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Emily Henderson

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by Emily Henderson
Emily Henderson modern white bathroom ideas

This is a story about how the bathroom I was the MOST nervous and stressed about actually turned out to be my favorite in this whole house. In case you are thinking “another Portland bathroom?” know that if you click in you’ll get some behind the scenes that I should be embarrassed by, but because I don’t have that gene in my DNA, I’ll instead tell millions. Do you remember seeing the Insta Stories earlier this year where we were actually placing blue painters tape on the wall of our studio as the “faucet,” “vanity top,” “mirror” and literally pretending to wash our hands and look in the mirror? That’s because this bathroom originally was done wrong and we had to fix it the day that the plumber was changing the placement of everything. The original placement of the wall mounted faucets was both not centered over the sink nor the right height. The sconces were also not centered and too wide. Who’s fault was it? Doesn’t matter but ultimately I have to take responsibility because I should have managed better. Full stop.

Emily Henderson modern bathroom ideas Emily Henderson modern bathroom ideas

Moving plumbing and electrical is not ideal, but at least the walls weren’t closed up so we could do that. It all worked out.

All the “mistakes” were fixed, but I suppose those weren’t what I was actually nervous about here.

I was nervous that the large-scale tile would feel too contemporary for this house. I was worried that the faucets would look dated in this French gold. I was worried that mixing three tiles and one stone would be too much together. I was worried that the tile in the shower room had too much variety and texture. I was worried that the tub top and front wouldn’t turn out as imagined. I was worried that the faucet was designed just to go with a vessel sink. A lot of worries, folks.

But good news. Somehow, all of these risks I (VERY NERVOUSLY) took ended up coming together in the best way possible because I actually LOVE this bathroom. In fact, it might be my favorite bathroom in the whole house. Take a look:

Emily Henderson modern white bathroom ideas

The wall-mount faucets (Kohler’s Finial Traditional) with the undermount sink are the way to modernize a gooseneck faucet. Typically, these would have been paired with a vessel, so doing an undermount (we used Kohler’s Caxton sink) looks unexpected yet beautiful. Their placement was really tricky though. Normally, a wall-mount faucet would have been installed at the center point of the mirror and the top of the counter, but because the gooseneck here extends the faucet profile higher, it had to go lower and closer to the sink to avoid too much splash and so the neck didn’t project over the mirror. We went with a placement 4 inches above the countertop and it worked out great.

Emily Henderson modern white bathroom ideas

Look at this beauty. Like I said, I was SO nervous about the French gold finish (which is softer and less potent than the vibrant polished brass, and I had never used it before so there was that element of not being positive I’d love it based on experience), but pairing it with the matte black hardware by Rejuvenation modernized it and kinda took it down a notch. I now very much regret not using this finish more because oh man I love it.

The backsplash tile is handmade, from Pratt & Larson, and it’s such a simple picket shape, but larger to work with the brick in the shower room. I went with a gray grout to show off the pattern a little bit, but not to be too dark. Almost like a shadow line, less like a color.

Emily Henderson modern white bathroom ideas

The vanity is the very simple Jacquard by Kohler that is super transitional; it can go more modern or more traditional (which works great as that style middle ground with the modern black finishes and the classic gooseneck faucets).

As is the case with the rest of the home, the lighting is from Rejuvenation and gives off a beautiful, soft light (which is needed in a vanity area). Originally, we had a double globe sconce that projected and as cute as they were, I really just didn’t love them in the space. They felt very industrial next to the delicate gooseneck faucet, and a little too “same-same” in terms of mirroring the widespread faucet handles. As I always say, you need a little tension in a room to make it good and interesting, and it was all started to get too symmetrical and matchy in set up.

Emily Henderson modern white bathroom ideas

Rounded off mirrors are having a moment right now and the typical rectangle is taking a break. Here, that shape worked so well to balance the sharp corners of the vanity and the picket tile. Plus, it echoes the soft curves of the faucet.

