Article Line Long1

Modern Old-World Master Bathroom

As I’m looking at this and writing it I’m having serious master bathroom envy. We are starting ours now and even if after we are done the sheer square footage issue makes our master never really a master,  but this bathroom? It’s just so big, with a separate tub and shower and two beautiful windows that literally look onto a house covered in bouganvillea and ivy.

Click through to see the whole post.

master bathroom_before_after

shauna feste bathroom

But that’s how we first met this bathroom (above). When I started the project the bathroom plan was already very under way – the layout had been finalized with all the plumbing moved, and the tub had been purchased.

shauna feste bathroom

As you might remember the contractor (who was working for the investor that was flipping the house) was working hard and fast to finish the project before the timeline and under budget. We were in escrow when all this was happening, and it just seemed INSANE for the new homeowner not to be able to choose the finishes for the bathroom (and as their designer I was to help them) but we had to do it fast and if we spent more than their dictated budget we had to pay the overage.

So we went shopping for tile ASAP. To see a lot of tile in person I like to go to Imperial Tile in the valley – but there are a million tile places out there.

shauna feste bathroom

We found this cement scallop tile in dark charcoal that we both fell in love with. It’s kinda deco and since it’s in cement it feels old world and has a really pretty patina. Had it been ceramic it might have been a little too feminine and modern, but in this cement it felt so pretty.

shauna feste bathroom

When we started the project the contractor had already purchased the tub (probably left over from another job). It was a drop-in large spa-style tub. It was totally fine. I think in a perfect world we would have put an antique clawfoot in here – there are just so few bathrooms that have the space to have one, and this one did. FYI drop-in tubs might be cheaper to purchase but then you have to frame out and tile the surround so they end up being much more expensive. I know this because we just had this debate for our master. We have serious space issues so we aren’t going to the drop-in tub as it adds square footage surrounding it, but I really do like the built-in look of them.

shauna feste bathroom

Building and tiling the surround also gives you a ledge to put shampoo, fancy body lotions and of course a vintage oil painting or two.

shauna feste bathroom

We chose a simple subway tile to work with the black scallop floor tile but you can’t tell how beautiful this subway tile is. Its handmade and it has a ton of variation and a lot of texture – the photos aren’t doing it justice. For the other two bathrooms (which I’m not blogging about because they are just so simple and barebones) we chose the regular inexpensive subway tile, but for this one we splurged. I knew it wouldn’t pay off in the photos but in real life it adds a lot of texture and it just looks old and pretty.

shauna feste bathroom

For the shower floor we chose a different tile – these little black cement squares for a few reasons: 1. the tile would have to slope down into the drain and it couldn’t be large-scale or else some would be sticking up on the sides and cut bare feet, and b. the large-scale in a small space wouldn’t look as good, and adding in a third simple tile added interest without having a weird shower surround border or anything.

shauna feste bathroom

You might remember from this post, how the vanity was already “purchased” when we started the job. It was basically left over from another job and it was a nouveau riche monster. Like picture the cheapest, most ornate vanity that screams ‘look how fancy I am’. Luckily they let us trade it in at the company they bought it at for a 30% restocking fee but it was worth every penny. This one (above) was sold there and it is totally pretty and simple. Of course had we had time we would have loved to have to have found an antique dresser and retro fit it to be a vanity, but we didn’t have the time. They were breathing down our neck to choose everything and so we picked this one that we both liked (I believe it was $1995) and just switched out the nickel knobs to simple black ones.

shauna feste bathroom

The wall looks blue there, it’s not. It’s a gray (Benjamin Moore, Classic Gray) that has blue in it but it’s not really blue at all. We picked up the chandelier at an antique store (I believe, I’m starting to forget since this job was over a year and a half ago), and that antique black mirror is just perfect, although I also forget where we got it (flea market or antique store).

Ready for the after?

Bathroom_Modern Old World_Blue_Concrete Tile_Vanity_Mirror_Scallop

We used Brizo for all the faucets (the Jason Wu collection) and they are pretty beautiful and since they are matte black they still feel a little old world. We had a company come out and do all the window treatments in the house so those Roman’s are custom and beautiful. Photo tip – shoot with at least one window open; it always makes the space more inviting.

shauna feste bathroom

You might be wondering where the toilet is. It is behind the door  – which generally is a VERY good place for it – near the tub. Sorry we didn’t get that angle!

