bathroom makeover

Let's say you're about to renovate your bathroom. Which look would you choose? Awhile back I received an email from one of my readers looking for some advice on how to update her average bathroom. The bathroom was renovated about five years ago by the previous owners and while everything is up to date it isn't functioning for the family.

They need a bit more storage - she said one drawer would be fine and they would like to get rid of the vessel sink so that their three year old can wash her own hands. The bathtub is also being replaced by something a bit deeper and as a result the tiles surrounding the tub will be removed. The one thing that will remain is the tile floor. They're also hoping to inject the space with a bit more personality so that it feels less like a bathroom that was purchased at a big box store. Like many people they are on a fairly tight budget as they are doing renovations elsewhere in the house.

Originally, my reader had asked me to help her choose a new vanity but I think when you're starting a bathroom renovation such as this you need to think about the overall look and feel before you get down to the specifics. I think what this bathroom needs are a few strong design elements that are going to enliven the room and take our eyes up from the floor.

I have two different suggestions for them. Both of these bathrooms were designed by people I know using readily available, off the shelf products that can be purchased in Canada.

Option #1 - Modern organic bathroom

This bathroom has a clean, modern aesthetic but still manages to feel warm due in part to the oak vanity and wood stool (both from Ikea and very affordable). I think this is a look my reader could achieve with a few easy changes to her current bathroom.

I noticed that the grout on the floor in my reader's bathroom is a dark charcoal colour and I think it would be good idea to bring this colour out. I would start by painting the walls a mid to dark grey. I would then create a chair rail using a standard, glossy white subway tile with a dark grey grout. The vanity could be replaced with the same unit we see above which would provide them with storage and easy hand washing access. If money allows, I would tile the entire bathroom surround in a carrara marble. A simple frameless mirror and a basic white shower curtain would finish the room off. The beautiful thing about this bathroom is that the vanity is under $500 and the mirror is only $50 so money could be spent elsewhere. (Like on that marble tile!)


Option #2 - Feminine Vintage Bathroom

The other option is to play with some more feminine and decorative touches like the bathroom below.

This bathroom orbits around the beautiful utility-type sink, the vivid green wallpaper and the ruffled shower curtain.  I'd follow the lead of this bathroom and create a high chair rail with inexpensive white subway tile that goes 3/4 of the way up the wall and then wallpaper the remainder. I've chosen some wallpapers from Ferm Living that pick up the neutral beige colour of the floor tiles. I also love how the trim on this bathroom is painted a soft grey. It creates a nice break between the floor and wall tile. I might go a little bolder here and use one of the greys I suggested above. I'd install the same Brockway sink by Kohler and top it with the same wood framed mirror from Ikea.  One of the things my reader had requested was a slightly larger vanity but she didn't know what to do about the heating vent in the floor. By choosing a sink like this that floats off the wall she doesn't have to worry about the placement of the vanity. Storage could be provided in a floor unit like this one by Kartell. The final touch would be an feminine, embroidered shower curtain. While this bathroom would probably cost a bit more money than the previous it could be completed in phases with accents like the wallpaper going in at a later date.

What do you think? Given the choice which option would you choose? I'm sure my reader would love to hear your suggestions.

For more on the renovation of bathroom number one, check out this link and this one.

For more on the renovation of bathroom number two, check out this link and this one.

Image credits:
1-2 blog - Michelle Carangi's bathroom
3-4 - Kristin Sjaarda - Jenn Hannotte's bathroom