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a dark bathroom gets a makeover

And who doesn't want a makeover? 

Who doesn't want to feel uplifted, freshened, organized, beautiful? 

Who doesn't want to love the space you come into every morning of your life because it makes you feel good....a place where you can get ready to go out and greet the world.  A space that seems large, luxurious, and light-filled so that when you enter you sigh and a smile comes to your face. Your life is organized and you have everything under control.

This bathroom had been draped in darkness for far too long, and it literally needed to see the light. That's what this bathroom needed....a makeover.

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The Smallest, Darkest Room in the House

This client's master bathroom was just way too small in comparison to the rest of their home. It really needed more storage, but an addition to the house simply was not an option. The dark space needed light too, to give it the lift it desperately needed.

My job: Squeeze in a lot more space, light, and beauty out of their existing footprint.

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At the drawing board, I could see that dramatically moving things around wouldn’t help much. We had discussed doing away with the tub -- it was rarely used -- and creating a luxurious, larger shower in its place. Doing so would make room for a nice floor-to-ceiling built-in cabinet in a new enclosed toilet room!   

With these adjustments, we kept the costs from being totally outrageous and left some of the original integrity of the house.

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Did I already mention how the space was very dark? Well it was, and the dim navy wallpaper was largely to blame. Also to blame was the privacy window that always stayed closed, ultimately making the space feel like an interior room within the house.

This bathroom needed a serious dose of natural light, and I knew just how I was going to let it filter in: with a new window and mirrors.


The window really had to be changed out if a shower was going to be installed in that location. To accomodate it, we put in a smaller window -- up high -- to retain privacy and bring in lots of light.  The milky glass had a coloration similar to the onyx and marble counters, and it beautifully complimented everything else in the space.

Click image to enlarge
Click image to enlarge


Mirrors were added to the upper cabinet doors to reflect light in and bounce it around the room.

Do you see how the mirrored cabinet door in the main bathroom reflects the light from the master bedroom? They provide a lot of depth to the space.

Also notice the X design on the doors...It adds such nice traditional detail and doesn’t make it seem just like a mirrored bathroom. 

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Once the layout was decided, finishes were selected. The homeowner had seen the onyx mosaic tiles and wanted to use those in the space. They provided a great stepping off point for the rest of the materials: 

  • White marble with some golden / gray veining 
  • Paint colors to create a lighter, detailed envelope, as well as all kinds of pretty
  • Antique brass fixtures and hardware to give it some warm color and enhance the look of the onyx tile. 
  • A field tile of porcelain for maintenance and budget purposes to intersperse with the onyx.

The Closet

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The closet was a project in itself. Storage space was minimal. Luckily there were high ceilings, so we went up with our storage placement. We used every cubic inch of the area, measuring clothing and bins to get maximum usage out of the small space.

Putnam Rolling Ladder
Putnam Rolling Ladder

Now, how do they reach all their stuff when it's placed so high above them?  

A beautifully crafted, classic, Putnam rolling ladder, of course! 

The ladder pops in and out of a slot in the back and slides easily back and forth. I swear...these things are the best! 

The other problem with the closet were the doors. They swung out into the space and constantly annoyed the husband.

As for the wife... She loved the full length mirrors on the backs of the doors and wanted to keep them open. The solution to this was simple: Install barn door type hardware under a crown moulding pocket so the doors could slide open and shut with the mirrors exposed all the time.  


This bathroom was transformed into a beautiful, organized, uplifting space. How about your bathroom? Does it need a makeover?

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Designed By:



Rueby Custom Homes


"Carla listened to what we wanted and designed a bathroom more beautiful and functional than we could ever have dreamed. Because I had to be away at times, it was a relief to know she was there overseeing any problems. Overall, It was a joy to work with her."

{ Homeowner }

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