at The Remarkable Toilet Company following a desperate search online for a blue and white toilet pan.
The cottage’s original bathroom had three main components that underpinned the décor. These included an old blue and white basin and an old blue and white toilet pan (plus associated seat and cistern).
In line with Janene’s philosophy to reclaim and re-use, she intended to clean up, but retain, the toilet pan and basin. The couple would then simply update the room with a new shower recess, plumbing fixtures and lights. However, that’s when things started to go awry.
Janene explains: “The toilet pan did not appreciate the vibrations from jack hammering the concrete walls and floor in the shower area. So, the existing hairline cracks in the toilet pan glaze gave way and it subsequently started to leak due to these vibrations.”
Then, the search began for a replacement. Janene was committed to keeping the blue and white basin (which survived the jack hammering intact). But it wasn’t easy to source a blue and white toilet pan to match. She says she did discover a similar toilet pan on a UK auction site. But Janene just wasn’t convinced the Victorian piece would enjoy the long journey to Oz. So, she decided instead to order a bespoke blue and white toilet pan from us.
The beauty of blue and white
We made Janene’s new toilet pan from one of our existing designs. This way, we could create a piece, to complement the traditional style of the existing furniture and sanitaryware. Then, when it came to shipping the piece, we ensured it was extremely well packaged for international transport. After all, we ship products worldwide on a regular basis, so we’re used to it! So, as a result, this new toilet pan arrived safely and securely via expedited shipment.
Janene adds: “The result was well worth the wait. We are delighted with our blue and white toilet pan from The Remarkable Toilet Company. It’s easy to clean and flushes beautifully! It’s the perfect replacement for the old one and complements our bathroom design so well.”
The new toilet pan has a near-identical profile to the couple’s old Victorian pan, which meant it would fit into the existing plumbing. In fact, it’s even compatible with the old cistern and seat. Janene added one of our new Burlington toilet roll holders, too, to provide the finishing touch!
The Beatties don’t generally begin a renovation project with a strict budget. Instead, they carry out the majority of the work themselves and shop around to source what they need as economically as possible. So, Janene admits that the new toilet pan was an unexpected cost. However, they felt that the extra for their perfect blue and white pan was certainly justified.
Reclaim, re-use, re-purpose
A stunning Carrera marble boat bath is the third component of the Beatties’ bathroom. This particular model dates back more than 100 years. In fact, Janene believes this tub featured in the property’s original bathroom. Described by Janene as an obvious ‘keep me’, it needed plenty of treatment to remove ingrained dirt then seal the bath. Janene even managed to salvage the existing bath taps with some new washers which she describes as ‘as good as ever’.
The Beatties are justifiably proud of their commitment to reclaim and re-use wherever feasible. After all, their existing toilet pan did not make it through their renovation work, but other sanitaryware did. The couple prefer to do their own design and product sourcing, rather than working with an interior designer. And they do as much of the renovation work as possible, only bringing in relevant trades when absolutely necessary.
We think they clearly have a discerning eye and they know their way around online shopping. They found an old chiffonier on e-bay, which they then repurposed to make a vanity unit. They also sourced Carrera marble wall tiles and porcelain floor tiles from a local tile gallery. Finally, they repurposed an Edwardian over-mantel to create a unique bathroom mirror.
Janene adds: “Our guests love the fresh, new bathroom and they appreciate that it incorporates old and new seamlessly.”
Eyes on the prize
While Janene appreciates the results are always worthwhile, she is honest that home renovations are not always easy. She admits that some tasks are less pleasant than others and that there are always unforeseen challenges to overcome.
Does Janene have any advice? Firstly, try hard to keep the faith at the beginning. Once the process is underway, and the end is in sight, everything is much more enjoyable. Secondly, she says make sure you have professional tradesmen and retail partners you can trust. She adds: “I would certainly recommend The Remarkable Toilet Company for your range of unique, bespoke and period replica sanitaryware and fittings. After all, our toilet pan fits in perfectly with its surroundings”
Our team is absolutely delighted with the results. The toilet pan showcases our skills and ability to replicate period sanitaryware, which will sit harmoniously alongside any original pieces.
Looking for the ultimate bespoke piece for your luxury bathroom? We can design and create top quality bespoke sanitaryware to complement your bathroom scheme. However, we also have existing items and you can see examples on our website here. Call us on 01362 684102 or email firstname.lastname@example.org