Decorating & Design

August 11, 2013

Narrow Bathroom Makeover

Our latest Kitchens & Baths special issue is now on newsstands and I’m pleased to give you a little more behind-the-scenes info about one of our feature bathroom stories, “Split Personality” (page 110).

The bathroom was designed by Vanessa Francis, whom you may know from her popular blog Decor Happy. Seeing photos of her clients’ bathroom sparked a story idea, and when I contacted Vanessa to pitch the concept, I was so pleased when she agreed. We wanted to tell two stories about this bathroom:

1. The inside scoop on Vanessa’s design choices.

2. How H&H design editor Joel Bray, could give this space two very different looks with just accessories and clever styling.

For every great after there is usually a scary before. I give you exhibit A. This is what Vanessa had to start with — awful tiles, plastic shower shelving and that random wall cabinet stuck in the middle in that reddish wood tone. Also, notice the towel bar under the window on the right. Take note: we at House & Home are seeing a shift away from towel bars to hooks, which are so much more practical for households lacking habitual towel-folders (which is to say, most households).

Here are some pretty close-up shots of Vanessa’s choices. Everything here is so timeless it could just as easily be a design for a 1920s hotel. I have a particular crush on that faucet.

Here’s where the clients definitely got their money’s worth in hiring a pro like Vanessa. She custom designed this vanity and it’s a genius execution. Here’s the thing: bathrooms (and kitchens) are a game of fractions of an inch. In the race for storage space, making every eighth of an inch work hard is key. Sometimes standard sized vanities don’t let you realize a room’s full potential. That’s when a custom piece is worth every penny. Notice how Vanessa opted for drawers and open storage rather than cavernous cupboards with doors. This gives the cabinet a sense of lightness that helps the narrow room feel less crowded. Also, drawers and baskets that you can pull out mean the contents are much easier to access and keep organized.

Here’s how Vanessa styled the space. We love her mix of neutrals and texture. Pick up a Kitchens & Baths issue to see how Joel took inspiration from her work and then kicked it up a notch with even more layers. Compare this look to the ones in the issue to see which you like best. It might be time to set a deadline for an accessories makeover of your bathroom.

See more Bathroom Makeovers in our photo gallery.

Photo credits:
1. House & Home
2. Margot Austin
3-6. Decor Happy blog