BEFORE: In this Massachusetts bungalow, over 100 years old, the 1960s bathroom renovation wasn’t offering much help to real estate agents.
Great tip: Goodman shared her philosophy about painting the original wood with Houzz contributor Annie Thornton. “If it’s painted, it’s getting painted. If it’s wood, it’s staying wood,” she said. “It wasn’t my place to decide what should be wood and what shouldn’t be in a place I don’t plan to call home.”
Shower curtain: Danica Studio; tub paint: Moss Green Rust-Oleum spray paint; claw-foot tub: Habitat for Humanity ReStore
BEFORE: The state of the bathroom in this 1912 Colonial-style home in New Jersey was sending the whole family up to the third floor to use the facilities because they couldn’t stand the cracked tiles, 12-inch-high tub, awkward layout and dated colors in the main bath. While walking through a once-grand old house during an estate sale and seeing its fabulous colors and tile patterns, homeowner Jody Suden had a clear vision for the bathroom makeover in her own home.
The overall style suits the home’s age and style, mixing mint green, white and black with vintage apothecary style.
Great tip: Even if you have a strong idea of what you want your room to look like, hiring a designer is key — you just have to find one who gets it. Suden told me she couldn’t have done it without Stephens, who told me she considered herself the “midwife” helping Suden achieve her vision.
BEFORE: This Cincinnati bathroom was dark, dated and awkwardly laid out. Because of a lack of smart storage, the countertop had become a magnet for clutter.
Great tip: Having a specific place for everything you use in the bathroom will keep the clutter at bay. Give it a lot of thought early on in the design process. Where will your hairdryer go? Which products do you use every day in front of the mirror? Are you a toothbrush-out or a toothbrush-put-away kind of person?
BEFORE: These San Francisco parents worked on the spaces the whole family could enjoy before tackling their awkward master bathroom.
Great tip: When using strong lines, lining things up is important. In order to have the tiles meet the ceiling and floor without any cuts, Hulburd dropped the ceiling a little to make the geometry work.
BEFORE: For the 2012 D.C. Design house, Christopher Patrick decided to embrace the existing tile and plumbing configuration in order to stick to a budget.
Setting the sink and mirror asymmetrically on the right side of the vanity left ample room on the counter.
Great tip: Don’t get stuck in a bathroom design rut. Patrick had an “antibathroom” attitude, styling the room more like a living room or den and adding open shelves instead of a typical medicine cabinet.
BEFORE: The converted loft in this 1905 eyeglass factory offered a decent-sized laundry room that didn’t get much use, but it didn’t have an extra bedroom. By integrating the laundry into the bathroom, there’s now room for guest bunks in the former utility room.
BEFORE: In this vintage Metairie, Louisiana, home, a bedroom with a tiled floor was converted into the master bathroom. The construction was part of remodeling a two-family condo back into a single-family home. Here you can see the original barge boards, a building material common to the region back in the day. They boards were repurposed from Mississippi River barges.
As is common on Houzz, this project had mixed reviews, with some people loving the contrast of the modern shower and unorthodox bathtub placement while others felt something was “off.” As a fan of Big Easy style, my analysis is that a lot of what makes this region’s style unique is juxtaposition, flavor and character that you don’t see anywhere else in the country. This wonderful blend fits the bill.
BEFORE: There’s no doubt about it, the bathroom in actress Renée Felice Smith’s Los Angeles bungalow had great Old Hollywood style. But a knee-busting layout, elbow-knocking small shower stall and damage meant an extensive renovation was needed. You’ll be glad to know that designer Laura Schwartz-Muller of Four Point Design + Construction was able to salvage pieces like the tub for use in other parts of the house.
Though the vintage-looking faucets and fixtures are new, the lighting and accessories came from sources such as consignment and thrift shops, the Melrose Trading Post, a stoop sale in Brooklyn, Liz’s Antique Hardware in Los Angeles and Etsy. The final look embraces the 1920s while bringing it up to date.
Great tip: When opting for a marble floor, a smaller tile and a honed finish will mitigate the material’s slipperiness.
BEFORE: These homeowners were tired of trying to shower in a claw-foot tub without splashing water everywhere or falling over. They were also craving a more modern style for the bathroom in their Victorian-era home.
For the decor, she used elements that would have been common during Victorian times: marble, hexagonal tiles and walnut, but she used them in more modern shapes and patterns. The clients also opted for a wallpaper that resembles a damask but upon closer inspection is composed of cowboys and oil wells.
