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Timeless-Look Bath: After

Photo by Nathan Kirkman

A crowded bath can be downright scary. When Jim and Jane Breihan moved into their 1996 ranch, in Geneva, Illinois, the master bath felt so cramped, dark, and dated that Jane refused to use it. "I just closed the doors and went to the guest bathroom," she says. No wonder: Between a giant corner tub, two hulking vanities, a massive walk-in closet, and a separate toilet enclosure, there was little room to maneuver. So the couple enlisted the help of local design firm The Kitchen Studio of Glen Ellyn to bring the master bath some much-needed airiness.

To maximize the space, everything had to go—especially the extra walls that broke up the room. The new layout allows or an expansive shower, complemented by a charming claw-foot tub. Two vanities were replaced with one that boasts six drawers and a marble counter with plenty of deck space. And with vintage-style paneled wainscoting, a basketweave tile floor, and polished-nickel finishes, the new bath has a timeless look. "Now," Jane says, "the guest bath is just for guests."

Shown: Removing the walk-in closet and moving the toilet made space for a claw-foot slipper tub, an large single vanity, and a roomy walk-in shower.

Kitchen designer: The Kitchen Studio of Glen Ellyn, Glen Ellyn, IL;

Contractor: Ken Nunkovich, KJN Renovations, Wheaton, IL;

Paint: 2154-60 Filtered Sunlight; Benjamin Moore

Tub: Elizabethan Classics

Tub faucet: Barclay

Cramped and Dated: Before

Dated fixtures, two vanities, and a built-in corner tub overwhelmed the bath, while a giant walk-in closet and a separate room for the toilet made it feel claustrophobic.

Hidden Water Closet

Photo by Nathan Kirkman

Tucking the toilet behind the shower hides it from view, without the need for another door. Sconces installed directly on the vanity's large mirror help reflect light.

Pro Advice: "Think about what you want to see when you first walk in—a footed tub makes a sculptural focal point."—Susan Klimala, Glen Ellyn, IL

Cabinetry and mirrors: Woodharbor

Custom vanity: Woodharbor

Sinks: Kohler

Faucet: Rohl

Dresser-Style Vanity

Photo by Nathan Kirkman

Curvy feet give the vanity the look of a vintage furniture piece.

Period-Style Elements

Photo by Nathan Kirkman

Paneled wainscoting and chunky crown molding add period style, complemented by a delicate crystal chandelier overhead.

Chandelier: Crystorama

Cozy Trimwork

Photo by Nathan Kirkman

Wainscoting and beefy baseboards help warm up a bath that has lots of tile and create a period feel.

Heated Tile Floors

Photo by Nathan Kirkman

Basketweave marble floor tile, framed by a pencil-thin ceramic border, is warmed by an electric heat mat.

Marble tile: AlysEdwards

Glass-Enclosed Shower

Photo by Nathan Kirkman

A clear glass enclosure keeps sight lines open. The shower is lined with marble tile and a matching basketweave floor. A built-in bench offers a resting spot for toiletries.

Shower-wall accent: Walker Zanger

Shower fittings: Rohl

Shower-door pull: Portals

Marble Shower Ledge

Photo by Nathan Kirkman

A marble ledge provides a handy place to rest toiletries and protects the wood paneling from splashes.

Vintage-Style Shower Details

Photo by Nathan Kirkman

An inset of marble mosaic tile framed with black pencil tile and a marble border highlight the vintage-style exposed-riser shower fittings.

Carrara marble mosaic and subway tile: Stone Tile Inc.

Ceramic pencil tile: Walker Zanger

Floor Plan Before: Three Parts

Floor plan by Ian Worpole

A three-part bath gave lots of space to the toilet, tub, and closet, but left only a tiny shower.

Floor Plan After: Spacious Bath

Floor plan by Ian Worpole

Annexing the walk-in and water closets opened up the space, making room for a spacious shower and lots of storage.

1. Replaced the longer vanity with an even bigger one with nearly 5 feet of deck space.

2. Swapped the bulky corner tub for a new claw-foot soaker.

3. Tore out the water closet and relocated the toilet behind the shower.

4. Got rid of the old walk-in closet, using some of the newly freed space to expand the footprint of the shower.

5. Eliminated the second vanity in favor of a second linen closet to store towels and other essentials.