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Julie’s First Lead Design With VHD – A Primary Bath Reveal + Tips On How To Easily Blend Classic & Contemporary Styles

Hi EHD friends! Julie here & I am back with another exciting room reveal but this time from Team VHD. If you haven’t heard the news already, the EHD Design Alum team (Velinda, Grace, & myself!) are reunited again under the helm of Velinda Hellen Design. It’s been a little over a year since I joined forces with that incredible duo for all things ‘Full-Service Clients’ in Los Angeles. Meanwhile, Grace is masterfully juggling the ‘E-Design Clients’, with the help of Marlene, Brittany & Trina, all over the Globe. And Velinda (our trusty leader) bounces back and forth like a Wimbledon tennis match between the two design worlds. 

Today, I am excited to share my first VHD project as Lead Designer & this time we have a bathroom to reveal. Yes, we do more than just kitchens. 😉 And if you’ve missed those reveals you can check out our most recent green and tambour cladded kitchen & Velinda’s first freelance client with some clever storage solutions.

Now to meet our lovely clients & take a peek at the ‘straight-out-of-the-early-2000s’ bathroom before photos…

We didn’t get a proper portrait of the pair but nonetheless, we still wanted to introduce the most spectacularly self-sufficient clients, Gloria & Marc. We were beyond lucky to have them as our client during these unprecedented times of design meeting Zoom calls, installs over FaceTime & endless emails finalizing every detail big or small.

Here she is in all her former glory & while the bathroom wasn’t unusable it definitely needed some upgraded functionality that was more practical for our client’s needs. Ultimately, the bathroom just lacked the soul of this classic Craftsman-style home. Downstairs is filled with walnut built-ins and detailed paneling that is original to the home and upstairs, a beautifully curved banister with a matching curved skylight above. Our end goal was to take this bath from a beige Wonder Bread sandwich back to the original charm of the Craftsman home but with modern sensibilities.

BUT the challenge was doing so while also incorporating our clients’ desire for a ‘modern spa’ feel. Clients frequently ask, ‘How can I stay true to my clean/minimalist/modern aesthetic when I live in a traditional home?” (i.e. victorian, craftsman, colonial, etc., etc.). While each case is different, the solution we seem to find comes in being INSPIRED by traditional elements that remain true to the architectural style (here they are: color, wood tones, tile usage, & plumbing finishes) while allowing for an updated take on the aesthetic. Being too ‘true to the era’ may end up feeling too dated, but a modern room in an architecturally-aged home can feel out of place. We aimed to dance in the world between.

Here are some inspiration photos for the overall look & feel of the space:

Green handmade tiles, darker wood tones, curved detailing (mimicking their banister in the hallway just outside their bedroom), clean lines yet traditional aesthetics in fixtures & custom cabinetry that feels a part of the home’s history were the main takeaways from our inspiration phase of the design process.

Over the course of designing, the construction phase & the shoot, we were physically in the space a total of 3 times. Gloria (thankfully) stepped up & in as our acting project manager and was so on top of things that we jokingly told her we wanted to hire her (but seriously, Gloria, the offer is still on the table). She and our GC were amazing at communicating all the changes with our team because, as most of you know, when it comes to construction you can plan to the last ⅛” detail but something will always arise to put a twist into the final design. 

Speaking of…

Above are the renders of the final design we presented to Gloria during our second time in the space. As you’ll see in the reveal photos, not much changed between this and the ‘final result’… just a detail here or there, which was a big digital design sigh of relief.

And now…Welcome to our “Autumnal Craftsman-Meets Contemporary Spa Bathroom”, it’s like a PSL… but a bathroom.

Light Green Tile | Dark Green Tile

On our first visit, Gloria mentioned that she loved the original green handmade tile on the fireplace surround downstairs so we instantly knew this green tone (plus a walnut wood) should be included in the final design. The fireplace tile became our jumping-off point. The idea was to take the classic craftsman aesthetic but update it to suit their more contemporary taste. And so the balance of ‘two, varying design styles’ began & it all came down to the details. 

As you walk into the room your eye is instantly drawn to the two tones of the handmade green tiles from Fireclay Tile. They had the perfect shades of green to give a nod to the craftsman style while keeping it feeling up to date & slightly trendy with the color block design we implemented. 

The idea was to use a slightly darker 3” square tile in Peabody on the bottom portion that was closer in color to the tile downstairs, but then create a stopping point at the top of the tub to keep the room from leaning too dark overall. The darker tile also helped to balance out the custom walnut vanity that runs the length of the space & prevented it from feeling too heavy/overwhelming for this more narrow bath footprint. Then the lighter 3” x 6” tile in Rosemary is in a vertical stacked pattern on top & as the shower surround which gives a light & airy spa-like balance while still bringing more color into the space.

DESIGN DETAIL TIP | Tile

Classic Element: the colors of the tile & handmade quality
Contemporary Element: the vertical stacked pattern & use of the trendy color block design

THE VANITY – STORAGE

The original vanity in this room came with a lot of storage but most of it wasn’t quite functional. As you can see in the “Before Photos” from earlier in the post, the drawers were long and narrow. This made it difficult to store some things easily… a blow dryer would surely get lost in the cabinets below. The deeper drawers were off to the left side which was out of arm’s reach & the limited vanity area on the right side was never fully utilized. 

Since we were starting from scratch with the vanity design, we asked them our typical questions when it comes to custom cabinetry:

  • What do you plan to store?
  • Do you prefer drawers vs cabinets?
  • Are there any specialty items to include in the design?

Drawer Pulls | Drawer Knobs | Towel Ring

Here is where we landed. As you can see above we started by creating a deeper cabinet in the middle, which provides more counter space for getting ready. The two sides are a bit more shallow to prevent the space from feeling too narrow. It also helped to avoid overlapping the door frame to their bedroom (their previous vanity was a culprit of this design faux pas).

The middle section is a little shy of 60” wide and includes 6 drawers (4 that are more shallow /narrow for storing make-up, etc. & 2 that are deeper for brushes, a blow dryer, etc.). A 36”W under-sink cabinet provides storage for the bulkier items like toilet paper and cleaning supplies. A lot of storage potential for this new vanity already!

The left side hides two specialty item requests from our clients:

  1. A small folding ironing board in the top right drawer  
  2. Two laundry basket inserts in the large drawer below

The opposite side has a wide deep drawer to store additional toiletries with an open shelf below for extra linens & provides access/space for the air vent. All the drawers & cabinet doors are adorned with brass hardware from Rejuvenation that warms up the darker walnut wood. The plumbing fixtures, pulls & knobs, towel ring & hooks, & toilet paper holder are all from the West Slope Collection creating a uniform and more classic look.

DESIGN DETAIL TIP | Custom Vanity

Classic Element: walnut wood & brass metal combination
Contemporary Element: slab fronts & minimal style hardware

THE SINK DILEMMA

The windows in the space created a design dilemma. Our client’s original goal was to install double sinks. Due to their desire not to replace/change the windows (and the resulting limited space allotted for a mirror), our solution was to install a 30”W trough style sink. This was a major upgrade from their previous small, round vessel one. The new sink is wide enough for them to share at the same time. This is also a budget-friendly option since you don’t have to buy two of everything + double installation costs.

Body Lotion | Body Oil | Faucet

We also saved dollars by keeping the wall-mounted sink faucet in place and swapped out the fixture for one that seamlessly blends the classic and contemporary worlds. The overall clean lines & trendier cross handles of the West Slope Faucet from Rejuvenation feel fresh yet the brass tone and curve to the design give it a touch of classic style.

THE STONE DETAILS

The other vanity dilemma was how to make the wider, middle section feel purposeful since it overlapped with the two flanking windows. The solution was to create a beautiful two-tiered, curved backsplash moment using the Sereno Bianco from Vadara. This quartz stone is not only very user-friendly, it also has the most beautiful veining pattern in person making it one of our go-to quartz for our clients. Which created plenty of movement & ‘texture’ without looking too bold/cramped under the window sill. Speaking of, can we just take a second to appreciate the precision of the stone fabricator and how perfectly that piece fits under the trim. 

