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MOTO Reveal: Emily Bowser’s 32-Square-Foot Bathroom Is Packed With Small Space Hacks

Emily Bowser, back with that bathroom I promised you in my bedroom reveal last week (catch up: intro here, makeover here). SO! Welcome to my airplane-sized bathroom. Okay, that’s a little obnoxious to say. I’m sure plenty of people live with smaller bathrooms. Let’s call it economic? My whole house is very economic. There isn’t one space that isn’t used. There’s no “bust through this wall and use that empty space between the bathroom and hall closet,” because that space is where the fridge is in the kitchen. The closest during this renovation that we got to adding space was when we took out two closets in order to make our bedroom big enough to fit our bed AND a dresser, but even then, we lost two closets! I’m here to talk about how we completely renovated without (completely) breaking the bank and got creative with what we had to work with, both with $$ and space. This room is a total #ipaidforthis inside and out! Let’s get into it!

First, I thought it would be helpful to show the layout oft he house, since, after the last blog post, there were a handful of curious commenters:

Sketches 1

Neither the home nor the cats are to scale above, but it does the trick. As you can see above, this is the one and only (teeny) bathroom in the house.

Side note: Kudos to Sara, who was somehow able to take pictures of this space because apparently I could NOT. I didn’t take these pictures thinking that they would be on a blog for a lot of people to see one day so my apologies, they are crooked and dark and not terribly in focus.

Sink And Toilet

The bathroom is off our hall and in the center of our home (read: no walls that face the outside). You may be surprised by this because isn’t that a window? Why, yes it is! A window that looks directly into our laundry room! The original home didn’t have the master bedroom or the laundry room (“room” may be an overstatement). We think the laundry room may have been a small porch because the door that leads to it from the kitchen appears to be original. The laundry room is very small, however, on one wall there is a window and a door that has a window in it so a lot of light comes in. The bathroom window is directly across from that wall so the light goes through the laundry room and lights up the bathroom pretty nicely. The window is made of obscure glass, so you can’t see through it and even though it’s not particularly pretty, I made the decision right away to keep it because it was a natural light source.

Side note here that there are SO many decisions you have to make right away when you are doing a bigger renovation like we were. If you are a person who likes a lot of time to think things through and talk them out, this part may be particularly hard on you. The reason being, once demo starts, you better know what’s getting knocked out because if you change your mind later, it will cost you and for sure, there will be things you hadn’t thought of or things that come up because of the demo. The window staying or going was one of those things.

The second reason I didn’t touch the window was because it was simply cheaper not to. In a perfect world, I think I would have taken the window out and done something creative along the top of the same wall, like a long and skinny window that was more interesting architecturally. That way the light could come in while giving me more wall space for a decent sized mirror and shelves. I don’t know, I didn’t let myself think about it too long because it wasn’t an option. Along these same lines, all of the plumbing fixtures, although we replaced all of them, were kept in the same places so that we didn’t have the extra cost and also, WHERE ELSE COULD THEY GO? There are only so many options in a 32-square-foot space.

Straight On Wall

About the Demo:

As you can see, there was chair rail height tile that continued into the shower and I probably could have lived with it, I mean, with a toothbrush and bleach to the grout (which was a lovely shade of orange throughout). The floor tile is the same that was in the rest of the house. It was damaged, many of the tiles cracked and obviously it was something we weren’t going to invest in keeping. We were ripping the tile up off the floor anyway, so why not go ahead and rip the tile off the wall too? Turns out it was a good idea because there was a ton of mold hiding behind those tiles.


We took out all the plumbing fixtures. The toilet here got moved to the back house because it needed a new toilet and if someone was getting a brand new toilet then IT WAS GONNA BE ME. The pedestal sink was also in fine condition but I wanted to try to find something that would have even a little bit of storage. I gave the sink to my contractor and he used it in one of his other personal projects. The tub was trashed unfortunately because of damage from the demo and the mold.

Side Mirror

For those of you who will for sure ask, I didn’t throw the vintage corner storage cabinet in the dump. No, I paid $100 for it to be fixed because I neeeeeded that storage and it fits perfectly in the small amount of space I have between the window and the wall. When the workers were installing, they somehow dropped and shattered it so my contractor sent it off to be fixed and I never heard about it ever again. When you owe someone $80,000 (if you don’t know why, you probably missed my “buying an income property” post, read that here), it is kind of hard to be like “YEAH BUT WHERE IS MY MIRROR, RON?!”

On Choosing Finishes:

Bowser Bathroom 05


As I discussed in the master makeover post, choosing tile was as simple as “what do I not hate that doesn’t cost a fortune?” Answer: subway tiles ($2.30/square foot) and black hex ($5/square foot). A little on the boring side? Kinda. Did I wish I could have afforded fancier tiles? At the time: yes. Now, I don’t know. My house is economic so I feel like it makes sense that the finishes are, too? I am one of those people that always picks out the most expensive thing in the store. My soul child is fancy AF (wallet, not so much). If I had been able to get whatever I wanted for this space, I feel like it wouldn’t have fit the house. I live in a box, one that doesn’t have a lot of architectural character, and the kinda boring finishes we ended up with make sense for the house, if that makes sense? I like it feeling more like a minimalist space whose character comes from the art or vintage pieces I bring into it.

I wouldn’t have minded doing the same chair rail height tile situation again, because it makes cleaning up a bit easier and protects your walls from water (and let’s be honest, other bodily fluids) but I didn’t care enough about it to spend the money on the tile or the labor. I did tile the shower walls all the way up and onto the ceiling. I had lived in many a rentals and noticed what the constant condensation would do to the area right above the tiling in a shower. I’m glad I did it.

