In bathroom design, just as in fashion, splurges and savings can be combined quite nicely. For this master bathroom makeover, Atlanta-based interior designer Anna Braund took a creative approach to a makeover, upgrading the circa-1988 space while keeping an eye on the budget. Her goal: use quality materials and increase the room’s function, while also creating the illusion of a larger space.

She started with classic materials. “I think natural stone is a must for any bath remodeling,” Anna says. “Marble or limestone is a timeless material and will stay in vogue, no matter how old the bathroom is.” The designer used marble as the vanity countertop, but to save money, she chose a porcelain tile for the floor and shower with the look of marble. To give the space a seamless look, she incorporated the same tile throughout the room, but used it in multiple shapes and patterns, such as a herringbone design on the shower walls.

BEFORE: This bathroom is outdated and colorless.

BEFORE: The old master bath screamed for an upgrade, but fortunately, the designer was able to use the same general layout to take advantage of existing plumbing.

New vanity overall: A semi-custom new vanity and creative use of tile gives this bath a fresh look. Porcelain tiles on the floor and throughout the shower are a durable alternative to marble, at a lower price point.

AFTER: A semi-custom new vanity and creative use of tile gives this bath a fresh look. Porcelain tiles on the floor and throughout the shower are a durable alternative to marble, at a lower price point.

Anna also chose a stock vanity cabinet from Platinum Kitchens & Design with full-overlay doors, rather than go to the expense of custom cabinetry. As a contrast to the white tones elsewhere, she had the cabinets painted Benjamin Moore Chelsea Gray.

A few splurges give the bathroom its sophisticated edge. A curvy shaped light fixture from Hudson Valley is an upgrade from the usual bathroom lighting. “We chose it for the fabric shade that would bring a unique shape and add warmth to the room, as opposed to an all-metal fixture,” says Anna. “It adds a sense of femininity and whimsy to the space.”

The designer and homeowner both also loved the idea of incorporating brass into the mix of materials. “Brass evokes the most timeless aesthetic,” Anna adds. “We knew its warmth would provide a nice balance to the cooler blues and grays used throughout the room.”

New vanity overall: A semi-custom new vanity and creative use of tile gives this bath a fresh look. Porcelain tiles on the floor and throughout the shower are a durable alternative to marble, at a lower price point.

AFTER: Double sinks and vintage-looking, brass sink fixtures give the vanity a timeless look. Sconces are from Visual Comfort.

Shower straight on: Tile serves as wainscoting in the bathroom, linking the shower and tub areas. Designer Anna Braund made sure the existing window was kept intact, saying, “It’s imperative to keep as much natural light as you can in your bathroom, since no amount of electricity can replace the warmth of natural light.  If you need privacy, dress your windows with a sheer or shutters that will allow some light to penetrate in the room.”

AFTER: Tile serves as wainscoting in the bathroom, linking the shower and tub areas. Designer Anna Braund made sure the existing window was kept intact, saying, “It’s imperative to keep as much natural light as you can in your bathroom, since no amount of electricity can replace the warmth of natural light. If you need privacy, dress your windows with a sheer or shutters that will allow some light to penetrate in the room.”

Tub before: Braund switched the location of the tub and toilet from their previous locales to highlight the freestanding tub.

BEFORE: Anna switched the location of the tub and toilet from their previous locales to highlight the freestanding tub.

Tub area: The designer put as much thought into lighting and art in the bathroom as she would for a living room. “Bathrooms are not just utilitarian rooms in a home, so furnish them as you would your sitting room with a bench, art work, things like that,” Braund says. “It can be a room of respite that you stay in for a while, not just a room that serves an end use.”

AFTER: The designer put as much thought into lighting and art in the bathroom as she would for a living room. “Bathrooms are not just utilitarian rooms in a home, so furnish them as you would your sitting room with a bench, artwork, things like that,” she says. “It can be a room of respite that you stay in for a while, not just a room that serves an end use.”

As a focal point to the room, she chose a freestanding tub, and drew attention to its corner location with a colorful, abstract painting by Michelle Arams through Gregg Irby Fine Art. A gleaming brass bathroom faucet complements the art, like jewelry for the room.

Anna recommends art playing a role in any bathroom, as a way to personalize the space. “Art doesn’t always have to be expensive, and these days, original art is more accessible,” the designer says, pointing out emerging artists’ shows, such as at Gregg Irby, that introduce up-and-coming artists to collectors. Homeowners might be concerned about moisture in a bathroom, so she advises choosing acrylic paintings that have been sealed with a clear varnish, or framed pieces properly sealed against condensation. When in doubt, she says, stick to inexpensive reproductions or go a different route and display ceramics, porcelain or textiles.

See more of Anna Braund’s work on her website, annabraund.com.

Special thanks for the lovely photography from Laura Negri Photography 

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