DESIGN DETAIL TIP | Stone Countertop

Classic Element: the curved backsplash design & veining pattern with a slight polished finish
Contemporary Element: keeping the edge profile a simple miter instead of an Ogee curved profile

ADDITIONAL STORAGE & LIGHTING

Medicine Cabinet | Sconce

There was one final request for storage and that was of the vertical kind. We were pretty limited on wall space so a medicine cabinet mirror was a great option. It looks like any other mirror when closed… but it has ample storage. When I opened the mirrored door slightly for the shot, Emily Bowser, our stylist queen who expertly made this room feel so special with the final touches. (LOOK. AT. THOSE. FLOWERS. Perfection!) was actually shocked by the fact this was a medicine cabinet (which TBH are often kinda meh). This one though… so pretty!

The cherry on top is that Rigdon Wall Sconce from Rejuvenation. It provides plenty of ambient vanity lighting & is such a classic design yet with clean lines. Since we crammed so much between the two windows we wanted something that was functional, beautiful & a little more understated since the opal glass helps it disappear on the white wall. 

DESIGN DETAIL TIP | Mirror

Classic Element: brass finish & curved edges
Contemporary Element: clean linear lines & thin minimal frame (if it was oval or had a thicker more decorative frame it would read more classic)

THE ‘WC NICHE’

Art | Shelf

Since we decided to install a full height dividing wall between the shower and toilet area we wanted to keep things simple over here & it wasn’t a high priority place to spend money. Savings came through keeping the toilet in its original location. There was, however, an amazing opportunity to add open shelving for some personal styling touches/storage (with a ledge on the back wall topped with the same quartz material used throughout for ease when cleaning). 

The collage piece is from an amazing artist on Etsy, Artistic Side of Life, located in the UK. Maya’s pieces evoke the whole concept of the design by using classic elements with a new contemporary spin. To top things off, we added a walnut shelf with brass brackets from Rejuvenation. This was a great way to add in a smaller dose of the darker wood tone which helped balance out the vanity.

DESIGN DETAIL TIP | Art

Classic Element: subject matter – vintage photos & classic buildings
Contemporary Element: collage media – makes for a quirky & fresh piece of art

THE SHOWER AREA

Towel Hooks | Waffle Towels

Moving to the shower area, you get a close-up view of the two green tile tones from Fireclay paired with the rust-colored towels Emily B. pulled in. The contrast makes each of the colors really pop. Quick Question: Are you ‘Team Towel Bar’ or ‘Team Towel Hooks’? Curious minds would like to know, so leave a comment below!

The extra-large tub we chose was ideal since Gloria and Marc plan to bathe their two small kids mainly in this bathroom. The tub measures 76” long, so we created a 48″ wide double glass door opening to serve as the shower enclosure. This allows them more room when bathing their two kids at the same time. We also installed the same Vadara quartz for the tub deck & added a small overhang to the front of the tub for water spills. This is a great tip if you plan to use a material that isn’t fully waterproof… plus it makes for easier clean up.

Shower Fixtures

The shower fixtures are also the West Slope line from Rejuvenation and add so much warmth against the tile. In the earlier phase of the design, we were toying with the idea of putting the tub spout centered along the back wall but opted to keep them all on the same wall which helped to cut some costs from the final budget.

HOT TIP: Always try to match the plumbing fixtures in a space (which often means using the same brand/vendor). Not only is the finish more likely to match, but it also makes it easy for your crew to install or repair down the line since they most likely have similar parts. If you’re blending design styles, it’s not a design mistake to mix-and-match contemporary and classic styles, as long as the finishes match. This can enhance an eclectic look.

The new, full-height wall was the perfect spot for a large quartz-lined shower niche. We opted to create two tall openings for family-sized bottles, freeing up the tub deck space for toys to entertain the kids during bath time.

PSA *Pretty vase not included during aforementioned bath time*

Rug

The large-format floor tiles used were pretty simple in design & very budget-friendly. So to add a ‘special vintage moment’ we sourced this amazing worn Caucasus rug from Blue Parakeet Rugs, an EHD & VHD vintage-rug-favorite.

The colors of the rug’s design worked so well with the green tile & rust styling accents. Plus, the design has a geometric/contemporary feel, but is so classic & is a true vintage piece. Every room deserves to have at least one ‘antiqued/used’ item for some added soul. Sheba, the owner of Blue Parakeet Rugs, is so knowledgeable in her field and if you live in the LA area she does a “Rug & Roll” bringing tons of options to her clients’ homes to see which is the right fit for each room. Her process is so fun to watch on IG stories!

