before & after: cheery nautical bathroom makeover

I love my rental apartment, but if there’s a room that makes me wish for the chance to own my home, it’s the bathroom. In my mind, it’s one of the spaces that benefit most from even minor renovations. I love gathering inspiration from great submissions like this crisp, sunny makeover from Julie of Belle Vivir. A kind reader of ours recommended this project to us, and I loved it so much that I thought we should share. The bright, cheerful colors; warm wood; and clean white tile put me right at ease, and the tub is incredible. Amazing work, Julie! — Kate

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Read the full post after the jump!

Time: three weeks

Cost: $7500

Basic Steps: For this bathroom, my vision was of a space with a nautical, bohemian and refreshing atmosphere with traditional references. This is a bathroom that is most of the time used by a three-year-old boy, but it’s also the guest bathroom, so it was very important to create a space that could appeal to the little boy as well as to adults. We gutted it down to its bones, got rid of the glass block wall in the middle of the room and re-configured the water pipes in order to replace the wall alcove bathtub with a freestanding pedestal tub. By doing that and installing floor-to-ceiling tiles, the space instantly opened up. I hired professionals to do all the work, and it was so worth it. A professional result is incomparable. This is how I put together that specific atmosphere: For traditional reference, I used penny tiles with a different color border along the perimeter of the floor; the custom-made wooden vanity and the over-mounted vessel sink were on the bohemian side; the gingham curtains keep the room fresh and young, and the adorable sconce and ceiling fixture are totally nautical.

My humble suggestions are to make sure to do all your research before starting your project and think about all the little pieces that would make up your vision. Take your time. Do the walking and don’t rely solely on online searches. There is only half what you can find on the internet. Visit different vintage stores and flea markets and just see what speaks to you. Go to open public showrooms and hunt the floor samples.

Also, for a more exclusive and creative result, don’t rely only on big stores when looking for vanities, which are usually very expensive for their looks. Again, visit regular furniture stores. You’ll be surprised at how much you can save and how much better things look when using unique non-vanity pieces. If it’s man made, it can be altered. A piece of furniture can be converted into a vanity, so can a console be cut to the desired size.

Not enough space for drawers? Make niches (insert openings in the walls) for creams, soaps and knickknacks. For niches outside the showers, choose to surprise yourself and cover it in a wallpaper you love or cover it in mirror. You don’t need to use expensive wallpaper; go to an art store and get decorative paper if you like, and put it up with decoupage glue. Don’t be afraid to mix and match metals. I used polished nickel for the faucets and antique brass for the lighting and the final effect is a lot more interesting and collected.

As an interior designer, I believe that the most important consideration when designing a space is a clear vision of the final outcome and making sure that every decision you make along the way is interlocked throughout the entire process to conjure that final result. It’s like a mental puzzle. — Julie

  1. DBC says:

    Stunning transformation! Nautical, but not too literal.

  2. Jo Kin says:



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