BEFORE: Homeowners Obbie and Connie Atkinson did the bulk of the work converting this canning porch into an inviting farmhouse-style bathroom themselves, spending only about $3,500. They saved in all kinds of inspiring ways. For example, Connie spied the perfect 1930s sink she’d been scouting online across a river, thanks to her handy binoculars. Obbie fetched it, hauling it across the river and a field to get it to the car.
Great tip: If you’re doing a lot of DIY work in a bathroom, it’s important to know when to call in a pro. The Atkinsons knew when to hand tasks over to experts, such as electricians and plumbers.
BEFORE: The “before” situation was just begging for someone to come in and say, “The 1980s called, and they want their bad take on Southwestern style back.” The look certainly did not suit the stylish bachelor who had moved in.
Great tip: Think beyond the usual bathroom textures. The floor tiles Crestin chose add contrast, grounding the room in a texture that recalls well-worn leather armchairs in a men’s club.
BEFORE: This bathroom had become dangerous. Electrical problems and loud clanking noises had a mother and her 9-year-old daughter wondering when disaster would strike.
In order to stick to a tight budget, builder Bill Fry found a remnant piece of Caesarstone for the counters and used inexpensive tile around most of the bathroom. The pricier recycled-glass accent tiles were used sparingly but pack a strong design punch.
Great tip: Customize standard tiles. Here, the black squares that came with the floor tile were punched out and replaced with recycled-glass tiles from the accent tile.
BEFORE: New homeowner Robert Anderson began planning a makeover for this uninspired bathroom before he even moved in. It had a clunky layout, the finishes were bland, and the overall look was very 1990s.
Other improvements included replacing French doors with shoji screens and adding a large floating vanity with lots of storage, undercabinet lighting and a ceiling speaker that can be controlled by smartphone.
BEFORE: After an overflowing toilet upstairs caused a flooding disaster, homeowner Liz Weingart had to dry out her New York City bathroom and start from scratch. Acting as her own designer, she spent months planning every inch and sourcing the right pieces.
The decor was inspired by her love of the Art Deco hotels in Miami’s South Beach. She added photos of some of her favorites and chose light gray for the walls and tile and silvery finishes for the hardware, faucets and other accessories to create a Deco-inspired feel. The result is a fresh bathroom that now feels bigger than its 5-by-7-foot footprint.
Great tip: Hire a designer. While Weingart did a fantastic job herself, she admitted that the choices were overwhelming sometimes and that the process could have gone a lot faster had she hired someone.
BEFORE: As this homeowner transitioned into a wheelchair because of progressing multiple sclerosis, a more accessible bathroom became crucial for safety and quality of life.
Other new universal-design moves included getting rid of the tub-shower combo for a curbless shower with bi-fold doors; new secure grab bars; a fold-down shower seat (giving the option of taking a wheelchair shower); a sink at a comfortable height with room for a wheelchair beneath it; a tilted mirror; pullout drawers in the vanity that are easier to access than doors; and a toilet that doubles as a bidet with an easy-to-access control panel.
Great tip: A tile in a smaller pattern means better traction, because of the increased amount of grout.
BEFORE: Dated and clunky, this large garden tub and 1980s take on Southwestern style were not exactly bringing the Zen. Neither was that TV — just looking at it perched on the edge makes me nervous.
BEFORE: Painted-over tile, purple vinyl floors and plenty of plumbing problems and rot plagued this bathroom in a Washington, D.C., row house.
Megan Adams and her husband (along with professionals when they needed them) gutted the bathroom and fixed it up with a vintage look that suited their historic home, for about $10,000.
Great tip: Gray grout is a lot easier than white to keep clean-looking.
BEFORE: This Orange County, California, bathroom was stuck in the 1980s, with a cramped layout and a lack of light.
Great tip: Sometimes faking it a bit is the way to go. These floors are porcelain made to look like Calacatta marble. It’s more durable than marble, less slippery and less likely to stain.
BEFORE: These clients loved their Philadelphia bathroom’s vintage charms, but its state of disrepair forced a renovation. The bathroom had been patched together for as long as possible, but damage from a leak upstairs meant the homeowners could no longer put off gutting. Working with Matt Capitolo, owner ofWhitefield & Co., a design-build firm, they created a bathroom in keeping with the Colonial style of their 1920s home.
Great tip: If a radiator is clunking up your bathroom floor plan, consider replacing it with radiant-heat flooring.
Have you redesigned your bathroom this year? Please show us your own before-and-after photos in the Comments.