Last but not least (and some of you sleuths may have caught this from the ‘before photos’)… we removed the painted shutters & swapped them with linen roman shades. We were torn on whether or not to do this since there are shutters in some other rooms of the house. But even when open the original shutters didn’t let in a ton of natural light and proved to be ‘in the way’ when in this position. Roman shades not only were more considerate of the limited space, but also added a bit of warmth. Softness/color provided by fabric always makes a bath feel cozier… and that was the goal.

The final touch for a bit of subtle contrast (and a hint toward Craftsman) was a very, very light green paint for the window trim. We were all already fans of this idea, especially after Sara wrote a post on the trend & implemented it into her own home. This detail added a bit more color onto the other side of the space opposite of the tiled area to once again balance it all out.

And as always to conclude, here’s the obligatory, “What do I do with my hands, Sara?” photo to wrap up today’s reveal. But in all seriousness, it was truly such a pleasure to work with our client’s Gloria & Marc, and our wonderful GC whom we are so excited to be working with on future projects. A special thanks to all of our amazing vendors (Rejuvenation, Fireclay Tile, Vadara, & Blue Parakeet Rugs) for helping to make this room design a reality. 

I feel immensely lucky to be working with our dream design team again, all thanks to Velinda who bravely started a company in the midst of a pandemic. If you have a space that is ready for a revamp & live in the Los Angeles area (or surrounding areas, we have an amazing client in Ojai!). We are wrapping up a few more Full-Service projects & would love to work with you! Also, if you live literally anywhere else in the world (or LA but don’t need Full-Service for your project) we offer E-Design packages for any room size. The E-team is incredible at creating beautiful spaces from afar & each project comes with a “To-Go Box” that includes every last detail you’ll need to implement the design on your own.

We are so thankful to Em & the EHD team whom we love immensely, to be able to keep sharing our ideas & room reveals with you all. We’ve missed you so let’s chat & catch up on all things design in the comments below, see you there!

*Design by Julie Rose for Velinda Hellen Design
**Styling by Emily Edith Bowser
***Photos by Sara Ligorria-Tramp

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Jess
11 months ago

This is beautiful and filled with useful tips. Thank you! It’s always a pleasure to read Julie’s posts. Great to see a return to design content, too.

Karen
11 months ago

the curved quartz is so special. It’s such a thoughtful design. I found the tips with how you blended the classic traditional with contemporary style helpful. The bathroom is just lovely and the styling is gorgeous.

Vera
11 months ago

Beautiful Julie! I always love your work. I come back to your bedroom and bathroom MOTOs often. 🙂
Funny story: when I read “Ogee” I wondered if this was the new way the cool kids were writing “OG” and googled it to discover it is an actual shape. 😂

Erin Dae
11 months ago

So nice to have Julie back sharing content. She is one of my favorites and I am thrilled to see her having continued success. This space is so beautiful and I find myself going over every detail because I have a major bathroom remodel on the brain. When we bought our house 20 years ago, the en suite bathroom was tops on the list for reno but we ended up focusing on all the other spaces first. The last few years, the project has gotten pushed off the list for a baby grand piano (another long-term dream of mine), a car replacement, a roof replacement…etc. In retrospect, waiting has been a good thing because my style has evolved and the design will be more thoughtful/timeless now. Hoping 2022 is the year of the bathroom at my place! I will definitely be coming back to this post for ideas and inspiration.

Maeve
11 months ago

Gorgeous!! I love the plants/florals in the bathroom. Is there a specific store where you get most of your branches/dried florals? Thanks!

this is so freaking gorgeous. EVERY. SINGLE. DETAIL. also, that backsplash! sigh.

Elissa
11 months ago

Can you link the linen Roman shades? Also that large vase w/2 lil handles!

🥰 Rusty
11 months ago

Oooooh! Dang I love your vibe and style, Julie! 💗
I still think about your bedroom reveal from time to time… so cozy, so fresh, so simple.
This bathroom is right up my alley!
Gorgeous!!
Yaaay! 😀
I hope VHD gets all the work and lurve you guys deserve.

