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Before and After: A Small Bath Gets an Artful Upgrade

No window? No problem. A once-dingy, two-part bath gets a bright new look thanks to a smarter layout and sophisticated finishes

Before: Dated and Dingy

Photo by Ken Gutmaker

Secondary baths are often overlooked. As long as the essentials are there—sink, toilet, tub—a family can make do for years. But when the vanity door in their son’s builder-grade bath came unhinged, Chip and Heidi Ridley knew it was time for an update, especially since the bath also served the nearby media room and guests.

Shown: The old bathroom’s sink area was crowded by doors to the bedroom, the closet, and the rest of the bath.

After: Bright New Look

Photo by Ken Gutmaker

The couple called on designer Nicole Yee, who had previously redone the master bath of their Blackhawk, California, home. Yee first addressed access, creating a hallway vestibule between the bedroom and the bath, giving each room its own entry door.

Shown: Marble tile brightens the windowless space, and the large double vanity provides more storage.

Paint: Benjamin Moore’s Brewster Gray (cabinetry); Benjamin Moore’s Winter Orchard (wall). Vanity top: Caesarstone. Sinks, toilet: Kohler. Faucets, fittings, towel bars: California Faucets

Luxury Tile

Photo by Ken Gutmaker

Inside the bath, Nicole removed the wall that isolated the sink area, and shifted the closet wall and doorway to allow for a double vanity and a wider tub. Carrara marble tiles with mosaic insets now refresh the tub wall and floor.

Shown: Large 24-by-12-inch marble tiles with a framed mosaic inset cover the tub walls. A 6-inch shelf keeps toiletries close.

Mosaic tile: Carrara and Thassos marble basketweave; TileBar.

Mosaic Runner

Photo by Ken Gutmaker

Blue-gray built-in cabinetry stylistically connects the bath to the walk-in closet and establishes an attractive sight line as you enter.

Shown: A 20-inch-wide mosaic runner connects the bath to the walk-in closet. A built-in linen cupboard matches the style and color of the vanity for visual continuity.

Vanity, built-in wardrobe: Premier Glass & Cabinet, Manchester, CA. Lighting: Visual Comfort, Circa Lighting

Style and Function

Photo by Ken Gutmaker

“It all came together, between what was needed functionally and then visually, too,” says Heidi. “It’s super-duper practical, but also a work of art.”

Shown: A favorite feature: the polished-nickel cabinet knobs with star backplates, which echo the mirror-mounted sconce.

Knobs: Schaub & Company

The Floor Plan: Before

Floor plan by Ian Worpole

Before remodeling, the bathroom's entry was directly off the bedroom, and three doors jammed up the sink area.

The Floor Plan: After

Floor plan by Ian Worpole

In the remodeled space, a vestibule now serves as a buffer between bedroom and bath. One less wall allows for a double vanity and better flow overall.

Here's how the work was done:

1. Moved the closet wall by about 2½ feet to boost the bath’s footprint by 23 square feet.

2. Installed a double vanity along the new wall to fit in more storage.

3. Built in a cupboard to match the vanity for a cohesive look.

4. Replaced a 30-inch tub with a 32-inch model that fills the alcove.

5. Moved the toilet away from the tub by 1 foot and removed the wall enclosing them.

6. Shifted doors to maximize floor space, with the bath door now opening onto a vestibule.

Designer: Nicole Yee, NY Interiors

Contractor: R. Da Silva Construction, Pleasant Hill, CA; 510-260-4888.

Homeowner Tip

Photo by Ken Gutmaker

From Heidi Ridley of Blackhawk, CA:

“Plan for ample lighting, especially if you don’t have natural light. And put it all on dimmers!”