Bathroom renovation - Classic simplicity

Sometimes the hardest project for a designer is their own. We are acutely aware of the bounty of choices out there and how satisfying any number of possible schemes or solutions could be. I recently renovated a truely aweful small bathroom in our 1929 fixer upper (it hadnt been touched since built and wasn't wearing well).  A conundrum for me with this project, was that I have plans in the future to renovate & expand the house; at which time this particular bathroom will become a stairwell. So how to renovate a bathroom on a modest budget with as much bang for our buck, so that should we sell before my renovation plans are realized the bathroom adds value to the property but doesn't cost us an arm or a leg.

In the beginning the number of different ways I could style the bathroom seemed boundless. Then I realized I had a direction: what could I afford!  The key influence to the look of the finished bathroom came down to a product of having budgetary constraints. For a classic but highly economical design simple white tile is hard to beat - but thats a little dull for my designer sensibilities.  However white tile with a crackle glaze has a touch more interest and so became the starting point for the overall look.

The white tile I used is from the Walker Zanger 'Soho' collection and comes with simple elegant choices for trim pieces.  It was the simple style of the trim pieces and the classic looking tile that established the design style for the bathroom.  The inexpensive black vanity from Home Depot pared with a custom marble counter and backsplash afforded a high end look for a mid level price.  Walls painted to match the same white of the tiles, and the ceiling painted a dramatic 'stary night sky' black gave the space a theatrical touch.  The proportions of the room are such that it was very conducive to painting the ceiling such a dark color.

Paring the dark ceiling with the wide crown molding in the same color as the walls gives you the feeling of being outdoors ie: the ceiling feels like it is allot further away and you are tempted to believe it is coved.  The flush mounted ceiling light with cut glass shade from Restoration Hardware turns into the moon in the night sky.

The large ceramic floor tiles were a end of stock sale item from a discontinued line from Walker Zanger, so they were very budget friendly. As was discontinued and on sale line of bath hardware & fixtures from Restoration Hardware.

Softness and a touch of color are in the choice of the shower curtain - the one I used is a printed & embroidered cotton from Anthropologie.

The bathroom was in such bad shape prior to the renovation that we ended up striping it down to the studs and installed all new plumbing, walls, floor and ceiling.  Because we were taking everything out it was the perfect opportunity to relocate various elements: The sink and the toilet flipped positions enabling a recessed medicine cabinet to be installed over the sink, and the shower location was flipped to the other end of the bath and we were able to maximize space by installing a pocket sliding door.

The inexpensive acrylic bathtub is from Kohler (#Archer w/integrated apron & tile flange) and is ingenious in that you get a deep soaking level with a low step over height.  The water overflow is a long slotted shape and placed high up enabling me to fill the bath to a decent level so that I can have a relaxing soak and the overall height of the bath is low enough to be able to comfortably step in and out to shower, or to bathe my children.


Thank you to Erica Berger for taking such great photos.