Emily Henderson

A Modern Traditional Bathroom ...

Master Bathroom Reveal

Welcome to my new master bathroom – it’s modern with a (strangely) heavy dose of traditional, and a lot of fresh happiness. It took about 6 weeks from start to finish, with an original estimated time of 2 weeks (a few pieces dragged which put everything else behind) and cost way more than I’d like to admit. Of course now that its done I’ve kinda forgotten about the time/cost/emotional turmoil and instead I just bask in the freshness that only a brand new bathroom can give you.

I’m sure you are well aware at this point, but just in case you are new to the blog I would love to torture you with what I tortured myself with for a year and a half – the pre-renovated bathroom:

EH Bathroom_Before 1
EH Bathroom_Before 2
EH Bathroom_Before 4

UGH.

For the love of God lets move on to the ‘afters’ shall we? Feast your eyes on these:

I get to do my 500 brush strokes through my hair every night in this bathroom now, and my life is better because of it.

I went over a lot in yesterday’s post, but a few things were still outstanding.  I LOVE this vanity. It’s simple, modern, has amazing storage and even plug-in sockets inside the cupboards. The two sides are drawers and the middle two are cupboards. We struggled with the handle orientation, but not for long – I went with function and chose the orientation based on that.

The faucets pretty much speak for themselves – they are so simple, modern and that finish is perfect. I love them very much. We had a lot of choose from, but for this project these were the for sure winners.

The toilet is a “touchless” toilet which sounds creepy, but is pretty great. It has a button on top that you barely touch (I think you can wave your hand over it) and it flushes very fast and really quiet. I’ve never had a new toilet before, and generally it’s efficiency is impressive. As you can imagine Charlie loves the touch-less feature and we’ve had to talk a lot about the drought in our family.

As things were coming together I kept being struck with this thought – man, this bathroom went way more traditional than I expected. This is certainly not a bad thing, AT ALL, as I love classic, traditional design. But in trying to figure out why that was the case I came up with a few thoughts. I figured if you want to mix them modern/traditional look these could be good tips, but if you wanted to stay away from going too traditional then these are good things for you to avoid.

1. Tiling 1/2 of the wall is inherently more traditional and less ‘mid-century’ or contemporary. I loved the idea of the whole bathroom being tiled, but floor to ceiling on all walls seemed a little much. So we chose to do half of the wall. For a more modern look we could have done just the bathtub wall (and return) and behind the vanity with nothing on the other walls. Because of the 1/2 wall we had to add bullnose tile on top which makes it a bit more traditional as well.

2. We went for a shower curtain and rod versus a glass door. The quotes I received on glass doors were between $1200 – $2k. I like them in general but not enough to spend that on mine – well, not after the rest of the dough (somewhere between $15 – $18K . . . I’m in denial). I felt like the glass could a.) make the room feel more closed off, b.) make it annoying to bathe children (or myself when I want to take a bath) and c.) look too ‘contemporary’. That shower curtain rod was $120 from somewhere we found online and the curtain was $25 from Target. I figured if I ever wanted to add the glass enclosure (or even just a 1/2 of one, which is probably what I would do) I could, no problem, but I wasn’t motivated to do it then. The bathroom is so small that having a glass door to open/close and navigate around sounds annoying, and only having a 2 – 3′ glass panel by the faucet would be extremely hard to bathe Charlie in (and felt dangerous as he would have access to the hot water without it being easily accessible to me). Or, maybe I’m just cheap.

3. The mirror and the tub were both more antique/classic. It’s not like it was a claw foot tub, but it’s cast iron which gives it a more classic look. I guess I’m fairly drawn to this style, too, so while the faucets, vanity, toilet, etc. were also super modern, I wanted to bring in a bit of soul with those pieces. The mirror was something I found at a vintage store in the valley for $60. I’m not convinced its the mirror, and I had intentions of custom making a large round or square one with brass detailing, but I was behind on that task. When they were wrapping up the bathroom install I had this other mirror on hand and simply hung it up. I really like it, but will probably continue to keep an eye out for a more perfect one.

