before and after

Before & After: Gray + Green Bathroom Redo

by Kate Pruitt


One of the best vacation experiences of my life was the time my family and I stayed in San Luis Obispo at a beautiful inn called the Sanitarium. Anyone who has spoken to me for about five minutes has almost certainly heard about my love of steam showers — it’s one of those odd obsessions I can’t seem to stop blathering about — and our room at the Sanitarium had the most amazing bathroom, with allover white tile and marble, green plants tucked into corners and a luxurious steam shower. I’ve wanted to re-create that bathroom for myself ever since, and when I saw this lovely makeover from photographer Kara Healy, I was reminded of that experience and what made it so beautiful.

Kara has chosen a beautiful shade of gray for these walls; it’s a clean neutral that is elegant but also very warm and welcoming. I also love the mix of antique furniture and pots with the modern photographs, and the plants tucked in everywhere give the space energy and make it fresh. I could easily spend an afternoon in here just mellowing out, bathing and soaking in the light. If only it weren’t improper to spend hours upon hours in the bathroom . . . although it worked for Margot Tenenbaum, didn’t it? And her bathroom wasn’t nearly as heavenly as this one. — Kate

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Read the full post after the jump . . .


Time: One week

Cost: $500 (linen for the curtains at $12 a yard; 2 IKEA Hemnes bookcases ($240); Ikea Kolja mirror ($10); a can of paint ($40); and baskets, shower curtain, curtain rings, etc. )

Basic Steps: I knew I wanted to clean out the clutter and unnecessary features of this bathroom. The architecture of this converted 1900s brick mansion* is so interesting and historic, and I wanted to showcase the height and light of this space and create a clean and warm impression. I wanted to emphasize the height of the ceilings by hanging both the window panels and the shower curtain high on the wall. (As you can see in the before picture, the previous owner’s shower curtain truncated the amazing height of the room.) This particular gray is wonderful because it is able to create warmth in the winter yet a nice coolness in the summer. The windows as well as the white furniture, floor, and fixtures illuminate the room in such a bright way that I was able to take a risk with such a rich color on the walls.

The advice I would give others is to start clean and to not try to turn a space into something it’s not. As a photographer, I can appreciate the light that a room has to offer and think that should be one of the first factors in the renovation of any space. Also, bringing plants to a clean, minimal room to add color and a living, changing dynamic to the space is one of the features I am most proud of. — Kara

*Here is a link to a shoot that Kara did in this interior for MOCIUN’s Fall collection in 2010.

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