Return of the Ugly Bathroom
We call in the experts to help three challengers for the title of World’s Ugliest Bathroom.
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Ugly Bathroom: Blue and Busy
Gail Arnold moved into her 1962 trilevel brick-and-siding home 11 years ago, and the main bath still looks exactly as it did in 1994, and probably before that. "It’s small and it’s very busy," says Arnold, who hopes to one day be able to install a jetted tub. "It’s very dated."
Gail Arnold moved into her 1962 tri-level brick-and-siding home 11 years ago, and the main bath still looks exactly as it did in 1994 and probably before that. “It’s small and it’s very busy,” says Arnold, who hopes to one day be able to install a jetted tub. “It’s very dated.”
The first thing to do, says Kohn, is to “eliminate the froufrou” and replace the ruffled shower curtain and window treatment with something as plain and simple as possible. She suggests a plain cream-colored shower curtain, a simple translucent window covering and white walls. Add a white rug to de-clutter the busy tile on the floor and a strong, simple floral image in a frame on the wall as a focal point. And as impossible as it may be to match, a toilet seat in the same turquoise as the commode would also make the room look less busy.
Adams, who also has a shower/bath with a window in her own home, suggests replacing the wood-framed window with a vinyl window and a marble sill that can double as a shelf for shampoo and other toiletries. She would replace the toilet with a white one and reglaze the tub in white, then paint the walls a pretty purple or lime green to go with the turquoise accent tile. She’d buy a white shower curtain and sew large colored buttons on it as accents to “freshen it up, keep it looking updated.”
Points to Remember
- Work with the architecture: "The toilet, tub and sink are as irrefutably elements of the architecture as the roof of the home," says Kohn. If you’re not going to rip it all out and remodel, then you’ve got to work with it. "Team up with your architecture," Kohn says. "It’s a marriage."
- Simplify: When spaces are small, as is the case in the majority of older bathrooms, choose a single dominant motif. Using busy, multi-colored wallpaper to distract from an ugly tile color, for instance, almost never works. If your bathroom has a strong tile color, paint the walls cream and eliminate anything extraneous such as spray bottles, hair products, lotions and other toiletries.
- Accept the function: Bathrooms in older houses were meant to be "little chambers for cleansing rituals," says Kohn, not the spacious dressing room/lounge/personal retreat that bathrooms have become today. Don’t expect to turn your space into something it’s not. While it can be clean, simple, pleasant and functional it's probably never going to become a home version of The Red Door Spa.
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