Hollywood Hills Bathroom Packs Big Style Into a Small Space

Thanks to clever repurposing, its use of reclaimed materials and a bold color palette, this 60-square-foot Tinseltown bathroom is ready for its closeup.
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November 25, 2014

Photo By: Brian Patrick Flynn

Photo By: Brian Patrick Flynn

Repurposed + Colorful Bathroom Makeover

Built in the 1950s, this 9-by-7-foot Hollywood Hills bathroom was structurally sound, yet packed with dated fixtures. On a modest budget of $3K and a timeline of three weeks, it would be re-imagined as a graphic, TV set-inspired master bathroom fit for its jet-setting writer, producer and director residents.

Inspired by Its Hollywood Locale

Drawing on the vivid, high-contrast aesthetic of Hollywood film and TV sets for inspiration, this modestly sized bathroom was updated with a color scheme of fire-engine red, black and taupe. To keep costs low, the layout, cabinets and tiles were left as-is, while the walls were updated with chalkboard paint complete with creative drawings and phrases, with walls and ceilings clad with reclaimed barn siding.

Simple Cork Flooring

To avoid a messy demolition, a floating cork floor was installed directly on top of the existing tile. When updating bathrooms, designers stress the importance of choosing materials which fit the era and architecture. Cork was a popular material used in the 1950s, the decade in which the property was built. Should the home be put on the market, the historically accurate materials will help with resale.

Bold Vintage Lighting

The biggest splurge of the bathroom's redesign was a pair of vintage barn sconces. Powder-coated in high-gloss fire-engine red and made of steel, the sconces add industrial flair complete with cages to contain light bulbs.

Bronze Hardware

While budget-friendly materials were used for most of the bathroom's redesign, hardware was a splurge. To keep the overall aesthetic textural and masculine, door pulls made of bone and oil-rubbed bronze were screwed into the existing holes.

Industrial Towel Rods

Rather than picking up basic towel rods from the home improvement store, one was made from black steel pipe, elbows and flanges. To create the towel rods, pipe was picked up in a standard size, then screwed into elbows which fit directly into flanges. Once the three parts were configured properly, the flanges were attached to the wall with drywall anchors and screws.

Salvaged Metal Mirror

Salvage has become increasingly popular in regard to eco-friendly, custom-designed pieces. To add one-of-a-kind flair to a basic mirror, plywood was cut to size, then a corrugated metal remnant was cut as a frame using a grinder with a cut-off wheel attachment. To protect the raw edge of the corrugated metal, a whitewashed strip of trim was attached to the plywood. Lastly, the mirror was put in place, then secured to plywood using mirror mastic.

Butcher-Block Countertop

While butcher block may not be a popular choice for bathroom design, it's actually an excellent fit, especially for master bathrooms with high traffic. To ensure durability with a rustic, industrial edge, reclaimed butcher-block counters were first cut to size by using a template and a circular saw, then sanded, oiled and sealed to fit atop the existing cabinetry.

Bold Red Sink

One of the most expensive aspects of bathroom design is plumbing. To avoid hefty plumber fees, the existing sink and bathtub were kept in their original places, then refaced in a high-gloss shade of fire-engine red. The original faucet was replaced with a simple, classic chrome fixture.

A Tub Resurfaced in Red

Originally manufactured with a pastel-pink finish (a popular color for 1950s decor), the porcelain bathtub was in excellent structural condition. Rather than replacing it, the tub was professionally resurfaced in the same shade of red as the sink. Performed by highly skilled professionals, the resurfacing process entails repairing any cracks, dents or nicks with polyester putty, then etching surfaces with acid before spraying a top coat of industrial-strength enamel.

Creative Storage Solutions

To add open storage above the resurfaced bathtub, a shelf was made from a plank of pine, cut to size and finished with ebony stain. The shelf holds shampoo and beauty products, while an integrated black steel pipe keeps towels hung neatly below.

Chalk-Drawn Walls

To add playful drama, the bathroom walls were painted with chalkboard paint, then a decorative artist was hired to free-hand whimsical phrases and graphic designs. To protect the chalk-drawn phrases and objects from rubbing off, polyurethane could be sprayed directly to the surface once all other bathroom surfaces were masked off with plastic and painter's tape. For a more temporary use, the chalkboard walls can be left unsealed, allowing the look to be changed up frequently.

Reclaimed Wood Accents

To add texture, color and contrast, the walls were clad with reclaimed barn siding featuring different shades of gray, brown and white. In order to attach the siding, each plank was cut to size with a circular saw, lightly sanded to help smooth the surface, then installed to the wall with a nail gun.

Goodbye, Drywall!

The drywall ceiling was given architectural interest using the same reclaimed barn siding which was installed along the walls. In order for material to be securely fastened to a ceiling, a stud finder is used to locate the proper placement of joists, marked with a pencil or chalk line. The material is then installed perpendicular to the joists using a nail gun or drill.

Custom Light Fixture

For an industrial-chic touch, a custom ceiling pendant was made from black steel pipe, elbows and conduit as well as electrical wire and sockets. To add a vintage touch to the overall look, Edison bulbs were used in place of globes or chandelier bulbs.

Pallets Turned Toiletry Holder

For extra storage, a toiletry and magazine rack was made from a reclaimed shipping pallet. To create the rack, a measuring tape was used to determine the proper width of the wall, then the pallet was dismantled with a crowbar, cut to size and mitered using a chop saw, then reconfigured and attached using the original nails. Black steel pipe is mounted to the bottom to keep towels neatly hung.

Drapery Panels With a Handmade Touch

The shower is partitioned off from the rest of the bathroom with a custom striped curtain created from three ready-made drapery panels. To create the striped effect, several panels were cut to size, then positioned along the bottom of the third panel, and attached with hot glue. For an extra layer of graphic impact, decorative trim was glued along the seams made by the other accent panels for a more tailored look.

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