The best thing about the bathroom is how big and airy it feels for being so tiny. It has character (THAT TILE, those faucets!) but since they are fairly simple in color and pattern it keeps that open feeling. Everything is light, more tonal and clean which allows for the space itself to feel as open and wide as possible.

It’s a hot faucet, you know it is.

This space was so hard to shoot because it’s so small, but Jess managed to get some shots of all angles for some satisfying before and afters.

It’s quite the improvement, no? We recently put in another small bathroom in our guest room/old office and next up is the other bathroom. I learned some lessons – and one of them should have been JUST GET IT OVER WITH, but of course now that we have a newborn I’m wondering if/when our hall bathroom will ever get renovated. Stay tuned, friends and HAPPY FRIDAY. xx

Brass Sconces |  Crystalized Glass Floor Tile | Wall Tile in Crater Lake | Towel Bar | Toilet | Vanity-top Bathroom Sink |  Bathroom Cabinets | Towel Ring | Drawer Pull | Robe Hook | Toilet Paper Holder | Bath Tub | Sink Faucet | Shower and Bath Faucets | Faceted Gold Soap Dispenser | Marble Canister | Ring Dish | Soap Dish | Glass Canister | White Etched Tray | Blue Bath Mat | White Striped Towels | Abstract Wall Art |

*Photos by Jessica Isaac. For more of the master bathroom look here and here. And check out the bathroom feature in Elle Decor.

 

 

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  1. I LOVE it! Slightly more traditional and “pretty” than your usual look of recent years, and it is perfect. I might have to use the exact same tile in my future bathroom remodel.

    One question, do you do makeup/hair in the bathroom and are those lights bright enough?

  2. As someone living in 70s bathroom hell (complete with scuzzy corner bath and a panel that falls off if you so much as look at it), I am truly beyond jealous. That tile is like looking at happy little Care Bear clouds. For realz. And don’t even get me started on the gold tap situations. Off to pin the hell out of this now…

  3. The bathroom is pretty nice but I am a tad disappointed that it’s not more mid century for the house and I find the brass is a strange combination with that particular colour of blue.

    That being said it’s your bathroom, it is a vast improvement on what used to be there and I’m happy you finally have something that you love!

      1. I was thinking the same thing! For once, I think it might look better with brushed nickel or the like. Those beautiful gold faucets look a bit harsh with the light blue. Maybe it’s just in pictures, though. :)

        Of course the bathroom is beautiful – as is everything you do, Emily. I’m not sure what part of it qualifies as ‘modern’ but who really cares! It has a lovely tranquil feel. Enjoy the fruits of your labour!

  4. I have followed you forever. The main reason I have stuck with you more than with any other blog is your accessibility. Here you go again! You, a designer, waited a year and a half to gut your bathroom. That makes me feel sooooo good. Living in the fourth home we have owned (and ironically the one that needs to biggest facelift), we have to take our time. We are saving and spending and knowing that you managed to wait just makes me feel like we can do it! I love what you did and do. Absolute inspiration!

  5. Agree with Brooke about the brass…but can’t imagine using anything else! Very tranquil and imaginative. Great job!!!

  6. it’s GORGEOUS!! …but… all I see is a LOT of white grout. I have such a tough time (i.e. I’m failing at) keeping my white grout white. what’s your best solution for keeping it white!?!?

    1. All grout needs to be sealed and I think it often is not sealed due to shoddy construction. Would love to hear from a pro on this. Emily, a post on the impact of quality construction versus lousy construction on design.

      To put myself through grad school I painted apartments in NYC. It was fascinating because some of the most expensive, usually new, apartments had the cheapest construction. After a short time it really impacted not only quality of life but the entire look of the place ie grout and counters not being sealed, really bad paint jobs including haphazard spray gun painting without cutting the edges so the dry wall would start being obvious underneath after a few months etc… I could go on. Would love to hear more about this.

