A Beige Bath Turns Blue Beauty

This prewar bath gets a classic look with a modern twist: a penny tile shower in many shades of blue

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Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on March 15, 2017. We’re bringing it back to celebrate the color blue, a hue that’s been popular in home design for centuries. In Victorian kitchens, a touch of blue was added to the walls because it was believed to keep flies away and make the room feel cooler. Blue is calming; it makes us think of the ocean and inspires deep thought and reflection. Plus, it’s been popping up everywhere in Sweeten renovations; in Tina and Fletcher’s navy blue cabinets, Jeanne and Philip’s moody blue shower, Mollie’s kitchen cabinets and wallpaper, and the cornflower blue tile in Meredith’s master bath. Check out the slideshow below. We love the dusky blue wall paint and mosaic of penny tile in Rachel and Michael’s bathroom and we think you’ll love it too.

the color blue in kitchens and bathrooms

Project: Overhaul a very beige bathroom in Jackson Heights, Queens

Before: Owners Rachel and Michael didn’t want to go super modern with their bathroom update, so they went with a classic look that complemented their apartment’s prewar roots. The original space was dark and in an uninspiring neutral, the shower cramped and confined by uneven walls, and old chipped tile throughout had clearly seen better days.

After: Keeping the existing layout intact, the couple posted their project and chose a Sweeten contractor to take on the crucial updates, starting with tearing down the unnecessary wall framing of the showerwhich added an extra 9 inches to the height of the showerand swapping the old glass door for a new one. With a bigger and brighter space to fill, a waterfall of penny tile in various shades of blue shines as a showpiece. The open and light-filled shower with its mosaic of penny tile is now Michael’s favorite part of the bathroom.

A dusky shade of blue paint dominates the upper half of the walls while balancing the crackle-finish white subway tile with the right amount of contrast. White hexagon floor tile adds another layer of pattern. The tub also experienced a major improvement: out went the old tub with a clunky, external drainage system, and in went the new with an integrated system, vintage-style wall-mount tub filler, and a tiled tub surround. After a month of going back and forth on deciding on the replacement, the couple switched out the boxy, builder-grade vanity for an open console design, making the space feel considerably larger. A mirrored medicine cabinet and triple-light fixture over the vanity—Rachel’s favorite details—complete the look. The result? A room once bathed in beige gets a new energy.

Bonus: Dust bunnies averted! Michael noted that his contractor did a spectacular job of keeping the bathroom clean, combating the huge amount of dust generated by the work.

Style finds: Wall color in Hale Navy from Benjamin Moore. 24″-wide console sink, Parlington tub fixtures from Signature Hardware. Medicine cabinet by Restoration Hardware. Archie Collection vanity light from Progress LightingEdenton tub by Mirabelle. Rain/handheld shower heads and toilet by Kohler. Ceiling light by Rejuvenation.

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Whether bold or subtle, tile creates dimension and texture on any plain surface. Set in a classy neutral, we love the unexpected shape of Kelly’s glass bath tile.

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