Introducing: The Guest Bath

One of our bigger projects on the docket for this year is our upstairs guest bathroom. A major selling point for us when buying this house were the three full bathrooms, which most houses in our budget in our area were in the 1 bedroom to 1.5 bedroom range. We love having both a master ensuite and an extra bathroom upstairs, especially when we have guests in town. This bathroom will primarily be used for guests, but we know that when we eventually resell the house, it will likely become a primary bath for a family with kids. So we’re trying to be smart about how we create everyday storage solutions, while also creating an oasis for guests.

My biggest challenge with the bathroom currently is the layout, where it’s bigger than the main floor bathroom, but the layout actually forces us into a smaller vanity and a less efficient use of space. Let’s start with some before photos:

I can’t stand that your first view into the room is the toilet, and when the door is open, this is the first view you see coming up the stairs to the second floor. The toilet also isn’t centered between the duct and the wall, which drives me bonkers.

UM5A9994-2.jpg

While I can appreciate the value in a cast iron tub, this one is just so low and doesn’t make sense for using the tub as both a shower and bath.

UM5A9996.jpgUM5A0004-3.jpgUM5A0006.jpg

These institutional 1970’s radiators are all over the house and remind me of my middle school, and not in a good way. We’d love to replace the radiator with a charming vintage-looking one, but realistically, will likely create a new cover to go over this one to hide that ugliness.

UM5A0005.jpgWith the wall separating the shower on the right of the vanity, the vanity feels very tight and claustrophobic. We’re also trying to finagle a larger vanity into the space, but it might not be realistic.UM5A9998.jpg

Beautiful, amirite? Fortunately, there isn’t anything in here that wasn’t added during the early 1980’s renovation of this house, so I have zero guilt over taking it down to the studs.

And for reference, here’s a floorplan of the current space, where the entire bathroom is about 60 square feet.

Photo Aug 18, 6 41 02 AM.jpg

We don’t know exactly how the plumbing is set up behind the walls, so in the event that we demo the room, see that a new floorplan is workable, this is the dream plan. But, given that this is a guest bathroom, where we don’t want to over-invest, it’s going to come down to the numbers as to whether we stay with the current floorplan (above) or shift to the much more efficient plan below (including my notes for things to keep in mind).

Photo Aug 15, 9 07 54 AM.jpg

We’re going to be taking down the drywall around the duct right in the middle of that back wall, since it isn’t level on either side, so hopefully we’ll be able to squeeze some more space out of it.

Assuming we stay with the current floorplan, the plan would be:

  • Replace the tub with a drop-in tub with a tile surround
  • Remove the wall between the vanity and the tub and install a glass wall to create lightness and open up the space
  • Replace the vanity with a lighter, freestanding option with a smaller sink but larger countertop space
  • Build shelves over the nook above the toilet for towel and toilet paper storage
  • Replace the toilet with a much prettier, newer model
  • Tile all the walls in subway tile
  • Install in-floor radiant heating
  • Replace or mask the eyesore of a radiator

Not too much, right?

And to leave you with some idea of some of the elements we’ll be introducing into the space (for more of the inspiration, check out this post):

We’re doing a similar drop in tub + glass + tile combination to this:

Black trim + a venetian mirror as in this one:

A pretty freestanding vanity, maybe in a fun, rich color:

Working on the upstairs bathroom project post this morning…. all materials, fixtures, etc are from @allmodern!

A post shared by Kate Arends (@witanddelight_) on

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