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From Dated to Sophisticated

Photo by Ryan Kurtz

Living next door to the in-laws has its rewards. When Kevin and Jennifer Johnson, owners of a 1917 foursquare in tight-knit, family-centric Lowellville, Ohio, redid their only bath, Kevin looked for help from neighbor Bob Coppola—aka Jennifer's dad—and a network of local suppliers and advisers. From an aunt, who, coincidentally, lived in the house 60 years ago, they learned that the space once held a kitchenette. That explained its generous footprint, but not, as six-foot-one Kevin puts it, having to "scrape my knuckles on a lowered ceiling while showering in what felt like a cave." He and Bob took the room down to its studs; replaced pipes and wiring; popped in a new vanity, tub, toilet, and sconces; and crafted new casings. They finished with paint custom-tinted by Bob, a retired painting contractor. A plumber friend provided know-how, and the only paid help was the tile installer. Says Kevin, "I like that we did it ourselves—and everything works."

Before the Renovation

Photo by Ryan Kurtz

The vinyl floor and tub surround were worn, and the single sink meant long waits.

Contemporary and Clean

Photo by Ryan Kurtz

Mirrored sides help the wall-hung medicine chests almost disappear, putting the emphasis on the oversize oval mirror in front.

Medicine cabinet: Zenith

Sconce: Hampton Bay

A Touch of Personality

Photo by Ryan Kurtz

Smoke-colored grout, a row of subways turned on end and bordered with black trim, plus a recessed granite shelf add character and function to the tub alcove.

Shower curtain: Target

Timeless Appeal

Photo by Ryan Kurtz

Black and white tile evokes the era when the house was built. Feet extensions made from dowels level the vanity on the uneven floor.

Tile: Daltile

Cohesive Styling

Photo by Ryan Kurtz

Chrome finishes unite the fittings, hardware, and bath accessories.

Faucet and towel ring: Premier Faucets

Vanity: Ziemlich

Improved Floor Plan

Photo by Ryan Kurtz

The fixture locations stayed the same, and the owners got help from handy family members. That meant the biggest single expense in this $5,000 gut reno was the tilework.

The changes:

1. Replaced the toilet with one that has period styling, and added a wood seat.

2. Pulled out the cast-iron tub and removed the lowered ceiling over the tub/shower. The new bathtub is easy-to-install fiberglass.

3. Evened up the vanity wall, which previously had an awkward bumpout.

4. Swapped the one-sink vanity for a more functional two-sink version for the family of three and spiffed it up with chrome knobs.