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A Modern Classic Bathroom

Updated: Aug 12, 2018

First published January 19, 2016

I prefer to work modern - clean lines, minimal ornamentation - but sometimes the dictating style of the house won't allow for it. Take for example a traditional Spanish home, typical in LA, with stucco walls and arched windows. There is no way a midcentury or Scandi inspired bathroom will work. What to do, what to do?

BEFORE - dated, dank, and lame. This kids' Jack and Jill bathroom needed a light and bright facelift in line with the home's traditional base. Take note of the old shower stall. I hate these claustrophobic stalls. We can surely relocate the toilet into this space and create a new private toilet area.

AFTER - The first thing we did was tear down the wall separating the tub and the vanity area. This allowed for a longer vanity and breathing room between the tub and the vanity areas. Since we relocated the toilet to the shower stall, the tub became a tub/shower combo which is all you need for a kids bathroom in my opinion.

Look at that tight tile tub surround and the minimal glass shower guard in leiu of a glass door enclosure or sloppy curtain. This image gives you an idea of the new layout and plumbing reconfiguration.

The question - how do you get a bathroom to feel modern while meshing cohesively with a traditional house? One way is to take the elements that make a space feel traditional and  reassign them to a modern aesthetic.  For example, white painted cabinets, marble counters, and subway tile all feel traditional. When you strip the cabinet style to simple clean lines and pair the white marble with modern polished chrome hardware, it feels more contemporary. Using larger 4"x10" subway tile instead of the ubiquitous 3"x6" tile is a subtle hint that this is not your granny's bathroom. 

I used traditional cement (Encaustic) tile on the floor to tie it back into the Spanish style of the rest of the house. This type of tile is authentic to Old World Moorish Spain.  When you use the tile in only grey tones it feels fresh, graphic, and absolutely New World. Knowing me, you already predicted I would bring in tribal rugs to liven it up and add personality instead of a boring old bath mat.

One more note, I wanted the kids bathroom to be pretty but also functional and easy to use. I placed a wood stump stool near the tub so a parent has a spot to sit while they watch the kids bathe, or a dry spot to place books and toys. The towel hooks x 2 are right near the tub for convenience. Baskets on the lower vanity shelf neatly store extra towels. And the tub spout is extra large and wide to have the tub fill extra fast.


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