Happy day my friends!  Today is gonna be all about bathrooms- the ins and outs of determining whether you need a full reno or just some cosmetic updates, as well as what I’ve been dreaming about for our two bathrooms!  {A big thank you to Kohler for their support and sponsorship of this post!}


First up: the green Jack and Jill bathroom.  I totally understand the vision of the owner who previously remodeled this bathroom. Our house is Spanish, built in 1926, their design makes sense in keeping with that theme in a very literal (but moderately updated) way.  But my design loving heart yearns to make this bathroom into something special- a showpiece rather than something that just simply makes sense.  Here’s the great thing about it though- we can make cosmetic updates and make this room SING!  Here are a few images I pulled for inspiration.


{Images via:  1 / 2 / 3 /4 / 56 /7}

I’ve never tackled a bathroom remodel before- so when I started thinking about the design process and all of the elements- it became a little daunting.  It’s not like I’m familiar with a million places to get sinks and faucets the way I am with rugs and pillows.  So I started shopping around on the major bathroom brands sites and became even more overwhelmed. But then I discovered Kohler- and realized that they really stock almost EVERYTHING I need to make both our bathrooms the dream bathrooms that my design obsessed brain can’t stop envisioning- and the site design makes it almost effortless instead of completely daunting.  And if coming up with inspiration and ideas is a challenge for you, they have an IDEAS section of their website that has inspiration ideas and mood boards as well as a planning resources section that is invaluable.

So here’s how I planned the bathroom- I took my laptop into the room, a measuring tape and I sat on the floor and went through Kohler’s website.  Literally.  On the floor, in the space, letting my imagination and the space speak to me.  The site also has an amazing feature that lets you create folders- so I created a folder for the room and just added pieces that I loved to it as I went- this was huge because it really helped me visualize it all together.  And then I measured to make sure the pieces I loved and envisioned would fit.

I thought about things like replacing the shower  with something modern and realized that I didn’t want to take away from some of the original charm- that the coved entrance to the shower was more important to me than my love of modern glass shower doors, but that installing this overhead shower and these faucets would turn it into a space I’d be happy to shower in.  Once I’d picked out all of the fixtures I started thinking about some other design elements.  I love the original tile that’s in there but it’s in rough shape.  And I crave a little more drama in a bathroom, so I started the hunt for some black and white tiles that would pay homage to the Spanish style of the home but also give the modern clean fixtures I’d picked something to stand out against!  I also want to make it more spacious- installing a more streamlined sink, replacing the light fixtures with something with less visual weight and taking out those built-in cabinets and installing open shelves will do just that!


{Sources: b+w tile, shower head, floating shelf, towel bars, medicine cabinet mirror, shower valve, faucet, sconces, towel hooks, soap holder, vanity shelf, towel ring, sink, white tile, toilet}

Above is my design inspiration board for the room featuring the Kohler products I picked as well as tile and a few other design elements I’d love to add.  It gives me chill bumps to see it- I know that the day we manage to transform this bathroom will be a VERY exciting one!!!


Next up:  the master bath.  I think sometimes you have to live in a space to truly understand what can be improved upon.  I know some of you are fans of this room as is- and I get that, I can see the charm too.  But it’s totally not our style (also I promise it looks significantly prettier in the photos than in person).  And functionally, there’s just a few things that don’t make sense.  For instance- most of the light in the room comes from windows that are IN the shower.  Which means that if the shower curtain is open and drying out, the room is relatively dark (these photos were all taken pre-curtain, so it’s effectively much darker in there now that it’s a functional shower.  It also has really extra tiny sinks- which I actually really love BUT not in a master bedroom.

The third quirky thing I realized is that there are two doors to get into the bathroom- one at the end of the extremely long hallway, and one from our bedroom.  The one from our bedroom makes sense- it’s a master suite bathroom.  But the hallway entrance is unnecessary- we already have a guest bathroom and that door makes an already small-ish bathroom even smaller!  It also prevents us from hanging art at the end of the long beautiful hallway.  These old houses tend to have a lot of doors, but they’re not always the most functional!