Cris S.
11 months ago

Very beautiful and I love hearing where you saved a bit of money and where you deployed it. I think you rode the line of new bathroom/fitting the feel of the house very well. Here is where I can tell that no one on the team has little kids though (and that the home owners either didn’t think about adding or thought “we didn’t have it before and so we’ll be okay with out it”). No separate shower hose and spray head. We didn’t have one in our old bath and when we were renovating and the contractor brought it up and thought, ‘oh, that’s probably not necessary’ but we put one in anyway and I was SO grateful. It is sooooo much easier to clean both the kids and the bath with that. I see that with the sink spigot also – and I have that same set in a powder room. But with that really wide sink and two people sharing it, you are going to be trying to chase down residue with water guided by your hand or a cup constantly, because you can’t even swing the spigot from side to side at all. It’s a great… Read more »

Cris S.
11 months ago
Reply to  Julie Rose

Ahhh – that makes some sense, though I do think they are very helpful for cleaning. I had thought that the desire to wash the littles in there meant that they didn’t have a bath in another space. And I have no room to talk here as, when we did a complete gut reno on the new house I refused to put in a pot filler over the stove! I had very good reasons, but still….

Rachel
11 months ago

Beautiful! So curious where the Roman shades are from. I’d like to do this in one of our bathrooms and our house is 100 years old with similar trim and shallow depth! So struggling to find a good but also affordable option.

VALERIE SCHLOSSER
11 months ago

No sink sharing for me! Hard pass! No thanks.

11 months ago

Haha! That’s funny because I would so much rather have counter space than another sink. To each their own!

Stassy
11 months ago
Reply to  Alexandra Rose

Totally agree on rather having 1 sink + extra counter-space – plus it’s nice only having to clean one sink!

11 months ago

We were so excited to have double sinks in our new-to-us home. Yet, we both almost always use the one farthest from the door. Fortunately, we aren’t often getting ready at the same time, but it’s kind of hilarious that we have two but fight over our favorite. 😉

Lashley
11 months ago

Julie! and team VHD! I love this so much. We are in a similar position with our 1920s bungalow, and this is so lovely and inspirational. Our main bath has already been updated, and this has confirmed some decisions (twin shower niches!) and given me some ideas for our upcoming kitchen project. Make some room, Pinterest board!

Kim
11 months ago

I love this! I especially love seeing a well done bath/shower combo. I’m considering one in our bathroom since the space is really tight but hadn’t ever seen it done in a classy way until today! Great job!

11 months ago

The curved quartz is BEYOND. It really feels like one of the “quirks as a chance to make something beautiful” that is characteristic of old homes. So many helpful tips too!

Lia
11 months ago

Beautiful. Are all power outlets built into the vanity and medicine cabinet? So often, building code requires you to have so many outlets. Amazed I don’t see any. Love the vanity and side cabinets – stealing this idea for my own renovation.

Christa
11 months ago

This is a beautiful bath, and helpful post for those who need a vintage/modern mix. So excited to see the work of the EHD alums.

Kara
11 months ago

This is beautiful, unsurprisingly! I particularly loved how you explained throughout the classic to modern nods, updates, etc. Such a helpful way to frame things and so educational.

Elaine
11 months ago

What a beauty of a bathroom, the stone vanity is very quietly stunning. I was tickled to notice that the new tile design kinda reflects the old tile layout (rectangle over square), cute how that turned out!

emily jane
11 months ago

soooooo bleeping many
enthusiastically
positive
emotions
tangled up with
all the descriptive words
(+ some cheerful expletives %!#!*..! ; )
flooding my brain
help!
cannot choose…

skimming from the top:
a beautiful & thoughtful space created by some incredibly talented folks
congratulations!
also, thank you for sharing -I am inspired…

Nora
11 months ago

This is lovely, and so nice to see your work here again! Your designs are always so thoughtful and serene. Loved the discussion on how to carry through both the classic and contemporary styles here – and the walnut wood, the fixtures, the curved quartz, and that rug 🙂

Francie
11 months ago

the rich wood + gold hardware + green tile was the hug I needed this morning.
but also can we talk about that MEDICINE CABINET??? One thing that frustrates me about makeovers (on Apartment therapy etc) is the removal of storage – design has to be functional and not just beautiful!! But that medicine cabinet is BOTH wow. Also definitely taking notes about recessing the cabinet – it removes some of the clunk.
gorgeous design!

