Thrifty Yorkshire nurse creates bathroom entirely out of recycled materials

A thrifty mum has saved thousands of pounds by building a bathroom entirely out of recycled materials - inside a Shed of the Year runner-up.

Lauretta Denton, 50, spent less than £2,000 to create a fully functioning shower room inside her garden shed.

She spent months sourcing the materials - scouring social media sites, car boot sales and liaising with local shops.

The tiles are made from old plates, coasters and parts of a marble fireplace - which all cost less than £10 from charity shops.

Lauretta Denton, 50, spent less than £2,000 to create a fully functioning shower room inside her garden shed.

And the toilet was donated for free by her plumber, while the shower was bought for just £5.

Lauretta, from Scarborough, said: "I'm massively into everything reclaimed or recycled - including my lovely husband who helped me!

“Ever since the book ‘Stig of the Dump’ was read to me by my primary school teacher - I grew up with the Wombles, Bag Puss and even the Clangers. They all recycled.

“It was a challenge to make something from things that other people throw away and it also made sound financial sense.”

The tiles are made from old plates, coasters and parts of a marble fireplace - which all cost less than £10 from charity shops.

The walls of the bathroom are covered in stunning mosaic designs including a fish jumping out a bowl, flamingo and a large tiger.

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There's also a mosaic peacock that has a beer bottle top for an eye, and a pair of dog book ends support the reclaimed glass shower screen.

Lauretta, a mental health nurse, said: “My challenge started by collecting the materials, but then the challenge was to actually start the mosaic work, with no idea of how it would turn out.

The toilet was donated for free by her plumber, while the shower was bought for just £5.

“It would have been so easy to give up half way through when it seemed like it would never end.

"I now look at it and go, 'flipping heck, I actually did that!'. It's the sense of achievement from thinking about doing something and actually doing it."

The ‘eco shed' the bathroom is housed in is also made entirely out of recycled materials - and was runner up for Cuprinol Shed of the Year in 2018.

But what makes it truly unique is that the walls are adorned with thousands of wine bottles - allowing it to be lit up in rays of multi-coloured sunlight.

The shed took four years for her and husband Philip Denton, 59, to build after work began in 2015.

Lauretta, a self-described ‘magpie collector’, has been collecting bits of pottery and sea glass since childhood.

Known as the Bottle Shed, it also holds memories in the form of a collage of buttons Lauretta collected from her mother and grandmother, and gargoyles made at school by her children Flynn, 17, and Eleanor, 16.

The bathroom in the family’s cottage does not have room for a shower, so they decided to build a shower room in the shed.

Den-enthusiast Lauretta knew the room had to fit the eco theme, so before she got cracking she had to source all the materials.

She scoured Facebook Marketplace and Freecycle, and gutted car boot sales with her son Flynn to find the perfect pieces.

She said: “I also befriended the local tile shop who gave me all their broken tiles from their showroom.

“It was a challenge to look at materials in different ways, to take things that were broken and make them part of something whole.”

She estimates she spent about £100 in total on decorations, with the majority of items being picked up for under £10.

A lot of the items were given away for free, including the old marble fireplaces she used to make the flooring.

Lauretta believes she was collecting materials for two years before she started putting the room together, and in the meantime stored a lot of the larger items in the garden.

"My family teased me and said I was filling the garden with junk that would never get turned into anything,” she said.

She spent only £1,500 on the most expensive elements like plumbing, electrics and insulation - with the total cost of the whole room coming up to £2,000.

Lauretta designed the bathroom by taking inspiration from the items she collected, including a ‘Tree of Life’ mosaic.

She said: “It starts on the left in the spring with buds on the branches, then summer with green tiles, autumn has brown tiles, and finally winter with white tiles.

“I didn’t have enough green tiles to do the whole tree! The space and materials available dictated what I did with them."

She also found she had lots of brown tiles which led to the image of a tiger with a large paw.

She said: “I had never done a mosaic before, so everything was a learning curve.

“I planned each wall out roughly on a paper template so I had an idea if I had enough tiles of each colour to do what I had in mind, but invariably the shape would distort as I applied sections of it to the wall like a massive jigsaw.

“Some of the tiles were easy to cut, some were easy to smash, and some were virtually indestructible, so I used them whole.

"Some of the tiles had been given to me were clear glass, so I backed them with foil Tunnock's tea cake wrappers or real peacock feathers."

Some of the pieces hold personal memories too, as she used a coaster from a friend in Australia, and a tile she found while charity shopping in Belgium with her sister.

The room was finally complete in 2020, and the Bottle Shed is available to rent on Airbnb.

The mum-of-two said: “It was a challenge for me to create a room of my own, completely from scratch.

“Some people like to climb mountains or run marathons, my hobby is taking things that people throw away and giving them a useful life.

“It really matters to me that so much useful stuff ends up in landfill sites. My dream would be to have my own scrap reclamation yard, so I can continue making quirky things.”