Beauty influencer Leigh Campbell, as you might expect, has a lot of skincare! So the original seventies bathroom and ensuite that came with her apartment weren’t cutting it. The overflow had to be kept in baby Alexander’s room! But her new bathrooms are storage heaven and a lot more stylish!
Managing to combine husband Rich’s industrial taste with her love of Moroccan/Turkish vibes, they’re serene but small spaces, where every inch has been maximised. Leigh splurged on handmade Moroccan feature tiles and saved on Bunnings tapware to achieve the reno, which wasn’t really in the budget.
“The original bathrooms were typical of 50 years ago: cream mosaic tiles (not in the good way), thick frosted glass shower and tiny vanities. Storage was dire,” says, Leigh who is executive editor at Mamamia, where she presents the very popular You Beauty podcast. When Leigh reviews makeup and skincare, whether it’s budget or luxury, people sit up and listen! But buying a home when you’re 37 weeks pregnant and then moving in with a newborn, isn’t something she recommends!
“We renovated the kitchen right away because it was unliveable but hadn’t planned on doing the bathrooms so soon after. Then we were heading overseas for a wedding so figured it made sense to do them (and the laundry) while we were already going to be out of the home and the cats would be in boarding. Two birds with one stone and all that.”
“I really needed a lot of face-level storage. I kept asking for it to be bigger! Before we renovated I had secondary storage in my son’s room. He’s one now and accumulating ‘stuff’ of his own so I really needed a proper solution in the bathroom.”
They moved the toilet in the main bathroom so they could accommodate a bigger vanity and also changed the separate bath and shower to a shower over bath. “Not the chicest option but good for resale and the spot for the bath before was simply too small.” Leigh couldn’t handle the thought of cleaning behind a freestanding tub, but getting rid of it altogether was never an option as she enjoys a relaxing soak.
While Rich definitely had a say in the reno of the three-bedroom apartment in Sydney’s Randwick, he left most of the decisions to Leigh. “He stopped me when I wanted a teal concrete sink though, so I knew my limits!”
If the reno newbies had their time again, they’d have done the kitchen, bathrooms and laundry all in one go, before moving in, for cost and consistency. “Renovating when the apartment has your things in it is not ideal. I am still cleaning dust off surfaces, mostly inside my wardrobe, every single day,” Leigh, 38, says.
The improved storage has been the best improvement to the functionality of the bathrooms, and a bigger bath to bathe Alexander too. And while those handmade feature tiles were $200 per sqm, Leigh says they make her heart sing and you can’t put a price on that! “All our matte black tap ware is Mondella from Bunnings; really good prices but still with a 10-year warranty, which was important.”
The Concrete Cloudburst Ceasarstone vanity tops with their textured finish, are another favourite element. Leigh no longer cringes every time she takes a shower, and her evening bath has become much more enjoyable and spa-like.
When it came to the laundry, she had the ingenious idea to incorporate a built-in kitty litter for her two much-loved cats. “Before, we had a huge plastic dome in the laundry for their kitty litter. Not chic. When I was designing the space, I opted for a shallow basin so I could fit their toilet underneath. A doggy door was cut into the cupboard door and there you have it: a built-in kitty toilet.”
While the multitude of decisions can make bathrooms one of the most stressful rooms to renovate, Leigh’s a woman who knows what she wants, and the hardest thing for her was actually wait times. “That’s a lesson learned for next time.”
Photography: Jacqui Turk