Home Projects

Before and After: This Bath Went from Boring Beige to Pretty in Pink in Just Two Weeks

updated Jul 22, 2020
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Boring blah bath

For Jenn Lindeman, renovating her 20-year-old mid-century inspired home in Austin’s University Hills neighborhood has been a long time coming. She’s lived there for six years, and as her budget has allowed, she’s begun overhauling with one major thing in mind—cohesiveness. “I want to make sure that the whole house fits together,” she says, which can be a challenge when work is done piecemeal. Once outfitted with boring white tile, a basic sink, and a builder’s grade vanity, there was nothing really wrong with her bathroom—it just didn’t feel like her. So she set out to give it a dose of personality and color.

Lindeman always wanted to try out encaustic, retro-looking tile in a bathroom and while on Instagram, she found the splurge-worthy sss x strands collection by designer Sarah Sherman Samuel for Concrete Collaborative, and it became the jumping off point of the whole bath. “My favorite part is how you can make your own layout with all the shapes to create circles, arrows, or even rainbows,” she says of the Bauhaus-inspired tile’s endless configuration options. To round out the pink palette, she ordered a blush sink from the Australian company, Concrete Nation, to pair with the tile.

The first thing she did was hire a handyman who was skilled in tile installation, minor plumbing upgrades, and carpentry. That way, she wouldn’t have to dish out the extra expenses for a contractor or team of subcontractors. “I try to vet someone by word-of-mouth instead of looking online,” she adds. Still, the tile installation was one of the biggest challenges. Even though it’s super durable once sealed, concrete can chip easily and can develop water stains before it fully cures. So Lindeman bought a humidifier and continuously wiped down the tiles to make sure they stayed dry and streak-free during that critical install process. These strategies are still great for tile maintenance today.

To save further, Lindeman made four more smart money moves. First, she stuck to the basically the same layout as before, so plumbing wouldn’t need to be moved or walls knocked down. Then, instead of putting that luxe, Bauhaus-look tile on every wall in the bathroom, she used it for just the feature wall in her shower. Not only did this move ensure the tile becomes the true focal point of the space, but it’s also a good way to stay under budget.

“I love having one really strong piece to design the rest of the bathroom around,” Lindeman says. Note that the chic shelf on the shower’s feature wall also means there’s no need to buy a separate shower caddy for storage, and a curtain is optional, too, since the tub has a high wall that acts as a splash guard.

Third, she purchased an inexpensive IKEA vanity, upgrading it with Semihandmade fronts for a more unique look. There’s no point in commissioning a custom piece if something with store-bought dimensions works. All you need are new door fronts and maybe contrasting hardware to make something “stock” feel special.

Lastly, she’d had her eye on terrazzo for the floor, but anyone who has priced this speckled stone out knows it’s very expensive. To get the look for less, she went with a faux ceramic version instead. About that cohesiveness—turns out she actually used that same “terrazzo” tile in the front of her home as well, so these two spaces tie together nicely.

The best part? Because she hired out the work, the renovation took just two weeks’ time. Now, she’s able to enjoy her brand new bath and is looking forward to the next big room makeover on her reno hit list.