In housing tracts, neighborhoods will contain half a dozen or so models spread throughout the tract.  If you’re like me, you take walks around the neighborhood, seeking out examples of your own model to see what other owners have done with it. After 20 years as an interior designer in the Tri City area, there have been more than a few instances where I’ve been able to design the same model of house for two different families. Maybe through this column you’ve even been able to identify your own model! 

A few years ago I designed the hall bath in a house in the Northgate neighborhood in Fremont. Then last year I designed the same hall bath in the same model house, but in a different neighborhood (Brookvale this time). While both baths were the exact same size and in the same configuration, both have their own personalities and styles. Let’s compare them here. 

The bathroom itself is not big; it measures a typical 5’ x 9’; just enough space for a tub, toilet and vanity. But even in a small footprint, enhanced function and style are possible.

Northgate Bath

This bath features a really charming free-standing tub that my client affectionately nicknamed “the teacup.” It perfectly fits the back of the room, and creates a lovely spot for a relaxing soak. The tub itself has contemporary clean lines, which contrasts with the more ornate, traditional plumbing fixtures. I chose this tub because it was the largest tub I could fit into the space; traditional clawfoot tubs would have fit but would have been narrower, and less comfortable for  bathing. 

Another traditional element in the bath is the wainscoting, which in this case is made from porcelain tile, making it a more practical choice than wood. The floor is a cute, retro gray and white mosaic. The cabinetry has some ornate detailing, but not too much for this small area. The storage cabinet is from Pottery Barn—a nice blend of function and style. 

I kept the mirror simple- frameless with a beveled edge; a heavy frame might have been too much with all the other details, and the clean lines tie back to the streamlined tub. 

I love the pretty toile Roman shade on the window— it’s a feminine touch that adds some color and softness. 

Brookvale Bath

Same configuration, with a completely different look. Large format marble-look porcelain tiles surround the alcove tub, with gray glass subway tiles on the tub skirt. I used the same tiles on the floor to create a cohesive and expansive look. Even in small baths, using large format tiles is good to do— the large scale can actually make a space look larger. 

As in the Northgate bath, I used polished chrome fixtures, but in this bath, I also introduced a few black accents for contrast. Note the black cabinet knobs and the black narrow frame around the mirror. 

This cabinet features Shaker styling. The clean lines of Shaker work well in both traditional and contemporary rooms. This bath leans more contemporary, but still has some softness to it with the curves on the mirror, and the marble veining.

Both baths are attractive, functional, and meet the needs of the families that live there. It’s always a fun challenge for me to reinvent a space, and seeing the same bath two different ways is even more enjoyable.