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Thursday, January 28, 2010

Guest Bathroom Reclaimed

When I first stepped inside this narrow bathroom, it was a bit like being trapped inside a lemon drop!  It was so confining and the space had been taken over by my client's product loving, messy, teenage son.


What the clients asked for: A lighter, brighter space that their daughter could enjoy on visits home from college, but also a space that would accommodate visiting guests.  And, do it without using high end materials since most of the budget would be allocated to the master bath renovation.  The storage concerns would be partially addressed by relocating their son to his own little "man cave" in the the basement that already had a full bath.


What I proposed: Put a skylight in (agreed) to bring in some desperately needed natural light.  It's an interior space, so a small window was not an option.  Eliminate the door going into the son's former bedroom.  This was the worst layout for an ensuite bathroom I have ever seen.  There were literally 3 doors converging onto one another, all within mere inches of the next! The one that led into the bedroom, directly behind the main door entering into the bathroom (although surprised by this suggestion, agreed) needed to be eliminated.  And by making this change, the cabinet doors and drawers would no longer collide with the entry doors.  It would provide some sound proofing for the bedroom and also create some much needed wall space in the bedroom to place furniture.  A white (nixed) wood sink cabinet with deeper drawers for storage.  A slab mirror with a beveled edge (agreed) so nothing would protrude into this narrow space.  Wall mounted lights centered over each sink (agreed) versus their current location, which was in the middle of the wall.  Plus, add a light over the shower (agreed) and new exhaust vent.

There was another thing that really struck me, but in a comical way, when I first entered this space. Did you spot the bizzare feature?  The mirror extended beyond the sink console and over the toilet.  Charming.  We all had a good laugh about this "design" feature that builders employ to make small bathrooms appear larger. However, this certainly isn't the way to do it!

I suggested using a medium format subway tile in the shower with a green glass listello banding (nixed-the wife dislikes all brick patterns and the husband is not crazy for the color green) and a glass shower enclosure with gliding doors (agreed) to add more visual length.  Install a large porcelain tile on the floor and lay it on the 45 (agreed) to make the space feel wider.  Select fixtures and hardware in a brushed nickel (agreed) finish in a modern style.

The end result: A much lighter, brighter space with an airy feel to it.  We found a large white tile that was installed vertically in the shower and added a glass and marble mosiac band, a little splurge, flanked by the green glass listellos.  The daughter loved all the green! The mosaic originally had some blacks and grays mixed in, which I liked, but the clients did not care for the variations.   So I had the tiler remove them and replace them with the preferred tones.  I picked up the toffee color from the marble band for the sink console.

I really struggled with the paint on this project.  If you look at the shot of the back of the shower (above) you can see the clouds parted and there was a ray of light streaming through the skylight that illuminated the little fern on the back of the toilet.  Choosing the paint was challenging because of the lighting conditions, the size of the space, and the various materials to consider.  We did several large test samples and in the end settled on one the husband preferred that had a more gray undertone. In the daylight it is really lovely and calm. This was quite a transformation and the clients were pleased with the outcome and again vowing never to let their teenage son set foot in the space!

What could be better at the end of a bath reno than a stack of fluffy white towels!


  1. Looks terrific! You've developed your own signature style with letting is in on the "agreed" part of the process. I think I have similar white ceramic tiles as the ones you used - I purchased them for my master bath reno but then changed my mind and am going to use them in our basement bathroom reno.

  2. I love how you can look at the before, state the obvious and clearly have the "after" vision in your head. Love how you make it look so easy and so "spa" like.
    That teen must be so delighted, I a mean jazzed.

  3. Way to go! But sadly, I can see the future of the bathroom my young sons now use... product hell. Forewarned is fore-armed!

  4. Gorgeous! I really like the wood cabinetry -- it's warm and a nice contrast to the cooler tones of the tiles.

    Btw...when will builders learn that GIANT frameless mirrors really aren't the greatest design statement in a bathroom? I'm currently replacing all of mine with smaller, framed mirrors.

  5. oh my.........saw the before and thought to myself...."this should be good". because it was so bad!

    beautiful execution, loved seeing your skills!

  6. DC by Design and Debra at 5th:

    Both of you made me laugh! I really did hesitate to show the "before" because any bathroom left to the demise of a 16 year boy is just hard to take...notice I kept the pictures smaller!!! These clients do have a nice home but the bathrooms had just gotten pushed way down the priority list!

  7. Amazing transformation! Great work, as usual. Have a terrific weekend.

  8. Love the mirror over the toilet. The design you created must have made the retuning college girl beyond delighted.

  9. A great job in this bathroom!!!! A very beautiful and interesting blog!!! I will follow you.
    Best wishes and hope you enjoy blogging!!!
    Muchos cariños,
    Maria Cecilia

  10. Clapping and Cheering!!!
    Great job. I can imagine your clients were more than just "pleased" with the results. I certainly would be!


  11. wow stunning, you are such a great designer and a stylist as well!! I love how you said "product loving, messy. . . " so funny!!

    Thanks for your so fun comment on my post just now :)

  12. Oh. My. Goodness. Love it...and your blog by the way.

  13. Looks great, that door situation was crazy!

  14. Congratulations! This is a stunning transformation! Well done!

  15. Looks great, I love to see a small but still spa like bathroom. Gives me hope...

  16. Fantastic makeover- the clients must have been thrilled!

  17. love it!!! beautiful work Rebecca!!

  18. I think you did a great job....I posted a long comment over the weekend and it must have been lost in cyberspace (or I forgot to hit send might be more likely!)

    I love the idea you had to take out the door to give more wall space and the tile updates are great. I had to laugh about the teenage boy and his products. My step son is 16 and steals my flat iron whenever he visits :)

    I am enjoying your beautiful blog.

  19. Wow, what a giant improvement - the space is tranquil and restful now (my favorite bathroom feeling haha!). What colour paint did you choose, or did I miss your reference?

    In our old powder room, the mirror extends over the toilet too and it is too awful. I really do not want to look in this direction. Not my best angle. :) haha. So MUCH nicer to revise the mirror as you did!!!!!

    Thanks also for your tips on my guest bedroom - I appreciate it. I talked to a nice shop in town that has done some work for me and the designer was worried that a 5' wide Roman might not work well, unless it is one of the structured ones. I am thinking of replacing the blinds and maybe doing a simple affordable valance.

    You mentioned spraying the blinds - you mean with spray paint??? What a good idea, but wouldn't all the cords get gunked up with paint? Hmmm...

    Any insights would be appreciated! I might just replace with a plain white venetian although I also like the Hunter Douglas Duettes. I really don't want to spend $600 on this window but it is hard to make it look professional if you don't spend the money!!

    Thanks for your ideas..xo Terri

  20. Great finished project!
    You are my new inspiration.
    I HATE to compromise when I KNOW I'm right and it could be better....(hope no clients read this!)

  21. Thank you, Thank you! I appreciate all the wonderful comments!

  22. That bathroom really needed a renovation... it looks really good!


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