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before and afterInteriors

Before & After: A Seattle Rental Gets a Bathroom Makeover

by Lauren Chorpening

The more renters I read and write about, the more evident it is that rental bathrooms are a sore issue for tenants. Living rooms, bedrooms and dining rooms in rentals can really take on any style, palette or feeling with furniture, decor and — if the renter is really lucky — paint. Bathrooms (and of course, kitchens) aren’t that flexible. The dated fixtures, dingy tile and bad lighting just have to be lived with, for the most part. Joanna Hawley not only got approval from her landlord to freshen up her bathroom — she also did the process completely by herself.

The bathroom in Joanna‘s Seattle rental was dark and dated when she moved in. She used the room for storage, but its lack of beauty didn’t inspire her to do much with it, initially. After receiving the go-ahead from her landlord, Joanna joined a group of bloggers to do a 30-day makeover challenge. She started with paint, replaced the fixtures and finished the space with artwork, plants and pretty details. As a first-time renovator, there were unforeseen issues, but Joanna was quick to problem-solve. “The biggest problem [was] the electrical,” Joanna says. “Initially, I thought I only had to replace the two sconces on the side of the mirror. When I removed the giant, old one, though, I discovered that it was like swiss cheese back there — complete with lots of exposed wiring. I had a crash course in drywall patching.”

Joanna’s resulting bathroom transformation is peaceful, modern and attainable. She focused her attention on the changes that would make the biggest impact, and it definitely worked. “This is the first renovation I’ve ever tackled and every detail is something I chose, touched, finessed, etc.,” Joanna says. “I’m so lucky that as a renter, my landlord let me transform the bathroom like this.” Thanks to Joanna’s hard work, her bathroom is a far cry from a room that leaves much to be desired aesthetically — it’s now a restful, spa-like retreat. –Lauren

Before images photographed by Joanna Hawley
After images photographed by Meghan Klein

SOURCE LIST
Wall color
Teresa’s Green from Farrow & Ball

Trim color
All White from Farrow & Ball

Mirror
from Basset Mirror

Over-sink lighting
allen + roth brushed nickel vanity light from Lowes

Artwork over toilet
Phases by Susie Allen from Minted

Before & After: A Seattle Rental Gets a Bathroom Makeover | Design*Sponge
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Joanna's bathroom went from purely functional to peaceful and gorgeous in 30 days.
Before & After: A Seattle Rental Gets a Bathroom Makeover | Design*Sponge
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Before: Joanna's toilet area was used as extra storage.
Before & After: A Seattle Rental Gets a Bathroom Makeover | Design*Sponge
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After: Joanna painted the walls a soft, light green to make the white toilet and sink pop out against the wall. She added artwork above the toilet and beautiful bathroom details.
Before & After: A Seattle Rental Gets a Bathroom Makeover | Design*Sponge
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After: "I started with paint because that felt like the biggest way to transform the space quickly, then broke it down into lighting, art, textiles, plants and storage," Joanna says.
Before & After: A Seattle Rental Gets a Bathroom Makeover | Design*Sponge
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Before: The sconces on either side of the sink were some of the first things to go.
Before & After: A Seattle Rental Gets a Bathroom Makeover | Design*Sponge
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After: The new lighting above the sink works with the stainless steel sink base while incorporating a more delicate light into the bathroom.
Before & After: A Seattle Rental Gets a Bathroom Makeover | Design*Sponge
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After: Joanna replaced the mirror above the sink. Its global styling brings a bohemian vibe that Joanna was hoping for in the otherwise industrial room.
Before & After: A Seattle Rental Gets a Bathroom Makeover | Design*Sponge
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After: The overhead light was an unexpected project of the space when Joanna found the mess of bad electrical behind the sconces and needed to rewire the bathroom. "It was a happy accident because it meant I could install a larger overhead light. The bathroom desperately needed more light, so this was really awesome news," Joanna says.
Before & After: A Seattle Rental Gets a Bathroom Makeover | Design*Sponge
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Before: The sink base stored bathroom essentials in a strictly utilitarian way.
Before & After: A Seattle Rental Gets a Bathroom Makeover | Design*Sponge
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After: The sink base is now a lush jungle of indoor plants. The large window to the side of the toilet gives them their daylight exposure.
Before & After: A Seattle Rental Gets a Bathroom Makeover | Design*Sponge
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Before: The corner of the bathroom was used for towels, toiletries and trash.
Before & After: A Seattle Rental Gets a Bathroom Makeover | Design*Sponge
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After: Joanna moved the storage elsewhere and created an inviting entrance to her bathroom.
Before & After: A Seattle Rental Gets a Bathroom Makeover | Design*Sponge
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After: Joanna's extras are stored on a stool across from the sink.
Before & After: A Seattle Rental Gets a Bathroom Makeover | Design*Sponge
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After: "I wanted the transformation to feel spa-like and a bit boho. Using lots of white helped balance out how industrial the brick feels, too. It feels less like a cave and more like a place where I can actually relax," Joanna says.
Before & After: A Seattle Rental Gets a Bathroom Makeover | Design*Sponge
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Before: Towel storage was functional, but blended into the brick without much style.
Before & After: A Seattle Rental Gets a Bathroom Makeover | Design*Sponge
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After: Joanna replaced the towel bar to bring white to the expansive brick wall.
Before & After: A Seattle Rental Gets a Bathroom Makeover | Design*Sponge
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After: Her use of art in the space makes the bathroom feel like a mini art gallery.
Before & After: A Seattle Rental Gets a Bathroom Makeover | Design*Sponge
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Before: Joanna's fixtures in her shower were old and cluttered with products.
Before & After: A Seattle Rental Gets a Bathroom Makeover | Design*Sponge
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After: Joanna replaced the shower head in her shower and added new storage.

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