Having established her own design firm six years prior, working on her clients’ spaces, it was an exciting moment for Maggie Stephens when she was able to tackle her own home’s master bathroom. “We bought the house in 2017 while living in California, and I had never stepped foot inside the house before we owned it,” she explained. “I knew from the photos my husband sent that we’d be gutting this space. Even though the house is only 16 years old, there were cracked tiles, holes in the vanity replaced with cardboard, and the shower floor had been painted over and was peeling!”
The layout of her bathroom was less than ideal – the embedded tub was much overly large taking up too much space and requiring too much water to fill; the toilet was hidden behind an open partition that added no privacy and made the room feel dark. “The room is 100 square feet,” she said, “and while we did not add to that at all, we did remove the interior wall that separated the toilet and shower from the rest of the bathroom. The general footprint of the room stayed the same to avoid moving too much plumbing and keep costs down. We did, however, enlarge the shower by a foot in one direction and about six inches the other direction.” This meant that the vanity had to decrease in size slightly, therefore eliminating the possibility of a double sink.
When it came to style and materials, though, Maggie didn’t want to play it safe. “The house was built in 2004 and is pretty builder basic with minor traditional farmhouse details like beadboard and simple crown molding,” she said. “While we kept resale in mind, I also knew I didn’t want anything too cookie-cutter and wanted to inject a bit of color.” She chose Benjamin Moore’s ‘Night Train‘ for the vanity. “I had saved lots of inspiration images but color can be so finicky and I may have been holding my breath a bit until the cabinetry was installed,” she mused. “We absolutely love it though, and I’m so glad we didn’t back off and go with something safe because it really makes the room.”
Although her home was built in 2004, her vision was to create a space that had an old-world feel to it, something closer to 1904. She chose a new bathtub that had a classic silhouette. “I had initially thought we’d get a vintage cast-iron tub and have it re-enameled, but after some research, it was more expensive than we wanted,” Maggie said. “I had our contractor build in a little shelf next to the tub, painted to match the walls. We have lived in a couple of turn of the century houses and apartments and I have loved little details like that– perfect perch for a few treasures and some vintage art.”
Layered on top of the classic silhouettes, she wanted to add a few more modern elements: “I went with sleek shapes on the cabinet hardware, the plumbing fixtures, and hooks,” she explained. “I particularly love the very simple arc of the tub filler paired with the traditional shape of the tub. I love that kind of juxtaposition.” She mixed metals by pairing matte black hardware with brass lighting, and a combination of the two for the vanity sconces.
After four months, the bathroom was ready to be enjoyed. “We lived in our home for the whole process (sleeping in my home office to avoid the dust!) and when all the construction equipment was cleared out it was like finally having the bathroom we’d dreamed about when we first moved in,” she smiled.