Atlanta Design

Sleek Modern Bathroom by Susie Mae Design

When we bought our 1960s house in January of 2017, we knew we had a lot of work to do. There were a lot of things that took priority like a new roof, HVAC system, insulation, and water mitigation. Naturally we wanted to renovate the kitchen and bathrooms immediately, but that just wasn't in the cards. Now, a year and a half later, the kitchen and both bathrooms have been renovated and IT IS SO GREAT! 


Before we started any work the to the house, this was the view in the dining room, looking at the front door and the closet that was once in the dining room. 


Next, we painted the walls white, Sherwin Williams Alabaster to be exact. The door and windows were replaced and that closet had to go! The closet backs up to the end of the master bathroom. If you were to knock on the back wall of the closet, you'd be knocking on the end wall of the bathroom/shower. We didn't want a closet in the dining room and we really did want some room to move around in our bathroom, so we decided to close up that closet and take it for the shower. We made plans to move the plumbing down so that the shower could take over that closet space. 

Dining room, looking through the demo'd closet and into the master bathroom. You can see the master bedroom drapes just beyond the bathroom doorway. 

Dining room, looking through the demo'd closet and into the master bathroom. You can see the master bedroom drapes just beyond the bathroom doorway. 

The wall gets framed and then drywall goes up. 

The wall gets framed and then drywall goes up. 

Sanded and painted to look like a regular wall.

Sanded and painted to look like a regular wall.

Here are the BEFORE photos. The bathroom was small and cramped and had haphazard storage "solutions" that were not really working for us. The toilets in our house also had tanks about 2xs the size of the bowl. Wasting water is not something we're into, so we opted for a dual flush water saving option instead along with other more green solutions. 

Screen Shot 2018-07-26 at 4.04.53 PM.png
Screen Shot 2018-07-26 at 4.05.08 PM.png

It's unclear if the bathroom had ever been updated, but from what we could tell, the only real change since the house was built was adding new layers of floral wallpaper, and then painting over that in recent years. Frankly, I'd have preferred the wallpaper to the paint job in there. Paint all over the tiles, toilet, and ceiling...what a mess. There was nothing we wanted to salvage about this bathroom, so the sledgehammer and Victor got to work smashing and trashing. I had to be at a baby shower that morning, so I got to skip some of the demo labor. But really, demo can be fun so I would have liked to help more.

Screen Shot 2018-07-26 at 4.09.41 PM.png
A cast iron tub doesn't move easily. The best choice is often to break it up with a sledgehammer. It's messy and LOUD work, but it's effective. 

A cast iron tub doesn't move easily. The best choice is often to break it up with a sledgehammer. It's messy and LOUD work, but it's effective. 

Screen Shot 2018-07-26 at 4.09.58 PM.png

As with the other bathroom in our house, there had been a slow, continuous leak for who knows how long in the pipes between the bathrooms. Some patching had been done, but nobody had actually fixed the issue in years past. We don't want to do any project half-assed so to speak, so we made sure to replace all of the pipes that needed replacing, and replaced joists and sub flooring. This was the subfloor when the tile flooring came up. Shocking that we didn't just fall through to the crawl space--it was paper thin and crumbly with some areas of no sub flooring at all. 

Now that everything is out, let's look at the design plan. 

Screen Shot 2018-08-06 at 3.54.10 PM.png

This was the original plan which did change a little, but it started here. We knew we wanted a wall hung vanity in a warm wood tone, a dual flush/modern toilet, round black frame mirror with black sconces, herringbone stone tiles, black ceiling, white walls, and large white body tiles on the sides of the shower, black faucet, chrome shower fixture and towel bars. 

Here's a look at how things would lay out once we took over that closet and where the different tiles and colors will go. 

The Sketup plan. 

The Sketup plan. 

The first step after demo was pocket door installation. Even after we expanded into the closet, the bathroom was still only 10ft long x 5ft wide, we needed to save as much space as we possibly could. When Victor and I are both brushing our teeth or getting ready at the sink, the door being in the way just doesn't work. So, this in-swing door gets the boot. 

We went to an outlet for building supplies in our area and found this solid wood, unfinished pretty 5-light door with ribbed glass. Most bathrooms would not benefit from a glass panel door, but this bathroom in our master bedroom, and you can't see through the ribbed glass so it's still very private for us and that extra light coming in makes the bathroom feel larger, too. 

I sanded, stained, and finished the door with Sherwin Williams English Chestnut and a clear satin varnish. It's so nice to have the extra space this door gives us! In the 1960s houses, pocket doors were everywhere. I'm not sure why they fell out of favor, but I'm a fan and love to use them in tight spaces in particular. They're a great solution for small spaces and are often a much better choice than the super popular barn door, depending on the location and architectural style.  

