Projects & Improvements

Before and After: A Bath with an Odd Layout Becomes a Fun and Functional Bath — and Laundry Room! — for a Family of Four

published Sep 17, 2022
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Credit: Samantha Cuello
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Newer builds still have their quirks. Just ask Samantha Cuello, who purchased a 2000s home for her family in upstate New York. The house had a lot to love, but the bathroom her kids would be sharing — which consisted of a bathtub, vanity with one sink, and a small linen closet — left much to be desired in both function and form.

First, the space was pretty narrow, and the kids were only going to keep growing. “There was barely enough space to sit and bathe a child on the floor without hitting into the vanity,” says Cuello. Compounding the size problem? The hallway leading up to the bathroom had an angle, and it stole space from the bath’s footprint and compromised its flow, too. “If someone was in the linen closet, you couldn’t enter the bathroom,” says Cuello. “Plus, the bathroom door had to be closed in order to open the linen closet doors, or they would hit into each other.” Finally, though the space had a little bit of color injected into its aqua walls and patterned shower curtain, the decor was anything but fun and inspiring for kids Ava, now 5, and Jordan, now 2. 

Credit: Samantha Cuello
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Once Cuello was ready to overhaul the space, she called in decorating reinforcements from designer Jacklyn Faust Maietta of Faust Design Build. Not only would the group be working on a new plan for the bath, but they’d also be relocating the family’s laundry setup from the basement to this spot as well. That meant some walls would have to come down and get put back up. “We knew we’d need to take space from other rooms to accommodate a full-size washer and dryer side-by-side, double sinks, and a bathtub,” says Cuello. “The other thing I really wanted was more space to move around in the bathroom and an area where I could hang laundry to dry — and wet towels and bathing suits — that wouldn’t block us from using the bathroom.” 

To bump the bath out several feet for the new layout, contractors demoed the angled wall in the hall and stole that space, plus added a bit more from a nearby bedroom. This created enough room for the laundry and a bit of a buffer zone between the individual fixtures and features in the space. The new bathroom would center on the bathtub and its striking navy surround, which is covered in The Tile Shop’s Track Stack Navy Blue Porcelain Tile Blue. From the bathtub looking out towards hall, on one side there’d be a sink wall now large enough to allow for a double vanity. Even still, Cuello decided to go with two single sink vanities to give her kiddos some ownership over their own respective spaces. “This way there are no fights!” she says.

“There is a line right down the middle, and each has their own dedicated set of drawers, counter space, and sink.” The laundry would be placed into a little nook just beyond the vanities (and by the door), defined by a half-wall painted in Clare’s Meet Cute. To let the walls and cabinetry do the talking, the floors were covered in The Tile Shop’s Spring Time Off White Neutral Hexagon Porcelain Tile.

When it came time to select cabinetry for the space, Cuello knew she’d be pairing IKEA cabinetry with her company’s cabinet doors (she’s the brand marketing director of Semihandmade). In addition to the GODMORGON bath cabinets, which she outfitted with Semihandmade’s Quarterline fronts in the Stone colorway, she went with IKEA’s SEKTION wall cabinets for the laundry nook. To unify the two styles of cabinetry, the team used all aged brass hardware from Rejuvenation, including the Larkin Finger Pulls and Blair Bin Pulls.

The color palette for the whole project came from Cuello’s early selection of Spoonflower’s Jumbo Terrazzo peel-and-stick wallpaper, which sets off the sink wall. “I loved the terrazzo look, and that was my inspiration, so I pulled tons of images on Pinterest of terrazzo tiled bathrooms that I loved,” says Cuello. Ultimately though, the removable wallpaper was not only more budget-friendly than stone, it could also be easily changed down the line if the kids tire of it. 

A hybrid family bath/laundry room has to have storage, and in addition to the cabinetry, Maietta packed in plenty of other places for toiletries, laundry supplies, and linens to live. The wall near the bathtub is full of art prints, sure, but it also features a bevy of hooks and shelves from Semihandmade’s collaboration with Shelfology (the Bart White Oak Floating ShelfPeggy Round Wall Hooks, and Shard Maple Wall Hook, to be exact). The laundry area boasts pretty baskets, bins, and jars from Neat Method to make washing and drying super-easy.

Now that the bathroom is complete, Cuello couldn’t be happier with the end result. She’s also thrilled with how adaptable the design will be down the road, thanks to choosing fairly neutral furnishings and going trendier with art and accents. “The tile, vanities, and fixtures are all classics that will stand the test of time and go with whatever color and accents we choose to update with down the road,” says Cuello. “The gallery wall images can also easily be updated when the kids grow older.” Right now though, the new bath has made laundry day so much more convenient — and bath time a lot more enjoyable for the whole family.