The antique rose mirror is original to the house – but not from the bathroom. I believe it was in the dining room (not the dining nook). We found it leaning up against the dumpster, ready to get destroyed and saved it from its fate. Shana had it installed here above the bath by a mirror dude (with intense glue and what not).

shauna feste bathroom

Man, I love that mirror in there. It pulls in the chandelier and the rose gold mirror and just adds so much age/integrity to a renovated bathroom. We decided to not put a sconce above it because we didn’t really feel that we needed it.

shauna feste bathroom


There you have it – a modern old world master bathroom. For all of you who are about to design or renovate their bathrooms, here is a little ‘get the look and look for less’:

get the look_bathroom

Get the Look:

1. Floor Tile | 2. Subway Tile |  3. Faucet |  4. Chandelier  | 5. Paint Color | 6. Drawer Hardware  | 7. Beach Print  | 8. Ceramic Vase | 9. Towels | 10. Turkish Towels | 11. Glass Canisters

Look for Less:

1. Floor Tile | 2. Subway Tile | 3. Faucet | 4. Chandelier | 5. Paint Color | 6. Drawer Hardware  | 7. Beach Print | 8. Ceramic Vase | 9. Towels | 10. Turkish Towels | 11. Glass Canisters

*After photos by the always lovely,  Tessa Neustadt

Don’t forget to check out the rest of the house here: Living Room, Reading Nook, Guest Bedroom, Master Bedroom, Dining Nook,  Kitchen.


Never miss a single post and get a little something extra on Saturdays.

104 thoughts on “Modern Old-World Master Bathroom

  1. Hi Emily,
    I understand why you used the black matte faucets,hinges, etc., but do you think brass would have worked equally well?

    1. Yep! The client just wanted black this time. She’s a little less ‘glam’ than I am. 🙂

  2. Stunning! I’m curious, though: is the chandelier bright enough to be able to do, like, accurate make up? I always hear stuff about how you need sconces really close to the main mirror for adequate facial lighting but it doesn’t seem like there’s space for that.

    I ask because in my own master bathroom I always think my makeup looks fine, then I get down to my well lit home office to FaceTime with my clients about online dating and I see my picture in the computer and it looks horrible, haha. I need to look more “dateable” myself in my line of work. I’m realizing it’s probably worth it for me to spend money on different master bath lighting fixtures! Curious if you’ve heard anything from Shana about the lighting. 🙂

    1. HA. I think so, but honestly I haven’t been there at night too much. I haven’t heard that it’s not, though. xx

  3. This is lovely (amazing perfection!), as is each and every one of your posts.
    I woke up this morning with an idea related to your Friday post…
    could you blog be a subscription service?
    I feel so guilty never wanted to miss even one day, but your time is limited, of course! It’d be more fair if you were compensated for what you do here.

    1. HA. I’ve thought about it, and there are bloggers that do that. Not sure how they have faired since doing so (I think its cheap, like $7 a month or something) but as of now we don’t have the plan to do that. Thanks for thinking of me, though 🙂

  4. also,
    can you please tell me what you used for your dishwasher air gap in your kitchen?
    I can’t see it in any pictures? white goes away more with the Caesar stone, but is so cheap.
    And I’m in mid-copy-Emily mode on my kitchen and paralyzed in making a move without your guidance!

    1. HA. we skipped the airgap WHICH YOU SHOULD NOT DO. Our BS contractor/plumber was like ‘you don’t need one’ and since I hadn’t picked out an airgap cover anyway and we were in a crazy time crunch I said ‘fine’. But then we had dishwasher issues that we had to call a plumber for and he said it was partly because of the airgap. So its on my list of things to fix. I will probably get white if I can’t find a brass to match and it will probably scratch and look cheap just like my drain plug hole cover thing which is totally scratched and chipped because I got a cheap white one. Anyway, REALLY helpful information, I know. I was going to do a quick post about it to warn people to not get the cheap white drain with sink basket. So sorry I can’t be more helpful!

      1. Also can you PLEASE send photos of what it looks like afterwards? even if they aren’t good photos – just scouting photos and then i can send a photographer. I think it would be such a fun post to show other kitchens inspired by our kitchen .xx

        1. Hi Emily–
          How can we best send you pictures of projects we’ve done that were inspired by you? I’d love to send you pics of some of mine for no other reason than to show you how inspiring your blog has been. They would just be pics taken with my phone…is there an email address? I see in your contacts an email address for Brady…..would that be it? Thanks! 🙂

      2. Actually this is SUPER helpful because I have your sink in my shopping cart right now! 🙂

      3. You actually don’t need an air gap. It is code but there is another option. You can use what is called a high loop with the drain hose. If you can’t find it online I can happily email you a picture. I did it in my kitchen, I don’t like the look of them.