Next up: the plumbing gets moved. I was working in my office as the plumber was sawing into the new subfloor to relocate the shower drain and pulling the new pipes to the correct heights for the new fixtures. All of a sudden I see Weezy out of the corner of my eye. 


I guess she thought the new subfloor smelled good so she sneaked in behind the plumber and got this disc of wood to play with. It was so cute! I let her play with it for a little bit but eventually it started to splinter so I had to take it away from her :( This is not design related, but it is incredibly cute so I figure everyone should see it. I love it when she acts like a puppy still, even in her gray-faced years. 


New drywall and durarock went up, and then the entire shower got thoroughly waterproofed. This is an essential step! If there is a void in the grout, or a crack ever occurs, water can wreak havoc but with proper waterproofing, it wont be so tragic. 

The other side of the pocket door wall in the bedroom needed some drywall patching at the same time to make it smooth and as if the pocket door had always been there. While we had the wall opened up, Victor moved the electrical so that the TV which hangs on this wall can be plugged in without any dangling, ugly cords. He's good. 


I wanted the tile to flow from the entry up the back wall, and then up onto the ceiling of the shower with the remaining ceiling area finished with black paint (Sherwin Williams Iron Ore, which you can see on my bedroom walls below). Ideally, we would have had no shower curb and a linear drain so I could have had this herringbone pattern on the shower floor as well, but that is $$$ soooo we selected a different shape tile in the same stone for the shower floor. 

Pattern time!

Pattern time!

Painted ceiling in Sherwin Williams Iron Ore, semi-gloss finish

Painted ceiling in Sherwin Williams Iron Ore, semi-gloss finish

Side walls get large format white body tiles, stack bond pattern. Stack bond is straight up and down, not in a brick pattern.

Side walls get large format white body tiles, stack bond pattern. Stack bond is straight up and down, not in a brick pattern.

The reason we had to go with a pebble style tile for the floor is because of the angle of a shower floor. A 3" x 3" tile is the largest you should go in a traditional shower pan so that the pitch to the drain can be achieved without risk of cracking tiles or sharp corners sticking up. We did use the same tiles from the herringbone pattern on the curb and rounded by sanding to keep the corners from being sharp. This is another important thing to remember in bathroom remodeling. Either use a bullnose trim tile if available, a trim like Schluter systems to cap the end of tiles with no pencil or bullnose option, or, if it is a natural stone, have it rounded by a professional tile installer. 

The sconce boxes shown here. The mirror will go centered between them. 

The sconce boxes shown here. The mirror will go centered between them. 


I selected Pewter Gray grout so that the pattern would show up, but it would not feel too stark and high contrast. We had enough contrast with the white walls and black ceiling and floors. The same grout was used for all the of the tile. You can see in the above photo that we had 3 niches built into the end wall. I did not want shampoo bottles to show when you look into the bathroom. The showstopper tile wall would be interrupted with bottles and it just wouldn't be right. The bottom niche is perfect for leg propping and shaving. It's really great because it works just like a step without creating a break in the herringbone design.

Vanity is hung, toilet is in, almost all of the shower fixtures are in.

Vanity is hung, toilet is in, almost all of the shower fixtures are in.

Finally, we hung the mirror, lights, and the shower glass is installed. We selected just one piece of frameless glass from floor to ceiling with a comfortable 24in opening. Since we are using a rain shower head, this works really well. I wouldn't recommend this same arrangement for someone using a traditional shower head as the amount of overspray could get out of hand in that situation. 

The finished bathroom feels serene, modern, clean, and super functional. It feels so much more high end and spacious, even though we added only 24 additional inches to the length of the space. 

Someday soon I hope to have Christina Wedge photograph this space to really do it justice. I am so happy with it! We have SO MUCH more space, and the function all around is exactly what we need. It's amazing when storage and function is considered in a design, how easy it is to keep it organized and clean :)

Tell us, what's your favorite part of this renovation? What does your dream bathroom look like?


Marietta Traditional Project: Family Room

Starting from scratch is not alway necessary in design. In fact, sometimes the nicest results come from blending together new and old and updating the old to feel like new. That's just what we did with the Marietta Traditional Project and I love the results! 





As you can see, the room was not bad! It has good seating, solid, good quality furniture, and lots of storage. BUT, it also has dare I say too much storage and the built-ins with the large cabinetry visually overlap one another (their lines do, not physically overlapping). This space is just off of a porch so the window is shaded and there is not much natural light at all. Because of that, it feels dark and the darker colors on the furniture feel even darker than they are. 


My client did some smart things to try to get more light in the room with lighting and a mirror to bounce light around. There are 3 points of light (table lamps, overhead, and floor lamp) but it still felt dark and the cabinet on the left feels heavy and a little oppressive for the space. 


As you can see here, the window is a little odd. It's sort of a bay window but the wall does not follow the shape of the windows at all. The crown moulding all around makes the walls feel shorter with the vaulted ceilings being minimized by the horizontal line of the crown. 


