Before and After: A Quick & Classic Fix for An Outdated Bath

If you love pink faux marble Formica, do not click through because you will be heartbroken to see that this counter and backsplash have been (spoiler alert!) ripped out in favor of an impeccable slab of marble. As for the shutters, I have some further bad news…

So gorgeous and graceful! The swirly pink Formica has been majorly upgraded, the stainless steel sink (more suitable for a kitchen, it seems) is out, the shutters got the heave-ho, wood paneling has been added to create interest and unify the bathroom with the hallway, and the beat-up cabinets have been replaced with a stately vanity with more storage options.

Chloe of Boxwood Avenue is my new design inspiration. She (at least in retrospect) was able to approach everything so calmly and amicably and be so flexible when issues arose. For example:

Another surprise during the design process was the color of the vanity. My taste leans more towards lighter shades of wood rather than deep stained wood. So when I opened the vanity and saw the dark color, it was very unexpected. I decided to embrace the dark (it was too late not to), and select a light fixture that complemented it. That, combined with the brass hardware, adds a bit of drama to the space.

Looking through these photos, the darkness of the vanity did surprise me, but it works perfectly well in the space and stands out from the lighter woods that we see more often these days.

I will never understand what the appeal was of those exciting swooshes on the outside of bathtubs. They’re busy, they make things harder to clean, they’re over forever, right? Also, I think pink tiles and tub only work if the tub and sink are also pink. Go big or go home! Fortunately, Chloe was able to rip all of this out. In another example of heroic flexibility, she cheerfully gave up on her clawfoot dreams:

When I first started designing this space, I was hoping to put a clawfoot tub in with a beautiful old-school brass curtain rod above it. However, we needed everything fast, and I fell in love with fixtures that would have taken 8 weeks to arrive. As a way of keeping things inexpensive & quick, I decided to put a walk-in marble shower in the bathing space.

Pink tile aficionados will mourn their loss, but this herringbone marble tile is absolutely to-die-for, and the rich brass fixtures add to the feeling of unbelievable luxury. And if you find yourself with a renovating materials issue, get creative. Chloe described how her team was able to turn a problem into a beloved feature:

I had ordered 35 SF of the hexagon tile, which was 5 SF short of what we needed to complete the shower floor. This put us in a real pickle on a tight timeframe, so our tile guy suggested cutting down the spare 6×12 subway pieces into squares to be laid down diagonally. It was really our only option, but I am so happy with the results. I think the addition of another pattern in the space really adds a lot to the design.

The toilet paper holder, towel hooks, faucet, and mirror are also brass, letting that luxurious feeling permeate the entire room. And if the homeowners’ tastes ever change, they can be swapped out for chrome, black, or white accessories for an entirely different feel.

If you’re as intimidated as a bathroom renovation as I am (there’s plumbing!), I’m going to leave you with these inspiring words from Chloe of Boxwood Avenue:

Bathroom renovations are fun because they are so quick and easy. As oppose to a kitchen or addition, bathrooms simply take a week or two, and are relatively inexpensive (unless you’re importing, etc…).

Thank you Chloe!

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