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Renovation Reveal: This Small Bathroom Gets a Big Transformation

Updated: Jan 27, 2020

For our homeowners, their overall space was their sanctuary, but their outdated bathroom was leaving them feeling less than zen. With heavy black and brown marble, peeling paint that exposed mauve subway tiles, a small vanity and a “death trap” tub, this bathroom was the dark cloud over an otherwise bright and airy home.

When starting this project we knew that there were a few non-negotiable factors we had to adhere to if we wanted the end result to be a success. First, the bathroom needed to be more accessible than it was previously.

The homeowners were literally frightened of their combination bath-shower tub. Since the home is about 90 years old, we discovered that the cast iron bathtub was just as old and lacked any of the charm. Despite being the heaviest tub our builders had ever lifted, it was also extremely high and difficult to get in and out of. Additionally, it was very wide externally, but incredibly narrow internally. The narrow space mixed with conditioner and water made for a very slippery and scary showering experience.

The family opted to remove the bathtub altogether and go with a more spacious shower to maximise space and functionality. They are planning to add a second level to their home which would mean the addition of three bedrooms and two bathrooms, providing them ample opportunity to add a bath or two if they so desire.

Bang-for-your-buck Tip: Our savvy homeowners plan to keep their two bedrooms and main bath downstairs after adding a second level to their home. They recognise the resale potential of having an accessible bathroom to a bedroom that could be used by an elderly parent or a nanny.

Tiny Footprint

3D Model of small bathroom renovation in Chatswood NSW Australia
3D Model

Another hurdle to renovating this bathroom was its space constraints. How do you increase functionality without the ability to expand the footprint? With only a little over three and a half square metres for this family of four to work with, we had to get creative and streamlined. That meant getting a sleeker (and more efficient) toilet. Much to the family’s surprise, by nixing the voluptuous bath, they actually had room to increase their vanity space!

A pre-renovation bathroom.

Demolition of old 20th century bathroom in Chatswood, NSW Australia

The second non-negotiable was that the bathroom design had to stay true to the rest of the home’s aesthetic. We achieved this by using gray subway tiles on the walls, and white carrara marble on the floors. We installed a Hamptons style raised vanity and used modern brass finishes throughout which subtly brought the space into the 21st century whilst maintaining its early 20th century character and charm.

As mentioned before, space was a limiting factor for us, so we decided to take our subway tiles all the way to the ceiling to emphasise the height. The raised vanity provided the illusion of more space, and actually lent itself to being the perfect place to store an organic timber rubbish bin while boasting additional room to add a basket with towels or other accessories.

To further maximise space and storage, we utilised the back wall of the shower to add two towel bars. This space-saving addition both draws the eye up, and ensures you don’t have to leave the shower to fetch a towel. We also added a few brass hooks to the wall behind the door so the family could hang extra towels and bathrobes.

We decided to keep the built-in medicine cabinet between the two original windows, and replaced the mirror with a custom brass-framed mirror. The integration was so seamless, you would never know there’s so much storage lying just behind.

Finally, we paid close attention to our lighting game. Lighting is something that is often overlooked but it has the potential to really make or break a space. The bathroom previously had four old-school halogen downlights, a fan light, plus a heat lamp. It made the small space really hot, and frankly, it was a bit overkill.

By keeping the two original windows, we maintained the beautiful natural light coming in from the northeast. We replaced the ceiling and reduced the number of downlights to two and installed warm LED bulbs. We updated the combination exhaust fan and heat lamp system to a more efficient, less noisy and less bulky version. Finally, we added a beautiful brass sconce, that was custom handmade to order in Astoria, New York.

Overall, the family loves their new bathroom and they’re no longer embarrassed that it is one of the very first rooms that guests see when visiting their home.

Are you ready to level up your bathroom? From tiles to toilets, we can help make your loo a stunner.

Interior Designer in Chatswood, Sydney
Krista Collard | Founder + Principal Designer



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