Yes, the cutest family ever lives here. This area is technically a part of the family room but feels almost more a part of the breakfast room. Just off the backdoor and between the family room and breakfast room, this space did not have much function. The kids have grown up a lot since this portrait, and while they're still small, they're not using a tiny table this small anymore. This space needed functionality and purpose. 


Screen Shot 2018-04-20 at 1.00.08 PM.png

The plan started with electrical. We needed to get more light on the subject so I drew up a plan for the layout of the room and added can lights across the ceiling to distribute more even lighting. We kept the existing wiring for the ceiling fan and swapped the fan out for a really pretty light fixture. In the South, we need fans. They're not pretty but they're often very necessary. However, in this room, due to a very good HVAC system and a nice shady situation thanks to the porch, a fan was not needed so so we could ditch it in favor for something much more attractive!

You'll notice a few other pieces have changed in this floor plan, more on those later. 


Next, we devised a plan to address those windows. This expert drawing above (ha!) shows the plan: to make the window feel like it was supposed to be that way with drapery. I determined that the layout of the space was actually the best layout to use in this case, so the sofa was to stay put. We selected this gorgeous fabric with some embroidery detail to span the space as both a valance and drapery panels on either side. Now, I know most of the time a valance is used, it's over the top of the panels and hardware but I really wanted that pretty hardware to show and to put the valance as flush against the wall as possible to minimize the look of that gap between the window and the wall. 


My clients really like their existing rug, so we kept it and used it for the basis of the color scheme. The walls were yellow with white trim and a popcorn ceiling. To start, we selected a very soft neutral with a bit of pigment in it. It's not a great idea to paint a dark room too white--it will look sad and lonely and cold. SO we chose Sherwin Williams Conservative Gray. We used this color on nearly the entire first floor of the house to create a nice flow from room to room. The color has a little blue, a little green, and is a nice neutral backdrop that still holds its own. The painters took down the crown moulding, skimmed the ceiling, and painted the walls and ceiling Conservative Gray and WHAT A DIFFERENCE!


Like I said earlier, you don't have to start from scratch. While we were making some big changes in this space, we did not replace and of the upholstered furniture! When you buy good quality pieces, they'll be an investment up front, but you'll have some serious quality that lasts you for years and years. If your tastes change, great--just re-cover it! And that is just what we did. Using the rug as inspiration for the color scheme and our new soft neutral walls, I selected a beautiful tan and cream stripe for the wingback chairs, an animal print for the ottoman in a hardwearing stain-resistant material, and some splashed of green on the pillows. Pretty trims tie it all together for a complete look. 

The sofa is a nice leather that was still in great shape. However, the cushions had taken a bit of a beating of the years and were looking a little sad and saggy. My awesome upholsterer came to the rescue and reformed the cushions with a nice foam interior that will stand up to lots more sitting and maybe even a little jumping! After that, the sofa looked as good as new. 

Screen Shot 2018-04-20 at 1.43.08 PM.png

Remember the little area with the tiny table? Well, to make it functional, I suggested we create a little mudroom. As you can see in this hyper realistic drawing ;) we did just that with a piece of custom made furniture. It has hooks for coats and hats, baskets to keep shoes in, and cubbies for homework and mail so that it can be hidden away and off the kitchen countertops. For comfort when taking shoes on and off, we added a cushion on top. 



Now we have a smoothed ceiling, more light throughout the room, new decorative light fixture, reupholstered ottoman and wingback chairs, all new pillows, new chair in corner, basket for blankets, new side tables, drapery, media cabinet fitted to the room size in a dark finish to balance the color of the sofa, restyled bookshelves, custom artwork over the mantel, moulding and large cabinetry removed, new hardware on the doors of built-in cabinet doors, and a very functional family space. 


Our gorgeous custom piece for keeping shoes and coats and homework serves its purpose well and keeps things tidy and functional. The cushion is upholstered in the same material as the wingback chairs across the room to create some continuity. We actually had these baskets custom made to be stained in the same finish as the wood on top of the cubbies and fit perfectly into each cubby and I love them! It's so satisfying how perfect they are. 

As you can see, it is very possible to take what you have and make it work for you. Use a little imagination, be willing to make big changes, and be honest with yourself about what is working and what is not in your home. Is it too dark, too crowded, too hot, too cold, too loud? Whatever the issues are that are bothering you, use that to begin your redecorating and then let your favorite pieces inspire your look going forward. We loved all of the furniture my client already had, it just needed a fresh look. They love their rug, so it was the inspiration for the color scheme and just like that, we were on our way to creating a beautiful and well loved space that is the heart of the home for this sweet family and you can do the same with your home. 

If you need help making the best use of what you have and you want your home to be the best it can be, contact me today to schedule your consultation!

Design, concepts, and written content by Susie Mae Design.

All completed room images by Christina Wedge Photography