The countertop stone (that matches the tub front/top) is from Bedrosians and my goodness it’s STUNNING. It’s called “sky white” and we actually used it in the mountain fixer powder room, as well. It’s honed and just so beautiful.

Emily Henderson modern white bathroom ideas Emily Henderson modern white bathroom ideas

At this point, you may have noticed that there are no windows in this bathroom yet there is so much gorgeous natural light in here. How could this be? It’s the science of the skylight! We worked with Velux throughout the whole home and their product is top notch.

Now into the shower room. Since this is a hall bathroom that is shared with two bedrooms, we wanted the ability to separate the vanity and the showering area so that multiple people could use the space at once.

Emily Henderson modern white bathroom ideas

In the shot above, you can see the FOUR different finishes—three tiles and the bathtub/countertop stone. While this could easily have look busy, since they all share the same color palette, it looks pretty darn beautiful and custom.

The key is mixing different sizes, patterns and finishes but in a consistent color palette. For instance, I wouldn’t have done a brick or subway tile on the backsplash because it would have almost competed with the shower room brick tile. The tile in the shower room has the most color and pattern (it looks different at different times), but it still works in the neutral palette.

Emily Henderson modern white bathroom ideas

There is a lot of variety in the tones of the wall tile (more than we had predicted which scared me at first), but it turned out BEAUTIFUL. As you can see, some of the edges are darker than others. If you want more consistency, then talk to Pratt & Larson about it. Since these are handmade, they’ll never all look identical, but they can work with you to get what you are looking for.

Emily Henderson modern white bathroom ideas

If you are wondering where the shower door or curtain is, well, it’s not there. I honestly just couldn’t decide what to do because if a family with small kids moved in then they likely wouldn’t want a big glass panel blocking the faucet handle. So we left that for the new owner to decide and shot the space without a curtain to showcase the gorgeous tile.

Emily Henderson modern white bathroom ideas

The tile looks bluer in some photos than others, so be sure to get samples as it was hard to shoot and changed with the light. But look how beautiful and handmade it is in person.

Emily Henderson modern white bathroom ideas Emily Henderson modern white bathroom ideas

The French gold on that blue is just so beautiful.

All in all, the things I was most nervous about turned out to be exactly what makes this bathroom so special. I guess that’s why they say no risk, no reward. I could have phoned it in and done something simple, basic and neutral here in the name of “guest bathroom” but I’m SO glad we pushed the envelope just enough. Nothing here is some out-of-the-box funky/edgy design element, but taking a few chances with the tile shape/scale count, the faucet with the undermount sink, swapping out the sconces after install (and moving around the junction boxes before then) resulted in a bathroom I’m incredibly happy with and love so, so much (I hope you love it as much as I do).

Emily Henderson modern white bathroom ideas

As we’ve been doing for anyone who wants to recreate the look themselves, we pulled together a Get the Look with all the shopping details. And stay tuned for after the New Year for more reveals of some SUPER fun spaces (secret/hidden room, anyone?).

1. Large Picket Tile by Pratt & Larson | 2. Metal Framed Mirror by Rejuvenation | 3. Finial Wall-Mount Faucet by Kohler | 4. Jacquard Vanity by Kohler | 5. Sconce by Rejuvenation | 6. Cabinet Knob by Rejuvenation | 7. Cabinet Pull by Rejuvenation | 8. Finial Towel Ring by Kohler | 9. Bath Towel | 10. Hand Towel | 11. Hand Wash by Handmade. La Conner | 12. Hand Lotion by Handmade. La Conner | 13. Tray | 14. Ridge Cup via Mantel by Little Garage Shop | 15. Vase | 16. Wood Toothbrush | 17. White Toothbrush | 18. Caxton Sink by Kohler | 19. Shower Surround Tile by Pratt & Larson | 20. Finial Toilet Tissue Holder by Kohler | 21. Memoirs Toilet by Kohler | 22. Abstract Art by MaryAnn Puls | 23. Abstract Art by MaryAnn Puls | 24. Finial Shower Set by Kohler | 25. Marble Slab by Bedrosians | 26. Finial Towel Bar by Kohler | 27. Underscore Drop-In Tub by Kohler | 28. Wax Candle | 29. Ceramic Match Striker | 30. Skylight by Velux | 31. Herringbone Floor Tile | 32. Bath Brush | 33. Bath Towel | 34. Vase via Mantel by Bobbie Specker (similar) | 35. Window & Door Casing by Metrie | 36. Baseboard by Metrie | 37. Pure White by Sherwin-Williams   | 38. Shampoo & Conditioner | 39. Interior Door Lever Set by Rejuvenation | 40. Interior Door by Metrie