    2. Jenn, Emily may have an awesome secret to keeping grout white, but here’s one thing I’ve learned (I have white grout in my bathroom and light gray in my kitchen): grout sealer. As soon as the grout is installed, seal it — and then seal it every 6 months after that. (Maybe even more often. :-) ). You can buy grout sealer at Home Depot, Lowes, etc. It’s not a silver bullet but it DEFINITELY helps.

    3. There are grouts out there now that you mix with epoxy that are a lot more mildew and stain resistant. You can get them at any big box stores. They are fussier to work with – stickier when applying and harder to clean off the tiles, but we used them in a bath remodel about 5 years ago and they are holding up great.

  7. I love it! That tile makes me smile and I love the warmth of the brass with the pale blue–the matte finish on the faucets keeps it modern, to me. I just saw Dames at Sea on Broadway, so maybe that’s behind this thought but I feel like this bathroom wants to tap dance to a Cole Porter song!

  8. What?! You have a newborn?! Did you just slip that in? Wonderful, if that is true and Wonderful if you are still looking forward, or did I miss something?

      1. I think many people who read in Chrome miss posts. If I don’t go into settings and clear the image cache I usually get the last post I accessed instead of new ones. I didn’t see the baby announcement post, either.

  9. I love the tile going all the way up the shower side. The scallops are beautiful and I think you made the right choice with just the single blue (your signature!) I remember having sliding glass shower doors as a kid and it did make pet dog bathing a struggle so I can imagine bathing 2 kids would be a nightmare! Open spaces is muuuuch better. Love all the brass. Just like the kitchen!

    It’s very fresh and happy.

  10. I love the contrast of the brass and pale blue. Warm but not sludgy, if that makes sense. And I was happy to hear that you’re not sure about the mirror, as it seems not quite right to me too:). I’ll be really interested to see what you replace it with, since I’m learning from your processes. Meanwhile I’ll go off and see if I can come to some ideas myself, as a little self-test.

  11. In addition to being a beautiful bathroom, it is an excellent example for someone with a much smaller master/main bathroom that they can still have a knock your socks off room. I especially liked to see how you went with a curtain and not a tub enclosure and the mirror seemed like a perfect fit with the tile shape.

  12. Looks amazing!

    There is a company called fleurco http://fleurco.com/ that does partial glass enclosures, doors, pivot partials, etc. Trade cost runs from $350CAD for the 34″ fixed glass (so $5 USD?!). Great company though. Use them all the time. For future!

  13. Lovely! What is the glossy white material covering the “end” you built for the tub? Asking because we have a situation that requires a similar solution. Also, I completely sympathize with the shallow tub problem. Since we can fit only a 30″ wide tub, the Highbridge is not even an option. It’s the smallest Bellwether or the Villager, or a similar one by Toto, and all three offer between 8.5 and 9.5 inches of water depth. Such a bummer.

    1. Try the Archer–it’s a little more transitional and most of the pics online don’t show the most streamlined version of the inside of the tub, but I think it’s about 19″.

  14. the bathroom looks awesome, but what I love most is how you walk through the decision making process like an obsessive compulsive (this is a compliment) as I, too, would parse out the glass vs curtain argument down to the molecules. also, pinned the toilet for our own upcoming master bath reno. the details! congrats <3

  15. Congratulations, that’s gorgeous, the tile really does it. Otherwise it would just be a nice bathroom, but the file takes it to “amazing”. I just feel that the mirror could be a bit bigger. But as you said, you were not sure it’s “the” mirror. Enjoy the new bathroom!

  16. love the tile- it’s so flirty and fun. Personally I hate glass in showers because no matter how much you clean it, it never stays shining and totally clear.

    to all the commenters about the newborn- where have you been?! :) read the last couple of posts- we’ve all been anxiously awaiting her arrival. (not to sound creepy- but you know.)

  17. Exquisite! Love it all, the tiles, the colour, the brass accents, everything is very clean and unfussy! Simply beautiful!