JenB
11 months ago

We also just replaced our small round sink with a 30″ trough sink. It has made SUCH a difference in sharing a space with my husband. If you can’t fit 2 sinks, a trough is the way to go!

Betsy
11 months ago

Seriously one of the most beautiful bathrooms I’ve seen. I love all the colors and little touches. The rug is amazing. I always wonder how antique rugs hold up on a daily basis in a bathroom? Also, I need those towels.. I went to the link to check them out..are they the terra-cotta or bronze color? Thank you!

Marisa
11 months ago
Reply to  Betsy

I would also love to know how vintage rugs hold up in a bathroom. I like to wash my bathroom rugs frequently so I don’t really understand how this works!

Jenny B
11 months ago
Reply to  Marisa

I have had a vintage wool rug in my bathroom for about the last 6 years. I have a rug pad under it, change that probably once a year, but other than that just vacuum. Of course you can always get it cleaned when you clean your other rugs! I love it, no worrying about a wet bathmat, wool lasts forever and it is thick and comfy.

Lindsay
11 months ago
Reply to  Betsy

YES! I have wondered the same thing about vintage rugs. I want to buy a 9′ x 12′ for our family room, and my husband says “Will it smell gross?” and “Won’t it look worn out?” I’d love to get references for sites that guarantee a clean, fresh, non-gross yet still vintage rug. Is that too much to ask? 🙂 Naturally, I also need a more modern, muted color palate.

KD
11 months ago

SWOON! Thanks for sharing all the details and thought process behind your design.

Lindsay
11 months ago

The curved quartz over the sink – I’M DED!!!

Jessica
11 months ago

Hi, Julie, lovely post, incredible renovation, I’m in love!!!! Thanks for all the tips! What color did you use for the trim?

11 months ago

Such a lovely bath and you definitely hit the goal of riding the line between keeping with the home’s more traditional craftsman aesthetic but updating it with a modern bent.
I have a similarly aged Craftsman cottage with a bathroom also updated in the early 2000s– same oversized tub/shower combo as well. Shower curtains don’t do well with the larger width– one isn’t quite big enough, two gets a little too bulky, plus I HATE shower curtains and would love to replace with a similar glass door situation.
Is the glass shower door custom? If not, Julie would you mind sharing the source?
I’ve found it impossible to find anything stock and would rather not go custom as we’ll eventually completely revamp the bath, but that will likely be at least 10+ years from now as we have too many other priorities.. but I would love to make the bath more lovely and livable in the meantime. 😉

Rachel
11 months ago

So gorgeous. Back to read again to go over all the details.

Erin
11 months ago

You are incredible! This is such a perfect blend of classic and modern. The break in the green tile is subtle but amazing. And omg that sink backsplash!!!!

11 months ago

WOW! What a change, especially in the bathroom area, it’s captivating!
Thank you for sharing some useful tips, Julie!

Lea
11 months ago

SOOOOO good Julie! This is beautiful and I love the warm wood tones!

Bianca4S
11 months ago

Love everything about this new bathroom and that’s unusual for me, I will def be reaching out in the coming year for design help – thank you!

JILL
11 months ago

GORGEOUS!!!

K
11 months ago

This is such a stunning bathroom! Amazing job!

Paula Carr
11 months ago

This was a welcome surprise! I’m often saddened by people buying classic vintage houses of a particular style (especially Craftsman) and trying to put something into them that is jarringly wrong. This is a real winner.

Vanessa Amspacher
11 months ago

I think it’s a lovely bathroom! I just wonder if it needs more ventilation because I notice mold in some of the closeups.

Michelle
11 months ago

This is such a lovely and thoughtfully designed room. What are the paint colors used for the walls/ceiling and trim?

Kristen
11 months ago

We are using rosemary tile from fireclay with a custom walnut vanity and just bought two of the exact medicine cabinets from pottery barn over black friday. I about fell out of my chair today when I came across this amazing bathroom that I feel basically came from my own brain haha! One thing that I have been struggling with is what floor to use in our bathroom remodel, I saw on instagram what company you went through but do you know the size or color of this flooring? My family owns an antique store, so I have a few amazing runners I plan on using and I love that this floor lets everything else shine. Amazing work!

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