Bowser Bathroom 02

Plumbing Fixtures: 

First and foremost, I found a toilet, but not just any toilet. It’s the toilet of my dreams. Well, my economic dreams anyway.

This toilet, hands down, is one of my favorite things about the house and I’m going to tell you why. I wish it was because it has a dual flush and therefore conserves water, but no, to me that’s just a bonus to the fact that IT DOESN’T HAVE THOSE WEIRD LEG THINGS THAT COLLECT PEE RESIDUE AND HAIR. This toilet is so easy to clean and I give it 5 stars based solely on that. It’s also not expensive. I will pay $299 (the price when I bought it) all day long to not have to get on my knees with my mouth all too close to the lid of the toilet, and awkwardly use my pointer finger through a rag to try to get in the crevices to remove bodily fluids that are most likely NOT MINE ANYWAY. Pro tip: buy all your fixtures and appliances during Black Friday sales. I even bought all my kitchen appliances and Home Depot waited to ship them out until I was ready for them.

I have a funny story about the mental state of a person in the process of buying a house vs. that of one that OWNS the house. As I’ve mentioned in this post, I was in escrow from May until October of 2016. That’s a long time. It’s also fair to mention that I didn’t get to see the house much before we actually owned it. There was a renter here that was in the process of moving out so we couldn’t bother him. That said, the idealistic side of me that was excited about becoming a homeowner remembered the house very differently than the day after I actually owned it and saw it naked for the first time (the house, not me). The house was naked in that it wasn’t full of the renter’s stuff and it was naked metaphorically because the rose colored glasses I was wearing were suddenly more like a cheap pair of glasses, smudged and scratched, found in the bottom of an unused purse in the back of your closet.

Bowser Bathroom 01

The reality of a $630,000 mortgage and an undetermined amount of money to be spent on the renovation changed my perception. Is this what they call buyer’s remorse? In the five months of being excited about being a homeowner, I did the thing you’re not supposed to do but couldn’t help myself: I bought stuff for a home I didn’t yet own. One of those things was a vintage dresser from the flea market that I wanted to turn into a sink for this bathroom. The dimensions of the dresser are 21.5” deep, 31” wide and 35.5” tall. What actually barely fits there: a sink that is 13” deep and 24” wide. Maybe that doesn’t seem like a lot but believe me, in real life, it is insane and laughable that I thought this piece of furniture (that now lives happily in my living room) would fit in this space. If you could see it you would understand me, as a person, fully.

After realizing we definitely would not be able to use it (immediately), I had to pivot, quickly. There was no time for sourcing a very specific piece of vintage furniture. HELLOOO IKEA. We bought the Hagaviken sink with the Hemnes sink cabinet that we later painted my favorite green and changed out the knobs. The faucet is from Amazon and actually works great. They no longer sell the sink cabinet in the size we have, but they do have the Godmorgon which I honestly don’t know why I didn’t get. I would have much preferred to have a floating sink (easier to clean—sensing a theme??).

Bowser Bathroom 03

I have a lot of opinions on this sink. It’s nice to have the storage. I fit a surprising amount of stuff in these two slim drawers. The depth of it would be fine if it were for a space where people just used it to wash their hands, a powder bath off your mudroom, for example. HOWEVER, washing your face is the most obnoxious process one could think of. I’m going to put this in the same box as “black floors” and “my cat, Puck”—they aren’t for everyone and by not for everyone I mean, “don’t have them unless you don’t mind cleaning, all the time” (we can talk about my cat Puck’s strange addictions in the comment section). Here follows my nightly routine: wash face, dry face with a small washcloth (kept in the top drawer of the sink, folded Marie Kondo style DUH), use used cloth to wipe down the top of the sink, the wall behind the sink, the front of the sink cabinet, the inside tops of the drawers, and finally, the floor. Every. Single. Day. I’m not kidding. You would think I was washing my face like a Clean & Clear ad from 1995—everything is soaked. There are two positives to this situation: 1. I dry my face with a clean towel every day which is good for your skin because of the bacteria that is on our everyday towels and 2. My sink and bathroom floor get a wipe down every day and therefore look cleaner throughout the week. *Rose colored glasses, put back on.*

Bowser Bathroom 08

One of the only—maybe THE only—“must haves” on my husband’s buying-a-house list was that it had to have a tub. There was no budging on it. He’s a bather which I find slightly disgusting (because he doesn’t shower first or sometimes at all). But, whatever, he likes to do his creative thinking in a bath and doesn’t demand a lot, so a bath we would have! Plus, if we can ever afford children, a bathtub would be helpful. We bought basically the same tub that was in there, a run-of-the-mill alcove tub that we got somewhere in the valley for $300-ish. It’s 58” long, by 28.5” wide by 13” deep so a grown human can barely fit in it and have water covering them, but it gets the job done I guess. We put in two inserts for shampoo, soap and what have you and I’m very glad we did but I have a question: Am I supposed to put shelves in these things? They are entirely too tall. If I could do it again, I would make them a more reasonable size.

In 2016, matte black plumbing fixtures were still weirdly hard to find and if you did find them, they were $$$. We ended up with this one in wrought iron and it was only $270 when we purchased it. I wasn’t stoked on it but I will say, it works well and we haven’t had any issues. This one is more modern and definitely what I would buy now. It’s also by Moen so I would assume also good quality and an even lower price point than the one we bought is now. Something else I wish we could have invested in is a matching tub drain, but alas, we used the stainless steel one that came with the tub.