Sources: 1 / 2 / 3  / 4 / 5 / 67

So with these quirks in mind I once again sat on the bathroom floor with my measuring tape, the inspiration board above, the Kohler website and started playing around with ideas.  My first was to remove the door and move the bath/shower to the other side of the room.  This will allow us to install a big, bright window where the two tiny ones are that are currently hidden behind a shower curtain.  This means the toilet will move to the opposite side as well.  The other perk of doing this is that it gives us extra space to install a longer vanity- to truly take advantage of every square inch of the space.  It will also make the space feel bigger.

Since we’re already pretty much going to have to gut the bathroom, it gives me the perfect excuse to replace the ALL of the tiles with something that’s a more modern interpretation of Spanish.  Below you’ll see the moodboard I created with all of the items I’d pull together to make this our dream bathroom.  I love that like the other bathroom it’s modern, but honors the Spanish style of the house with the tile.  And I really love that there’s some cohesion between the master bath and the guest bath.  They’d both have their own distinct feel, but they go together and make sense living under the same roof.


{SOURCES: tub, bath & faucet trim, spout and handle,  black/white tilesubway tilemirror, sink faucets, vanity, drawer pulls, sinks, towel bars, toilet, toilet tissue holderhanging planters}

OK, so I’m a bathroom reno newbie- I still have yet to actually dip my toes into the part I imagine to be the most challenging (contractors!) but as far as design is concerned- I feel like I’ve got this.  And that it’s FAR less intimidating than I expected it to be.  Honestly, I think that if I had to source everything from a half dozen stores I might go bonkers trying to pick out pieces!  I hope this helps you all with any upcoming projects you have (we have a kitchen on the horizon which is full-on: walls to be knocked down and complete rearrangement of just about every single inch- and I’m thinking I’ll start the design process just about the same way I did with these- a mood board and then tackling it one step at a time!)  Good luck my fellow home reno-ers!  Please please please chime in below if you have any tips or experience to offer up to a newbie like myself!  xx- Sarah

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Reader Comments

  1. stephanie|

    This is SO beautiful! Thanks for the inspritation. Do you use a certain program to create your mood boards? They are fabulous:)

    • Sarah Yates|

      Thanks Stephanie! I use Photoshop. :) But it’s expensive and I know there are more simple programs out there I’m just not familiar with them. Good luck! xx

    • Sarah Yates|

      That sounds lovely Sasha! Share the photos with me if you have a chance, I’d love to see!!!! :)

  2. Ashley|


    Beautiful! We did a master bath Reno this last summer and did all Kohler products. We did the same Jute vanity but in white with hairpin legs and used an awesome tile from Cle for the floor. If you want to see pics let me know but you can’t go wrong with any of those Kohler options. We used the purist line for the rain head, knobs and body sprayers in the shower.

    • Sarah Yates|

      Ashley I would LOVE to see your reno!! It sounds amazing!! And I agree- these are top of the line and I love every last one of them!!!!

  3. Chance|

    So since you’re tearing apart the master bathroom (which hurts my heart deeply) would you consider selling me the mirrors from the room?? I just love them!

    • Sarah Yates|

      Absolutely! I’m not sure when the time will come, but if you hear me mention it here or on social media please just send me an email! xx

  4. Brittany|

    My husband and I just bought a house and our bathrooms are definitely in need of some updates. Just to put it into perspective, our guest bathroom has salmon tile on the walls…. yes, it’s as bad as it sounds. :) LOVE your mood boards and all the gold accents.

    • Sarah Yates|

      Ouch! Salmon color is good for SO many things- but bathroom tile is probably not one of them. Yikes! Well the great thing about owning is you can change it!!!!! Keep me posted as you update! xx

  5. emily lucente|

    I am totally and completely OBSESSED with both of these mood boards!! Seriously I am DYING over that fabulous black and white wall paper. LOVE LOVE LOVE. I can’t wait to see how they turn out!
    Thanks for the inspiration.

