A Guest Bathroom Renovation


This guest bathroom required a complete gut renovation. The toilet never worked properly, the vanity was falling apart, the tile was popping in various places, and the general aesthetic was stuck in 1989 (a great year in which I was born, but still). Peep some before shots:

DSCF2162 DSCF2161 DSCF2163

My vision for the new bathroom was fresh, inviting, and neutral with a little bit of brass bling. I created a mood board to organize my thoughts:


The general vibe of the mood board stayed the same through completion, but just about every piece changed from this initial conception. To accommodate various challenges that became apparent throughout the renovation process, we had to switch things up every now and then. Also, I decided that wallpaper probably isn’t the best idea when shower steam will be about. Also, I just change my mind a lot?

I decided to demo the bathroom myself to save some money, which, surprisingly, turned out pretty well! It took quite a bit of elbow grease to get everything out, but I learned a lot in the process about how various bathroom elements are constructed and placed. There was a slight snafu with the sink pipes in the vanity (maybe I’ll share that story later), but aside from that, I had no huge problems. Instead of hauling everything away myself, I called 1-800-GOT-JUNK to grab the demolished tile, vanity, and countertop. Good decision.


I thought that I would renovate the entire bathroom myself (tile installation, some plumbing), but I’m afraid I was a little too bold. I ended up hiring professional tile installers and plumbers to do most of the work. After months and months of slow-moving progress, the bathroom was complete!


One of the more dramatic elements of the bathroom is the shower tile that goes up to the ceiling. I love adding this detail to spaces because it makes the height of the room feel taller that it actually is. The hexagonal floor tile also adds a bit of drama that I’m seriously into, but I might refrain from this much marble for future projects (the vanity top is also marble). I’ve learned in this short period of time that it doesn’t wear very well, and I’m already seeing mysterious scratches and dents.guestbath2 I LOVE the contrast that brass elements provide against the mostly neutral palette of the space. The towel rod, towel ring, and toilet paper holder are from CB2. The mirror is from Wayfair, and the light fixture is from Illuminate Vintage.


27 thoughts on “A Guest Bathroom Renovation

  1. carol

    very nice. i’m in arlington so if i ever scrape up some cash i may contact you to
    fix up my bath for me. good to see a DC man blogging about interiors. good luck to you.

    1. Malcolm Post author

      Thank you! Here is a link to the vanity, sold at Home Depot.


      I changed the pull bars to some brass pulls purchased at Home Depot.

      However, I learned that this vanity is sold pretty much everywhere. I bought it on Amazon for a bit cheaper than it is sold elsewhere.

  2. Carol V.

    Hey Malcolm, the ‘Before’ looks like my bathroom! Sigh….
    Love the tile to the ceiling! Have you had issues with the bronze fixtures showing scratches?

    1. Malcolm Post author

      It’s such a typical 80s bathroom! The fixtures are actually matte black, and I haven’t had any issues with scratching. I went with Moen fixtures, which are pretty durable.

  3. Allison

    What size is this bathroom? I’ll be redoing a similar sized bath soon and just trying to see what it might look like. This turned out beautifully!

  4. Valerie Leeds

    This is truly beautiful. Love the small details, like the toilet paper holder. Where are the small scratches you see in the marble? The vanity top or the floor? Curious, because I’m looking at vanity tops similar to this for my bathroom. Also, have you used it long enough to know if the gold finishes hold up over time? I would hate to have to be buffing out water spots, but I love the look, especially that mirror!

    1. Malcolm Post author

      Thanks, Valerie!

      I’ve seen scratches on the floor, but mostly due to my own clumsiness (where I’ve dropped things or dragged things along the floor). If you’re careful, you should be good. I haven’t used the bathroom long enough to see if the gold finishes will hold up, but so far so good! It has been about two months and everything still looks new, but then again, it’s a guest bathroom that doesn’t get too much use.

      1. Valerie Leeds

        Thanks! I think it’s inevitable to drop/drag things on a floor. Just call the scratches patina! I was more concerned about the vanity top and the taps. Still looks fabulous.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *