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Sara Gutted Her Front Bathroom! Here Are The 4 Whimsical Designs She Considered

First things first – I did, in fact, have a living, breathing, REAL HUMAN baby. He was born via c-section after a short 60 hours at the hospital. His name is Elio, and I might be biased (probably not though, right?), but he is the most perfect human ever created. 

Eventually our front bedroom will be his room, and I can’t wait to make it special for him. But in the most boring reality of realities, right now he shares a room with us. And Macauley’s need for an office supersedes Elio’s need for a bedroom-sized storage container. But the connected front bathroom was something that we wanted to get done before baby. Enduring a large-scale home renovation project with a baby/toddler in the house just sounded like something we wanted to avoid if we could, and the front bathroom was the only area of the house that still needed a full demo and reno. So my dad said, “Let’s get it done.”

And suddenly I was scrambling to design a bathroom on a tight timeline. So today I’m going to take you through my top 4 designs. Let them marinate in your brain, and let me know in the comments which design you would have gone with. And then come back tomorrow to see which one I DID go with. 

Alright, so the bathroom has to serve two functions. The first is to be a lovely bathroom that I’m proud – nay, excited – to let guests use. Finally (see above for why). And secondly, it needs to be a functional bathroom for a kid. That means bathtime and storage.

The first thing I wanted to do was change the layout in one big way – by moving the toilet to the other side of the room. The toilet was too close to the shower, but it also made the only free space in the bathroom this awkward little square wedged between the toilet and the sink.

original floorplan

So to create a more open floorplan, we flipped the toilet to the other side of the room next to the vanity, leaving the whole door side of the room free.

new floorplan

Next, we removed the small transom window that was placed high up in the shower and instead reframed a bigger window, lower on the shower wall. This let more light into the room and just made the shower pretty IMHumbleO.

With the renovation well underway, it was time to get cranking on the design. As I said above, I wanted something that was whimsical and fun for a kid, while also feeling comfortable for an adult to use. If you want to make a bathroom complicated, hire me. 

I reached out to one of my favorite brands, used throughout my home, Rejuvenation, to see if this little bathroom project was something they’d be interested in collaborating on. They said yes, and dreams came true. So I pulled together the designs using my favorite Rejuvenation pieces.

Design #1

Vanity | Sink Faucet | Mirror | Sconce | Ceiling Light | Shower & Tub Set | Shower Curtain Rod | Double Switch Plate | Toilet Paper Holder | Paint Color | Wall Tile | White Floor Tile | Blue Floor Tile | Shower Curtain | Rabbit Hook | Horse Hook (no longer available) | Basset Hound Hook | Labrador Retreiver

Is pink a gender-neutral color? I think it is, especially when it’s a muted mauve. I really liked the idea of painting a bathroom this fun color called “Sulking Room Pink” by Farrow & Ball. I went with warm wood tones in this bathroom design. I thought a checkered floor would be a cute whimsical touch, so I came up with an indigo and white cement tile floor, to play off the pink walls. And then simple white square tiles for the shower surround and walls. 

Design #2

Vanity | Sink Faucet | Mirror | Sconce | Ceiling Light | Shower & Tub Set | Shower Curtain Rod | Double Switch Plate | Toilet Paper Holder | Paint Color | White Floor Tile | Blue Floor Tile | Shower Curtain | Rabbit Hook | Horse Hook (no longer available) | Basset Hound Hook | Labrador Retreiver

For this design, I went even more playful. I’m really into blue this year, and I feel like this pretty sky blue could be a really bright and fun bathroom for an itty bitty child. And for a bold pop, I thought pulling the tile from the floor all the way up the wall and into the shower surround would be cRaZy (in a good way). Again, the warm wood tones feel right for this design. And I’ll never use any color fixture other than gold ever in my life. I tried in our primary bathroom, and I’m still sad that those fixtures aren’t gold. 

Design #3

Wallpaper | Wall Tile | White Floor Tile | Blue Floor Tile | Rabbit Hook | Dog Hook | Vanity | Sink Faucet | Rounded Rectangular Mirror | Sconce | Ceiling Light | Shower & Tub Set | Double Switch Plate | Toilet Paper Holder | Shower Curtain

Making the switch to a more traditional style, I kept the checkered floor but elevated the elegance of the design by putting a pretty cream tile on the walls with a fun yet craftsman-appropriate wallpaper. Is putting wallpaper in a bathroom risky? Yes, I was told that directly by a wallpaper installer. But might it be worth ignoring that sage advice? Probably not. We’ll burn that bridge when we get there! I also switched to a lighter wood tone for the vanity and mirror, to help lighten the space. 