        PS love the bathroom. I just completed a bathroom in my house… black and white… gray walls… black hex floor and white subway tile. Black and white make beautiful bathrooms.

  5. This is amazing. I love the scalloped tile. Where is the little white cabinet to the left of the vanity from? I’ve been looking for something just like that for my bathroom for ages and that looks like the perfect size!

    1. Its vintage 🙂 I think that Restoration Hardware and Pottery Barn both have similar things, though xx

  6. Beautiful! The tile is a show-stopper. I’m excited to see this because we’re planning a master bath redo soon. I’m anxious to see yours because our bath is small, too. Like a closet, not a luxury spa. Thanks! You rock!

  7. This is absolutely stunning Emily! I could lounge in there all day and then take a bath in the evening haha! I love the impact the floor makes, and those black matte fixtures are stunning. And the addition of the beach photo is so on point. I love it all!

  8. THAT TILE! But how much is it in the “look for less” version? Doesn’t say on that link.

    1. Laurabeth-(sorry to respond with my own answers) but I believe this is one of those cases where the Look for Less version is the same as it’s quite an affordable tile. We purchased this tile about a year and a half ago for our own bathroom reno (off of Emily’s instagram picture of THIS bathroom!) and it was less than $10 a square foot. I found the process of finding pricing rather annoying but finally did the big girl thing and contacted Imperial directly and they were very prompt in responding. The biggest cost of it was for the freight delivery to the East Coast. In retrospect it was probably dumb to order from a west coast vendor but I was struggling to source in another way so meh.

      Also for anyone interested in the tile, we actually did use it in our walk-in shower and although it does have to slope ever so slightly to the drain, there are no rough edges and it’s not at all slippy since the shape of the tile means that your foot is always crossing grout. We used leftover soapstone from kitchen counters for our shower lip’ so as that is the same dark grey it feels like a continuation of floor and it doesn’t feel too choppy in the small space (I hope).

      Now that I’ve hijacked this post with product info, can I ask my own question please?! Our contractor sealed (and sealed and sealed and sealed) and we have no issue with water or anything on it, but the colour is not nearly as rich as these photos suggest this bathroom is. Ours looks more chalky. Do you by chance know anything about how they sealed it or any after installation magicry (not a real world). Thanks and obviously it goes without saying this is yet another lovely space you’ve created!

      1. HUH. So interesting about the color! I wonder why its lighter … I’m so happy that you ordered it from that instagram! And yes, its so affordable. Good to know that it doesn’t rip up your feet – that was a recommendation from our contractor. I’d love to see pics of your bathroom – email them!

  9. The bathroom certainly looks lovely, but how functional is it? Make up with only overhead lighting doesn’t work that well. Also I hate that the mirror is not lined up with the sinks. It just seems wierd to me that they can either use the sink or look in the mirror, not both at the same time. Maybe they’d get used to it, but its just not that functional

    1. I dunno, personally I find it way more convenient to have a mirror over the counter instead of the sink because there’s space for it to lay without getting wet. And natural light is the best for applying makeup, so those two big windows on either side of the mirror are better than any overhead lights (which cast harsh shadows). Just my 2 cents!

        1. I agree about where the mirror is – it makes more sense being above a counter than the sink. Lighting though? Not sure if its bright enough or not for most people but its good enough for them!

    2. Just on the lighting issue, I have a single overhead globe light in my bathroom and the lighting in the mirror is probably the best in the house. I think it’s because my bathroom is white (walls, ceiling and tiles) so the light bounces around and you’re not in your own shadow when you look in the mirror. (Should add that my mirror frame is black, as is my bathmat and I have pictures in red frames, so it’s not clinical at all). Having said that I don’t put my makeup on in the bathroom – we only have the one bathroom so it’s not fair to hog it, and also I don’t like keeping powders and brushes in such a high-humidity environment.

  10. Those dressed-up floors are so my jam lately – such a wonderful way to add personality and texture to a space, and root it without weighing it down. Beautifully done, E!

  11. Wow! Bathroom envy indeed. What I’d give for some natural light in the loo, let alone a separate tub/shower. This is really beautiful … Shana is a lucky lady!

  12. My eyes are burning looking at everything on the computer today until I saw this. This amazing bathroom has been moisturizing drops for my pink-eye infested eyeballs. So, so beautiful! And thank you for introducing me to yet another Arto tile that I must use in a project.

