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Before & After: The Story of Two Bathrooms and A Shower For One.

Years ago, Amy and Tom fell in love with a pretty, sprawling ranch in a coveted neighborhood. With a gorgeous backyard and huge kitchen, this house had everything they wanted.

Well, almost everything.

Isn’t that how it always is? You get to the Mediterranean villa and the water is just a little too wet. Nobody said life was easy.

So Amy and Tom did what we all do — painted here and there, repaired when necessary, and kept a running list of what needed to be done when the time and the money made sense.

Well, the day finally came. Not because it was the right time and there was extra money, but because the tile in the master shower gave up the good fight. And isn’t THAT how it always is? You get to the basement and the ceiling, like the Mediterranean, is just a little too wet?

The master bathroom for two full-grown adults was tiny and the bathroom for one tiny child was not. Was the house, in fact, built by a child? Or by adults who love their child more than I love mine? And more than Amy and Tom love theirs? They were perplexed by this obvious mix-up and did what any loving parents would do: they shrunk their child’s bathroom and enlarged theirs. Now everyone is happy. Well, almost. (Sorry, Ethan.)

Repurposing the space was a puzzle because there wasn’t much to play with — both baths were clunky in layout and tight on square footage. Amy was adamant that it would work AND that she could fit a soaker tub into the space. Ridiculous. But I pretended to believe her. After all, she had spent sleepless nights arranging and re-arranging the space in her mind, not to mention the years spent putting on makeup next to a little boy who grew into a 12 year-old, as they tend to do. I guess lip glossing next to a preteen leads to some out-of-the box creativity.

I will admit that when I stopped by the project to check on the crew, when Amy and Tom were not home, I expressed my concern over the compact size of the shower. The conversation, in jumbled Spanish and English for both of us, ended with: “Is all ok for them. Just no hanky panky in there,” — followed by a loud kissing noise, which is universal. I got the message.

The hall/kids bath had a HUGE outdated sunken tub/shower combo, a double vanity and a lot of wasted space. The master bath had, well, basically nothing. A tiny shower, no tub, one vanity, bad lighting and tired finishes.

Now both spaces have just what they need. Ethan’s bath, which doubles as a guest powder room, is smart and good-looking, like Ethan. Amy and Tom’s space is warm but bright, with plenty of plugs for hairdryers and drawers for makeup, a gorgeous soaker tub, pretty shiplap walls, task and decorative lighting and a stunning walk in shower. For one.

Here’s a peek:

Hall Bath Before

Dated tile, an oddly long vanity and slanted cabinetry made this space feel dark. Tom and Amy incorporated the space that held the tub, window and and linen closet into their master bath.

Hall Bath After

The wall that hosted the sink cabinet became the shower. This take on a subway tile feels classic but fresh while dark grout hides dirt and adds contrast.

A new wall added in front of the old tub offered just enough space for a floating vanity. The flooring shape is a twist on traditional and the dark finish on the fixtures grounds the room.

Master Before

It's hard to pick of favorite here, but I am going to go with the gold toilet paper cover.

Master After

This space was Ethan's sunken tub - by using that space, Amy and Tom gained room for an oversized vanity. Shiplap walls are such a win. The metal mirror adds a new dimension to the space and the sconces act as jewelry while ceiling cans offer enough lighting for hair and makeup.

This tub is perfection and being centered on the windows makes it even better.

Adding tile halfway up the walls protects them from water splash and is the perfect contrast to the shiny white tub. A wall mount faucet saves space and elevates the whole look.

The shower! (For one, remember?)

Light and bright tile mixed with a matte black faucet system mirrors the tub wall and is such a pretty combo. The warm gray shower floor is just the right balance of tone and texture.

And there you have it - a hall bath perfect for a child and guests and a master bath that finally makes sense. If you spend 11 years putting makeup on next to your child and numerous sleepless nights lying in bed and rearranging your house in your mind you, too, can have what you want even when I say you can't.


The after photos were done by the talented Ashley Weldon.

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