Before and After: What To Do When Your Entire Bathroom is Brown


There’s so much to say about this bathroom, but let’s start (and end) with all the brown. There are brown details on the walls, brown trim all around the doors and windows, and brown floor tiles. And are those sink faucet handles actually brown as well? Is that even possible? Regardless, it’s just a lot of brown. Which makes this bathroom transformation all the more exciting, because there’s no longer a lick of brown in sight. Enjoy.

This project is a great aesthetic transformation, but what makes it especially fascinating is that the budget is actually discussed! This doesn’t happen as often as we would like, and it’s a welcome bit of reality. Especially when the budget starts out very small, and winds up much, much bigger in the end.

Wow! The reflective white walls and vanity really make the most of all that natural light pouring in, while the wood top of the vanity adds warmth and natural beauty to the futuristic-feeling cabinetry. The sink bowl adds visual interest without being fussy or showy. This bathroom was created by Gina of Style Curator for one of her coworkers, and it is perhaps that close relationship that led to such enviable results.

But let’s back up a bit: this is the original view into the bathroom, with the washing machine on the left and the toilet on the right (behind that door). Brown trim and brownish tiles make this bathroom a long-time resident of Brown Town.

The new looks is so airy and fresh. The tiny cobblestone-esque tiles were replaced with larger-scale, slate-like tiles that have a totally serene, organic feel. The floor is where the budget discussion comes in:

Bonnie first planned to spend under $5,000 AUD on her bathroom by installing a new vanity, tapware, repairing the missing or broken tiles, and resurfacing the tiles in white. But there was quite a pronounced smell in the space that made us worry there were issues below the tiles and a larger reno would be needed. Once we removed the tiles, we discovered rotten stud-work, and moldy gyprock (editors note: that’s drywall in the U.S.) that needed to be replaced, asbestos, falling ceiling ceiling, and other water damage.

In the end, we ripped everything out — bathtub, shower, vanity, toilet, all tiles, lighting… This of course blew out the budget and in the end, the total cost was $17,000 AUD. This cost included all professional trades, including removal of the asbestos, fixing rotten stud-work, repairing the ceiling, plastering, waterproofing, tiling (this time up to the ceiling and not just half height), repairing plumbing and installing all new products, new lighting, and painting too.

That is a huge budget increase, and a good reminder that renovating even a small room can come with a shockingly huge price tag, especially when the health and well-being of your house is at stake. But, as Gina said, they only wanted to do it once, so they did it well.

This is a sweet little tub, with the spigot smartly positioned on the side allowing bathers to lie in either direction—or two people to bathe at the same time—but the tiles surrounding it are rather dated. The silver metal of the shower stall (seen at right) also clashes a bit with all of the warm hues of the rest of the room.

What a big change to white, black, and grey! The lovely, angular spigot and handles remain in their offset position, while the all-white porcelain tub is a fresher look than the tile surround. The little shelf at the other end of the tub has been eliminated, allowing for more bathing room.

It’s a small detail, but I am obsessed with the floor drain! My dream is to have a bathroom that I could just scrub and hose down, and while this bathroom probably isn’t designed for that, the drain is so incredibly practical and could prevent catastrophes.

One of my favorite elements of this bathroom is the black border outlining the shower and where the vanity meets the wall (in the first “after” photo above). Making the shower flush with the floor adds a feeling of spaciousness, while making the shower more accommodating to people with mobility issues — a great thing to keep in mind if you’re designing a home in which you intend to live in for the rest of your life. The black hardware adds a great pop, and while I find the shelves distressingly small, I can’t argue with that amazing showerhead. Overall, this transformation is stunning, yet straightforward enough that the aesthetic could be easily tweaked over the years by changing out the textiles and adding art and accessories.

Thank you, Style Curator!

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