To shower door or not to shower door?? My contractor tried to convince me I needed a shower door and that water would go everywhere and it kinda does, but it was an extra expense and, you guessed it, impossible to keep clean. I bought a matte black tension rod, matte black shower rings, a hemp canvas shower curtain (hemp is antimicrobial and does better in moist climates) and a liner that has suction cups that *mostly* work to help any leakage onto the floor. All in all, it cost me $143 and saved me years of wiping down glass panels. Another positive to shower curtain vs. doors is that if you do have kids, it’s much easier to have the whole space open rather than having a glass wall in front of half of the tub.

I can’t believe I have this much to say about 32 square feet!

Bowser Bathroom 07

Moving on. Storage. If you will allow me to don my rose-colored glasses when the corner mirror was destroyed/disappeared, I had to make do, and as making-do usually does, I was inspired. I saw an opportunity in my window box (22”x22”x4.5” deep) to add shelves and create storage space. I simply bought a piece of wood and some smaller square wood dowels (0.5”x0.5”), cut the wood to the appropriate length, screwed the dowels in from the sides with 2 screws to hold the shelves and placed the shelves on top (with a little wood glue between to keep them from slipping). At first, I put a small tension rod with a sheer curtain over it so that I didn’t have to look at the clutter of misc bathroom stuff but I found that the stuff, along with the curtain, blocked too much of the light. While musing about it on Instagram stories, an acquaintance (shoutout Shadi!) told me I needed to just lose the curtain and make the things on it prettier and I took her advice. This meant I needed to decant and find some minimalist products that I wouldn’t mind looking at every day of my life. In my search, I found Public Goods which has the most simple packaging and simple ingredients to match. I figured if I didn’t like the products, I could just reuse the packaging because at their price point, it was just as, if not cheaper, than doing a run to The Container Store.

Turns out, I do like most of their products (I have a lot) and no, they did not pay me to say that and yes, we can talk about it in the comments. All of the things on “display” are things I use most, if not every day. A great thing about having limited storage is that it’s hard to keep stuff you don’t really want to have. The little containers with cork are Saxborga and the glass container holding my reusable bamboo cotton rounds is H&M Home (similar). I decanted mouthwash into the Korken from IKEA, pulled obnoxious labels off of my nail polish remover, and even decanted ibuprofen. My husband shaves his head and he always needs a mirror to see the back of his head and he somehow misplaces them?? It’s a mystery. My pretty way of solving this problem was to buy a vintage mirror with a handle and a hook for the wall so I never have to hear “WHERE IS THE MIRROR??” ever again. No room for towel bars (at least not if you want art!), but these Turkish towels dry fast so hooks are just fine.

Bowser Bathroom 06

I regret not thinking about lighting in this space. If you don’t specify things, contractors will always do the standard without asking. I came over one day and he had installed recessed lights, one in the shower area and one in the middle of the wall, closer to the window. If I had been thinking before they closed all the walls up I would have had them run electrical over the mirror, but alas. The recessed lights are SO bright and my husband and I are both super sensitive to bright lights. We retroactively put dimmers almost everywhere and will here eventually but immediately upon moving in, out of necessity, threw these string lights up from Target (similar) and they have just kinda stayed.

Bowser Bathroom 04

The naked lady art was $20 from the Melrose Trading Post and came framed (WIN). The wood frame was also a welcome addition to the other wood/warm accents throughout the space. We bought a perfectly small wooden stool from a local neighborhood store (here’s a similar one in two sizes) so that he would have a surface to put a book, a candle, a mug of hot tea or whatever else he needs for his romantic tub time alone. The smaller art is MaryAnn Puls framed in a Ribba from IKEA. I was toilet paper holder-less for over a year before I found this maker on Etsy and I’m glad I did.

Let’s talk about clean butts. Pretty sure that’s the only time that’s been said on this blog. If you have a keen eye, you will notice that I own a Tushy. I wanted to take the opportunity to give a review of their product. I became obsessed with bidets when I moved into my grandmother’s house for a year to plan my wedding 10 years ago. She had a Toto and you could say that there was the Emily before she lived with a Toto and the Emily after. For bidet aficionados, you know that the Toto is the top-of-the-line bidet. They range from $500-$2,000 so you can see why this bidet had me second-guessing if I really should get married and move out of my grandmother’s home.

In truth, there were MANY things about my grandmother’s home that made me never want to leave, but the bidet was up there on that list. 2010-2018 are considered the dark years for me. The years I lived without waking up in the middle of the night to a welcoming warm seat on a cold night, years without the confidence that I was squeaky clean no matter what time of the month it was (PERIOD POSITIVE OVER HERE). Then, Erik (upholstered-my-headboard-while-I-watched Erik) got a Tushy and told me I should, too. With the low price point of $69 for the non-heated (water, not the seat) and $99 for the heated, I opted for the heated. Here is what I have to say about my purchase: I love having a bidet and I 100% would buy it again. However, I would buy the $69 model because the water never really does heat on the other model unless you run your sink water until it gets hot, which is a huge waste of water. One knob would also be easier to clean than two. The place where the bidet connects to your seat is very hard to clean, let’s just say my cleaning supplies for this product includes a Q-tip. So this should be thrown into the box of things to pass over if you’re not a clean freak. However, if you don’t mind a little extra cleaning, are a firm believer that showering every day is probably not good for your sebaceous glands but still want your underbits fresh, want to conserve toilet paper use, this is a good product for you. Unless you can afford a Toto.

