Before & After: A Half Bath Gets a Full Makeover

published Dec 4, 2017
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(Image credit: Project Palermo)

This bathroom was overwhelmed by giant tiles, beige, and cats, but a 4-day renovation completely transformed it. It’s a small room and a big makeover . . .

(Image credit: Project Palermo)

The after is so elegant. Project Palermo did an incredible job on this powder room, fitting a lot of style into a tiny space. The dark vanity adds drama—the Before was literally wall-to-wall beige—and the play of the petite hexagonal tiles against the beadboard is so much more interesting than the squares+squares look was. The room’s small style did have some challenges:

I reused the bathroom’s existing sink: there are very few sink options available with such a shallow depth (14″), and this one was in perfectly fine shape. It looks so much better with a new black faucet and a new vanity. I customized an IKEA SILVERAN vanity with paint, tapered legs, and brass knobs. I also reduced the depth of the vanity to fit the sink…So, I am super glad I did not waste money on an expensive custom vanity (all of the quotes I got came in around $1k).

This makeover was done with major help from contractors, if you’re feeling a bit intimidated by a makeover involving wallpaper, plumbing and electrical work:

I hired a contractor to do this renovation job. I considered doing some of the work myself (such as plumbing and beadboard installation), but ultimately chose not to because the price difference was negligible and I don’t need to be a DIY hero. I thought it would be really nice to simply write a check and have it be done in 3 days instead of 3 weeks (or, more realistically, 3 months). Turns out I wrote a check AND did a lot of work myself.

(Image credit: Project Palermo)

Note how high the tiles go up on the wall—it seems like tile overkill in a half-bathroom (there’s probably not a lot of splashing happening!), and is, visually, a lot. Those are already large-scale tiles to have in a tiny powder room, so having them march halfway up the wall is too much.

(Image credit: Project Palermo)

The wainscoting doesn’t go as high as the tile did, leaving room for the addition of a window frame. Previously, the window just kind of hung there; now it is set off properly, and the frame provides the perfect spot for a little vignette.

Wallpaper in a Before & After is a rare treat! A half-bathroom is perhaps the perfect place for wallpaper: there’s not enough humidity to damage it, and you can get major design impact with only a small quantity of paper. It can also sculpt the room in ways that paint generally can’t:

Another choice that helps make the room feel taller is continuing the wallpaper up the sloped ceiling. The Cole & Sons wallpaper is so beautiful; it looks hand-stenciled.

The colorfully patterned rug works so well with the wallpaper’s pattern and adds a welcome pop of color. The rug’s hues also tie in nicely with the brass mirror, hardware, and duck (see original post!), adding warmth to the grey, white, and black room.

Thank you Project Palermo! Readers, you can see more of this project here.