Doug’s bathroom

Hello everyone, Doug here.  Several of you have asked to see more of my new place, so I thought I’d give you a glimpse of another room.  This maybe isn’t the most exciting room to feature, but the kitchen and bedroom still are missing a few things that I want to add before I show them to you.

My bathroom is a classic 5×8 all the fixtures on one wall layout.  I’m sure a lot of you have a very similar bathroom in your house.  Because the layout of the room is so ordinary, I wanted to do some things to make the room a little more interesting.  Prior to renovation the room had standard 4×4 white tile and a nondescript 12×12 floor.  All white and all boring.

The design elements of this room are taken from two bathrooms we designed for clients–one at Lake Martin and one here in Mountain Brook.  I think the one thing that makes the biggest difference between my bathroom and the millions of others out there that look just like it is the arched tub surround.  The lower ceiling height over the tub gets rid of that awkward ceiling space above the curtain and it gives the room a focal point.

The tile inside the tub area and on the ceiling of the arch is a mosaic brick joint Carrara marble tile from Akdo.  I had a waterproof recessed can added in ceiling above the tub which is something that we always do–and you should too–bathroom lighting always feels inadequate without a light in the ceiling above a tub or shower.  Ideally you should switch it separately from the other lights (which I did here).

As far as tile goes for the rest of the room, the bath has a wainscot of Cararra marble to match the tub surround.  Little tiles everywhere would have been really busy (and expensive) so one of our favorite tricks is employed here, cutting 12×12 material in half and installing in a brick joint pattern.  12×12 tiles are usually the least expensive way to buy natural stone so this works well no matter which variety of  stone you use.

Above the tile, 1×4 horizontal planking covers the upper walls.  A 3/4″ half-round piece of trim transitions between the two materials.

Last week when we posted about our favorite pedestal sinks, one of the sinks we featured was the Waterworks Exeter, which is what I have in my bathroom.  To make up for the storage space lost by not having a vanity cabinet, the contractor stole some space from the cabinets in my bedroom and snuck some linen storage behind the door.

The cabinet is just big enough for towels and a couple of canvas baskets. 

To add even more storage, an off-the-shelf medicine cabinet from Pottery Barn is recessed in the wall above the sink.

The light above the medicine cabinet is from Urban Archaeology and the faucet is the Dryden from Delta.

I think the only thing I haven’t showed you yet is the floor, which is actually a big part of the room’s design.  Because of all the white marble and China White painted planking above, it was important to introduce something that grounds all the other finishes in the room.  I had a white marble floor in my last bathroom–it was beautiful but it always looked dirty to me.  In this bathroom, 2×2 Lagos Azul tile, also from Akdo, blends really well with the black brown stain I specified for the hardwoods in the rest of the house and it is a really practical choice too.

The tiny vintage oushak rug is from Paige Albright Orientals.  I think it’s the perfect finishing touch.

33 thoughts on “Doug’s bathroom

  1. LOVE!!!!!!!!!!!!! Did you do this remodel work yourself? I would love to see some progress shots – like the framing of that arch! Absolutely beautiful… really!!! I saw a lovely old crystal door knob in the shot too! Bravo Doug!!! Like we expected anything less!


    • Thanks Erika–Aside from putting up the shower curtain and installing the towel ring and hook; all the credit goes to Glenn Sharp, the very talented contractor who made all this happen!

      And yes, glass door knobs to match the original 1940’s ones that were still on the front and back door…from Rejuvenation, highly recommend.



  2. Just been out looking for tiles for my bathroom redo. The greyish white marble is a popular look in the States and I like it but in British light, especially a north facing room, it can look cold and a little clinical. Big,BIG travertine rectangular tiles are popular here laid in a brick pattern. Not sure which way to go yet.
    Do like your sink but I am biased as I have chosen the same. I have also been struck by how popular shower curtains are in the States. I have mentioned this before and had my head ‘chewed off’ so they must be held with a lot of affection over there! Thank you for showing your own bathroom. I know that showing something of your own must be a very different experience to showing work in a clients home. Thankyou also for the tip about cutting the 12×12 s in half. I hadn’t thought of that.


    • That’s funny, I actually don’t love shower curtains either. A glass enclosure was going to be $$$ and I was afraid that as small as the shower area is, that the glass would always be wet and spotted so a curtain it is.



  3. Doug, I’m sure I can dig up a few photo’s of the work in progress. Without a doubt, one of the most fun project we have had the opportunity to work on.

    Sharp Remodeling Specialty


  4. do u actually live there??? where’s the hair, grime and dirt??? 🙂
    looks too clean – do u need me to come over and muck it up??

    besides it being way too perfect…it is, well, perfect, douglas! i’m proud of u! u r the best damned designer i’ve ever seen (or been friends with)! ur awesome!


  5. Looks great. I’m especially fond of the small rectangle marble tiles. I like them in kitchen backsplashes too. Thank you for being so generous with all the details about where to source things. It shows that a great result can be achieved with accessible materials. It doesn’t have to all be from Waterworks to look great.

