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How to create a modern impactful bathroom with Mandarin Stone

A recent collaboration between Mandarin Stone X Form and Balance resulted in a beautiful, stylish bathroom. Here Emma, from Form and Balance talks us through her bathroom design process.


I’m Emma, a Visual Interior Stylist and designer based in Glasgow. At the end of 2018, my husband, daughter and I moved into our first proper family home, an old fashioned Victorian Terrace in Glasgow that needed to be completely renovated.

I started working in an independent lifestyle store as a Saturday girl and instantly fell in love with all things interiors. I am a big advocate of small independent brands and designers, while also scouring local second-hand stores and the high street for budget-friendly furniture and accessories. We try to focus on being mindful of the period features in the house whilst putting our modern stamp on it. We are a family of slow renovators, taking our time and carefully curating everything we use and design in the house.

We recently paired up with Mandarin Stone, to help renovate our old fashioned and tired family bathroom in a modern impactful sanctuary. Like most Victorian Terrace Houses built around the 1900s, our one and only family bathroom is on the small side. Measuring 4.4 m² in total floor space, it was tiled from floor to ceiling in mint green. The ceiling was clad in white and silver stripe wet wall, and the only source of heat came from an electric fan heater situated at the top of the wall that smelt of burning if left on for too long.

With such a small space to work with we knew we needed to get some advice from a professional. Our bathroom fitter came to the house to measure up and went over a few different layout options with us. The team had to completely level out the floor, as there was quite a considerable slope. All the walls needed re-built as the lath and plaster pretty much disintegrated right before your eyes. We also replaced the old leaky window as the previous owner had put one in that was smaller than the original. The old awkward chimney breast was split and over two levels so we squared this off to make one full-height box section behind the toilet and shortened it to allow for a slightly bigger bath. We decided the best layout of the bathroom was to put the bath under the window and the sink in place of the old shower cubicle. To open up the bathroom and make it seem even bigger we flipped the door the opposite way.

With the room being so small I wanted to make an impact but without it being overpowering or having to re-mortgage. And for these two very reasons, I had the amazing opportunity to collaborate with Mandarin Stone. I have followed Mandarin Stone for years now; I love that they are a family run business based in Wales who prides themselves on natural materials and innovative and inspiring designs.

Their tiles are gorgeous, they have a massive range to choose from which made the task of picking very difficult indeed. I knew I wanted a modern pattern in the bathroom that didn’t detract away from the overall look and feel of the house. When the Terrazzo Nouveau Ivory Matt sample arrived it was an instant decision. I love the mix and intensity of all the colours plus the matt chalk-like finish was exactly what I was looking for. Simple, tactile and statement.

Not only did we use these tiles on the floor but we also created a feature backdrop to our vanity washing area and on the side of the bath instead of a bath panel. The tiles are very large but the perfect size to create a block of pattern in one area. One of the nicest things about these tiles is that the colours are right through the tile and therefore doesn’t need a tile trim should you wish to have an exposed side. We chose the terrazzo for our built-in shower shelves (or dookets if you’re from Scotland) for this very reason. They are the perfect height for all our shampoo bottles – we checked by measuring! The lengths you go to avoid bottles all over the bath edge.

I love the terrazzo, it provides so much depth and interest to a space. Mandarin Stone terrazzo porcelain tiles mimic the beautiful appearance of real terrazzo to achieve a fun and stylish surface finish. Ideal for both wall and floor tiling, their comprehensive collection boasts designs from the bold to the more subtle. What more could you want?

The one thing I did know when choosing the shower wall tiles was that I didn’t want really big tiles. I had a very specific shape, size and finish in mind and it was proving very difficult to find till we came across the Mandarin stone Oska tile.

Oska is a simple range of slim, porcelain brick tiles, offered in a range of muted shades. Once again the natural matt finish of the tile was perfectly paired with the Terrazzo. We decided to lay the Oska Linen tiles vertically to add extra height to the wall. The ratio of the length and width of the tiles is perfect and creates a great big clean white space. We finished off the windows using a matt white aluminium tile trim so the tiles flow seamlessly into the window.

For behind the shower itself, we used the Oska tile in Shell. It’s a lovely muted dusky pink shade that sets off the black shower and bath taps. We finished the pink Oska tiles with a black matt tile trim which gives a bold design feature between the shower area and the vanity unit.

We took a long time figuring out the tile placements and what tile was going to create what zone. By grouping certain gorgeous tiles together we have successfully created a modern, impactful and functional family space.

If you would like to see more of our bathroom renovation then please head over to my Instagram, www.instagram.com/formandbalance or click here to view IGTV bathroom tour video.