It's main bath reveal time, folks!
I'm excited to share this reveal with you because we went through a number of different plans with this particular space. When we originally signed with this client, our plan in the bathroom was minimal: we were going to replace the vanity but reuse the counters and existing fixtures throughout, and paint. That was pretty much the extent of the scope in that room.
After living in the space for a while, our client decided we definitely needed to get rid of the odd, teeny tiny tub in the bathroom. In its place, we decided we'd create a built-in window seat with storage for linens. Here's what we were planning there:
Plan #2: Remove Tub & add Window Seat Storage
We road this train for a while, and then the email came:
What if we were to go with a stand-alone bathtub instead of the window seat?
Friends, I'll be honest, I did not know if we could swing it. That space was TEENY and SKINNY, and I wasn't sure we'd find a tub (let alone a stand-alone tub) that would fit. But, we went to our friends at our bath design center and ended up finding the only. single. tub. that would possibly work in that space, AND—get this—it was the absolute PERFECT style for this bathroom! A white, high back, clawfoot beauty!
And then, of course, the bathroom became one of those if you give a mouse a cookie scenarios, only in the best of ways. The bathroom project morphed so many times along the way, and the only real elements that ended up staying were the shower wall tile and the original marble countertop.
Tub View Before
Tub View After
Re-tiling a shower is VERY expensive, so we wanted to utilize what we could while not compromising on the design. We had also planned on keeping the original floor tile (tile, in general, is just expensive), but because we were going with a stand-alone tub, we had to address the missing floor below the tub. SO, we decided on a classic white penny tile throughout the entire bathroom, and also found we were able to lay that same penny tile over the existing shower floor.
We maintained the original tile walls but replaced the shower system. We also removed the original framed sliding door and replaced it with a frameless glass surround with a hinged door. This makes the space feel so much bigger and more current.
Shower View Before
Shower View After
In addition, the original bathroom had the same marble tile from the shower used as a sort of tile-wainscoting along all the walls, so removing the built-in tub meant we needed a different plan for the walls.
Enter: the beautiful amazing glorious wainscotting, which ended up being my favorite detail in this bathroom! I'd been eyeing some stunning bath inspo for another project that included this detail, and once we knew the wall tile had to go, this beautiful trim molding immediately popped into my head. Let me tell you, the carpenter executed it SO beautifully!
Oh—we did keep the original tile on the window sill so that our client would have a place to set her wine glass that while taking a bath :) Design is ALL about problem-solving, people! Our solutions are all about maintaining beauty and function while not breaking the bank. Although, most of the time the best solution ends up being the most expensive—LOL.
Sidenote: YES, removing the built-in tub caused a lot of new "problems", BUT, had we not gone this route, this bathroom wouldn't have been near as beautiful. This is the perfect example of go-big-or-go-home.
You're already investing a LOT in the bathroom, even just to make minor improvements, so rather than get a bathroom that's only partially what you want, invest a little more and get exactly what you want. Plus, this new bathroom adds a ton of value to her property should she ever decide to sell it.
We ended up swapping out the light fixtures, mirrors, bathroom accessories, and pretty much everything else! Also, I have to point out the fantastic artwork above the tub: "All bodies are good bodies!" Our client found these, and I adore them! I also adore this pretty miniature chandelier above the tub. This was a detail our client added after the fact, and I think it's just perfect!
One thing to note is that the original scope did not include replacing the mirrors or moving the light fixtures. We discovered later as the project evolved that the mirrors and light fixtures were never quite centered over the sinks—super odd. So, when we went to install the new ones, since we used the original counters, they still weren't centered over the sinks. They're only off by about an inch, but had we decided from the beginning to completely overhaul this bath rather than making that decision along the way, we likely would have addressed this either with a new countertop that brought our sinks closer together or by relocating the lights. These are the funny little things that happen when a project develops as you're working on it rather than planning from the beginning, which is how the rest of the condo was designed.
I love the way the various textures and surfaces work together in this space. It's not overly colorful, but it has such a variety of visual texture that it creates something super interesting to look at.
This (below) is one of my favorite photos from the shoot!! How clever is this? We weren't working with a lot of elbow room when sitting on the toilet, so she decided to mount the tp holder in the easiest to reach spot available! I've never seen this, but I love it. Plus, it plays so well with the beautiful claw feet on the tub.
The new shower door gave the shower brand new life. Going from a framed sliding door to a custom frameless glass door makes the shower look twice as big, and made on-trend what felt like dated tile.
Our client added these adorable linen cafe curtains to the window post-install, which are simply the perfect touch. This allows her to keep the sun streaming in while maintaining privacy.
And of course, a tray on the counter to hold all your necessary grooming items makes what would feel like clutter feel grounded and intentional. I always, always use a tray in the bathroom. It is a must!
For our bath faucet fixture, we had zero additional floor space to play with, so we went with a wall-mounted option. This particular one feels so timeless and whimsical, and paired with this vintage rug, it really takes you to another time!
The Wrap Up
While the design process for this bathroom wasn't our typical one, it ended up being a blast. It involved some bumps and hiccups, and a few changes of direction, but the end result is SO dreamy and relaxing.
The experience of this bathroom design process reminds me not to get flustered when a design doesn't move linearly from our plan to execution. While that does allow us to forecast costs and plan for things like moving lights or mirrors, a process that evolves along the way can result in an equally beautiful space!
AND, I've made sure to inform my client that if she ever needs a house sitter when she's on one of her European trips, I'd be happy to oblige :)
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LFID is a full-service interior design firm based in Grand Rapids, Michigan. We work with clients throughout west and southeast Michigan, and pride ourselves on creating bespoke, people-centered spaces—because after all, people are what this life is all about!
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