How Much For This Room?

I promised that today we’d feature two different homeowners in How Much For This Room?, first we drooled together viewing a sunny balcony and dining room in a New Zealand home and now we’re going to Newburgh, New York (one hour north of Manhattan) to check in on the brand new bathroom designed by graphic designer Anna Dorfman who authors the popular home blog, Door Sixteen. Anna and her husband have a 7 room, 2 bathroom home circa 1885 and she shares the renovation, in detail, on her blog. I suggest that before viewing the “after” images below, that you take a moment to check out what the room looked like before renovations here. Ready to see Anna’s bathroom?

What inspired the design of this room?/How did you decide upon the colors & overall style?
The architecture of my house is the base inspiration for everything I do within it. As a Modernist living in a Victorian-era house, I try to be very respectful of its original structure and character while still moving forward and not trying to create a faux-Victorian look. This attitude toward renovation (particularly when it comes to kitchens and bathrooms) is quite prevalent in Scandinavia, but in this country there is a still a tendency to try to make newly renovated spaces look “old”, and unfortunately the result is usually more of a pastiche than anything.

That said, I have tried very hard with both of my bathroom renovations to not make them look too “new”, either! The last thing I want anywhere in my house is for someone to open a door and immediately know that a particular room was recently renovated. My house is full of quirks and imperfections, and I have deliberately carried them into this space. This bathroom was added to the house sometime in the 1930s or ’40s (the space it’s in was originally a pass-through pantry connecting the entry hall to the kitchen at the back of the house), and I elected to keep the cast iron corner tub that was installed at that time. The old toilet was very cute, but it was terribly inefficient — rather than replace it with a “faux-old” toilet, though, I prefer the honesty of a very contemporary-looking one-piece.

But back to the question, you could say that every design decision I make in my house is inspired by Modernism, Industrialism, honesty of materials, and contrasts between old and new. - Anna

What is your favorite thing about this space? The floor. The effect of the monochromatic matte black penny tiles and black grout is very subtle, but in the light it shimmers in the most beautiful way. It feels wonderful underfoot as well. This was one of the very first things I decided on for the bathroom, and I’m so glad I never had second thoughts.

I need to give an honorable mention to the black paint, too. The bathroom is only about 5×6 feet, but the ceiling is more than 10 feet high! By carrying the white paneling and wall tiles to a uniform 8 foot height and then painting the upper portion of the walls and ceiling black, I was able to give the room a greater feeling of width and space. It’s an illusion that really works. I can’t believe how much more spacious the room feels now! - Anna

At what point did you know when to quit? Because my husband and I did the entire renovation (excluding the plumbing) ourselves, we were bound by our own limitations of what we could devote in terms of skills and time. We are both willing to read, ask questions, watch, and learn, but we know when to reign ourselves in (most of the time!). We spent about six months on this renovation, and it really took up almost every moment of our free time for the duration. When we were in the planning stages, we had all kind of ideas (like turning the space into a fully-tiled shower room) that we had to nix in favor of reality. As far as finish work goes, I’m pretty good at knowing how much is enough. I look at rooms the same way I look at 2D print design — I include enough to achieve balance, but remove extraneous materials that aren’t essential functionally or visually. For example, I had initially considered using a very bold Marimekko print to make a shower curtain, but after painting the ceiling, I decided to let the impact of the black against the angles of the white walls be the “stunner” of the room — even unbleached linen ultimately proved to be too overwhelming as a shower curtain! I ultimately went with a classic white waffle-weave, which recedes nicely while still adding a different texture to the room.

It’s all in the details…


Plumbing: $1,495 — Toilet: $425 / TOTO Eco-Supreme Sink: $80 / IKEA ÅNN (not online) Tub: $0 / semi-original to house, Sink faucet: $80 / IKEA ÅNN Tub faucet and trim: $675 / Kohler Purist. Shower wall tile: $100 / 3×6 gloss white, American Olean, Floor tile: $310 / matte black penny rounds, Nemo Tile Plywood subfloor: $50, Underlayment: $70 / Easymat. Tiling supplies (grout, caulk, thinset, tools, etc.): $270. Sconces: $200 / Truman, Schoolhouse Electric. Ceiling light: $130 / Alabax, Schoolhouse Electric. Towel radiator: $500 (eBay, 1/2 price) / Omnipanel, Runtal. Electrical supplies (outlets, Romex, etc.) Cement board: $50, Sheetrock: $15, Insulation: $35. Construction adhesive: $20, Joint compound: $10, Vapor barrier: $20, Tongue & groove wood paneling: $120, Wood trim:$80, Wood shelving: $32, Saddle: $12, Screws, nails, etc: $50. Miscellaneous building materials: $200. Primer: $20 / Zinsser Bulls Eye, Ceiling paint: $20 / Olympic Knights Armor (eggshell), Wall/trim paint: $100 / Benjamin Moore Simply White (satin), $40. Painting supplies (brushes, rollers, etc.): Shower curtain rod: $170 / Vintage Tub, Shower curtain liner (2): $20 / Target, Shower curtain: $50 / Bed Bath & Beyond, Shower curtain rings (2): $22 / Bed Bath & Beyond,Shower caddy: $40 / Simple Human, Trash can: $249 / Vipp, $105, Bath towels: $20 / IKEA BÅVAN, Hand towels: $7 / IKEA ADMETE, Bath mat: $18 / West Elm,, Mirror: $0 / family antique, Towel hooks: $0 / original to house, Toilet paper holder: $5 / IKEA GRUNDTAL,Medicine cabinet:$20 / IKEA FÖRHÖJA Square vase: $6 / IKEA REKTANGEL, White vases: $18 / IKEA SALONG, Fresh tulips: $7 / Adams Fairacre Farms, (painted), Basket: $6 / IKEA BÖLSNÄS, Radio: $220 / Pal, Tivoli Audio, Tealight holder: $2 / West Elm (not online), Painting of Hudson River: $1 / junk shop.

GRAND TOTAL: $5,745.00 USD (plus 6 months of weekends!)

Thank you so much Anna for sharing your beyond beauiful bathroom with us. Great work!

(images from anna dorfman of door sixteen)