Master Bathroom: Before & After

This might be my favorite room to show you, because 1. I love it and 2. I actually have the evolution of the plans to show you how I work with an architect.bailey-quin-mccarthy-matchbook-magazine-11

Our Master Bathroom “After”

So our original master bedroom had a largish closet on one side that was being used as the “hers” closet, and then a very very peculiar layout in the bathroom that included “his” closet. Here are the plans for what was there when we bought the house:

Before PlanOn the left was the “his” closet. that is about 4 feet of hanging space, and then a 6 foot long, 2 foot wide claustrophobic nightmare hallway space and another 2 feet of storage behind the toilet/shower. Then there was a whole lot of wasted space over by the sinks which was really wide and open. Then a kind of cute alcove for the potty, teensy tinesy shower, and tub. This is what it looked like.


At first we thought the tile might be original and wanted to keep it and work with it. But then we realized that no matter what, the space issue in closet and the layout were just not going to work for us. We were always going to want to redo it down the line, so we just went for it. Nothing was original, and no amount of wallpaper would have made it work so it was a good thing we did.

Now here were the plans I drew up and gave to the architect with my idea of how we could fix the space.My Plan

We decided Pete would get the former “hers” closet and I would take the new closet in the bathroom space. In my version, I don’t even know how to explain it now that I know what we went with this just doesn’t make sense to me at all.

Pete’s shower was tucked behind some closet space so he could get a long narrow shower with a bench like he had in Chicago. We had to have separate sinks, and a separate bath and shower. As I mentioned before, I had the potty right next to the sink- which, if you have a choice, isn’t the choice to make. The long hanging closet on the left would be open to the room, but with really cool doors and millwork like this all-time favorite by Celerie Kemble in Lonny.celerie-kemble-home-from-lonny-mag

SO amazing. But not right for this space, plus, she already did it so well! I still used this as a major inspiration.

The architect, thankfully, was much wiser and I was wise enough to listen to him when he suggested this instead:

Architect Plan

I immediately knew this was perfection for the space. Poor Petey’s shower has been continually downgraded every renovation, but he loved it too.

I made a few revisions and we had a plan. My RevisionThe left side closet would be long hanging on one side and shoes on the other. The right side closet would be double hang on one side and drawers/shelves on the other side.

I made the tub a bit smaller- I like a smaller tub. I am wee and hate when I am trying to sit up in a tub but its all slippery and I can’t prop myself on anything because it is too big and I am flopping all around. So I suggested the tub a bit smaller with the storage shelves on either side.

I also wanted bigger sinks, which would require us to move the wall back a foot but worked fine with shoe shelves in the closet. I already knew I wanted our sinks from urban archaeology. I had seen them when I worked at the Merchandise Mart in Chicago in their showroom, and like our kitchen island, I have been storing them in my brain to use somewhere ever since.IMG_1119

Looking into the bathroom/closet from the master bedroom before:


Same view “after”. My closets are on either side there, and I would show you but they were a mess this morning and you can’t even see what’s there and I didn’t have it in me to clean them. So that will be a separate post to come. We had to do little half doors because of the swinging space. There aren’t doors on my closet. I will probably eventually do some sort of curtain, but I don’t even have carpeting in there yet so that is not real high on the list right now.

Also- we just got those shutters on the window in last week. We had poster board taped up in there until then, and it fell down one day when Pete was showering. That window faces the street. Junk takes time and I am not a super-hero. So any of you wondering how we did this so fast…we are still very much in the process of doing it.IMG_1097

The tub before.


This is what occupies that space now. As I mentioned, Pete’s shower has been continually downgraded each move. Pete’s one request in each house is a steam shower. It is his favorite thing, and he is such a good sport it is the least I can do to accommodate him. In Chicago it was big but cozy, it tucked into the space beneath the stairs so it was really deep but had a sloped ceiling with a bench tucked in:


It was amazing.

Then in Austin he took a major size downgrade, but that shower surround was so amazing I think it balanced out:


I get more emails about this than anything. I don’t know where you can buy this. I drew it up based on another amazing shower, and our contractor executed it. It is anodized aluminum adhered to the glass, rather than a framework with the glass in panes. If that helps.

So in a lot of ways our bathroom was inspired by Pete’s bathroom in Chicago. That was the first time I did the brass with the black and white, and I loved it. We reused the marble subway tile, and added the more traditional hex marble floor tile. We were going to do the shower frame like that again, but I thought in that small of a space it would be too busy.

 The other big inspiration I mentioned was Celerie Kembles bathroom in Lonny:lonny18

Another angle of the space I posted before. I loved the black millwork in that bathroom. So sexy and cool. I think the best way to use inspiration is to really study it and boil down the elements you love. Sometimes there is a way to capture what you love without copying it exactly.

What I loved was the feel of the black and white through so many textures and materials. We did a different floor tile pattern, which is a bit more feminine and fit the style of our house better. I try never to “copy” more than one element in a room. Here it was the black millwork. We have marble too, but marble is marble. I also loved that her bathroom wasn’t so sterile. I love artwork and antiques and items in a bathroom, they give it character and interest since there isn’t typically a lot of “decor” in bathrooms.

Our millwork wasn’t as ornate as hers, hers is an antique apothecary cabinet that she had added on to. Incredible. Ours is really simple, but insetting the beveled mirror gives it a lot more “special”.

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We have his and hers sinks. I was concerned we would bump into each other, but that has actually never been an issue. The sconces on either side of the medicine cabinets are from urban archaeology and took the bathroom to the next level in my opinion. They are so deco and unique and different than what I normally choose, and really informed the rest of the accessories I brought in.

photo 4I love how cozy the tub is tucked in there. I was concerned about storage with the open pedestalish sinks, but with the shelves in the tub surround and the medicine cabinets, we actually have way more than we need. We still need a light fixture above the tub though- it’s a work in progress. I am having a hard time picking because I think more brass might be toooo much brass, and I don’t mind a mix of metals but I just haven’t found the right thing yet.

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Pretty pictures by Emily Anderson

I also think I want to get some sort of vintage or antique rug for in here, I love the sort of vintage apothecary feel of the bathroom, and I think bringing something old in would give it a lot.

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Photo: Emily Anderson

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Photo Emily Anderson

SORRY FOR CUTTING OFF THE WORDS THERE. I am taking Grace to “interview” at “school” this morning and have to run. I didn’t want to wait to post the pictures for people who are more interested in the pretty, but I will be back in an hour to finish the writing.

Ok- so I have thought and thought about what I can tell y’all that might be helpful. I think that the same things that make bathrooms hard to decorate for other people are precisely why I find them so easy. I like working within small spaces and with limitations. I think maybe all of the finishes and decisions within such a utilitarian space is what throws people?

To that I would say with bathrooms and any room I try to pick one piece or moment that I love and let everything else flow out from there. You don’t have to look at the whole room and all the things it needs at once, that can be really overwhelming. Pick the sofa or the sink or the window treatments, and make the other decisions relate off of that.

For bathrooms, like I said, I like to try to include elements that feel more like decor or furniture. I think the millwork around the tub does that here, in our bathroom in Austin the framework of the shower provided that element, and in Chicago the painting over the window and curtains around the tub.

I hope that helps, I think bathrooms come really naturally to me so it is harder to break it down, but if you have any questions I am happy to answer them. I am going to do the dining room next. Surprisingly, dining rooms are the spaces I struggle most with.

Happy Valentine’s Day!!!

27 thoughts on “Master Bathroom: Before & After

  1. This bathroom would make it acceptable to share with my husband. This room is absolutely stunning. Good luck with the little one’s interview!

  2. This is my favorite room in this house (so far…) I am adding a master suite to my house and am bath planning. I will have to restrain myself to only copy one item from this fab room. Would you mind sharing the name of your Austin contractor?

  3. Hi Bailey – love the bathroom! Super curious about the doors on the closets – or maybe they are the doors to the bathroom? It looks like you would have lots of door collisions there – but I’m sure you would have addressed this issue in the design process. I ask because I’ve had to remove a couple of very poorly planned doors in my rental because someone wasn’t thinking at all!
    Great job with the renovations!

