Reveal Alert: How I Transformed the Dark & Dull Downstairs Guest Bath in the Portland Project
No, we haven’t forgotten about the Portland project. We have 15(ish) more posts about it, and today’s Portland reveal is the downstairs guest bathroom, which serves for those partying in the media room as well as any older kids or grandparents staying downstairs. It was the darkest of all the bathrooms with just a small window in the shower to the covered patio, so our goal was to make it feel as light and bright and happy as possible without making it too busy or dark. It still has the same vibe as the rest of the house, but since it’s a bit removed, we went a bit more modern with some of the fixtures (namely the sconces and the mirror). This bathroom also has what I think might be my favorite tile in the house (hard to say, and I’m talking about the shower tile, by the way).
We mixed the scales and colors of the tile to look coordinated but not basic—A MUST—and chose a larger blue subway on the wall (from Pratt and Larson), a white kite on the bathroom wall (also from Pratt and Larson) and a Carerra hex mosaic from Clé on the floor. I personally think that this formula is a winner: three different shapes, scales and textures but in a very subtle and coordinating color palette.
As a reminder: this is on the ground floor (which we haven’t shown you any of yet, but I promise we’re getting there).
The bathroom is laid out to be two rooms—the vanity room and the toilet/shower room, with a pocket door in between. The main thing I would do differently is probably just put a shower in here instead of a bathtub. It was in the plans before I got involved and it was something I didn’t really switch. Nothing is wrong with a bathtub, don’t get me wrong, but in this room, we didn’t need it and it could have saved some money (and made it feel bigger). As you know, I’m an avid bather, currently robbed of my pleasure as I have no bathtub in our small master bath, so I’m psyched to give this gift to whoever has the pleasure of being this guest. But it is something to think about—do you NEED a tub?
Even if I’d maybe change the layout in retrospect, what I AM happy with is the materials and fixtures we went with, so let’s chat about that, shall we?
Let’s start with the tile and faucet:
We went with the Artifacts line with lever handles in the polished nickel and I love how classic and beautiful they are. If you have an older home (or a home in a classic style), it’s my professional opinion to choose polished nickel over chrome or brushed nickel. It’s warmer and feels more high-end to me.
The vanity room needed some life and a white subway wasn’t going to cut it, but I didn’t want to do a crazy bold statement tile or mosaic or anything. So we chose this handmade blue-ish gray tile from Pratt and Larson with the same bevel as in the kitchen. In the matte finish, you can see the variation in tones and colors which makes it feel so custom and handmade, and we grouted it with a darker grout to make sure that you see the bevel although honestly, a white grout would have been lovely, too.
The vanity is a super traditional/modern/transitional piece from Kohler in white, with a countertop from the Solid/Expressions line and a simple single undermount sink. This vanity has a ton of storage and when you do a single sink you get even more as the plumbing doesn’t affect the storage space.
Where we shook it up a bit was in the lighting and mirror. I love how the sconces (from Rejuvenation) articulate and bring it into a more modern world. Against that staggered tile, it creates a really interesting tension (in my opinion). We went with matte black hardware (also from Rejuvenation) in a classic shape to bring in the black from the sconces and mirror and make it feel slightly more modern, as opposed to the polished nickel.
To coordinate with the polished nickel faucet, we continued the Artifacts suite in things like the towel bar in the vanity room (how pretty is this swooping version…subtle detailing can really take something as simple as a towel bar and elevate it to feel high-end).
The toilet/tub room is pretty tight so we did it in a white tile that is soooo pretty. I’m OBSESSED with it.
We grouted it in a light gray so that you could still see the pattern, without making it too busy. It gives it more of a shadow line.
We went with a shower curtain over glass to save money, but honestly, I have STRUGGLED to ever really like a tub/shower glass enclosure or panel. They either need so much hardware (like sliding doors) that they feel dated or busy OR you do something simple like a panel and you can’t really reach in to turn on the water easily. I’ve seen holes near the faucet on a stationary panel and it’s fine, but it just didn’t seem worth the cost to put in when we just aren’t that into them. I think in a more contemporary style home or a new build, sure, do the glass panel or glass door but in a more classic home, I’d almost rather have a pretty shower curtain. This is also what we decided to do in both bathrooms with tubs in the mountain house. Sure, we might one day switch them to glass, but I just couldn’t allocate the funds when I’m just not into the glass.
Also, can we take a moment and talk about these shower fixtures? The gear-like knob is so good and adds a bit of character to the more traditional polished nickel finish, and the combo of the handshower and showerhead (which Kohler offers as a kit) is such a nice thing to have in a guest bathroom for bathing options (plus, a handshower is so clutch for leg-shaving and also makes cleaning so much easier).
We accessorized it with some beautiful art by MaryAnn Puls, vases from Mantel, towels from Rejuvenation and of course some artisanal soaps from Anthropologie (although now that Hearth and Home has far more affordable but pretty soaps, I would get those to save money).
There you have it. A simple and classic yet modern guest bath for a lucky Portland guest.
Any questions? Curious how you feel about glass panels versus shower curtain? Shower stall versus shower + tub combo? Discuss…
1. Abstract Art by MaryAnn Puls | 2. Abstract Art by MaryAnn Puls | 3. Blue Bevel Rectangle Tile by Pratt and Larson (glaze: parchment, color: p146, size: 2″x8″) | 4. Sconce by Rejuvenation | 5. Vanity Mirror by Rejuvenation | 6. Abstract Art by MaryAnn Puls | 7. Drawer Pull by Rejuvenation | 8. Round Knob by Rejuvenation | 9. Sink by Kohler | 10. Sink Faucet by Kohler | 11. Vanity Countertop by Kohler | 12. Vanity by Kohler | 13. Interior Door Lever Set by Rejuvenation | 14. Interior Door by Metrie | 15. Bath Towel | 16. Towel Bar by Kohler | 17. Ridge Carafe by Little Garage Shop via Mantel | 18. Wood Tray | 19. Towel Ring by Kohler | 20. Hand Soap | 21. Hand Lotion | 22. Abstract Art by MaryAnn Puls | 23. Window by Milgard | 24. Glass Carafe | 25. Shower Curtain by Rejuvenation | 26. Toilet Paper Holder by Kohler | 27. Shower Valve by Kohler | 28. Bath Spout by Kohler | 29. Shower Head Kit by Kohler | 30. Toilet Lever by Kohler | 31. Toilet Supply by Kohler | 32. Toilet by Kohler | 33. Shower Surround Facet Tile by Pratt and Larson (glaze: gloss, color: ruw, size: 5″x3″) | 34. Bath Drain | 35. Bathtub by Kohler | 36. Floor Tile by Cle Tile | 37. Door Casing by Metrie | 38. Baseboard by Metrie | 39. Wall and Trim Color in Vanity Area by Sherwin-Williams (pure white) | 40. Wall Color in Bath Area by Sherwin-Williams (frosty white)