For more Portland Project Room Reveals: Living Room | Staircase | Office | Master Bedroom | Master Bathroom | KitchenDining Room | Powder BathroomGuest Bathroom | Laundry Room | Guest Bedrooms | Media Room | Family Room | Playroom

  1. That is straight up gorgeous. It has the Emily Henderson magic, which to me, means I would never think to put these things together and they are more than the sum of their parts. Bravo!

  2. The shower room is especially beautiful, but…is there a shower curtain?

    1. If you read the post, she explains this.

  3. I am really obsessed with the tub you did in here. How do I achieve this look? Is the underscore tub meant to have a stone surround or did you hack it? Any concerns for mold getting up under the top edge between the stone and tub? Thanks in advance for answering!

    1. Katy I had the same thought as you. I love the design but that crevice looks like a nightmare to clean! The tile is stunning and definitely steals the show here.

    2. I’m an architect, and I’ve used this same set up a few times with the Underscore tub. It is designed to be under mounted like this or can be dropped in (with the lip showing above the stone). Generally you just have to make sure the seam below the stone is caulked really well. The edge of the stone hides the caulk pretty well, although it looks like they still have a bit of a gap here.

  4. I mean, this is just beautiful. I love the tiles, they totally make the bathroom. The varying shades of blue adds so much depth and actually looks like denim. I think that’s what makes it feel approachable and not too fancy. This is a weird question for you : what kind of bathmat could possibly match this space?

    1. Ugh I’m trying to pick a bath mat for my new bathroom right now and I swear it’s as hard as picking tile! I feel like all of them would ruin all the hard work I did to make the room pretty, haha.

      1. I use an ikea sheepskin as a bathmat -you have to dry your feet before stepping out but it is SO soft aaaand it doesn’t compete with any other design choices I made in the room.

  5. Loooove the blue tiles!! What a show stopper! (And yet also calming at the same time? Amazing.)

  6. I LOVE this bathroom, the picket is my favorite. It feels like the new subway tile. The wall mirrors are also a great choice with those rounded corners, they soften up the look. Great job on this room!

  7. It’s just beautiful, congratulations! I love seeing a new tile I never new existed, this is going in my dream home inspiration folder.

  8. Talk about bathroom goals, this is stunning!!

  9. I’d have loved more info about the bath and more shots from a different angle! That super deep bath surround looks stunning and I wish we could see more of it!

  10. Which shower tile color is that exactly?! It looks like R342 (on the pratt and larson website), but I just wanted to confirm!

    1. It’s the 3×6 Texture B (item code TF-36XB) with the W93 glaze/color. Hope that helps!

  11. So pretty! Is there grout between the shower tiles? How did you decide the gap width (or lack thereof)??

    1. Exactly my question…there appears to be no grout between these irregularly shaped tiles anywhere in this room.
      Curious about how this would function in day to day ‘real life’ situations in this home.

  12. The tile and stone mixture really worked out so beautifully! On paper, that much variety in a small space almost seems tasteless but the close hues and consistent undertones do make it look custom and special and designed, as you found. Nice work Emily!