Bowser Bathroom 09

I can’t give you accurate labor cost because everything in my house was happening at the same time and my contractor didn’t break it down by room, unfortunately. But here is a breakdown of all the things in the bathroom (rounded up):

Emily Henderson Bowser Moto Bathroom Costs

***photography by Sara Ligorria-Tramp

Don’t miss other posts in this series:

Makeover Takeover: How EHD Stylist Emily Bowser Tackled Her Awkward Master Bedroom | Reveal: Emily Bowser’s Bedroom “After” is Unrecognizable From the “Before” | DIY How-To: A Step-by-Step for Making Emily B.’s Wrap-Around Velvet Headboard



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

139 thoughts on “MOTO Reveal: Emily Bowser’s 32-Square-Foot Bathroom Is Packed With Small Space Hacks

  1. Looks great! Very creative solutions. Apropos your sink situation – would a backsplash not reduce some of your wiping efforts post face-wash?

    1. Some but probably not enough? I’ve thought about it and think that that small of a backsplash would just look weird? I mean, I’m wiping dow the sides of the cabinet and wall. It’s big mess. I think it would be nicer if I had been able to tile the space similar to how it was before

      1. I’m not sure that it would solve your problem entirely, but there all these little wristband towel things you can get amazon that could at least help with dripping on your arms and the floor. (You did a beautiful job!)

      2. I think a small backsplash is pretty common with a set-up like yours. Having had one on two sides of the sink, they do many life a lot easier and reduce clean-up quite a bit. Plus you avoid the water wear and tear on youyr walls which eventually will become an issue.

      3. A really artsy hex tile that cascades from the top of the wall to the sink and then the side of the sink could be really cool and a way to get your higher end finish without breaking the bank. keeping the unique shape of the tile on the ending edge instead of cutting it to a straiht line would give it a custom, deliberate feel too and make it not feel weird that the tile ends in the middle of the wall.

    2. Ooh, I love this bathroom so much!! Well done, Bowser!

      I am planning my small bathroom renovation at the moment and am struggling with choosing wall tiles – the trend in Australia seems to be big (sometimes very big) tiles with matching grout so there are very few grout lines on the walls. My builder is also going to charge more to install subway tiles.

  2. When my college boyfriend nicely pointed out I soaked the sink after washing my face I nicely noted I couldn’t dry the dirty sink he shared with his roommates with my face towel. To solve the problem I started washing my face at night by leaning over the bathtub using the faucet in the tub. It was a win also getting my acne prone skin super rinsed. I haven’t washed my face in a sink since, and college was like a lifetime ago. Sounds like you like your whole bath wipe down ritual but if you need a break, your bathtub might provide an alternative. Love your space! Thinking about a bidet now thanks to you!

    1. Not sure what your personal water splashing issues are caused by but Julia from Chris Loves Julia broke the internet in using wrist sweat bands when washing her face to prevent the water from running down her arms… have to say it was life changing, SO much less mess!

      1. LJ – I HAVE seen that and it is a genius idea. I mean, that is a whole separate part of washing my face that drives me insane and would not help with the splash situation but I have been meaning to grab a pair.

    2. Haha, that’s a great solution. I definitely have taken everything to the kitchen sink and done it there a few times!

    3. I just wash my face when I’m in the shower. Sinks are not designed for washing your face, and it will always be messy – better to just avoid it.

    1. Love this post! Could use a roundup image at the bottom though, at least for the beautiful product storage in the window area.

  3. Forget your expensive bidets, just pick up the $26 one from Amazon!! We’ve had ours for many years now and they’re awesome. Our whole neighborhood has them as well. And of course we sent them to our siblings and parents’ homes. Honestly, you’re an animal if you don’t use a bidet. I even have a portable one for camping trips.

    1. Bidet-curious, but have never figured out how to “finish”. Do you use TP? Do you have a dedicated towel for drying off? Drip dry? How does life even work?!?

      1. Here in Italy, where bidet are stand alone things, we have a small towel dedicated. Probably the one tourists coming here use for their face 😀

        1. I have never understood with a stand-alone non-electric bidet, do you stand over it, do you squat…what if you need to do a bit of scrubbing?

      2. WELL, I would like to use bamboo cloths that you can dry off with but this is the only bathroom in the house and would rather not make any guests 1. look at a hamper of our dirty wipes or 2. make them feel like they had to do that. So, for now we dry off with TP but you do end up using less and it is less messy.

      3. We have the Toto washlette and while it has an air dryer, a high end feature, I find toilet paper works just fine to pay dry. Am totally on team bidet…

  4. I have the same Ikea sink console that I also painted dark! Paint has held up great, but I agree about face washing. Mine is in the downstairs/guest bath, so it’s only annoying for guests. Oops, sorry everyone! 🙂

  5. Love this small bathroom post. I too redid my tiny bathroom… tiny, but slightly bigger than this one. I appreciate actual real life house posts.

