Spa Inspired Bathroom Remodel

Bathroom Reveal: Inspired by the Spa

This bathroom started out as a poor excuse for a master bathroom. It was small and ill-configured to the point that only one person could be in it at a time. We pushed the wall out 15″ into the front yard, added a pocket door to save space, and reconfigured the entire room.


Creating a bathroom that makes you feel like you’re at a day spa is as easy as paying attention to the little things. Here are some little things that make a big difference:

  1. Pocket door with opaque glass panels. With a small bedroom and a small bathroom, swing space for a standard door was hard to come by. So, we installed a pocket door with flair. The opaque panels ensure privacy, but elevate the look of the entire space.
  2. The color palette. This couple really wanted a clean and simple color palette, but the bathroom isn’t boring because we used a lot of rich texture from the shower surround to the tiles on the floor.
  3. Custom glass doors with minimalist attachments. Curtains and sliders each pose their own challenges, but most of all they’re a design challenge. Installing custom glass doors with minimalist hinges and attachments does 2 things: keeps the design clean, and actually stays clean. Because there are no tracks or seals for moisture to get trapped in, this bathroom is sure to remain low-maintenance.
  4. Speaker fan. You need to have a fan no matter what, may as well make it sing. The fan selected for this bathroom has a bluetooth signal so you can wind down to classical tunes or get jazzed up for a night out.
  5. Backlit mirror. For a little more than a standard mirror, you can upgrade to one with backlighting, much like you see in department store dressing rooms or nice hotels.
  6. Custom sandblasted window framing. While we could have framed the window just like the door or any other window in their house, we chose to make it a feature. This custom sandblasted Douglas fir adds an element of rustic refinement. Complemented with feminine decor and you have a winning combo.

Bathroom Remodel Quick Tip: Tile Size & Orientation

There are a couple small things that make a big difference when selecting your floor tile and determining the orientation.

  1. The size of your tiles should be proportionate to the size of your bathroom. Most big box home improvement stores have a good variety of stock tile to choose from. But, they also limit the size options. This becomes problematic when they only offer 18″-24″ tiles and you have a small to medium-sized bathroom. Large tiles in a small bathroom won’t work because you don’t have enough room to create a discernible pattern. It’s really unappealing and can make the bathroom feel even smaller. If you can’t find 12″ or 8″ tiles at your usual home improvement store, try a specialty store that can order almost any tile you want in any size. The exception: if you have a large bathroom and plenty of room to show off 18″ tiles, go for it. Large tiles in a large bathroom can make a grand impression.

    Large tiles square to wall.

    Large tiles in a small bathroom can make the room feel even smaller

  2. Choose an orientation that gives the bathroom more character. Laying your floor tiles in a checkerboard orientation square to the walls is certainly the easy route because it requires relatively little detail work, but this shortcut will leave your bathroom looking plain. Want proof? Look at any public restroom and you’ll see the tile pattern that requires the least amount of handiwork. Two better options that create a more visually appealing aesthetic: turn the tiles exactly 45 degrees so they are diagonal, or offset the tiles in a brick pattern. This last tip is especially important for rectangular tiles.

    Tiles square to the walls

    Tiles square to the walls

Which of these flooring options appeal most to you?


Small square tiles in brick pattern


Square tiles in a diagonal orientation

Simple Bathroom Update for a College Area Home

We recently worked with a couple in the San Diego State area who needed to update their bathroom… desperately. The arrangement of the vanity, toilet and shower couldn’t change because of the small square footage and location of key pipelines. But, you’ll surely agree everything inside had to go.


Bathroom remodel (before)

Work done:

  • Demoed and removed all components, tile, door, and finishings
  • Knocked out an unneeded arch over the shower that closed it in and made it feel dark
  • Replaced the hardie backer for a new, moisture resistant backing on the floors and inside the shower
  • Installed new recessed lighting
  • Tiled the floor and shower (adding a much-needed shampoo shelf)
  • Replaced and patched drywall
  • Resurfaced the walls
  • Painted
  • Installed the vanity and toilet
  • Hung a new door
  • Attached all finishes


photo (4) Bathroom remodel - vanity

photo (2) photo (1)

All of their selections, including the tile and vanity, were in-stock at Home Depot making this a quick project.

They are very happy with the result and they know it will be a valuable selling point when they decide to put their house on the market.