See How a Stager Used the “Visual Triangle” to Overhaul a Florida Bathroom
When you hear the word “casita,” a cute and inviting little home likely comes to mind. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case when Margie Kaercher, lead designer of Hearth and Honey Homes in Tampa, was called in to overhaul a 350-square-foot pool house in St. Petersburg. Located behind the main house, the one-bed, one-bath property was used as a short-term rental by the previous owner, and the new owners wanted to follow suit.
But they recognized that the casita had its problems. “From a design perspective, the space wasn’t being used to its fullest potential, and the surface selections were not complementary of each other,” she explains. Plus, the furniture and decor didn’t have a cohesive feel, and there was no clear style direction. “My goal was to completely makeover the space with a fresh look while tailoring the design to the wants and needs of the target renter,” Kaercher says.
“The homeowners knew that, with a total transformation, they could be getting a lot more out of their investment property,” she says, including raising nightly rates, increasing occupancy, and getting more five-star reviews.
One of the trickiest parts of the small home was the bathroom, in which the toilet and sink were actually located inside the shower. “Which is a super odd set-up for guests — or anyone,” she says with a laugh.
Her team completely reconfigured the space, moving the toilet and sink out of the shower. This resulted in a large, luxurious walk-in shower. Plus, they created a shower niche, lined with white hexagonal tile and contrasting grout, for a fun detail beneath the window. Finally, a sliding barn door was installed to partition the bedroom from the bathroom, creating much-needed privacy.
The original mismatched tile on the walls and floors of the space looked dated and drab, so Kaercher implemented bright white subway tiles (with a rough edge for a “handmade look,” she says) on the walls and white pebble-like flooring in the shower “for a total zen vibe,” she noted. Of course, the most eye-catching element is the vintage-patterned statement tile on the floor of the sink area.
She had a much larger, more functional sink installed on top of a warm wood vanity “that contrasts fabulously against the dark floors,” Kaercher adds. A rustic stool in the corner of the shower echoes this piece and adds further warmth to the primarily monochromatic space. Above the sink, Edison bulb vanity lights and an oversized round mirror with a matte black frame lend the bathroom a modern farmhouse vibe.
Kaercher explains that she used the visual triangle concept in the bathroom, “where you create an invisible triangle between three elements or points of emphasis, which allows a pleasing viewing experience for the eye and makes the space feel balanced and intentional.” Her way of implementing this design encompassed the mirror and vanity light, the flooring, and the shower niche. “The negative white space surrounding these elements allows the eye to rest between focal points and really take in the design as a whole,” she explains.
For a spa-like feel, the finishing touches included some greenery, luxurious soap, and rolled towels on the vanity’s lower shelf.
The result, like the rest of the casita, is a chic and welcoming space that visitors will surely relish returning to after enjoying the fun and sun of St. Petersburg. And, just in case they need even more to do, Kaercher left a guide to the area — positioned in a cute frame, of course. Overall, the new space rents considerably more than it did previously.
“It’s amazing how much putting a little into your investment will pay off, ya’ll!” she says. “Haven’t you heard you gotta risk it to get the biscuit?”