  13. I love how the scalloped flooring looks like kind of like fish scales!

  14. Emily,
    This bathroom spoke to me on an emotional level. I gasped when the first picture popped up. I want to live my life in this bathroom. More realistically, I want to duplicate the vibe for my 4 year old boy’s bathroom remodel. Do you have any tips on how to take an “adultish” design aesthetic and tailor it to a kid? It’s hard to find inspirational spaces that ride the line. Any help would be great! Like a swap this for this type deal.

  15. This bathroom is incredible! I cannot think of a single thing I would do to change it. However, I am curious why you laid the scallop floor the way you did? Just wanting to know your thought process, since it’s such a specific shape.

    1. HMM. I know we got it in the valley, but i do think that home decorator, pottery barn or restoration hardware all have good traditional options. I’m actually getting my vanity from Kohler and while mine is more modern they have some more traditional shapes either.

  16. Hi! I love this look! I have a question about bathroom faucets and tile – we are finishing our basement in a Irish-pub look, and I want to keep the bathroom looking vintage as well. I think we are going with a classic (beveled) white subway tile for the shower and walls, and black-and-white 1″ hex mosiac for the floor. I’m hoping it will look classic – not boring. Thoughts?

    For the fixtures, I have been debating between uncoated polished brass and chrome. Which would look better? I love brass – can’t convince my husband – and it is more expensive.

  17. Soooo good. Love this!! We’re contemplating a bathroom remodel and I have been thinking about some of these finishes/colors. This was beautifully done!

  18. LOVE that tile – really a showstopper! I’m curious – did you seal the tile? Was that difficult?

  19. Please show the other bathrooms at some point – a while back Tessa posted a pic on Instagram of one and I love how minimal it is. Would love to see more!

  20. Emily! Long time, fervent fan, first time commenter. Any chance you can let me know where the shower door is from or where we can find something similar? We’re starting a bathroom remodel and I’m going crazy looking for a shower door with black/oil rubbed bronze finishes. Thank you, thank you for all your work, all the expertise you share and your willingness to even do the ‘look for less’. That is a HUGE treat to us all! xo

    1. Yeah! Thanks for commenting. I think that most glass guys (just google glass door installation and your zip code) have all those options. Our contractor just asked us which finish because i’m pretty sure that whoever your person is has the options. I’m absolutely no expert on that, though. I know that Lowes and Home Depot can do these, but i’m not sure they have very many options. Welcome to your first comment 🙂

      1. If I may chime in with a quick note on glass shower doors: this is one of those areas where paying for quality can make a difference. If you have a good contractor, I’d recommend asking them for their recommendations on quality stuff. How do I know? We had a pretty cheap Home Depot glass shower door installed (sliding glass because of our small bathroom but with no frames on the glass itself), and 3 years later the doors are kind of working their way out of the sliding track they hang from. Which is a little scary when you’re dealing with a heavy glass door. I think a quality door can sometimes also have better coating on the glass, which helps keeps it clean longer and repel soap scum and stuff. Not ragging on Home Depot here — they may have higher quality ones; we just got one of their cheaper ones because of our budget at the time.

        Also gotta throw this one out there: Mr. Clean Magic Eraser cleans glass shower doors like a dream. It changed my life.

  21. Hey Emily,

    I know that toilets are far from sexy and we can do without copious pics of them but I was wondering where in this bathroom is the actual loo? Or does it have its own room?


    1. The toilet location is visible in the one straight-on picture of the tub framing (the black pipe sticking out of the subfloor) – sixth photo down…

  22. I never, EVER, would have guessed that I’d have bathroom envy, but this remodel is the bomb!!! Love every single aspect from the tiles to the mirrors to the chandelier and the open windows to the bougenvillia and the ‘water closet in it’s own spot’. The colors are just so spectacular and soothing. Simple, classic, and elegant, everything I love. What are you choosing for your master bath??? Can’t wait to see!

  23. PS Don’t mean to put a damper on all things good here, but I have a question for you: What’s the difference between the subway tiles you used? I was a cancer caretaker in a previous life, and all of the bathrooms in the center were tiled in white subway tile. So obviously, whenever I see that in kitchens and bathrooms I’m reminded of a time I don’t want to deal with now, for obvious reasons. I want healthy and happy. What would you suggest as a substitute??? Seems like you suggested an alternative which I need to note as I like the look of them, just less anesthetic, if you will. Thx, Emily; would appreciate your feedback. Btw, you’re the best!!! I will never tire of your designs.

