Guest Bath Gets Sleek Makeover

This sad guest bathroom desperately needed to be brought up to date, by about 50 years!
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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 Outdated plumbing was leaking into the room below it, and fixtures were practically drooping from their mounts in dismay.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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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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