  18. Hi Emily, I’m assuming that the mirror is vintage since it isn’t sourced but we are about to re-do our bathrooms too….actually, we have been “about to” for over a year now. Where could I find a beautiful mirror similar to the one you have? Thank you! Congrats on your new baby.

  19. Gorgeous and classic! Really well done, thank you for all the wonderful photos. I admit that the mirror did jump out at me as “nice but not quite right” for the space, so it will be interesting to see what you do there.

  20. I freaking love it, because its different. It’s fresh and traditional and I love that it doesn’t look like every other bathroom makeover you see now a days. Love the floating vanity, the brass everywhere, the scalloped blue tiles, I love it all! These are not finishes that I would have chosen but that’s what makes it uniquely designed for your family and absolutely beautiful. I love seeing your rooms they are always different and that is a GOOD thing. You are definitely not blah! Keet it the awesomeness!

  21. It’s very pretty & airy..nice work. I love the mirror & think the shape of it blends so well with the neat scallop tiles..has that Moroccan vibe which I love (the photo capturing the reflection, very cool). The floating vanity is really nice & has that mid century look which I also like. Also, the warm toned gold brass fixtures give it that nice contrasting tension so it doesn’t feel like it’s a cold room.

  22. BEAUTIFUL! Nothing wrong with little bit of traditional undertones, especially in a high dollar improvement, such as a bathroom reno. It will help the bathroom age better and it won’t look sooooo 2015 in 10 years, ya know? Plus, I think that your design in this bathroom looks like it fits your house – that will help keep it timeless.

  23. Very curious about your decision not to drop the vanity to the floor – or at least account for the negative/empty space beneath the vanity. I like that the vanity appears to be floating but it would seem more functional to have some additional storage below or at least be utilizing it for storage/towels – etc. It looks like now it will be hard to clean under there!

  24. I love how you walk through the process of renovation and keep it real, both about the cost and the decision process. The tile is truly amazing and such a beautiful shade of blue. However, overall I think this room is a miss for me (I’m sorry!). I was glad to read you plan to swap out the mirror – it seems to compete with the shape of the tile, and the scones, while I love them, look a little awkward placed so high. Wouldn’t that style normally be mounted more level with the mirror instead of above it?
    It pains me to say, because I LOVE brass fixtures, but I also agree with the above commenter that I just don’t think that shade works here. Maybe it’s just the photos, but it reads rather harshly to my eye. I keep thinking that a polished nickel, while certainly even more traditional, would play nicer with the blue tile. I know brass is sort of your thing, but I wonder if you considered any other finishes as part of your design process?
    Lastly, when you give your cost estimate, is that net of sponsored items? For example, you mentioned the tub was comped. Just trying to get a sense for total cost of this size of a reno for future reference. Anyway, I know you have a newborn and probably don’t have time to answer all these questions, but I thought I’d share my 2 cents nevertheless.

    1. Jennipher,

      I love the look of the bathroom! But, I also immediately caught that the vanity scones seemed a bit too high/close together. I really think(if Emily is to stick with this mirror for some time,) they’d look better being moved a few inches down & father out. Just spackle in the holes, & paint over them. Then, if new mirror is larger: rinse & repeat :)

      Andrea

  25. It’s beautiful! The tile especially!

    I was renovating my own not-all-that-large master bath at the about the same time that you were doing it, and I spent north of $20K. Just including this fact in case it makes you feel any better. :) (Personally, I’m in my own land of denial — and basically lie/evade/round down when people ask me how much it cost.)

    It is interesting to see where you landed on the same decision points I went through — and I love to (finally) see the final result!

  26. Could you show more pictures of the shower curtain? I have the same set up with an Lshaped rod and I’m curious how you use the shower curtain. Do you have only one? I’m using two in order to close the shower off completely but I’m not crazy about it. The shower curtain on the end of the tub either hangs outside the short wall or has to stay inside the tub. I don’t find many other baths set up this way but yours is just like mine. The whole bathroom looks amazing!

