before & after: minimalist bathroom makeover


This Before & After features one of the dreamiest spa-like bathrooms I’ve seen, and to think it all started in this little 125-square-foot room. According to Branka Knezevic, the architect behind this beautiful renovation, the couple that commissioned it loves art, design and the sleek, modern aesthetic of mid-century architecture. The finished space not only incorporates all those elements into its design but also makes smart use of the elongated room with light, airy colors and plenty of sleek, low-profile fixtures. I love the focal point of the gorgeous bathtub situated underneath the picturesque window, and the glass-walled shower? Heavenly. I’m definitely marking this bathroom as an inspiration for the master bath in my dream home. Wonderful work, Branka! — Kate

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Read the full post after the jump!

Time: It took a little over 3 months including design, permitting, construction, inspections and delays in procuring some of the construction materials.

Cost: This project is in the mid- to high-end range budget-wise.

Basic Steps: I should say that we started with three different schemes incorporating different layouts, palettes and costs. I wanted to give my clients some variety in developing the final design for the bathroom. The scheme we ended up developing involved some simple yet powerful design gestures such as enforcing the elongated shape of the room with a linear wall-mounted vanity cabinet and anchoring it on both ends with major bath elements: the glass-enclosed shower on one and free-standing tub on the other. A muted and natural color and material scheme with a less-is-more approach to detailing (you will notice no base board, moldings, minimal hardware, etc.) sets the tone of the room, which is very light, peaceful and Zen-like. I also played up the beautiful view into the garden by minimizing distractions in that area and using a somewhat contrasting wall and ceiling colors to accentuate the skylight above.

I think that with remodels, it is very important to work with the existing features and not against them, to sort of play up the positive in any space. In this particular project, it was the view, the abundant daylight and a good amount of space to work with. Another important point is to work in broad strokes. For example, don’t bunch too many functions close together, or too many design elements all in one place — it will not only look fussy but will most likely also result in circulation problems or other conflicts. Let there be logic and let there be room for comfort! Enough storage is also very important; without it, all your stuff will be all over the place resulting again in a very busy and untidy room. Finally, if there is an opportunity to refurbish or re-use building components, don’t shy away from it. Even in modern environments, these elements can work out wonderfully! Always ask for low- or no-VOC paints and sealants; your family and the environment will thank you for it. — Branka

Architecture: Branka Studio
Photographs: Raphye Alexius Photography
Contractor & Custom Cabinetry: Dejan Laptosevic
Tile: Porcelanosa
Fixtures: Grohe
Freestanding Tub: Americh
Toilet: Toto
Light Fixtures: Restoration Hardware
Counter: Silestone
Shower Bench & Niches: Silestone
Custom Mangaris Shower Pad: Dejan Laptosevic
Paint: Benjamin Moore

  1. Trevor Bauknight says:

    Love the shower floor…how is that done?

  2. Jen C. says:

    What a lovely change, simply beautiful & serene.

  3. Michelle powell says:

    Absolutely Marvelous!

  4. Wow, so bright and airy – can’t believe the chnage…

  5. Alix says:

    Stunning!

  6. Jessica says:

    The result is very spa-like…love the simplicity and soothing colors

  7. nayster says:

    For us other architecture peeps, can you please start adding floor plans?

  8. Svietka says:

    im not a minimalist lover but this is stunning. I m not a cream-beige lover either but the colors here r fab:)
    Great job!

  9. Vajra says:

    I love everything except the tub. It seems too big to be comfortable and the sides are too high to get in comfortably if you are short, young, elderly or physically challenged. Also it seems like a huge waste of water. The previous owner installed a jacuzzi-style tub in our bathrooms: used once by me. It’s not all that.

  10. Tan says:

    I’m not much of a minimalist but the bathroom is certainly the place for it. What a gorgeous transformation!

  11. erin says:

    Wow! So fancy and luxurious! I bet they love using that bathroom.

  12. WOW! What a gorgeous redo. The shower is unbelievable, and that tub!! I love all the redo spaces you feature. thank you!

  13. The “after” photos are absolutely stunning!! That tub bathed in natural light! (pun intended!) LOVE!

  14. trish nelson says:

    I love the shower floor too, how do you clean it… very light and airy, reminds me of an outdoor shower

  15. Jacqueline says:

    What an amazing makeover! Thx for sharing!

  16. this is the real definition of a make over… amazing!

  17. Kath Wright says:

    Gorgeous!

    Curses, Emma stole my comment! I do really admire the clean lines. Essential in a bathroom.

  18. Lisa says:

    wow nothing beats a long soak after standing all day – the tub is calling my name!

