Transitioning From Full to Half Bath: Why and How We Did It

3 Materials
2 Days

Our little cottage is more than sixty years old. It’s quaint and has a ton of character and little touches that builders today just tend to overlook. For instance, we have this set of tiny, floating shelves in one corner of our kitchen that I just could not bear to tear out during our remodel because you simply can’t find sweet details like that anymore!

However, one of the things that caught our eye the most about this property was an added-on full bathroom that the former owners had made. When the husband had gotten ill, he needed a handicap-accessible bathroom nearby, so they partitioned off half of the formal living room to make space for it. The result? As soon as anyone entered the side porch door (which is next to the driveway and the primary point of entry into our home), they were greeted immediately by a toilet with a shower and vanity beside of it.

This wasn’t an issue when it was just my husband and I living in the home, but when we started having kids, privacy became more of an issue. Moreover, no one wants to have someone peeping in the front door while they’re trying to use the bathroom or take a shower. So, we set out to transform it, and here is how we did it.

First, we removed the shower and vanity. When we remodeled this property, we added two full bathrooms and bedrooms upstairs. As such, we really didn’t need an extra shower. We had enough for our children to use in their bedrooms, and we had the master bathroom shower and soaking garden bath.

We really only needed a guest toilet and new vanity, so that could save space right there. We removed the toilet from the left side of the bathroom and installed a brand new one on the right side, with the tank against the exterior wall of our home. Then, we installed new hardwoods all over the space.

A simple new vanity from the cabinet store in town, coupled with a marble sink top and speciality faucet because my husband is a plumber, and we were good to go. Because this is such a tiny space, I wanted to use a paint color that would really brighten the room up and make it appear larger. This paint hue came from my local hardware store and was called Beach Scene. I love the way it looks blue in one light, but seafoam green or even teal in the next, depending on how the sunlight hits the space.

On the other side of the room, not pictured because it is a mess of bookbags, shoes and homework at the moment, is a little mudroom bench area. Our contractor worked diligently to create for us a built-in cabinet with a padded seat underneath to act as a sort of catch-all for our daily lives. I worked with the same upholsterer who created the cushions and custom pillows for our couch and loveseat. Using the same fabric, he made me a custom bench cover that matches perfectly!

Because we used oil-rubbed bronze hardware for the built-in bench portion of the room, I wanted to be sure and use oil-rubbed bronze features in the guest bath wherever possible. I found this adorable barn light pendant online in the same tone and snatched it up right away. For the longest time, I wanted to get my neighbors to make me a custom mirror for this space using barn wood from their shop. However, they had a family situation to take care of and weren’t able to get back with me right away.

As anyone who has ever worked on a remodeling project knows, when you get an idea on your mind, time is of the essence. Not one to wait, I headed to the store and grabbed this pretty mirror for less than $50. It was a steal and I think it matches the style and aesthetic of the guest bath so well.

Before we took on this project, the guest bathroom was actually covered in the same indoor/outdoor carpet as the formal living room. It was a very light pink and while it was terrible in the sense that it held in moisture and was a mildew attractant, it was actually kind of a fun look.

That said, we were going for “forever house” with this one, and the carpet had to go. You can read more here on the various types of carpet that work in home spaces, and while I’m sure there is another type we could have put down, we thought hardwoods would be the best way to go. Plus, the space outside the guest bathroom feeds right into our living room, so we had to make sure the flooring matched.

I also decorated with simple antique finds wherever I could. The art on the wall is a thrifted piece from my local thrift shop. I actually chose the Beach Scene paint color based on the colors of this artwork. If you look very closely, you can see scratch marks all along the frame and the picture itself is browning on one edge, but I like to think that’s what gives it its character and charm. I also added this sweet iron magazine holder I picked up at an estate sale. As someone who loves a good lifestyle or home decorating magazine, I needed a place to store my collection safely out of reach of tiny, curious hands!

All in all, this was a project that I’m really proud of and it’s a space we use every single day. For that, I am grateful and I look forward to making more tiny, yet significant changes and updates to this property as we go along. While I am all about decorating and designing for functionality, as we didn’t need the full bath anymore, this was a simple way to add some privacy to the area, make it more practical for our family’s use and ensure that anyone who comes in the front door can walk right into the living room without fear of encroaching on anyone’s personal space.

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Brooke Bowman
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