    1. If you look at yesterday’s post there are a couple images of her original idea to use a glass panel there instead, and it only goes about 60% down the side of the tub, and the whole back of the tub is open as well. So I think she’s using one shower curtain and doesn’t care that it doesn’t wrap around. I would worry about splashing the toilet area and being a bit exposed while showering but maybe I’m weird.

  27. Your new bathroom is lovely, Emily! You can’t put a price on that clean, fresh feeling you get after going from what you had to this! I hope we get to see the bathroom you did for the guest room/office. I realize that it’s probably not as “extravagant” but I would love to see what you would do in a bathroom with a slightly pared down budget, if you know what I mean. Enjoy your snuggles… Baby girls are simply the best.

  28. It’s great. it’s pretty, functional, and super balanced with contemporary and traditional design.

    I like that you have a shower curtain. While it’s a savings, you also showed how it can be pretty. The gold chain shower hooks are a nice touch.

  29. Love the tile. Saw something similiar on a House Hunters Renovation and fell in love with its shape/style then. So lovely in your bathroom.

  30. I LOVE your bathroom! I am currently redoing a powder room and am using the Kohler Purist faucet in a brushed gold. Unfortunately the Kohler line doesn’t carry the brushed gold in the overflow piece for the sink. Any suggestions on blending different brass/gold from their line of products?

  31. I love it! So tranquil and clean. Definitely a small bathroom I would want to spend time in! Even though you have discussed mixing metals before, I love how cohesive you were with with your choice of metals here (towel bars, lights, faucets, shower heads, etc.). The tile choice was perfect, you definitely went the right way with that. Is the curtain patterned or plain white (hard to tell from the photos)?

  32. I agree 100% about going without the glass door. Bathing kids is so much easier without it. Also, I find them almost impossible to keep clean with hard water and soap scum build-up. They are the bane of my existence at this time.

  33. looks awesome! i am impressed you lived with the ‘before’ for so long given that you are obviously such an aesthetic person. i love that mirror and personally think it’s perfect and that a brass-framed one would be overkill with all the other brass in there. sweet tile choice. i also really appreciate your telling us about all the minor things that went wrong/ disappointments so that we can all learn from them. when i renovated my kitchen, a lot of little things like this occurred and i hope next time i will be able to learn from them.

    congrats on your beautiful new baby!

  34. I love this bathroom! It would be great if you could do a post about bathroom art, I just love what you have chosen. I just did an overhaul (not a full on remodel, that has to wait til I have the funds) on my bathroom and I left wall space for art but now I’m stumped as to what to put in there. I have a few pieces that I could get framed but I’m worried about moisture. What is your advice on things that are ok to put in the bathroom?

  35. The bathroom is lovely! I love the brass and blue! Are the brass balls that you hung the shower curtain from easy to find??

  36. This bathroom feels so relaxing. I would never have thought to choose a tile like this and yet, I love the result so much! But again, you’re the stylist :)

  37. I will soon be moving in a small yet great apartment whos only donwside is the bathroom with it’s poo-colored tiles on floor and in the shower (. But seriously, after seeing your old bathroom, I slightly feel better about mine!

    I’m utterly jealous of the new one, tho. DEM TILES.

  38. Looks FANTASTIC! What an improvement. I think your idea to just get the remaining bath over with is good. By now you have figured out the direction of this house and know what will work. You can also reuse resources for continuity, so it should be a no brainer. Even so, please show pictures!

  39. I’m in love I am so in love. I love the scalloped tiles, I love your vanity mirror, I love the warm brass fixtures, I love the contours of the fixtures, I love the shower curtain that hangs by ball chain instead of rings.

    The brass fixtures now seem like a no brainer. I’m tired of our obsession with brushed chrome!

    I love how the space has a moroccan feel. I mean, what says spa and relaxation more than a moroccan hammam (bath)?

  40. I love this bathroom, and I am hoping to do something similar in my bathroom. I was just wondering where you got the shower curtain hooks? They are so pretty:)

    Thanks!