If there’s one room in the house that I am dying to tear down and start over, it’s my bathroom. To have a light, airy, clean feeling bathroom? Pure bliss. As a fellow Oaklander, I was particularly excited to see how freelance designer Erin Owes chose to update the bathroom in her 1911 bungalow. Erin wanted to maintain some of the home’s older elements but in bring more light, space and efficiency, especially in the bathroom. I love the earthy, muted color palette she’s chosen; it’s dark but not unwelcoming, and the deep olive tone on the walls offsets the tile nicely. There are also some great updates that we can’t see, like radiant heating under the floors and smarter outlet placement, which vastly improve the experience in this space. Great work, Erin! — Kate
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Time: 2 months
Cost: under $20,000
Basic Steps: Last fall my family bought our first house in Oakland, Ca. It is a California Bungalow (1911) that hadn’t been too altered. There are one and a half bathrooms in the house, and in the main bath, the shower was over the tub and the vanity was way too small. We absolutely wanted to keep the original clawfoot tub and the charm of the house while updating the layout and making it more “user friendly” for our family of four. We knocked out the adjacent closet, scooted the tub over and built a separate shower. We changed the direction of the toilet, keeping the plumbing in the same place to save money, and put in a new vanity.
As a huge fan of Heath Ceramics, I had to use their tile, but their price point is a little higher than we can afford right now, so I took a trip to their factory and found this mix of greens in the seconds’ room. The paint is from Yolo Colorhouse, and the plumbing fixtures are a combination of new Kohler pieces (from their Bancroft line) and original fixtures. We had to take out the original built-ins to make room for the vanity, but our contractor saved the door from our medicine cabinet and used it for the new one.
Some of my favorite things about this bathroom are things you can’t see at all. Our biggest luxury was installing infloor radiant heating. It’s on a timer, so it begins warming before we wake up, shuts off for the day and gets warm when we come home at night. I love tile, but it is so cold on bare feet. Every morning when I walk into the bathroom, I am thankful for the warm floor. The cat has mastered the schedule, and the bathroom has become her favorite nap spot. Also, I had the electrician install an outlet inside the medicine cabinet, so I don’t have to look at the tangle of wires for my toothbrush. This is the sort of thing that really makes designing bathrooms fun — remembering that they are to be used and figuring out how they can function better while still being pretty.
As an interior designer, the advice that I always give people is: Be organized. Everyone always wants to rush into a project and get going, but having a very detailed design plan before demo begins makes a HUGE difference. That way, the expectations are clear from the beginning for everyone, and surprises, delays and budget problems are kept to a minimum. I know so many clients who start demo without even having finalized drawings, and then they end up not knowing how to allocate their budget or the project gets stalled while the client is still making design decisions. — Erin
Shower tile: Heath Ceramics
Hextile: Import Tile
Paint: Yolo Colorhouse
Shower valve, sink and sink faucet: Kohler Bancroft
Ceiling light: Original
Vanity sconces: Schoolhouse Electric