Before and After: An Ancient Bathroom Meets An Amazing Tile Floor

published Mar 26, 2018
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(Image credit: dtail studio)

This ’50s bathroom has a lot going on—but not much going for it. Can something be done to make it practical, user-friendly, and a little less jumbled? One design firm had the vision and confidence to help this little bathroom be the absolute best that it could be.

(Image credit: dtail studio)

It’s important to get a full view of the nearly 70-year-old bathroom and the wee bit of chaos that reigned therein. We’ve got the brick-like floor, pink tiles, water damage, a toilet protruding into the limited floorspace, and an absolute riot of pipes emanating from the radiator and water heater. Still, the bathing nook is cool, the window adds beautiful daylight, and the ceilings are admirably high.

The existing space, located in Thessaloniki, Northern Greece, was very confined (33 ft²) and worn-out. Dated back to 1950, with various later additions, the tiny bathroom desperately needed a renovation.

Its new young owner, Vanessa, approached the dtail studio architects in order to remodel it, according to her needs and aesthetic aspirations.

The bathroom did have a bit of a cobbled-together look!

(Image credit: dtail studio)

This is the same room?!? It’s so clean and serene, with nary a pipe in sight. This visionary remodel was done by dtail studio, and their ability to make the most of this challenging room is impressive. The clear walkway and sightline through the bathroom make it feel much more open and calm—no more toilet and sink jutting into the space. The new sink is nicely tucked away, while the vanity adds a ton of storage without taking up any more floorspace.

It also appears that there’s a drain in the main portion of the room as well as one in the shower. Does that mean that this entire bathroom can be hosed down, perhaps with the shower hose? If so, congratulations to all involved.

(Image credit: dtail studio)

This photo, taken from within the former bathtub, reveals that the toilet extends nearly all the way across the open space. There’s still a fair amount of floor—it’s just that it’s incredibly awkward. This picture also shows even more pipes, these running around the doorway. I’ve never seen so many pipes in such a small space! The designers must have had a heck of a time rerouting the heat and water, as there’s no sign of pipes in the renovated bathroom.

(Image credit: dtail studio)

No pipes in sight here either! The new towel warmer/radiator is perfectly slim, serves double duty, and keeps towels neatly corralled. Towels that hang on bars don’t just dry faster, they have a more neat and minimal look than those hung on hooks.

(Image credit: dtail studio)

This is a far cry from the dim, dreary pre-renovation bathroom. I love the lighting options, especially the way the rectangle of white light around the mirror echoes the daylight streaming through the window. All of the white tile and fixtures reflect both types of light beautifully, creating a wonderfully diffuse—and flattering—glow.

Mirrors were placed strategically, to add light and the illusion of more space.

It worked!

(Image credit: dtail studio)

The new lower-profile toilet has its own nook; the discreet spaces make the small bathroom feel more spacious rather than less. Recessed storage for toilet paper (both the current roll and the backups) is cleverly recessed, with the stacked rolls becoming round design elements that contrast nicely with the square tiles.

The project was designed to provide functionality, elegance, a sense of purity and comfort. To accomplish that, an alcove was formed to accommodate the wall-hung toilet.

The old cast iron bathtub was removed and replaced by a custom-built walk-in shower, with recessed shelves and a floating bench.

In addition to being much more attractive, the new bathing configuration is far more accessible, providing both easy access and seating. This is also the first time we’ve seen what I consider to be ample-enough shower storage, with plenty of room for shampoo, conditioner, shower gel, shaving cream, scrubs, razors, and more. You win the Shower Cubby Olympics, dtail!

(Image credit: dtail studio)

Let’s finish on a closeup of the tiles. It’s an intriguing combination of styles, and I applaud the decision to use a small bathroom floor as an opportunity to use ultra-special tiles:

All the walls were covered by white 6″x6″ ceramic tiles—same sized as the old ’50s ones—with an offset pattern. The square subway wall tiles were paired with handcrafted, tailor-made hexagonal, hydraulic cement floor tiles, in three variations.

Overall, this is an astounding renovation. Yes, the original was impressively old, but it didn’t seem to have much charm to salvage, and this gut job transformed an awkward and water-damaged room into a beautiful, gleaming sanctuary.

Thank you, dtail studio!