    1. Yea, I can’t imagine that is a good association. I got this tile at Imperial tile and I guess the main difference is that its handmade so that the glaze on it is totally uneven and there is a lot of texture. Typical inexpensive subway tile is pretty flat (because its probably machine poured). From the pictures it doesn’t look like its worth the splurge but in person it definitely feels more intentional and textured. If I were you I wouldn’t even go subway tile. If you want white tile think about a hexagon or a square, sounds like that reference is one that you should probably avoid. Thanks so much for reading/commenting. xx

  24. As far as the air gap goes, it is totally doable. It is just a matter of plumbing it right. I have had a kitchen sink with no air gap for the last 15 years. When we just did my daughter’s kitchen, we were installing a beautiful black faucet in her white quartz countertop, and didn’t want an ugly air gap to clutter it up. Our contracter argued that it was necessary, and I sent him back to the drawing board. He checked with some of his “high end” Beverly Hills plumbers, because he had seen it done in some of those houses, and they told him how to plumb it. Not sure what the secret is, but they hooked it up for my daughter, and she hasn’t had a single problem.

  25. hi emily, what an amazing bathroom! thank you so much for posting such amazing rooms again and again – you’re definitely a great inspiration for my modest design ambitions :). one question: could you tell us where the small square tile in the shower is from? THANKS xx

  26. Beautiful! I am wondering what your source is for the Roman shades. Thanks so much. I really love your work!

  27. OH.MY.GOODNESS!!!! This is simply stunning! I saw the teaser of this on IG today, and couldn’t wait to get home to check the blog. Emily, thank you for sharing this with us. I adore your style, and can’t wait to see the next project!

  28. I love love love your “look for less” posts. Along with all your others. Also I think the last photo of Mr Charlie Henderson was officially not a baby photo. He is a little man now. Thanks so much for sharing your gorgeous work. My husband brings me tea in bed every morning so I can check my favorite blogs. Love your work!!

  29. How do you kill it with every design?!?!?! Seriously, stunning. I know it must take you and your team so much time to come up with the finished product, but it just looks so effortless.

  30. Emily, beautiful bath!! I recently updated our master bath with a double vanity and the same Jason Wu for Brizo faucets, which I totally lloooove. Are the shower and tub fixtures also Brizo?

    I love your posts and have next to no time to read these days bc of a toddler and newborn at home, but when I do I always read this blog first! Great work and entertaining, educational reads!

  31. Just lovely! Every detail is amazing. BTW, who were the whacked out contractors throwing away that rose gold mirror??!!

    1. I would also love to know this info. My husband and I are currently trying to plan a layout for our bathroom and that info would be super helpful. 🙂

    1. “You might be wondering where the toilet is. It is behind the door – which generally is a VERY good place for it – near the tub.”

  32. Hi Emily, That tile is amazing! Do you have a “for less” source for fabric roman blinds? I’ve searched high and low. I have some JCPenney shades but I’m not happy with the style, they look cheap and they have a weird smell that hasn’t subsided three months later. I’ve looked at RH and PB, but seem almost as $$as custom. I do realize this search may be futile 😉

    1. That’s so funny – i was going to recommend jc penney’s – not because they are good quality, but they are just so cheap – just don’t use them 🙂 I’ve heard thet 3 day blind is good, cheap and fast (obviously):) Good luck!

  33. Great work on the bathroom, especially with having to deal with the escrow weirdness. Those scallop tiles are the neatest thing, what a great choice. The room has that authentic classical elegance I associate with “old Hollywood”, as the rest of the house..lovin the mirrors & chandelier and the vintage windows are so rare & beautiful (wouldn’t it be gorgeous to see some of that vibrant fuchsia bougainvillea peeking through them?) 🙂

  34. Great bathroom! I love how you’ve managed to incorporate three different tiles in such a tasteful way that still feels a little playful. I really love the tiny square tile in the shower and how the grid lines look just a tad off kilter – it adds so much character! Do you have a source for those or did I miss that?

  35. I am in the middle of a bathroom renovation and the woman at our tile shop tried to talk me out of cement tile. She mentioned that it doesn’t maintain its color over time and can easily stain. I actually really want this fish scale tile that you used in this bathroom (in a dark gray/black) so I don’t think staining will be an issue. Do you have any feedback on how it holds up over time?

    LOVE LOVE this bathroom, btw.

Comments are closed.