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  • Samia Verbist

A Tale of Two Bathrooms

During a whole-house renovation in Honfleur, France, I encountered many rooms and spaces that did not function well. To create a better flow, walls came down, doors were relocated, and windows were replaced.


One key space that really did not work was the overly large bathroom that included access to the indoor pool. In theory, this sounds like a great idea – a pool bathroom offers plenty of convenience. The problem? This bathroom also served as the guest bathroom. This meant overnight visitors, of which there are many because this is a second home in the Normandy countryside. Homeowners had to share the bathroom with people going to the pool!


In addition to this lack of privacy, the bathroom took up a lot of space. It had a huge tub and a sauna. It was certainly too big for its purpose.


Interior Design Solution: Bathroom Remodel

Guest bathroom remodel by interior designer Samia Verbist

The solution? Plan a guest bathroom remodel that divides the ample space into a dedicated guest bath and a useful, efficient pool bathroom.


The homeowners were thrilled at the idea of creating two bathrooms out of one. Because plumbing was already in place, this was a relatively simple structural change that offered considerable benefits.


What Do You Need for a Pool Bathroom?

Having a bathroom accessible from an indoor or outdoor pool gives swimmers a chance to shower before or after taking a dip. A pool bathroom also provides a private location for changing. Best of all, it can keep wet feet from trekking across your flooring, limiting moisture in your home.

For this indoor pool bathroom, I included an open walk-in shower, a sink, and a bench. As in many homes in France, the toilet is located elsewhere in a water closet. The pool bathroom is not large, but it has everything necessary. And there are other ways to access the pool from the house, so not everyone must come through the bathroom to get there.


Despite its small size, this space offers aesthetic upgrades. I chose a copper wall-mounted faucet, a copper mirror, and a porcelain countertop with a rusty vein. (It’s the same amazing porcelain we used in the kitchen – take a look.)


The pool sits just behind the bathroom door, so the room must stand up to humidity. As such, I chose to tile the walls from floor to ceiling and used small, square tiles for the floor. I used the same beige and brown palette as the pool. This pattern is less slippery than a larger format tile, like what is used on the walls would have been.


Guest Bathroom Remodel in France

After carving out square footage from the original bathroom, more than enough remained to design a welcoming, appealing guest bathroom. This delightful space displays a modern style while offering a nod to its French countryside location.


Glossy blue metro tile lines the walls. I took it to half-height in most areas, but around the tub, it extends to the full height of the room. In this bathroom, there is no shower, so the tub area stands in for that. And the floor-to-ceiling tile, as well as the tub’s alcove-like location, emphasizes that idea. This is the only tub in the home, so it had to be special.


The wall tile adds dimension to the room, too, as it reflects the light. Against this blue backdrop, the oval bathtub features simple, pure lines and a decidedly modern look. It is paired with a chrome tub filler that coordinates with the chrome faucet on the sink.


The contemporary look is continued in the glossy white, floating vanity, which includes two spacious drawers. A simple round mirror and sconces in gold finish add a bit of warmth while maintaining the sleek style of this redesigned guest bathroom.


Speaking of warmth, did you notice the towel warmer on the wall by the tub?


Uniquely European Bathroom Remodel

This feature is common in European bathroom design that I don't see as often in the United States. Yet it adds a whole new level of comfort to the bathing experience. Imagine stepping out of this gorgeous tub and wrapping yourself in a fluffy warm towel.


So far, all elements in this bathroom speak to a modern aesthetic. But to honor the countryside location of this second home, I chose patterned flooring reminiscent of patchwork. Because it maintains the two-tone palette of the space, it does not compete with or overpower the otherwise sleek aesthetic. In fact, like the wall tile, it adds dimension to the space.


Final Thoughts On Bathroom Remodels

Now guests who visit this home have a welcoming bathroom. They can enjoy privacy, store their belongings in a spacious vanity, and feel comfortable. Meanwhile, everyone can enjoy the pool without bringing moisture into the home. All it took was a bit of creative thinking about how to best reconfigure a big bathroom that lacked function.


Let’s be innovative. Let’s be bold. And, of course, let’s be beautiful.


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