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Beacon Hill Bath: The Plan

Beacon Hill Bath: The Plan

This autumn, I started working with the sweetest couple wanting to remodel their main bathroom. They bought an adorable tudor revival home in an up-and-coming Seattle neighborhood, and while some of the vintage features of the home only added to the charm (arched doorways, little covered porticos etc) the bathroom was the wrong kind of vintage. Lets take a peek at those "befores":

It actually reminded me quite a bit of our bathroom when we bought our house. Was it really popular to wall in tubs in the 70's or something?  The tub also had that faux vomit stone plastic sheeting in lieu of tile, just like ours had!  Anyway, the bathroom although a reasonable size (for Seattle), felt really small and dark. The tub and shower were walled in with a funky plaster valance and as you can imagine, the trapped steam and moisture after a few decades had wreaked havoc on the walls and plaster. The fixtures were pretty basic. If the bones of the space had been workable, I would have said "Hey lets, get a lot of paint, a new vanity top, and some pretty plumbing fixtures. Done!" But this wasn't going to be a paint makeover. The whole space was ready for a fresh coat of design!

Remodel goals:

  • Make it brighter and more airy. The enclosed tub and toilet made it impossible for any natural light to penetrate and caused ventilation difficulties.
  • Bring back vintage charm, and salvage/recreate original details. We really wanted to keep the original tile, but it wasn't going to work :( but we did our best to replace the tile and other elements with classic or period choices.
  • Update fixtures. Vanity, toilet, and all the pretty plumbing bits.

That first point was really the big one. And the game changer that made it happen? Replacing the tub with a more open shower enclosure. First, we needed to flip the shower plumbing to the opposite wall, so we could have a glass enclosure (rather than a wall). That made all the difference in the world in letting light through! And having a shower rather than a tub helped open up the visual space at a lower level as well. Obviously the glass surround would help open everything up, but we could also continue the flooring tile into the shallow shower pan, rather than a tub breaking up the flow with its little tubby walls.

Here was the initial floor plan for the remodeled space:

Those arcs on the floor, are denoting where the door swings would be. Ultimately for the space to work the best, the glass shower enclosure needed to door-less (like this), or have a sliding glass door. My clients preferred to have the shower fully enclosed, with a rolling glass door. This bathroom has north facing window and can get cold in the winter, and they wanted the shower to be as cozy as possible, keeping all the warmth within.

Ok, so now we have the basic plan worked out. How about the pretty stuff? Well, as usual, I sort of went overboard and made many different mock-ups for slightly different styles. I kept an eye out for classic and timeless treatments that would work with the age of the home, and with some, brought out a more botanical motif as a nod to my client's love of plants and landscapes!

One day I will use that mother of pearl tile, if its the last thing I do! So pretty!

I had hoped to salvage some of the original floor tile to use as a wall border, but sadly it was a no go, don't worry we still saved a little!

Art Nouveau Garden

And (also as usual) these were just a jumping off point for the final design :) Every design project has an evolution that is shaped by taste, costs, sourcing realities etc. Its always a nudge from this element, and shift with this one, until it all settles in and we get to the final plan. Which waaaasss.......

As you can see; paint color, tile, vanities, lighting and other little details developed into the best bathroom for my clients, that really reflected their style. I think the element we played around with the most was the floor tile. We experimented with a patterned tile in various shades, but the greek key motif stuck out to my clients and mixed with the plain white hex tile, it was a perfect fit for their home!

Another semi-subtle change was to use bead board around the space outside of the shower stall rather than tile the whole room. It was a budget conscious choice, and made the black pencil tile accent in the shower really a special accent. This lead to the decision to raise the half wall up to meet the chair rail for a cleaner division between tiled walls and the bead board wrapped walls.

Want a little sneak peak of the final result!? Okaaaaaay, but this is all you get!

Come back soon to see how it all turned out!

Beacon Hill Bath: The Result

Beacon Hill Bath: The Result

The Great Debate: Stainless or Streamlined

The Great Debate: Stainless or Streamlined