    1. I’m here! Ok, I didn’t want to make people who aren’t obsessed with cats listen to all this, so here it is:

      Puck has always been a special cat. He is a rescue and we got him when he was 6 months old after our cat Tugger suddenly (and very traumatically) died of a birth defect in his heart we didn’t know about until the day he died. On the outside he seems like the stereotype of a cat, one that doesn’t really want anything to do with you and demands food constantly. He’s never liked being held or even pet really. He would walk around and scream at the top of his lungs. He has very specific triggers. He pees on piles. Piles of things – like anything – clothes, papers, a crumpled blanket, curtains that pooled slightly on the floor, etc etc. ANYTHING that resembles a pile. When he was young, while I was sleeping, he peed an entire bladder full on my chest. He also likes to eat plastic. Plastic bags of any kind can not be kept out at our house. He particularly likes grocery bags, the corners of food bags, and the part of a trash bag that ties it together. He also likes to pee inside of bags. Plastic bags, reusable grocery bags, paper grocery bags, a large purse, a backpack left open. We took him to the vet countless times trying to find out if something was wrong with him, spent countless money on tests, they’ve never found anything. I have cried, many times, not knowing what to do with him or if I had the mental and emotional strength to be his cat mom. That sounds ridiculous, but it’s true. My cat Daffy is an actual angel and when Tugger died, she was beside herself. They were very close. Then we had this asshole cat, peeing on everything and eating plastic and vomiting that hated being picked up and would scream all night. But Daffy has a way into even the coldest of hearts and we would see slivers of Puck being a sweetheart with her. To this day, you cannot pick up Puck for more than 2 seconds, and he has sat on my lap exactly twice. TWICE. But he will cuddle with Daffy. Their relationship is very different than Tugger and Daffy’s, but it’s still sweet. After we moved to this house, we had been trying to eliminate his triggers, which means being obscenely clean and picked up all the time. We had been using feliway plug ins, we also have the spray, and made sure he gets exercise (he likes playing fetch). I have yet been able to get him to take CBD but believe me – not for lack of trying. He was doing better, but definitely not great. He clearly wanted to be outside, he screamed about it all the time. Through the urging of my friend Lauren (because she knew my mental state) we came to the conclusion that he should be an indoor/outdoor cat. We had to come to a place of peace about his safety and ultimately know that even though it is dangerous, his mental state is SO MUCH BETTER. He gets outside time before breakfast and before dinner, which we think helps keep him close, and I think he’s only peed inside like twice this year. There’s more to say but I guess the main thing is this: he’s not easy and requires a lot of jumping through hoops but we love him so much and can now see he cares about us a lot and clearly sees us as his parents and is attached to us even if he doesn’t show it that same as our angel baby Daffy. Long answer to why he can’t be around plastic and why my shower curtain liner has chew marks all over it, lol.

      1. You are a wonderful cat mom, and if you decide to be a mom to a human, will find it a cakewalk after this. Best wishes to you all.

      2. You might want to leash train your cat for their outdoor life. Safer for them and a big relief for your mindset. Harnesses now are more animal friendly too.

        1. I would like to try to do this. I think it would be amazing if he could go hiking with us! WOULDN’T YOU JUST DIE????

          1. It’s totally possible! Check out @maya.singapura on instagram. She goes to the beach, hiking, bike rides, and even brunch!! Total inspiration 🙂

      3. I also have a plastic chewer, so frustrating! I’ve tried to convince myself it’s his creative outlet and he’s creating his own little lace edges on things.

      4. He sounds like an angel in his own way and I’m sure he appreciates everything you do for him to make him (and you) a happy family! Right now, we take one of our cats (of 3) on harness walks because she also has to go outside but can’t be trusted to go alone. I’ve been looking at catios!

      5. Wow! We’re picking up our new rescue dachshund tomorrow (yay!), but he grew up in a loving home for 10 years so we’re hoping we don’t have anywhere near the issues that Puck has! Amazing what a person will put up with when you love an animal. You’re a good soul.

        Hope there aren’t too many coyotes in your neighborhood — it’s a traumatic way to lose a pet. 🙁

        1. oh, there are coyotes in our neighborhood. Like I said we really had to weigh his mental health with the dangers. We try to keep him in during the most dangerous times (dawn, dusk, dark). It’s a controversial choice but one we think is right for this particular cat.

      6. A friend of mine has two rescue cats who also like to chew plastic bags. She told me it is because they became addicted to the softener/ plasticizer in the bags. They also like to pee on clothes, shoes and bags on the floor… you have to keep everything organized all the time. So I think it might be kind of common? You are not alone 🙂 P.S.: This bathroom is gorgeous!

      7. I feel your pain. We had a cat that would pee on anything plastic like bags or bubble wrap, and nylon, like luggage, backpacks, jackets and baseball caps. Nothing like that could ever be left on the floor. His other favorite place to pee was inside of or on shoes. If it was a cheap pair of flip flops, well, not such a big deal. But he had masterful aim and could somehow could sit himself right down on a special $200 dress shoe or a sneaker with custom orthotics and fill it to the brim. And it’s really hard to keep shoes, even slippers or house shoes, off the floor or have any kind of shoeless household when you live with a cat like this. Or explain to guests. Eventually I found Dr. Elsey’s Cat Attract litter and that helped a lot.

  6. Seriously love this. This feels accessible while still being super inspirational. I have so many ideas now for my small, budget-friendly bathroom!

  7. Where can I get one of those adorable little wooden block stool things to put beside the bathtub? I need one…

    1. I got it from a local store in my neighborhood called Prelude and Dawn. I know Article carries a bigger version and I feel like I see them around. Julie swears she’s even seen them on Amazon. Wish I was more helpful than that.

  8. Your bathroom is lovely, but I’m here to say this is the funniest thing I’ve read in ages. You are hilarious and I would read your writing any time. More Bowser on the blog!

    1. My FAVORITE line (on the toilet): “IT DOESN’T HAVE THOSE WEIRD LEG THINGS THAT COLLECT PEE RESIDUE AND HAIR.” I have been wondering all my life why those weird leg things have to exist.

  9. Wow! This was such a meaty lost. So much info. I loved learning especially about your decanting and Public Goods.
    Also, and this is very important because it’s inline with vintage emhendo, you have affordable pieces that look extremely well done and high end.
    Thank you for the inspiration.