  19. celia says:

    OMG!!! My jaw just dropped! That is one friggin’ gorgeous AFTER. Can I move in, please? I can stay in that bathroom…I won’t take too much space. 8-D

  20. lua says:

    liked before, the step down and the enveloping feel, not the white sterility and flat cabinets that are so ubiquitous.

  21. Jaanl says:

    NOW that’s a BATHROOM!

  22. Amy says:

    Lusting after the shower, seriously.
    The tub is beautiful, but I would not want to have to clean around it. I always wonder if people who embrace design like this for practical use spaces have someone else to clean said spaces.
    We just installed our Toto toilet and washlet as our Christmas gift and think it was worth the splurge :-)

  23. Jen says:

    gorgeous – love the tub under the window and the new cabinetry, not so keen on mirrors opposite the loo..

  24. Sarah says:

    Okay, I’ve seen .. what feels like 100s of showers remodeled kind of like this, and all I’m confused about is this, do .. these people just not have shower spray or is it cool if water gets everywhere with that open side in the shower? I am genuinely confused about the way this works, it seems like when I leave the tiniest gap in the shower curtain open my floor becomes oceanic.

  25. Wow! I cannot believe this is the same space. Amazing transformation. Blown away.

  26. Jodie says:

    Love everything about it. For those who commented about the tub being too big or hard to clean or difficult to get into or out of….we have one almost the same as this and I’m 5ft4. I use it 2-3 times a week. I have back problems and leg issues and I have no problem getting in and out of it or cleaning it. With regards to water usage, we have our ‘grey water’ directed onto the garden, so everything from the shower, bath, sinks and laundry keeps our plants and lawn happy.

  27. Lisa says:

    Very lovely! I do find myself sort of missing the color that the old (admittedly inferior) tub provided.

  28. Susan says:

    Gorgeous….looks soooo much bigger! Cannot overstate the value of the TOTO toilet….we remodeled 3 bathrooms in our old house when we discovered them, moved to our new house and almost immediately replaced the existing ones with TOTO (Drake models)…absolutely the best!

  29. Joseph says:

    Going minimalist seems so much more successful when you get rid of all bath towels, bath mats, and bath products…

  30. Rebecca says:

    Am I the only person wondering what was wrong with it before? I mean, yes, the “after” is pretty, if sterile, and taking down the shades and letting in some natural light was a good idea. But this is clearly an incredibly pricey makeover, for a room that was not at all unattractive before. As someone who would dearly love to replace the grody, 30-year-old floor tiles in the bathroom, but can’t justify the cost — I don’t know, it just seems a bit of a waste.

  31. Marlene says:

    I sure hope these people sent the old materials to a building recycling store… this kind of thing really flaunts our consumerist tendencies… Design Sponge just showers praise on this remodel and it really cuts down on my admiration of this site. I do love great design, but I’m really not interested in sites that celebrate the waste shown in ripping out and remodeling a pristine room. Where’s the integrity in that?

  32. Paolina says:

    I love this makeover, my favorite part is how storage was not an after thought in the shower. Beautiful!

  33. Elizabeth says:

    Only the most amazing bathroom I have ever seen!

  34. Sarah says:

    I love the clean lines and sense of bright open space!

  35. Ace says:

    Love this. Reminds me of this Spa Inspired Bath ( http://bit.ly/syWUy9 ) from last month. Beautiful doesn’t have to be expensive at all and minimal can be nurturing to the soul.

  36. Karen B says:

    I too am wondering how the floor in the shower was done? I love the idea of not seeing the drain, and eager to find out how you clean and maintain the floor. It is beautiful!

  37. Love the transformation! The floor in the Shower is just amazing! Is the maintenance a lot of work? So much warmer/inviting than a tile floor!

  38. Kristi says:

    I would love to know what tiles were used. It looks like the floor and walls have slightly different colors. Please elaborate! Gorgeous space.

  39. Lucy Burger says:

    Can I have your old bathroom? I thought you had the before and after mixed up. I guess I’m just an old fashioned girl.

  40. pegpie says:

    For some of the questions – tiles are Porcelanosa Manhattan Cemento, floor and wall tiles, and they are the same color. “Teak” floor is actually Mangaris, a less expensive sustainably harvested durable wood, often used outdoors. It does require some maintenance. We applied teak oil to clean it after the first 3 months. Shower design is “curbless” allowing for wheelchair accessibility. Of note – entire pad has to be lifted to clear long hair in drain every other week. If we were doing it again, we would probably design the deck in 4 smaller squares. Wood is great, though, and definitely not as cold as tile. Love our Toto, love our tub, love our storage and love the view.

  41. pegpie says:

    And forgot to rave about the Grohe fixtures – they are definitely worth the expenditure. Added Missoni towels from Target and white pebbly bathmats from cb2 so there is some more color and texture. A difficult but worthwhile project and now enjoyable result.

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