  4. Beautifully done Bailey! I think it is so interesting that you went w/gold accented fixtures….we are in the process of selling our house and all I hear is how gold is “out” and not coming back!

  5. Amazing! That is beautifully done and my teeny tiny apartment bathroom is getting glared at as I type. Happy Valentine’s Day and enjoy that bathroom for the rest of us 🙂

  6. Everything you touch is golden. Would you share your Austin contractor? Embarking on a major reno/addition this spring and would appreciate the recommendation.

  7. Love it all! Your bathroom is my favorite room in your new home. Something about all the black and brass details. Feels very moody and dramatic. Silly question about the shutters. Did you have them painted black or did you install new ones? We have black shutters in a room that I would like to make white- not sure if I can have them sprayed or if I should just buy new ones.

  8. Seriously, I love all your stuff. It’s like a French pharmacy in there. What’s your favorite scent; candle & perfume please. Thank you! Claire

  9. Amazing – need a similiar transformation for TJMCCOCBFD complete with grab bars and a comfort height potty :>}}}

  10. Love this bathroom! Would you mind sharing the name of the black paint color you used? Is it gloss or semi-gloss?

  11. Gorgeous! I am so loving the breakdowns of everything– it is my favorite to get a peek into the process. Random question: do you have a showerhead you love…we want to replace our rainhead shower and since you have done 3 bathroom renos was thinking maybe you found one you love along the way?!

  12. Thank you so much for sharing all the info about what goes on inside your talented brain! I’ve been reading every word of these new blog posts! They make my day! I’m all about white, light, and bright, but your dark lacquered kitchen and bath have opened my mind to new possibilities! Love the look! Thanks again!

  13. I really love what you have designed – Its classic yet edgy. What is the name of the trim and wall paint you have used? Also, did you have the tub deck and wash stand marble fabricated or was the tub deck matched to the washstands? Would love to know where the washstands came from….

  14. I am in love with your geode/crystal on your bathroom shelves!! Can you share where it is from?

    Your tub shelves have inspired me for a possible bathrook project to add some much needed bathroom storage!!! Just have to convince the husband 🙂

  15. Oh, wow! This bathroom is absolute perfection! I love the striking black and white combo, and the brass! So glamorous, classic and timeless. Well done!

    The Glam Pad

  16. Oh, wow! This bathroom is absolute perfection! I love the striking black and white combo, and the brass! So glamorous, classic and timeless. Well done!

    The Glam Pad

  17. This looks great & has helped me re-imagine what our bathroom would look like if we didn’t try to keep all of the fixtures in the same place.

    I came across a photo on this website of your bathroom:

    It was the only photo in the post not sourced, which kind of annoyed me, so I wanted to flag it for you in case you want to follow up with the blogger. Maybe she simply forgot the link and intended to include it all along?

  18. Bailey, You’ve got a good eye, love everything so far. Thanks for sharing behind the scene thought process, it’s educational. I noticed in both the Austin and Houston showers you have a shower seat, would you share the source please. Everything I have found so far looks more utilitarian. Enjoy your home it’s wonderful.

  19. Heather- Brian Fuchs
    Kathryn- The doors to the bathroom are bi-fold so they don’t have the swing issues, and I don’t have closet doors, I might but a curtain up eventually.
    Margaret- Brian Fuchs
    Lindsey- They came black and we tried our best to color match to the trim we already had.
    Claire- I really like Lafco Peony or Champagne int he bathroom
    Kate- Ours is from waterworks, love it. Prefer the flush mount rain shower, drips less.
    Amanda- I had the sink fabricated in the style of the urban archaeology ones and they used the same slab of marble for the tub deck. Good eye!
    Karin- NO idea, sorry!!
    Jenna- no idea where I got mine but we are going to be stocking some similar ones at Biscuit soon!
    Andrea- thank you!
    Christine- The shower seat is urban archaeology

    sorry that took me so long, thanks for all the love! xoxo

  20. Bailey, I need your help! Trying to find an oval under mount tub that is 5 ft like yours. Can you remember the make of it. Thanks so much, love everything you do.

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