    1. Ok first of I love your writing style. You are hilarious! When it comes to cleaning glass shower doors it’s actually very very easy. You just need citric acid and a squeegee thingy. Dissolve a few spoons of citric acid into a spray bottle, fill with warm water. Let dissolve, spray, let sit, wipe down. I do this 1-2 times per month but I do use a squeegee after I shower. My doors look amazing and they are 12 years old. BTW works on tile too.

      1. I love this info. I love any cleaning tips tbh. I’m still glad I didn’t do it because of $$ and future children but glad I know this now anyway.

  10. Bidet all the way!!! Such a great bathroom – all the ingredients may be budget but the whole is beautiful. I’ve never had a bathroom bigger than this so I appreciate the inspiration.

  11. I, too, have a weirdly tall shower niche! One of those things I didn’t think to confirm with the contractor. I’ve half-halfheartedly googled how to add a shelf after the fact and come up dry. Curious if anyone reading the comments has a solution??

    1. Yes! you can add glass shelves with clips. We actually planned our niche out – it’s 36″ tall, divided into 3 “cubbies” using two small glass shelves and clips. You can get the clips online, or contact a local glass company for the shelves and clips. The clips get drilled into the wall, and the shelves slide in and then you tighten them to fit.

      1. this is great news. but it would require me actually drilling into my tile, so maybe I will get around to figuring that out in uh, 3-5 years?

  12. Hey!
    A couple of questions:
    1. When you use your hemp shower curtain, is it inside the bath, so the water runs off, into the tub? Or is that why you have a liner? They say you don’t need a liner with hemp, but now I’m confused….wot do you do/how do you use yours?
    2. The bottles with decanted product are sure pretty, but I’m wondering if any of the actual product is likely to be destroyed/affected by being in UV light?
    Many products that come in glass, especially dark/brown glass, are supposed to be kept out of direct light. I’m concerned that your amazing skin products likely fall into that category and I don’t want you wrecking them and/or wasting your money by destroying their beneficial prooerties by putting them in sunlight.
    Wot’s happening with this?

    1. 100% agree with point #2! Your cute bathroom is adorable but I’m zeroing in on those sensitive products being exposed to California sunshine/heat. Day in and day out, it will oxidize your active ingredients and you will be spreading damaging free radicals and spoiled oils all over ….. No!!!! Please please put them in your drawers. I would say get some cute wooden boxes from ikea to put them in, but even that won’t protect them from heat. It’s a cute “look” but this is a “function before fashion” call in my opinion.

      1. Refer to the floorplan as well as Emily’s description of the room: “The bathroom is off our hall and in the center of our home (read: no walls that face the outside). You may be surprised by this because isn’t that a window? Why, yes it is! A window that looks directly into our laundry room!”

    2. 1. I owned the liner before I owned that shower curtain so I use the curtain like you would a normal one, on the outside. I guess I could try it?

      2. hmm, hopefully I’m not giving myself cancer? I don’t know, I don’t think the light coming through is THAT strong. It looks more intense in the pics because Sara probably opened the aperture so that she didn’t need to use artificial light. She’s also shooting directly into the window which is way brighter than the rest of the space.

  13. Ok first of I love your writing style. You are hilarious! When it comes to cleaning glass shower doors it’s actually very very easy. You just need citric acid and a squeegee thingy. Dissolve a few spoons of citric acid into a spray bottle, fill with warm water. Let dissolve, spray, let sit, wipe down. I do this 1-2 times per month but I do use a squeegee after I shower. My doors look amazing and they are 12 years old. BTW works on tile too.

    1. THANK YOU FOR THIS! Bowser just about scared me away from getting a glass shower door for my bathroom.

      1. And if you use liquid soap instead of bar soap, you will have almost NO soap scum. I switched a few years ago and it made a huge difference. Plus bar soaps apparently have talc (which causes the soap scum) and its better to avoid this anyway from what I understand.

  14. Emily B, your attention to carefully thinking design and functionality decisions thru is off the charts! That consideration visually shows thru in volumes, and for such a small space I bet it proportionally lives really well. Great job and thanks for sharing. Gabrielle

  15. You don’t need to splash your face with water–apply cleanser to dry skin and use a damp face cloth to wipe off. Repeat (double cleanse). Done! Caroline Hirons is a major proponent of this method and it really is a game changer.

      1. Agreed! Colleen Rothschild’s facial cleanser is life changing. Smooth it on your dry face, then put a hot damp Muslin cloth over your face for a “facial steam” and wipe off. I HATED washing my face, and now LOVE it. Second “pro tip”, wash your face after work when changing into comfy clothes, not right before bed when I’m way too tired.

  16. What an informative post! I’d love to know what product you used on the edge of the shower tile to finish it. I find that pencil trim tile is a bit too traditional for me, and love the look of what you did!

  17. LOVE this reno! So fantastic. And yes, after two trips to Japan, I am all about the bidet. In fact, I have one on the way to me.

    The colors in here and the beautiful use of the window are lovely.

  18. I rinse my face using a cotton pad that I thoroughly wet. I get reusable ones from Amazon a la Eva Chen but disposable ones work too. Recommended by my facialist and works like a charm!

  19. Emily, your bathroom is perfect. Really brilliant. But I wish this website would stop misusing the word “hack” which it puts in every other headline.
    Usually what’s meant is “tips” or “solutions.” Hack is when you take something and turn it into something else, isn’t it? None of these things are hacks. Putting shelves in a window is not a hack.
    Anyway, otherwise, perfect.

    1. I don’t understand the work hack to mean that personally. I listen to a lot of biohacking (which is now an official word in the dictionary) podcasts and it’s definitely not the way they use the word.

