Bathroom Before & After: From Carpeted to Calm & Clean

published Jul 8, 2011
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(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Bathrooms are supposed to be a place of calm and serenity. However, it is a little hard to find peace and happiness when the bathroom has worn carpet, outdated cabinetry, and overall screams 1970s. The owners of the condo featured above are employed in the design industry and surrounded by beautiful designs everyday. They decided it was time to take the plunge and hire an interior designer to help them completely transform their bathroom.

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Guest Bathroom: After (Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Bathroom renovations can get expensive very quickly and can take a little longer than expected. We asked their interior designer, Krista Schrock, to share the inspiration behind the design and tips for working with an interior designer and staying on budget.

Apartment Therapy: What was the inspiration behind the space? Did the owners come to you with their own ideas? If so, how did you incorporate their ideas into the space?

Krista: The main inspiration was the Saul Steinberg Aviary wallpaper. The wallpaper drove the tone of the remodel, which was clean and classic with a bit of whimsy. They came to me with their ideas which was these three points: they liked gray, they wanted it super clean and minimal, and they wanted something special in the shower area of the master. I then tried to interpret what they wanted into the final design. I love designing with the aesthetic that they were going for so it was a no brainer for me. A dream job perhaps, as the clients were amazingly open.

Apartment Therapy: How do you meet your client? What are some tips for working with an interior designer for the first time?

Krista: The clients were referred to me from a very good friend of mine and person in the design field. They were good friends from college and it was a lot of pressure for me to maintain my friendship with the person that referred me to them while still making the clients very happy. The clients had never worked with a designer before, but my client works for Crate & Barrel so she has a very keen sense of design and understands the process. I think this helped tremendously. My advice for people seeking out designers is to ask around and get referrals from friends because then you know someone’s experience with the designer and if it’s good or bad. Also, once you hire a designer, I would say to really express what it is you want to achieve – be very clear what YOU want. If you do not have a good sense of design, pulling images of looks you want is the next best thing! Working with a designer does not have to be a difficult thing as they can translate what it is you want into a reality!

Apartment Therapy: How did you make compromises to create the design you want, while staying within the budget?

Krista: We saved a little on some aspects that helped tremendously. The flooring was approx $6/per square foot, so that was super helpful as well as deciding not to tile the walls in the master bathroom, which was a large savings as well. We splurged on the cabinetry and the Statuary slab in the shower in the master. We stuck with reasonably priced plumbing fixtures and went with restoration hardware towel bars, toilet paper holders, etc.

Apartment Therapy: What are some of the challenges you encountered when designing the bathroom?

Krista: The biggest challenge was the space restrictions. The bathrooms are in a condo and they are on the small size. We did open up a wall (which was a closet) in the master which in turn gained us about two feet of additional space; however, in an ideal world we wanted and needed more space. We tried to build the cabinetry out to maximize the space as efficiently as possible. Chad and Dakota (from todosomething) were genius at helping figure out the best possible way to make the cabinetry work in the space. That is another piece of advice I would give to anyone facing a remodel is to listen to your craftsmen, they usually have a good sense of making the best out of the situation at hand. Also, because the building was from the 1970s, we were unable to move plumbing or recess the mirrors in the walls due to wonky building and codes. That was kind of a drag, so we did the best we could.

Apartment Therapy: Did you meet your original deadline? What are a few tips for keeping a home renovation project on schedule?

Krista: This renovation did take a little longer than expected, about 3-4 weeks more perhaps. This was for a few reasons: a tub that was sent incorrectly and had to remade, a leak in master bathroom that had to repaired before moving forward (this held us up by two weeks), and the stone flooring proved to be tough to install. My advice on staying on schedule is to get a schedule in writing from both the contractor and the designer outlining what is to be happening and when. It is inevitable that something will go wrong however if everyone is on the same page, it is much easier to handle a situation when a problem does arises.


  • Flooring: Basalt
  • Countertops: Ceasarstone
  • Plumbing Fixture: Kohler Purist
  • Cabinetry: Custom by todosomething (los angeles)
  • Wallpaper in Master: Aviary by Saul Steinberg for F. Schmacher
  • Lighting in Master: Visual Comfort
  • Guest Bathroom: Subway Tile by Subway Ceramics
  • Guest Bathroom Lighting: Schoolhouse Electric

Images: Nicole LaMotte