before and afterInteriors

Before & After: A Beige Bathroom Gets A Deep Green Refresh

by Erin Austen Abbott

Before and After: Bathroom Remodel with Mollie Green

Shortly after my home was featured on Design*Sponge in 2009, I slowly began working room to room to redecorate and rearrange everything in the house. Not because I didn’t love it, but because my decor tastes were changing and I was learning to live with a third human in the home. At the time, I wanted to call up the folks at D*S (who I now work with) and see if I could get a redo on my feature. While we can’t revisit everyone, I do love that today we’re getting a bonus peek into an earlier home tour that I wrote when I first started writing for this blog.

We toured the lovely four-square, 1908 home of Mollie Green and her husband Pete Zimmerman (located in the Edgewater neighborhood of East Chicago) shortly after they’d moved in started renovations. There was one room, however, that Mollie didn’t show us back then: the main bathroom on the second floor. She shares, “I hid this bathroom! The main bathroom was a big project that I knew I needed a contractor and budget to accomplish. We met with a contractor, and his high quote and slow timeframe seemed outrageous to me. I thought, ‘we will just have this weird, depressing bathroom forever!’ I hated being in that bathroom. Whoever remodeled it last installed a drop-in jacuzzi tub (not dropped in, but on the floor) with a disturbing grotto-like surround. All the plumbing was backwards and off-center. So much beige. I dreaded getting ready every day. And because the tub drain didn’t work, I couldn’t take baths, which I longed to do after long runs.” After talking to friends who were in the depths of a renovation, Mollie felt it was time to jump in and get started on the bathroom of her dreams. “My friends had been remodeling their old bathroom. They inspired me and made me feel like it was doable. Kim and Scott from Yellow Brick Home guided me through hiring and working with a contractor,” Mollie says.

Heading into the remodel with a plan was part of Mollie’s agenda, as not to waste money on the contractor while trying to figure it all out. Years of saving inspirational photos on Pinterest and Instagram paid off, and her look came together through white subway tiles with dark grout, black floor tiles, white fixtures, deep green paint and Pendleton towels. “Our house has plenty of white walls, but I decided to go all-in with the dark green paint,” Mollie shares. “I like a bit of risk and humor and a little shabbiness — we still have sloped floors and a crooked old door. I just go with what I like. And I think, if I like all of this, then it will work well together! I had a vision of the design in my head and hoped it would translate to the contractor’s labor. [It was] such a new feeling to give up control to someone else — and it came out great! I love being in there now and taking baths.”

Mollie leaves us with these final thoughts, “House projects continue to teach me patience. They teach me to trust myself and not freak out! An old house always has problems to solve.” Scroll below to get a look at Mollie’s transformative Before & After. —Erin

Photography by Mollie Green 

Image above: Going from a white, tan and brown color palette to white and dark green has turned the room into a much brighter version of itself — without having to expand or add windows.

Before and After: Bathroom Remodel with Mollie Green

The triangle mirror helps to draw your eyes to the newly opened up shower behind the sink. Before, a ceiling sat over the shower, creating a dark nook in its place.


The triangle mirror above the sink is from Norman Leigh, which sits under a West Elm light fixture.

Before and After: Bathroom Remodel with Mollie Green

When it came to the direct inspiration for the room, Mollie shares, “I was inspired by the feeling of Land & Sea Dept properties here in Chicago and Hotel San Jose in Austin.”

Before and After: Bathroom Remodel with Mollie Green

A wall charm by local ceramicist April Nickel fits nicely with the vibe of the room.

Before and After: Bathroom Remodel with Mollie Green

Before, the curved ceiling design was broken in half with a makeshift ceiling over the tub. Now it’s opened up, with a light added and bluetooth speakers inside the tub, creating a much more open and inviting space.

Before and After: Bathroom Remodel with Mollie Green

Mollie and Pete’s foster cat Dibs, enjoying the new spot in the tub to explore.

Before and After: Bathroom Remodel with Mollie Green

Pendleton towels hang on the newly painted dark green walls. Previously, the tub drain didn’t work, it felt dark and cramped for Mollie, and it wasn’t her style. Now she looks forward to relaxing in her new space.

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