      1. Well, obviously there are a lot of definitions of the word hack. But I think on home or dyi websites it indicates a workaround or using something in a way that’s unusual or improvised:
        This from Merriam Webster: “a usually creatively improvised solution to a computer hardware or programming problem or limitation”
        This from Urban Dictionary: “a clever solution to a tricky problem
        to hack is to mod or change something in an extrodinary way”

        don’t know what biohacking is except trying to tune up body. not sure that applies to small bathrooms. It’s just the word is so overused nowadays and is losing meaning.

  20. Nicely done! It wouldn’t be any better with more expensive materials. I also made a mistake with lighting in my dining room when I failed to know/do a reflected ceiling plan for my contractor to put the chandelier in the best place. And I intentionally had him put in a few can lights around the edges that I now wish were wall sconces. I am 100% with you on the cleaning considerations and tub size and shower door issues.

    1. I wrote about him above and I just found the stool online (I got mine from a local store) and am editing the post with a link!

  21. Your bathroom looks beautiful, very creative use of space.

    You were so smart not to get shower doors, I’ve had them in apartments and absolutely hate them. Since your cat chews plastic, there is an easy solution: fabric shower curtain liner! A few years ago, a sales woman at BBB told us about the fabric liner and I’ve had them since. No plastic sticking to your body, plus they are easily washed. And eco friendly.

  22. We bought a house last year that has two small bathrooms from the 80s, replete with crappy tubs and the worst sliding shower doors–think Motel6. We haven’t done a lot of remodeling yet, and I am saving this post for when we finally get to it. The one thing we have done is pull out the shower doors, which happened in under 10 minutes after we made the decision to do it. Cue quick trick to Target for shower curtain and all the things.

    Two more things. 1) I want a bidet so badly–very excited you have an affordable, small bathroom solution. 2) What is that cute lil’ table? Am I missing a link?

    1. I added a link in the copy for the wood stump. I had bought mine in a local store but found one on Horne a few mins ago.

      I lived in an apt with terribly disgusting sliding doors like the ones you are describing and I put up a tension rod with a shower curtain in front of them to hide them.

  23. your feelings towards your tiny sink are my feelings towards my matte grey kitchen counters. They’re amazing but holy cow if i don’t have to wipe them down after every single use. But, alas i think that means i’ve ventured into adulthood

  24. My sister had a cat that peed on plastic too. She had notes all over her house warning that “Kitty will pee!”

  25. Loved the bathroom !! A quick note, please don’t keep your ibuprofen in the bathroom… the humidity and heat are the worst for medication!! Coolish and dry location!! And spread the word!! Love that you decant them though!! (As long as you know the expiry date etc ;))

    From your friendly nurse!

  26. We got a Toto seat after a recent Japan trip and love it. Bidets all the way!

    I like seeing how clean and pleasant a space you created here. The grace notes of the wooden shelving, perfect stool, Turkish towel are lovely.

    I think you may mean “economical” rather than “economic” in describing your house and bathroom.

  27. I love that you’re a clean freak! Can you do a post on your cleaning tips/tricks/routines/strategies/products?! I would be all over it!!

  28. Thank you for the floor plan drawing! I love it and it really helps show the relationship of the rooms.

    My sister has a bathroom the same size but the door is even closer to the sink so right now it’s behind the door (that doesn’t open all the way) and has a tiny wall mounted mirror cabinet that is so small and a weird height that she can’t see her face in the mirror. She picked out the smallest sink from Ikea because it’s almost the only sink in the world that will fit (less than 10″ deep) but we/I need to make a cabinet for it still. This bathroom is beautiful and you’re right about the basic finishes. I have spent years planning my kitchen and at one point I was going to put in marble countertops and then marble backsplash but realized my house is not that fancy. I’ve picked out a nice neutral grey subway tile for the backsplash and we have wood countertops (just like the house did when it was originally built).

  29. It looks great! I’ve always wondered about using a sink like that for anything other than a powder room. Good to know my doubts were real. 🙁

    Re: shower niche. My gc put in a long tall niche, but put in a glass shelve 2/3 of the way down. That way I can still fit my big bottle of Kiehl’s body wash and BIG pump bottle of shampoo (Mixed Chicks — great shampoo!), and still have a smaller shelf for miscellaneous other bits, like a razor.

    One thing about storing your cosmetics and/or medicine in a window. Even though the light is being filtered through a room and shaded glass, sun can damage your cosmetics and medications. Maybe eventually replace it with a UV glass???

    1. I think I will look into putting a UV filter on the glass, like maybe you can buy a film? I’ll look into it. The light really isn’t as crazy as it seems in the pics.

  30. I love this whole space! Is the the mini hex knob on the Hemnes or the full size one? And is it the brushed brass or the antique? Sorry to be super annoying, but have decided I have to have EXACTLY these.

    Also, good call on the doorless tub. I have a toddler who experiences at least 50% fewer baths than she should because I freaking hate dealing with the stupid shower door.

  31. But skin care products need to be store where there is not heavy light source or temperature fluctuations. The formulations will be mostly ineffective and going off after 2 weeks. No the ks

    1. all of my face skin care is in the top drawer under the sink and my house is a v steady temperature, I am going to look into UV light film to add to the back of the window at the urging of all the concerned comments.

  32. I love this post!! Thank you for deep-diving into the usability of everything you purchased. We’re remodeling a bath and are facing many of the same choices, so this was a super helpful post! Also, we have been switching our home over to black matte plumbing fixtures and it has been work to find all of the pieces!

    Thank you!

  33. Look great! Just wondering .. If you had purchased the Godmorgon sink cabinet, would you still paint it green or choose another finishing?

