Before & After: From Damp & Outdated to a Modernist Dream Bathroom

Before & After: From Damp & Outdated to a Modernist Dream Bathroom

Elizabeth Backup
Nov 12, 2015
(Image credit: Isaac Aptaker)

When Isaac first bought his Mid-century home in Los Angeles, an already sizable to-do list of repairs and renovations meant that work on the outdated-but-usable bathroom was not top priority. After nearly two years—during which he quickly grew weary of the prominent use of glass blocks—Isaac found himself battling a seemingly unbeatable damp smell in the bathroom. The final straw came when he discovered that his shower was leaking through the crumbling tile floor and rotting the wood below. In the spring of 2015, he found an easy-to-work-with contractor who was willing to collaborate to achieve Isaac's vision of a masculine, Mid-century-inspired style that meshed with the rest of his home.

(Image credit: Elizabeth Backup)

The glass blocks had to go, and the introduction of a window added light and ventilation to the room. Isaac had to compromise his dream of brass hardware in order to stay within his budget, but he managed to find brushed nickel fixtures that worked with all of the other elements he had in mind.

The floor tile can be seen in blue at the Silver Lake location of Intelligentsia Coffee, which is where Isaac had first clocked the design. White subway tiles with charcoal grout balance out the dark wall color.

(Image credit: Elizabeth Backup)

Isaac struggled to find a vanity that he liked; he needed one that was only 17" deep, which limited his pre-made options. His dream was to find a Mid-century credenza that could be converted into a vanity, but the possibilities were either prohibitively expensive or not quite right. Finally, he found a young carpenter via Craigslist, and the two worked together to design the perfect base. Isaac had a piece of marble cut for the top, and faucets mounted on a tile backsplash were well-suited to the shallow counter depth.

In the process of renovating, Isaac had to say goodbye to the pocket door leading to the master bathroom—which he wasn't too upset about, since it was about as soundproof as a piece of cardboard. He's just thrilled to now have a space that both reflects his taste and fits with the rest of his home.


  • Paint color: Benjamin Moore - Flint AF-560
  • Vanity: custom-built by Raul Nuno of Nuno Custom Furniture, designed by Isaac
  • Medicine cabinets: Pottery Barn
  • Black and white floor tiles: Granada Tile
  • Subway tile: Daltile
  • Window blinds:
  • Sink faucets: Kensington Brass
  • Sink basins: Kohler
  • Toilet: Toto
  • Shower head: Fluid
  • Sconces over vanity: Schoolhouse Electric
  • Vanity knobs: Schoolhouse Electric
  • Wall shelves: Crate & Barrel
  • Bath mat: Nate Berkus
  • Dog photo: by Isaac
  • Print between mirrors: Garner Blue
  • Wooden tray: Vintage

Thank you, Isaac!

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