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How Gina Gutierrez Made a Tiny Bathroom Feel Spacious

makeover of the week - Gina Rachelle Design small bathroom

Design: Gina Gutierrez of Gina Rachelle Design, Photo: Max Maloney

If there’s something we never get tired of seeing, it’s a great makeover. Whether it’s transforming a retro bathroom into a modern oasis or giving a lackluster bedroom a fresh look, pros perform these design miracles all the time. 

To give designers a chance to showcase their favorite makeovers—and to bring you plenty of inspiration for your own home—we’re sharing the best before and afters we’ve seen in our series, Makeover of the Week. Take notes for your next renovation.

For eighteen years, the San Francisco-based homeowners raised their family in this rental cottage,” interior designer Gina Gutierrez of Gina Rachelle Design says. “When the opportunity to purchase it came along, they jumped! With their children out of the house, the couple wanted to update the space, and one of their first renovation projects was the en suite bathroom which was original to their midcentury home. Our goal was to make it feel modern and luxurious, yet also timeless and traditional to fit the style of the house.”

Meet the Expert

Gina Gutierrez is a San Francisco-based interior designer and founder and principal designer of Gina Rachelle Design, known for blending her signature style of traditional and modern with her clients’ personal aesthetic and lifestyle. 


Makeover of the Week Gina Gutierrez Before Photo

Courtesy of Gina Gutierrez

“The long and narrow primary bathroom had the original 1950’s pink square tile that went halfway up the wall, a low tub, a separate cave-like shower, and a pedestal sink that provided zero storage space,” says Gutierrez. 

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.


Makeover of the week- Gina Rachelle Small bathroom makeover after photo

Design: Gina Gutierrez of Gina Rachelle Design, Photo: Max Maloney

“My goal was to create a spa-like retreat while optimizing the existing floorplan,” explains Gutierrex. “A walk-in shower replaced the old bathtub and eliminated the need for the freestanding shower, so we used the newly available space for the toilet. The tweaked layout also allowed for a large custom vanity. Three different tiles add texture to the space, each having its own moment but all flowing beautifully.” 

What Changed:

Color theme: A dusty olive hue is paired with marble, brass, and warm wood tones throughout out the room. 

Wall tile: Vertically hung 3 x 9 subway tile sit above the vanity and make their way into the shower, enhancing the height of the space and making the room feel larger. 

Vanity: The custom oak vanity, with its white quartz countertop, is designed to look like a furniture piece while providing four large drawers and open shelving for storage. 

Sink faucet: A wall-mounted cross handle faucet, set in polished chrome, frees up space on the vanity and helps keep the countertop clean. 

Lighting: In addition to the room’s skylight, the sconces with their handblown glass globes give off light and create a bit of whimsy. 

Mirror: The large, arched brass mirror creates the illusion of more space and reflects light back into the room. 

Floor tile: The hexagon-shaped white and grey tile adds a modern pattern to the room and is paired with a smaller marble hexagon tile in the shower.

Shower: A frameless glass shower enclosure enlarges the feel of the space by making all of the room’s square footage visible.

Shower fixtures: The polished chrome fixtures elevate the shower with their simple and modern shape. 

Artwork: The clients’ French heritage and love for Matisse is reflected in the brass framed art over the toilet. 

Accessory: Minimal décor reduces clutter and makes the room feel larger; an organic piece of driftwood adds a bit of zen while woven baskets with leather and brass details provide storage. 

Wall paint: White walls create a spaciousness and a sense of calm.

Shop the Look:

makeover of the week - gina rachelle- small bathroom- vertical subway tile

Design: Gina Gutierrez of Gina Rachelle Design, Photo: Max Maloney

Cyclone tile - 3x9
Fireclay Tile Cyclone Tile $29.00
Carrara Venato Marble Hexagon Polished 2" Mosaic Tile
The Builder Depot Carrara Venato Marble Hexagon Polished 2" Mosaic Tile $12.00
infinity brass mantel mirror
CB2 Infinity Brass Mantel Mirror $299.00