Design #4

Wallpaper | Wall Tile | Floor Tile | Trim Tile | Rabbit Hook | Dog Hook | Vanity | Sink Faucet | Rounded Rectangular Mirror | Double Sconce | Ceiling Light | Rug | Shower & Tub Set | Toilet Paper Holder | Single Switch Plate | Shower Curtain

Are checkered floors too 2022? I started having some doubts about the floor looking trendy, so I decided to put together a design with a more timeless floor design. Keeping the cream tile and the light wood pieces, I changed the wallpaper up to this whimsical tree pattern. It feels fun, while still feeling vintage. 

I knew no matter what, I was going to go with the adorable animal wall hooks, they felt like the perfect fit for the vibe – whimsical fun, elegant execution. And this shower and tub set were the way to go no matter what.

The bathroom is done, photographed, and already heavily used (we tend to shower/get ready in the front of the house at night if baby boy is already asleep in the bedroom). So I can confidently say that the road we took was the right one. But any of them would have been fun! 

So…which are you hoping you see when you check the blog tomorrow?

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1 month ago

Congrats on Baby Elio and four fabulous design options!

Mary B.
1 month ago

This is exciting! Congratulations on the arrival of your little love! All of these designs are so so good, and whatever you chose I’m sure is absolutely amazingly executed, but I am hoping to see a variation of Design #2. There is something about that elevated playfulness in a space that will be for kid use that speaks to my heart. Can’t wait to see the reveal tomorrow!

1 month ago

Option 4. I prefer the more traditional floor tile by a lot. This was fun. Thank you.

1 month ago

Definitely 4!

paula mills
1 month ago

Definitely the last option! I do indeed think you will tire of the bold checkered floors in no time flat. The final design is airy and timeless. Hope you chose this one!

1 month ago


1 month ago

I love all of the designs!! Can’t wait to see which one you chose!

Rachel C
1 month ago

I love the pink of option 1 but I’m guessing you went with 3 or 4, because I know you love a good wallpaper in your beautiful home. Congrats on the little one and I adore the name choice, Elio!

1 month ago

These feels like a dangerous game, but if you are happy with the result, maybe it’s fine. I like design #4 best, but that white on white plaid looking tile in the shower for design #1 is cool!

1 month ago

No. 4 for me

1 month ago

I love #4 SO MUCH!!!!

Ellen Feeney
1 month ago

#2 – timeless, kid friendly, cheerful and loads of charm!!

1 month ago

#4 all the way!

Liz M
1 month ago

Hands down #4 for sure! Love that one. Whimsical but timeless. The floor tile will give flexibility in the future and look less dated quickly.

1 month ago

I think No 2 is really interesting and kind of hope you chose it, but I am guessing you actually went with No 4 (mostly because of the floor tile in No 4!)

1 month ago

Here’s a little more about the painting used in all the designs “Washerwomenon the Banks of the Durance” by Paul Guigou:

1 month ago

I love them all but prefer #2 or #3 the most. I just like the playfulness of them both so much. I’m sure wallpaper in the bathroom may not be a great idea, but lots of ppl do it so it will probably be fine for many years to come. Huge congrats on your baby boy!

1 month ago

Congrats to Elio for choosing such great mom! I fell in love with design #2 for a fun kid bathroom, then I got to #4 and positively swooned.
Can’t wait to see what you chose!

1 month ago

Congratulations on the baby! And kudos for taking on the reno. I’d kind of like to see no 3 but they’re all,lovely.

1 month ago

As someone who was a grown up in the 80’s I find that mauve tone triggering! I love the great blue herons in option 3. I love the floor in #4 but prefer the vanity you showed in # 1 & 2. Can’t wait to see your reveal tomorrow. Congratulations on your beautiful baby Elio!

Cris S.
1 month ago

Congratulations on your baby! What a wonderful thing, and I wish you all the best as you adjust to new family life!!!

I would go with #4, but I hope you went with what you love best. I’ve been looking at the Raphael wallpaper for a long time for the entry and hallway down the length of our house. I have a lot of antique/antique paintings up and go back and forth on whether the modern style of portraying the trees (up close the colors used are blob on blob, not a painterly brush stroke) helps ‘lighten’ the space or looks strange. I do love the idea of walking through a forest down the hallway, so if anyone has a suggestion for a wallpaper that portrays that (in a painterly and not photo mural style) I’d love to hear it!

