Before & After - The Making of a 'Master Bathroom'

THE DREAM:

A large en suite with a freestanding tub, a walk-in shower with two shower heads and a bench, double vanity NO WAIT! two large separate floating vanities, a water closet for privacy (of course), and maybe a linen closet since your floating vanities mostly just hold an array of expensive eye creams and beautiful soaps.

THE REALITY:


Roughly 50 square feet with two entrances that you share with the kids. WOMP WOMP.


THE GOAL

I wanted this sweet young family to get the absolute most out of the this bathroom. I wanted it to function for the whole family but feel like it was the parent’s ‘master bathroom’.

First thing we needed to deal with was the double entrance. The bathroom could be accessed from both the master bath and the small downstairs living space - it is also the only bathroom on this floor which meant it was used by the kiddos as well. The door from the master bathroom swung INTO the bathroom taking up valuable space and making access from the living room awkward if the bedroom/bathroom door was open. So right away we had the door changed to an OUT swing and the bathroom instantly felt bigger and more functional.

BEFORE

 Looking from the master bedroom (note the door on the right)

Looking from the master bedroom (note the door on the right)

 The living space entrance

The living space entrance

 All white, no character

All white, no character

The next thing to tackle was the vanity - would we be able to sneak in a double vanity? How can we call it a MASTER bathroom with a single vanity?! The measurements were tight. Like really tight. I had exactly 48” to work with for the vanity - a normal double needs to accommodate two sinks and would be at least 60”. So I got creative - and this is what you hire a designer for! - I worked out that I could use a 48” ‘single’ vanity and a long trough sink with two wall-mounted faucets to fake a double vanity. This meant more storage and the ability to brush your teeth together as a couple - and isn’t that what makes for a happy marriage?! I’m sure it is.

THE DESIGN


Since the space was tight, we wanted to keep the materials light, bright, and natural - heavy on the texture but neutral in color.

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I chose a 2” marble hex mosaic on the floor and a more affordable light gray tile for the shower surround - it’s all about balance when it comes to budget. The vanity was semi-custom and I went with a light oak to add a natural element. And to ground all the light airy materials - I chose a sleek matte black for all the plumbing fixtures. Linen shower curtain and a vintage rug to add warmth.

One other thing I wanted this family to have to really add to the ‘master bath’ feel was an extra deep bathtub so the grown ups in the house could enjoy it just as much as the kids. This is a great solution when you can’t fit an actual soaking tub. A standard alcove bathtub would be about 17” deep and this one was 22” which can actually cover most adult humans with water…. no more half frozen body!

 Love the marble shelf we added to the niche for smaller shower goods (and to keep razors out of reach of bathing kids!)

Love the marble shelf we added to the niche for smaller shower goods (and to keep razors out of reach of bathing kids!)

Who says subway tile has to be boring? I took some inspiration from the original parquet wood flooring in this 1920s bungalow and created this beautiful pattern using a basic 2x8” subway tiles. A lot of bang for the buck! I also wanted a large niche to accommodate two rows of the pattern so we added a marble shelf to get more use out of this space and break it up visually.

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Because we were working with such a tight layout we ran into some issues with the vanity not fitting snug up to the wall (which was out of plumb). This created a gap between the vanity and wall so we had to think fast to come up with a solution to cover the back corner so we didn’t run into issues down the road with moisture. In the end we sourced a quartz remnant and had it cut to cover the gaps and give some added protection to our vanity. Voila!

We opted for two individual sconces to add to the ‘double vanity’ feel and simple mirror to match the black fixtures.

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This tiny bathroom actually ran into MANY issues along the way - from the vanity fit to the faucets being off-center and the p-trap not fitting behind the vanity drawers correctly. It was one thing after the other but we resolved everything and ended up with a gorgeous bathroom. The beauty of having a designer is that you have someone on your team working to resolve issues with the contractors as they happen - coming up with creative solutions quickly that don’t compromise the look and feel you are trying to achieve.

On a side note: this bathroom was featured on Emily Henderson’s blog AND Studio McGee’s blog - something I couldn’t be more proud of!


get the look

Please note: The products listed below are not necessarily the same products
used in my project but a guide to help you achieve this look!