Guest Bath Gets Sleek Makeover

This sad guest bathroom desperately needed to be brought up to date, by about 50 years!


Photographs by Jean Allsopp

Photographs by Jean Allsopp

By: Lydia Somerville

The guest bath in Janet Anderson’s Birmingham, Ala., house also serves as a powder room, being situated right off the entry, and it wasn’t giving the best first impression to guests arriving at the family’s otherwise stylish abode. The 1960s rancher serves the family’s needs well. The husband, wife and two young daughters, ages 8 and 9, live easily in the pragmatically laid-out spaces, but the bathroom, which is original to the house, left a lot to be desired. Among other problems, it suffered from too many doorways.

"It had two doors, one into a bedroom and one into the hallway. But they were so close that it was strange and took up an entire wall. Including the primary door to the entry, this space had three doors!" says Janet. The room had a dingy ceramic tile floor, tile countertops and a greige paint scheme that flattered no one. Outdated plumbing was leaking into the room below it, and fixtures were practically drooping from their mounts in dismay.

Red, White and Navy Guest Bathroom

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Time for an Update

Janet Anderson's guest bathroom was in desperate need of a makeover. Unlike her otherwise stylish home, the bathroom had dated fixtures, a boring color palette and too many doors. A fresh, sleek remodel was just what the doctor ordered.

Let the Light In

Bone sconces from Circa Lighting were a bit of a splurge, but they add jewel-like sparkle to the bath. She made up for the cost, however, with the plain linen blind covering the window. Trimmed with a few feet of decorative tape, it has a custom look for a fraction of the cost.

Unique Collection

A collection of framed wax stamps that Designer Rebecca Hawkins found in a flea market gave her the idea to compose a salon-style wall of the artwork.

Give Them Space

“You can lay them out on the floor, and rearrange them until you get a composition you like,” says Rebecca, “then you can measure, keep the same space between each piece, and hang them on the wall.”

Meant to Be

They replaced the bathtub with a large walk-in shower. Here, they used a tile for the floor and shower seat that they both loved. Rebecca took the deep blues and grays of the tile as her inspiration for choosing the wallpaper, a graphic grasscloth by Phillip Jeffries that she stumbled upon in an Atlanta showroom. It was a pricey addition to the remodel, costing $1700 to cover the room. But the pair felt it made exactly the right bold design statement they were after. “We laugh about that because Rebecca just so fell in love with it! Luckily, I loved it immediately too, and it just had to be,” says Janet.

Brick House

Inexpensive ceramic tile installed in a bricklayer’s pattern covers the walls of the shower and offsets some of the cost of the wallpaper. The glass shower door disappears, and allows the bright, airy shower to take center stage.

Cue designer Rebecca Hawkins to give the room a full makeover. Janet and Rebecca set about planning a completely revised space, one that made a bold design statement but also worked efficiently for overnight guests.

With a budget of about $30,000, Rebecca began working with Janet on choosing the finishes and fixtures that would make the bathroom stand out. “Rebecca is amazing and could so easily have made a fabulous design on her own,” says Janet. “But she wants to make sure that it is our bathroom. In the long run, that makes her job harder."

Storage was less of an issue, since the bathroom isn’t in constant use like a primary or shared bathroom. "I was able to design a vanity that had an open shelf below – very sleek and airy," says Rebecca. "With all the pattern going on in the wallpaper, I wanted to keep the vanity clean."

The lacquered finish of the cabinet also reinforces the Asian mood and is extremely durable. Rebecca replaced the double sinks with a single one, pushed to the end of the counter so that the clean expanse of granite surface provides another visual rest. Removing the crown molding brought a clean, more modern look to the space. Marble tile covers the floor, topped with a bright Oriental rug for softness underfoot and a hint of color.

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