  34. I was very much on board with all of this lost me at not showering every day. I was one of those confuzzled folks during the whole “not washing your legs and/or any body part daily” debacle that took place on Twitter a few months ago.

  35. We have a black matte hex floor in our bathroom and it always looks bomb. People told me it would need to be cleaned so much but it’s only mopped 2 times a month. We have a German Shepherd and 2 kids 3 and under. So I don’t know- I love the look and it’s never been an issue- had the floors for 3.5yrs now. 🙂

  36. I live in Seattle and a lot of my neighbors have built catios (yep, cat patios) for their cats so they can be safely outside. There are a ton of different ways you can build them- big like giant chicken coops or smaller ones that are enclosures attached to window. Reports are that cats are into them! Just a thought about keeping your guy safe while keeping you sane. At the very least, it’s a pretty good Google hole to go down!

  37. I’m glad I’m not the only one with a tiny sink who ends up with wet, floors, walls, and pajamas. I’ve even lost a hair dryer to my too-small countertop (RIP). I used to end up with water all over the floor from a rouge shower curtain liner, but I got these little weights that attach to the liner with magnets. They work great, and I don’t have to get creeped out by the fabric touching me in the shower. win/win!

  38. I’d highly recommend anyone doing a bath reno to check out the consumer resources of NKBA, the Natio al Kitchen and Bath Association, particularly for lighting specs. I’m often amazed at how even the best architects and designers seem to ignore the science of lighting and make lighting decisions that give you a garish look or that are unhelpful for getting through your daily ablutions.

  39. Omg you’ve solved my annual problem of what the heck to get my husband and dad for christmas! Tushys!!! They’re going to love them!

    I had a bathroom this small in my old place (only bathroom). It’s a challenge and you’ve executed it gorgeously.

  40. But I came here solely to learn about the plants in the shower and now I’m SO SAD!!!! Are they real? Fake? I love that touch (also everything else, great work!)

    deets plzzzz!!!

    1. That’s eucalyptus hanging in shower. I always keep a bundle there for the health benefits, yummy smell and because it’s a nice way to have some green in this small, darker, room.

  41. J’adore!!! Bravo!!
    But i have a question for you… what is the name of the white on the walls and the company please. he is brilliant !!!

    1. It’s the same white as the rest of my house. We’ve painted the office dark but other than that every other room AND the exterior of the front house is Polar Bear by Behr. I highly recommend this white to everyone I know. Whites of course can be very different depending on light and I should say that in general my house, for all it’s flaws, gets really nice even light throughout the day (we are northwest facing). This room, of course is the only room that doesn’t so it is a lot darker and I still like the white in there. It’s a cool white without being blue and creamy without being yellow, it almost feels like it doesn’t have undertones.. To me it is the perfect balance. It’s the color I think of when I think of the word “white”.

  42. I love your post and laughed heartily at your comment of the “dark years” and leaving your grandmother’s house for marriage! Also, your husband and his “romantic rub time alone”. I’m sure he loved that! LOL

  43. Another well written post filled with amazing ideas. As we plan our last home to age in place (as long as possible) I added a bidet to the list of must haves. Taking care of my elderly mother (age 96-99) I realized a bidet would have made life easier on both of us.

  44. You didn’t mention your floors, except maybe it’s a thing you do if you want to clean every day….

    I want them in my laundry room. Is this a terrible idea with the dryer lint!?

    1. I spent a lot of time talking about them in my last post about my bedroom. I have them in my laundry room as well and I mean, they’re just something that needs to be vacuumed daily and mopped weekly in every space I have them in to keep them to the standard I prefer them. I like things clean but I’m not insane about it. Life happens. I also have a white cat and a litter box in the laundry room so that probably adds to it. However, I don’t have kids, so, take that information for what it’s worth!

  45. Wow, amazing job in such a tiny space!

    The window solution is clever & looks great—before I read what it was, I was squinting at the screen, trying to figure out how you backlit your shelves!

    I would’ve been sorely tempted to swap bathroom and laundry room, or just have a stack unit or combo w/d in the bathroom, but I hear you on the expense of moving fixtures. If the two rooms were combined, you’d miss out on the wall that offers the cool shelf/window, but might have room for my dream—a soaking tub. I’m sorgte surprised you didn’t get one, because I’m pretty sure I’ve seen them under 5’. But if you & hubby are happy, that’s what matters.

    I loved your chatty, informative writing, with insights from living in the space.

  46. I learned more in this post than I have all week! Thx. Guess my weekend plans include researching Totos and Public Goods. ?

  47. It’s exciting to note the difference – Before and after pictures are incredible. And also thanks for sharing the items and its source to buy. Great! I understand space is not a matter. Even a smaller area can be decorated as we want to have it. I represent GiftYourHome blog – an upcoming blog on home improvement. Your blog helps me a lot to explore more inspirational home decoration ideas!

  48. I can’t help but be shocked at the $630K mortgage side-note. We live in a college-town in the midwest and paid 124K for a 1500 sq ft house that needs some love but has four bedrooms and two bathrooms. Most new houses in our area run for $200-400K. A $630K home would be 5,000 sq ft on acreage.
    How does anyone with a non IT/finance/health care/law job afford a home somewhere else? My husband and I make a solid living of around $100K and have one child – and we still feel squeezed thinking about saving for retirement, renovating our home, and affording two kids in daycare (someday). Just wow to those of you who have to worry about this kind of mortgage.

  49. I really like the illustrations you used. I am considering adding more height to my floor now so I can use it for more efficient storage space. Thanks,

  50. Did you use black grout on the subway tiles or a charcoal? I assume the grout on the floor is black? Thank you!

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