Room Tour: A Gloomy 1980s Bathroom is Given a Stylish Refresh
Changing the finishes totally transformed this dated washroom into a crisp, light-filled space
Who lives here? Megan and Cleve Brakefield and their teenage daughter, Abby
Location Wisconsin, USA
Size Around 5.6 sq m
Designer Megan Brakefield of Brakefield Design Collective
“After” photos by Meghan Mehan
The family had been renovating the home for two years and revamped this bathroom towards the end of the process. The room had a typical layout within a roughly 3m x 1.8m space – toilet and bath-shower on one side, vanity unit on the other. While the bathroom was functional, the dated finishes darkened the space.
“Our faux Colonial house was built in the mid-1980s and a lot of it looked like this,” Megan says. “It was very dark in spite of all the windows and great light because of the way it was finished.” Plus two clunky soffits were bringing down the 2.4m-high ceiling.
Megan set out to lighten up the space and tailor it to her daughter in a versatile way. “This was designed for Abby but in a way that was cohesive with the style and quality of the rest of the house,” she says.
Find a local interior designer on Houzz and read reviews from previous clients.
“I’d always wanted to try some version of pink and green,” she says. “This wall colour is pinky-beige and the vanity unit paint is grey-green. I’d been playing around with the vanity colour for a while and this project gave me a chance to use it.” By bringing in the subtle pink through the wall colour and accessories, she made it easy for any future owners to change the colour scheme.
When running her design ideas by Abby, Megan was thrilled that her daughter gave a favourite floor tile the thumbs-up. “Every time I was in the Tile Shop I admired this marble hexagonal tile,” Megan says. “I’d picked up a sample, but hadn’t had a chance to use it on any of my projects. It has all this beautiful variation in it; it picked up a little bit of the pink and green hues, and the hexagonal shape is classic. It was the jumping-off point for the design.”
Walls painted in Unfussy Beige; vanity unit painted in Unusual Gray, both Sherwin-Williams. Woodwork painted in Decorator’s White, Benjamin Moore.
“I’d used this arched profile once before on a client’s project and I loved it,” Megan says. “It softens the space and isn’t overly specific or typical. And using inset cabinetry rather than overlay gave it a high-quality look.” Note the way the base of the vanity unit lines up perfectly with the existing skirting boards.
Another cool detail is the Art Deco-style vent cover. “I usually try to make these disappear into the floor, but here it was so in-your-face that it was a chance to turn it into a design opportunity,” Megan says.
“I’d picked one of my go-to quartzes, but then my contact at the stone yard told me they had another, similar option that was much less expensive,” Megan says. “I headed out there with my floor tile sample and it was a great match. The veining is really gentle and the vanity between the counter and the floor breaks things up, so it’s not too busy. It’s so good to have great contacts who know what you’ll like.”
All the plumbing fixtures in the bathroom are by Brizo. “They do a great job of taking something a little traditional or with a vintage vibe and pushing it forwards a bit, like the cross handles on these,” Megan says.
Simple globe sconces were another item the designer had been wanting to use for a while but hadn’t had the chance to. “The lighting in here was so unflattering before,” she says. “These emit light all around rather than straight down and it’s such a nice light.”
You might also enjoy How to Choose a Bathroom Vanity Unit.
“The glass panel is on hinges and swings open. We ordered it online and Cleve installed it,” Megan says. “I always love using a glass panel whenever I can, because it keeps things feeling larger, more open and brighter.”
What do you like about this bathroom makeover? Let us know your thoughts in the Comments.