1 month ago

#3 is my favorite

1 month ago

Congratulations on your sweet baby! And, I can’t wait to see which option you chose. I’m betting on #2 or #4, but all will be lovely.

1 month ago

Congratulations! These are all SO GOOD, but I am wary of wallpaper in a bathroom (especially a bathroom that will get heavy use). I love #1 and #2…maybe #2 just edges out? Honestly they’re all great.

1 month ago


1 month ago

I like #2 best for fun kid-vibes but still being appropriate for guests!

1 month ago

2 and 4 are both so cute! Excited to see what you chose.

Donna T.
1 month ago

Ooh, Sara’s house. I love Sara’s house!!! Congratulations on your little one, first of all. Secondly I like how you’re showing us the options and then we get almost instant gratification the next day with the reveal!
I pick #1 but with a different floor. I’ve always been adverse to strongly contrasting checkerboard floors. Can’t wait to see final look. Whatever you choose always looks great.

1 month ago

Ugh Sara you wily minx these are all too good! I DO want to hire you to make my bathroom complicated! Beautiful but I think #4 maybe feels the most right for your home.

1 month ago

Congratulations on your little guy…love his name!! These are all beautiful and I can’t wait to see what you chose but I vote #2 or #3! 🙂

Lisa M
1 month ago

Love the wallpaper in #3 with the flooring in #4

1 month ago

My vote is 2, although I do love the floor in 4. I feel the second vanity is made of regrets though, not enough counter space for a working bathroom. (As another 80s human, I too can’t stand forest green or mauve, but that’s me and not you.) Congrats on your new human!

Danielle Hritsko
1 month ago

Design #4!!!

1 month ago

3! So fresh!

1 month ago

I love number 2! But then, I’m a blue person. Only thing is I think checkers are the new chevron and we will get bored of them sooner than we think.

Amy Elizabeth Jones
1 month ago

I am so very excited to see! I’m head over heels for #3 or #4. Although I understand if you didn’t want to take the risk with wallpaper in the bathroom. Congrats on a sweet baby boy!

1 month ago

I love all of these! If wallpaper is not an issue I would say #3 or #4. If you decided wallpaper is not a wise decision, #1! But, all of them would be great in their own way..

1 month ago


1 month ago


1 month ago

Love them all, but especially 1 or 3!

1 month ago

Congratulations on the new babe!!! It’s such a special time and there is nothing better than snuggling a newborn baby. I think #3 is the best bet because I feel that it flows the best with everything you have done in the rest of the house. But maybe using the vanity from #1 & 2.

1 month ago

Congrats, Sara! And welcome to the world little Elio. I guess I am the only one (so far) who likes #1 best. It feels the most interesting to me and dances between playful and sophisticated. I really love it. It kind of reminds me of something Frances Merrill would do.

Sara Valverde
1 month ago

Congratulations on baby,#4

1 month ago

I’m feeling very #4 but all are good.

1 month ago

I like # 4 but without the strip in the tile. Congrats on baby Elio!

1 month ago

Hi – just wondering if the tub is new? Looking forward to the reveal!!!

1 month ago

I love number 2!
However I am here to say that I had wallpaper in the main bathroom in my last house for fifteen years and there was never a problem.
Can I ask how many books your Mom has read to her
new grandson??? I miss hearing about your family !

1 month ago

I vote #4! Green is the perfect gender-neutral tone for any and all future babies/gender identities. The design is lively enough for a kids’ bath yet sophisticated enough for an impressive guest bath. Plus timeless and gorgeous.

1 month ago


1 month ago

Love numbers 3 and 4- but going by the rules of Mrs Em Henderson herself often brings up – tile is very hard to pull off if you lean towards trendy since it’s not easy to replace. So I would do the tile from #4 but do the wallpaper from #3 personally. But I love all the designs and am looking forward to seeing which option you went with! Also, hot tip re: wallpaper in a bathroom. I grew up with wallpaper in my bathroom and it stayed sealed for at least the 18 years my family lived there… except above the shower tile. But it was honestly just a little bit along the seams – nothing super noticeable. The room also didn’t have a window and only a ceiling vent fan. But I think it’s totally doable if the room can be ventilated properly and the shower tile goes to the ceiling. Just my two cents. : )