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Makeover of the Week: One Designer Transforms A Dark Bathroom Into A Bright, Modern Retreat

bathroom after

Madeline Tolle 

“My goal was to make this bathroom feel calming and happy, starting with a total gut job,” explains interior designer Mandy Cheng.

Meet the Expert

Mandy Cheng, is an interior designer and owner of Mandy Cheng Design in Los Angeles, California. She is known for her California style, pairing contemporary and vintage pieces with natural tones and organic elements. 

“This primary bathroom was outfitted with beige ceramic tiles and brown granite, giving the room a heavy, outdated, and monotonous feel,” Cheng says.

Primary Bathroom

The term “Primary Bathroom” is now widely used to describe the largest bathroom in the home, as it better reflects the space’s purpose. Many realtors, architects, interior designers, and the Real Estate Standards Association have recognized the potentially discriminatory connotations in the term “Master.” Read more about our Diversity and Inclusion Pledge.


bathroom before
Courtesy of Mandy Cheng

“The clients wanted to keep the gas fireplace, but hated the way it looked,” Cheng explains. “They also asked for a larger shower and tub—just not a big, ugly jacuzzi tub!”


bathroom after
Madeline Tolle 

"I clad the fireplace and bench in wood to create a statement wall, but also to add warmth and coziness,” says Cheng. “Replacing the dated and clunky jacuzzi tub with a modern and streamlined soaking tub opened up the space. Removing the crown molding gave the room a more contemporary look.”

What Changed:

  • Color Theme: Blue, white, and earth tones fill the room, creating a calm vibe.
  • Bathtub: The easy-to-clean resin soaker tub looks light and feels modern. The brass freestanding faucet, positioned on the side of the tub, saves on space.
  • Flooring: A deep blue cement floor with charcoal grout was used throughout the room, including inside the shower for a seamless look.
  • Fireplace: The fireplace and bench are covered in tongue and grooved cedar wood paneling and coated in a matte, clear sealer. The bench, which conceals the gas line to the fireplace, has a flip top lid for added storage.
  • Tile: Each sink floor “mat” is made of H-shaped tiles that link together in a chain formation; the walls are covered in a modern herringbone white tile.
  • Lighting: The single pendant lights above the sinks and over the bathtub are a nod to aerospace, the homeowner’s field of work.
  • Mirrors: Large squared brass mirrors pick up on the natural light emitted by north and west-facing windows.
  • Window treatments: The existing shutter blinds were painted a bright white to sync with the wall color.
  • Shower: A custom glass enclosure contains a resting ridge and is paired with brass ladder-style handles for a contemporary look.
  • Cabinets: The custom floating vanity provides storage; the countertop cabinet towers hold toiletries.
  • Bath accessories: The accessories were kept minimal and functional, including a living plant and a natural-fibered towel holder.

Shop the Look:

bathroom after
Madeline Tolle
white freestanding tub
Signature Hardware Allene Resin Freestanding Tub, Matte Finish $2,749.00
pendant light
Ninoshea UFO Pendant $375.00
rattan basket
World Market Small Natural Rattan Eve Basket $50.00