Outside of the study or guest bedroom is the guest bathroom – the doorway to the right in this photo.
The “before” state definitely had a dated late 80’s/early 90’s look and didn’t at all match the French Country style of the house.
We began demo to open up the shower. It’s a fine size, but felt very small and dark because of how much it was enclosed.
We did find a retro Mountain Dew bottle in one of the walls. It would’ve been more fun if it were stuffed full of cash…but still it was kind of funny!
We wanted the shower opening to be as big as possible so it felt more open and spacious, so we had our contractor create a 3′ wide and 8′ high opening with a half rounded top to give it some architectural interest. We also had him add a tall wall niche in the shower and prep it for tile.
I had something specific in mind for that shower niche. The original kitchen had hand-painted tiles, some of which I would’ve liked to reuse, but definitely wouldn’t work with our new kitchen plan. But salvaging them and using them in this bathroom would be a win-win!
We had to be really careful about removing them from the wall, and even so we ended up breaking a number of them. But we had enough that survived to be able to reuse them as accents in this bathroom.
Phil volunteered for the really fun job of scraping off all of the old mastic and chunks of drywall from the backs of the tile so they were good as new for us to install here.
I planned out the niche beforehand to fit the decorative tiles exactly, so we could also use these border tiles from the kitchen around the perimeter of the niche.
My plan for the rest of the shower walls was to use a handmade ivory herringbone with an ivory grout, so it would be a subtle pattern that played a supporting role to the decorative tiles. Unfortunately this was a big fat fail. I made the rookie mistake of comparing my new tile samples to the existing decorative tiles out in the living room rather than in the room where they would be used. In the bright natural light, the tiles looked perfect together and I was pumped about the plan…until the day the new tiles arrived and I held them up to the shower niche with only artificial light. Suddenly it became glaringly obvious that the decorative tiles had yellow undertones and the new tiles leaned pink. They looked bad together, and the tiles were non-returnable!
I had also ordered the same tile in brown for our master shower so I made the desperate decision to use those here instead. I would rather go with a contrasting tile than have it look like it’s supposed to match, but doesn’t.
The new plan was to use ivory grout on the shower walls to tie in the blue and ivory tiles, and to use brown grout on the floor tile to coordinate with the brown herringbone. I was nervous about this because the floor tile was a custom order that wouldn’t arrive for weeks, so I couldn’t see them all together in person. But we needed to keep the progress moving so onward we went, hoping for the best!
Phil is the designated tile cutter and I’m the tile setter, which works out pretty well for us. It was our first time doing a herringbone pattern though, and it was definitely trickier to figure out some of the angled cuts. A smaller tile like this requires way more tedious cuts so we were very glad to have two people working on this.
Not all of the corner tiles matched up perfectly, but we got them as close as possible. I loved the coordinating pencil trim for around the arched opening!
Finally the floor tile arrived and we could see if this Plan B was going to be alright or not. We wanted to use a tile here that was similar-but-different than the large hexagon terracotta floors in the foyer and the rest of the common living areas. We went with a small star and cross pattern in the classic terracotta color. We bought it through a local tile store and they had the vendor use a different tile composition and glaze so that it could be used in a bathroom – rather than the typical terracotta which is more porous.
I wanted to bring in some more of the blue and white decorative tile and thought that the shower curb would be the perfect spot! We got creative with a little patchwork mosaic of the painted tiles.
Finally we were ready to grout the tile and have the plumbing fixtures installed! How cute is that gooseneck?
We choose a frameless glass shower door with a traditional chrome handle.
Next we tackled the mirror. I liked the width of the mirror that was there originally, but I thought that if it were also super tall, it would make the room feel huge. To make way for the oversized mirror, we had an electrician move the light location from over the mirror to the neighboring walls for wall sconces instead. We had a mirror cut at a local glass shop and then built a deep wood frame, painted white.
For the vanity, I purchased one with simple shape that I liked, which had an arched base as a little nod to the shower arch.
I just didn’t love the black color, so I repainted it while we were also spraying the primer in the study.
I choose a glossy navy color to tie in the blue accents and topped it with a quartz countertop and a traditional chrome faucet. There’s supposed to be a band of blue and white accent tile for a backsplash, but we sadly just ran out of time!
The oversized sconces are vintage finds from Etsy, which were salvaged from an old hotel remodel!
In hindsight, I think I should’ve used a brown grout rather than ivory for the shower walls to keep the herringbone pattern subtle like I originally intended. I still think that the ivory tile would’ve been better in this space if it actually matched, but even so it didn’t stop me from enjoying the finished result!
This house also has a powder room, but because of the location, this bathroom would probably be used just as often by guests – so we wanted to make it extra special. Tile fail and all, I think the finished look for this bathroom suits the unique style of the house much better!
Wall color: Behr Spanish Sand
Trim color: 75% Behr White Mocha
Vanity color: Sherwin Williams In the Navy
Vanity: Home Depot Haven
Sink Fixture: American Standard Quentin Single Hole
Shower Fixture: Pfister Polished Chrome Saxton