    One thing I want to mention… as someone with a 2 and 5 year old, the thing I hate most about bathing them is squeezing my body between the toilet and the tub when I’m trying to access the faucet/get fresh water to rinse them. Ewwwww. I know for plumbing it’s easiest to have one wet wall but… man I wish the faucet was on the other end of my tub, or that there were a generous couple feet between it and the toilet.

  13. Emily, this bathroom is stunning. Far and away, you are my favorite designer!

    Mom to mom, what do you think of all these furniture-style vanities? I love the look of this vanity, but I see all the things that can fall off the side and under it — not to mention that it is one more thing to clean under! We are renovating a historic home, and it is has been tough to find vanities with old-school toe kicks in our budget. I just don’t want to be trying to find toothpaste caps that dust bunnies are catching under there! Thoughts?

    Again, beautiful! I can’t wait to see more!

    1. I’ve re-used an antique cabinet for my vanity, and I have this same issue. Makes me crazy! I’m seriously considering getting a piece of plexiglass or acrylic that will fill that gap. I’d have it set back a few inches (5 or 6?) so it’s not right up against the legs, but close enough that I can reach anything that falls and rolls. My vanity has tall-ish legs, so a normal toe-kick would just not work.

      1. That is a REALLLY good idea. I am a huge fan of doing something ONCE to avoid dealing with an issue hundreds of times! Get the plexiglass or throw a low basket under there. Anything to keep tiny things from rolling under.

  14. Love all of it! But I especially love the French gold finish of the plumbing hardware! Thanks for posting this!!

  15. Really love everything except the sconces, but that is an easy swap if the next owner feels the same as I do. Those floors!

  16. I love this bathroom, especially the variety of tile! And I thought the globe lights looked good but then when I saw the rejuvenation scone, it really is so much better, wow!
    Why are wall mounted toilets so uncommon in North America? I can understand keeping a floor one in a vintage bathroom but modern bathrooms would be so much lovelier without such a bulky toilet. Maybe the trend will come, like integrated appliances 🙂

  17. I love that French gold, too. Subtle and warm.

    I’m so happy you used under mount sinks. I have an irrational (or is it rational?) hatred of vessel sinks.

  18. Another gorgeous bathroom! We need to renovate two of ours and I am curious about how you have separated the tub and toilet from the vanity and sinks. You showed the dimensions for the basement bathroom and I’m wondering about the same in this one. I hope I have enough space to do it in one of ours. You have made these look so spacious! The light is beautiful! We can’t put skylights in ours so that is one more dilemma I will have to figure out. Thank you for sharing these beautiful bathrooms with us!

  19. Ugh, none centered vanity lights. I know your pain. I now put a “center over vanity/sink” note on every electrical/lighting plan. Everything turned out great though!

  20. I want to comment just so you know that posts like this are the meat and potatoes of your blog. Beautiful reveals with detailed whys are the best part of this blog. I think this is the most beautiful bathroom that I have ever seen and you made it look effortless. I always relate your work/art back to my art which is dance. This reminds me of seeing a beautiful ballet and not realizing that the artists had been working on their technique basically since birth and the choreographer had agonized and experimented until the right mixture of steps created as Balanchine said, “See the music; hear the dance.” To someone unfamiliar with the process, it just looks easy and when you explain how you got to this point, I know that it is not and I appreciate the result so much more. Oh my goodness…I hope the new owners are just giddy constantly and never get used to their life of luxury. I hope that they really relax and take in the beauty of what you and your team have done with something as utilitarian as a bathroom.

  21. I thought the plant on the vanity was marijuana for a moment, and I searched the post to see a mention as to why you were decorating with weed. HAHA. I was like “Well it is Portland…”

    Then I had to Google what marijuana actually looks like and had a good laugh at myself.

    Thought you’d appreciate that too!

  22. Wow – just wow! We’ll be doing up our family bathroom next year – and I was struggling with the design for a while. What an inspiration!

  23. Can someone explain how marble doesn’t have issues in bathrooms like it does in kitchens? I’m always concerned about water damage…

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