    A couple things I noticed are the picture above the toilet and the switches on the door wall. Is the picture something that opens? It looks like it has a hinge. The top switch looks like it controls something (other than light). I also have a question about the 3-switch panel. Something I’ve been wondering about (and trying to pay attention to now when I view houses) is whether it is more common to use the large paddle-style switches or the older-style that you have used. It’s probably just a personal preference, but I’m curious. I recently replaced all of the switches in my house with the paddle-style. I also used the Aspire line of switch plate covers from Cooper Lighting. They hide the screws, but I’m wondering if they might be too contemporary looking. I’ve been going back to look at pictures of my favorite houses and it doesn’t look like any of them tried to hide the screws in the switch plates.

    Sorry to get so long winded…


    • You beat me to my next post…the little marble tiles are my kitchen backsplash too!

      Regarding the frame, you caught me recycling…it’s actually a shadowbox frame I had that fit the print perfectly (which my brother and sister in law bought me in San Francisco) so I stuck it in there. I’ve been meaning to switch the hanging stuff on the back and flip it so you can’t see the hinges for like three years and you can see how far I’ve got with that.

      Regarding light switches, I think it’s a matter of preference. My absolute favorites are push button, but they are difficult to dim and can only be ganged in pairs (I think, maybe three….I know you can’t do large quantities of switches together). If I can’t have those (they are $$$) I like to go with traditional flip switches. The paddle style are too contemporary for my taste, but I do like the that you can’t see the screws. Especially because I am OCD enough that all the screws have to have the line going up and down or it makes me nuts. Wow….there’s a glimpse into my personality I could have kept to myself–that’s terrifying! Anyway, we’ve used some of the other kinds on some projects, usually in conunction with a whole house automation system and they’re fine too. For my humble little house, old school flip switches were adequate. 9 times out of 10 I choose anything traditional and classic and old school but that doesn’t make newer styles of things bad.

      The control above the light switches is for the whole house A/V system…there’s a speaker in the ceiling above the sink. I have no idea why I didn’t have it installed next to the light switches instead of half way up the damn wall, but it’s there so I’m living with it.



  6. I love the archway! Great idea! And the tiles are perfect next to the dark wood floors. Such a beautiful bathroom! Can’t wait to see the rest of your home!


  7. this really is our guest bath exactly!! My favorite part is the arch over the tub!!! Also,I did the same thing with the 6×12 marble on our floor in our new master bath, so this is really my style!


  8. Oh, WOW!! I have a bathroom with the exact same layout (built in the 40’s). Never have been able to decide what to do with the tub…and, wow, you had a vision…of perfection. Love the floor…I have the white marble that you mentioned…and, yes, it looks dirty most of the time. Thanks for sharing, Doug. Put the finishing touches on the kitchen and bedroom because we are dying to see them!


  9. Doug! Love your bathroom! Your tile selection is perfect. I just put lagos azul on a client’s bathroom floor and it’s awesome… It also looks killer with white grout. That is, if you can find a place for it where it won’t get dirty! Great job with the renovation, and p.s.- I’ll pay you to come organize my bathroom closet. xoRH


  10. Doug,
    You bathroom redo is beautiful and timeless! Do you love your Dryden faucet? We are building at Lake Martin and I was considering it as my guest bathroom fixtures. American Standard makes a cool one too.Did you consider it? Considering Delta’s affordability ,using it with Waterworks and Urban Archeology you have shown that money spent wisely can achieve a great end result!


    • I’m very satisified with the Dryden faucet, it was a good compromise to some of the more expensive fixtures in the room. It doesn’t necessarily matter where each piece is from as long as it all works well together visually!



  11. This is the answer I have been searching for! The east coast blizzards finally froze our pipes and flooded our guest bath/powder room 4’6″X8′ with a 9′ ceiling. I have the exact layout (but 6″ narrower). We have stripped it down to the studs and just put in new subfloor. I have searched all my magazines, books and the internet for a plan. I had planned to do a soffet with crown, and somehow rig the shower curtain on a sleek rod, but the arch is brilliant! I despise the “awkward ceiling space” & ugly shower rods, and and tile surrounds that stop at 7′ and that is what you see straight on. The tiled ceiling in the arch steals the show and takes all the ‘ugly’ away from the shower rod. I too wold love to see the progress construction photos on the arch. I am afraid our rural carpenters don’t know this trick. Also my depth space on the vanity wall is only 19″ can I use a 20-21″ deep vanity right there in the entry way? Should I look for a rounded pedestal like Mirabelle St Augustine? I am considering making our 29.5″ door into a 24″ door to gain vanity space. Finally, where can one find that shower curtain and could it be monogramed?


  12. Doug,
    Beautiful tile choices! I do have one question…How is the Lagos Azul holding up in a wet area? I have a client (in Georgia) interested in using this in a bathroom also, however my vendor doesn’t recommend this material for use in a wet environment. Have you experienced any problems or issues? Any advice would be great. Thanks!


  13. Pingback: To make up for the storage space lost by not having a vanity cabinet, the contractor stole some space from the cabinets in my bedroom and snuck some linen storage behind the door. @ My-House-My-HomeMy-House-My-Home

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