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idea notebook

A Brilliant Bathroom Makeover



2. Alcove The existing arched nook created a room-within-aroom feeling that Corley liked. She just improved upon it by hiring a contractor to raise the arch, and the ceiling above the tub, by a few feet.

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3. tile The biggest upgrades? Classic subway tiles on the alcove walls ($5.95 per square foot; and an octagonal pattern on the floor ($4.95 per square foot; for similar), both in crisp white.



4. cabinet A $190 vintage cupboard, freshened up with white paint, provides extra storage—and old-school charm.

5. Medicine cabinet Corley had her contractor remove a chunk of wall so this $40 junk-shop cabinet would lie flush. 6. sink Thanks to its timeless shape and good condition, the room’s pedestal basin was the only fixture Corley didn’t replace.


See shop guide, page 143, for how to get the look.


“I’d finally had enough,” says Cathy Corley, of the 24 years she spent living with this pink-andblack bathroom (left) in her Birmingham, Alabama, home. Not only was the color scheme aggressive, but a depressing block of black tile covered what had been the 74-square-foot space’s only window. So, inspired by the charming 1920s loo in her grandmother’s house, Corley decided to lighten things up. She traded in her built-in tub for a vintage freestanding version and installed white tile and beadboard to create a neutral backdrop. For storage, Corley refurbished an old kitchen cabinet found at an antiques shop, then added pops of yellow to accent the newly painted gray-blue walls. “For so long, I wanted to love this room,” she says. “Now I actually do.”—jourdan crouch

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photographs by artistnametk

Bright new tile and a few vintage finds help give this outdated space a dramatic face-lift.

1. bathtub Corley salvaged this fixture from a junkyard and had it reglazed, all for only $300. A curtain trimmed in yellow adds a sunny note. ($250;

7. beadboard To replicate her grandmother’s bathroom, Corley requested that her contractor install white beadboard from the floor to above eye level on the walls outside the alcove. ($37.97 per 4’W x 8’L sheet; for stores)


8. paint Behr’s Shale Gray, a steely shade that provides a dramatic contrast to the white fixtures, covers the remaining wall space. ($37.88 per gallon; 9. Window A $260 addition from the Home Depot allows daylight to naturally illuminate the area. “Before we installed the glass, this place was like a cave,” Corley says.

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