Before & After: Powder Room Makeover

The powder room, a.k.a. the half bath, is a great place to experiment with style. Due to the small size and limited assortment of fixtures (typically just a toilet and sink), powder room renovations can be opportunities to splurge on fun features that might be too costly in a larger space. And believe me, a few small splurges can go a long way. The powder room renovation shown here is a perfect example of how minor changes can have major impact. Witness the before pictures:

HZ Bathroom Before Picture


This bathroom had not been renovated for more than 25 years. Bright and cheerful, the room suffered very little wear and tear over the last quarter-decade and had never demanded repair. Nonetheless, the homeowners were ready for change. Down came the pastel floral wallpaper, and up went grasscloth, saturated paint, and warm metallics. The flooring, toilet, pedestal sink, toilet paper holder, and shelf stayed. We replaced the wall covering, mirror, lighting, artwork and accessories. Our goal was to give the space a hint of drama to keep things interesting, while still maintaining a cohesive color flow with the adjoining laundry room and family room.




With so little wall to cover, we were able to splurge on gorgeous grasscloth without blowing the budget.



We saw no need to replace the old hardware. Haven’t you heard? Brass is back! We enhanced the existing brass elements by adding a mirror and light fixture with complimentary warm patinas. We didn’t worry about matching the exact finish of the metals, but we kept them within the same color family.





The biggest challenge we encountered during the installation involved the light fixture. We originally had a funky double sconce with milk glass shades and Edison bulbs. The oiled bronze metal finish was lovely and the proportion of the fixture was perfect. Unfortunately, the milk glass shade was too opaque, creating a sharp line of shadow around the entire perimeter of the room. The lower 6 feet of wall glowed beautifully, but the top 2 feet and ceiling were completely dark. Other glass shades had a similar effect, either due to the shade itself or the metal hardware. We needed diffuse light on all sides of the fixture. Enter the Graydon Double Bath Light from Thomas O’Brien. Not only did it minimize the shadows, but it is a more timeless and versatile fixture than the trendy Edison bulb sconce. Stylistically our problem was solved, but one more dilemma remained. The glass of the new fixture was still more opaque than expected, and it didn’t emit enough light to offset the dark paint and grasscloth. We swapped out the original bulbs for warm LED’s, which produced a more powerful glow without exceeding the fixtures wattage limits.



So what do you think?  Did we achieve major impact by changing just a handful of elements?



The grasscloth wallpaper was purchased through The Treasure Trove in Lafayette, California. The paint color is by Benjamin Moore. The mirror is the Compass Mirror from Wisteria. The light fixture is the Graydon Double Bath Light in Hand Rubbed Antique Brass, purchased through Neena’s Lighting. The hand towels, floor mat, and baskets came from Homegoods. The artwork is from my client’s personal collection.

Photo Credits: All photography is by Frederic Zerah

3 thoughts on “Before & After: Powder Room Makeover

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