Older homes often share two problems. First, limited closets. Second, limited bathrooms. Sometimes these problems are connected, like this renovation by Christy Allen where the lack of bathroom problem had been solved by placing a toilet in a closet–with no sink! Her clients, a couple living in San Francisco, hired her to turn it and the outdated guest bath next door into two functional bathrooms that were much more attractive.

The two bathrooms have a similar color palette but are so different. What was your goal for each?
They are right next to each other and I did want them to feel related. I kept the floor tile the same in both and I do think the color palette was an important factor in tying them together. I love the black trim and doors!

The clients and I clicked from the start—she has a great sense of style and we were all on the same page when it came to design. When I showed them my initial idea for the powder room, I wasn’t sure how they would feel about black wallpaper but both of them were 100% in!

What was the biggest challenge for this project?
It was a challenge to make everything fit in the powder room. When I first saw the project this was literally a closet with a toilet in it—no sink. You opened the door and were staring directly at a toilet. By pushing into the guest bathroom space a bit, we were able to gain enough room to flip the toilet around and add a small sink. Changing to a pocket door was also really helpful in making the space work. This powder room reminds me of travelling in Europe, where lots of bathrooms feel like you might be in what used to be a closet! This powder room is tiny, but I think it still manages to feel luxurious.

As for the guest bathroom, the client really wasn’t interested in keeping a tub here, so we turned a tub/shower combo into a steam shower. We maximized the storage in this bathroom by doing a custom built-in vanity and a recessed medicine cabinet. We also increased the window size to gain a little more natural light.

Even though they have the same total footprint, both spaces are so much more welcoming now!
When I was photographing this space, all of us (the photographer and client) joked about how we could imagine shutting the door and having a glass of scotch in here late at night! I think that says a lot about what we achieved in setting a mood with the design– if people are considering spending time with a cocktail in your Powder Room!