Before and After: Brass Warms a White-and-Gray Bathroom

Bathroom at a Glance
Who lives here: A professional woman
Location: Clarksville, Maryland
Size: 128 square feet (11.9 square meters)
Designer: Elizabeth Lawson, owner and principal of Elizabeth Lawson Design

Backstory: Designer Elizabeth Lawson had worked with this client before, redesigning her living room and master bedroom. This bathroom was the next room on the to-do list. “She likes to do one room at a time so she can really focus on the details,” Lawson says. In the case of this bathroom, that meant the materials, because the layout and footprint weren’t going to change much.

Before: A long vanity ran all the way up to the edge of the built-in tub.

After: New materials and features and fresh paint give the bathroom a different look, even if the layout is almost exactly the same.

Flooring: The homeowner first decided on the flooring, which set the tone for the rest of the choices. “That was the one element she loved right away,” Lawson says. “I knew right away we were going to be building off of that porcelain tile.”

Style: The main pieces in the room — the flooring, tub, vanity and shower — are gray and white. To give the space more warmth, Lawson used a red-based taupe paint on the walls, brass hardware and fixtures and wood-tone mirror frames. “They give the room a charming look,” Lawson says, “and make gray and white not so sterile.”

Lighting: Lawson updated the room’s lighting to give the homeowner a brighter bathing space. The biggest change was replacing the one large mirror with two smaller ones. “The smaller mirrors gave the room a more traditional look,” Lawson says, “and gave us the ability to have more light at the vanity.” Now the vanity has four sconces, one to the right and left of each mirror, instead of two over-mirror units.

Wall paint: Joa’s White, Farrow & Ball; vanity paint: Decorator’s White, Benjamin Moore; flooring: 12-by-24-inch porcelain tile in Almond, Krea series, Savoia; ceiling light: Precision large square flush-mount, Circa Lighting; tub: Voce Petite in White, Aria Tubs; tub filler: Trinsic collection in Champagne Bronze, Delta; browse floor-mounted tub fillers

Before: The built-in tub took up a lot of space, and the homeowner didn’t like the look anymore.

After: Lawson worked with the client to find a soaking tub that not only looked great in the corner, but also fit in the room. “We had to keep it angled to fit a long vanity and a shower in the other corner,” Lawson says. This dimension constraint, along with the fact that they needed to find a tub that would fit through the bathroom door, made the search more challenging.

Pro tip: Remember that the tub not only needs to fit the design, it also needs to fit through doorways. If you don’t consider this ahead of time, Lawson says, “you can really have a headache on your hands on installation day.”

Plumbing: Luckily, Lawson says, the contractor had to make only minor plumbing changes to have the tub filler on the opposite side.

Before: Frosted glass and a gold frame enclosed the previous corner shower. “She felt like she was showering in a hole before,” Lawson says.

After: Glass walls create an open area that shows off the new tile wall and brass fixtures.

Brass fixtures and hardware: The client opted for a shower system that had both a shower head and a handheld sprayer, both in a brass finish. The glass walls were finished with brass brackets and a brass door handle.

“With brass, the finishes don’t have to match exactly,” Lawson says. “You can used aged brass with satin brass and it can look great. That being said, you still want to get samples if you can, so you can make sure you like how it looks.”

Shower tile: Because the rest of the room is so streamlined, they decided to boost the visual interest by applying the tiles in a chevron pattern.

The shower floor is done in marble hexagon tiles.

Shower system: Trinsic collection, Delta; shower flooring: 3-inch hexagon tiles in honed Calacatta marble; wall tile: Don’t Be a Shell Out, Tongue in Chic collection, AlysEdwards Tile & Stone

Before: The vanity, while long, lacked function and made the space feel cramped.

After: The new custom vanity adds to the bathroom’s light and welcoming feel, now that it’s not pressed up again the wall or the tub. The new design, while slightly smaller, actually gives the homeowner more usable space.

Brass cabinet knobs and sconces were chosen to complement the rest of the brass accents.

Vanity and mirrors: custom, Willard R. Kauffman Fine Woodworking; vanity hardware: Dyer cabinet knob in white and unlacquered brass, Rejuvenation; countertop: Mystery White marble, Rock Tops Fabricationsingle-handle lavatory faucet: Trinsic collection in Champagne Bronze, Delta; Darbon sculpted sconce in hand-rubbed antique brass with white cast glass: Circa Lighting

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