Our First Floor Guest Bathroom

(P.S. We’re in Europe! Follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter for photos and updates from our trip!)

One of our friends was over a couple of weeks ago who had not seen our first floor bathroom since the renovation last December, and that reminded me, somehow I never wrote about it here! How did that happen??!! Well, my theory is, our downstairs “guest” bathroom was finished about two weeks before our kitchen. We couldn’t really take any pictures at that point since it was still covered in kitchen dust and plastic sheeting, and then when all of that went away we were just so excited about the kitchen we forgot all about the bathroom. Poor bathroom. It really deserves a moment of fame.

I call this our “guest” bathroom in quotes because, while this is the first floor bathroom that visitors see and use, this is also the shower that we use 90% of the time. I mean, we like taking showers upstairs in the clawfoot tub. It’s very nice and lovely. But this shower downstairs is utterly divine. Oh just wait until you see the showerhead! But first let’s look at some before pictures because I like the drama.

first floor guest bath, before

guest bath beforeThat purple. And that floor. And this is what lurked behind the toilet due to a drippy bathtub, a sloped floor and no ceiling vent. And this is the rusty light fixture, and the rusty medicine cabinet that was covered in old political stickers. Ugh, it was gross. Just so gross.

The main feature of this bathroom is the fact that it is teeny tiny, just about 5.5′ x 5′. We need to have second full bath in the house, so we had to figure out a way to do that while also working a miracle to somehow make this room feel bigger. Since the old tub with a curtain really cut the room in half, we decided to do a shower (no tub) with glass doors in here, to visually open up the space. I think we were really successful. Take a look!

guest bathroom after

(This room is super hard to photograph, so please forgive all the weird angles!)

We wanted the room to really feel like it belongs to our 1890 house, in a modern way. We were inspired by Victorian era apothecary shops with vintage industrial features like the white metal pendant light and the small black and white marble tiles. The simple color palette and clean lines feel modern, while the tiles and brushed nickel accessories add an antique touch.

Sherwin-Williams "serious gray" walls

We had a hard time choosing a paint color but ultimately decided on a dark charcoal gray (Sherwin-Williams “Serious Gray”) in a semi-gloss finish. We wanted it to be classic but also dramatic, because why not? A small room like this is a great place to experiment with bold color. All the white and tons of natural light keep the room from feeling dark and gloomy. And even though semi-gloss is an awful choice for old wobbly walls like ours (and annoyingly shows every water spot and drip), I love how light reflects and bounces everywhere — another way to make a small room feel a little more spacious.

We replaced the old medicine cabinet with a simple mirror hung on a chain, and the vanity lights above are one of my favorite things in the room. I love the texture of the glass shades.

guest bathroom after

Originally we planned on keeping our old sink to save money, but I made a mistake and chose a faucet that didn’t fit (yeah, I seriously had no clue what I was doing!). We decided we liked the new faucet a whole lot better than the old sink so we splurged on a new wall-mount sink. It was totally worth it. The square shaped sink is modern, but the faucet in a brushed nickel finish fits our house’s age.

guest bathroom after

The glass shower doors were a stroke of luck. After we looked at a bunch of glass doors, we really didn’t think that they could possibly be in our budget, at least for something that didn’t look like every college apartment I ever had with the pebbled glass. But our contractor worked some magic and we ended up getting custom-made doors at an enormous discount. They make a 100% difference, and I’m SO GLAD we were able to get them. The shower walls and floor are cultured marble.

We added a train rack to hang hand towels and for storage. It’s super heavy and the contractors had a heck of time hanging it. Even using walls anchors, it started to sag after about a day. They ended up having to reinforce the other side of the wall to make sure it wouldn’t fall down!

best showerhead ever!

And then, that shower head! I told you it was amazing!! It’s the Waterhill line from Moen in brushed nickel. It’s the size of a basketball and has the best water pressure ever. Now you can see why we like to take showers down here. The only problem is, now I take the longest showers because I never want to leave!

guest bath after

It’s probably super weird to love a toilet… but I love this toilet. It’s smooth on the sides so it doesn’t collect hair and dust and all that other grody stuff that usually gets stuck around the base (and yes, I just said “grody”), and the whole lid and seat pops off with the push of a button for easy cleaning, and then pops right back on! It’s genius! We have the same one in our upstairs bathroom.

The glass jars and little scissors on top were found in/under our old barn when it was torn down. They are old and dirty, but I love their history.

There was no convenient place on the wall to hang the toilet paper, so we bought a movable stand, which is perfect in this tiny space. We just move it out of the way to get in the shower and move it back when we need it.

guest bathroom after

Something our contractors did on their own that we really loved was they had our old vent covers in this room and the kitchen sandblasted and repainted. It’s such a minor detail but it looks so good. We’re kicking ourselves for not asking them to do the same to the rest of our vents.

I love, too, how the floor tiles at first look white but when you get closer you can see that they’re marble. They’re Hermosa 3×3 polished marble octagon tiles from The Tile Shop. There’s such a small floor space in here, we didn’t need much, which meant we could go for a slightly more pricey tile.

guest bathroom after

We went a little high-end in this room in a lot of places because it’s the bathroom that every visitor will see, and it’s always really important to us to honor the history of our house and do what would look appropriate over what would be cheapest. For every splurge, we make a sacrifice somewhere else (like doing a lot of the work ourselves in the upstairs bathroom and getting mid-range cabinets in the kitchen), so it all balances out in the end. (And since all the big things were ordered through our contractor, we didn’t pay anything close to list price, phew.)

guest bathroom before and after

Floor tiles — Hermosa 3×3 polished marble octagon, The Tile Shop
Toilet — American Standard, Lowe’s
Sink — Pinoir wall-mount, Kohler
Showerhead/faucet — Waterhill, brushed nickel, Moen
Sink faucet — Waterhill, brushed nickel, Moen
Mirror — Eleanor Frameless, Pottery Barn
Pendant light — Pottery Barn
Vanity light — Fresnel Glass Restoration Bath Light, antique nickel, Shades of Light
Pedestal toilet paper holder — Moen Stockton, Amazon
Train rack — Moen Iso Collection, brushed nickel, LightingDirect.com
Glass apothecary jars — antique
Scissors print — Rifle Paper Co.
His/hers wall-mount vases in the hall outside the bathroom — CB2 (no longer available)
Paint color — Sherwin-Williams “Serious Gray” 6486

In case you want to read more
Our original plans for the guest bath renovation — we stuck to the plan pretty well.
“Our scary downstairs bathroom,” before and during construction.
Floor plan, so you can see where this room is in relation to the others.
Our upstairs master bathroom.
Our kitchen.

So what do you think of our not-so-new-anymore guest bathroom??!! It’s everything we dreamed of and more. It looks like it could be original to the house — you know, if there had been bathrooms in this house originally — while looking modern and timeless. It’s also a great example of using a few simple tricks to make a tiny room feel bigger.

— Kerry

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