  6. Meg|

    Your post inspired me to pull the trigger on those Kohler Purist Faucets in the Moderne Brushed Gold. I called Kohler because I was having trouble viewing that color online and they DISCONTINUED it in May! (Insert frantic, wailing, crying emoji face). I’ve tried every wholesaler and distributor out there and can’t seem to track them down. If you find anything similar or have any luck, please let me know! xoxo

  7. Victoria Runda|

    I’d like to renovation my bathroom with my husband by my side one of these days. Not only will it make our living environment that much better, but it will also help to boost our home’s value if we ever decide to sell it. I’m just a bit nervous about the amount of time and skill it will take before we complete it.

  8. Betsy Love|

    Amazing project. You inspired me to start looking for new stuff for my bathroom. I am going to renovate it, too. Hope you will post more of your ideas. Greetings!

  9. Amy|

    Great article, all of your ideas look amazing! I love the mood boards you have created here, they really express the look which you are going for. I was thinking of renovating my bathroom in the next few months and this really has inspired me to do so.

  10. monty thiessen|

    thanks for these wonderful tips and reviews. I am also interested in bathroom styles and I like your work. I am the big fan of overhead shower. I will use your tactics for my bathroom.

  11. 'John.Smith@LuxioBath|

    We are thinking to redo ours. This post was really nice and actually i got one or two new ideas after reading it. Great post and Great blog.. Keep up the good work.

    P.S Really love the images you put up in the post

  12. Melanie W.|

    Awesome color combo! I’m not a fan of the double-handle faucets though. Sure they are classy, but they are also outdated. But they still look fabulous and they add up to your design. :)

  13. Susan|

    Thanks! Your inspiration boards are beautiful! I can not wait to find out how it all turns out in the end!

  14. Shakil Hasan|

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    Generally there are different options obtainable which will suit different tastes. I use Culligan shower filtration. I’ve had this pertaining to over 12 months today. We do not have got soft water, and I actually recommend this if you have the same issue. I replace the filtration every 6 month. We can tell a huge big difference with my hair (color) and skin. Suggest that! I got great reviews about it from http://topshowerhead.net . It was very informational and was helpful for my decision.

  15. Kenneth Baker|

    If you don’t mind I will borrow some of your ideas very soon. We have bathroom remodeling planned for 2016…

  16. Melvy|

    Hi Sarah, thanks for sharing this nice post. I really enjoyed reading. The ins and out of bathroom renovations you’ve managed to describe in a very good understanding manner.

    I also like the way you’ve planned your bathroom designing. It’s very creative and easy way indeed.

    Just wanted to ask you, if I adapt your strategy to make up a bathroom renovation plan for my house, is it okay to you?

  17. Sarah|

    Wow, I love the way you have given the bathroom a makeover. Looks exceptional.
    In re-making bathrooms, it is important to keep in mind the plumbing fixtures behind the scenes so that the new bathroom look remains stable for a long time. If the plumbing is not taken care of too well, repairs may arise regularly

  18. Louis|

    I got a lovely new bathroom suite and chrome pop up bath fittings from victoria plumb..all in for £258 (?) inc delivery as it was free when spending over £250. The suite was reduced in a sale originally too so was a bargain! Very happy with the product and speed of delivery.

    I used wickes tile paint on horrible mottled blue tiles when I moved in to my current house as a temporary fix before I could afford a proper bathroom replacement- it was only up close you could tell they were painted tiles and only really looked bad after I managed to scratch it when I accidentally pulled the shower rail down!! oops! As it was paint I think it was about a year when it started to look a bit shabby- If you go down that route I would recommend properly cleaning down the tiles using sugar soap and using a small foam roller to do thin layers to acheive a good finish.