Plaster Walls Are the Secret to This Sleek Bathroom Transformation


When former clients of Linda Hayslett of LH.Designs in Los Angeles asked her to come back and renovate a second bathroom in their home, she jumped at the opportunity. Hayslett had previously designed the couple’s primary bedroom and bathroom. Her goal in the new bathroom was to give it a clean, fresh, uncluttered appearance, and to make it flow with the other parts of the house that had just been redesigned.

A highlight of this project—one that Hayslett hopes to replicate in future projects—was creating a concrete look in the bathroom by fabricating plaster walls. Since the wife of the couple was grout-averse, Hayslett had the bright idea to ditch the tile altogether. “Plaster is used on the outside of buildings, so you can still use it on the inside and, obviously, if it’s used outside, it has to be waterproof, because there’s weather outside,” she explains. “I don’t think many people realize it could be used inside for a shower as well.”

Another design win for Hayslett was figuring out how to work with the shower’s low ceilings. “I thought the best way to help with not hitting your head on the shower head is if we had a rain shower head, so we pulled plumbing from the wall and pushed it to the ceiling,” she explains. Hayslett confirms that both she and the clients were really pleased with the end result, and despite not changing the actual footprint of the bathroom, it has a much more spacious feel to it than the original.

BEFORE: A vanity dominated most of the bathroom space, which was also characterized by thick tiles.

The before: “The footprint didn’t change, but it feels bigger now because we took away a weird, awkward vanity, which took up so much space,” Hayslett says. “The tiles were also very thick, which visually took a lot away from the space.”

The inspiration: The clients really wanted a modern beach-spa feel, but they wanted it to go along with their home and what they had done,” Hayslett says. “So that’s basically what I was trying to help achieve for them, as well as going along with the primary bathroom that I had previously done. We wanted it to all be in sync.”

Square footage: Under 70 square feet

The budget: “I remember when we talked about it, the husband of the couple said we would not spend more than $25,000,” Hayslett recalls.

AFTER: The new bathroom feels like a spa.

AFTER: The new bathroom feels like a spa.

Main ingredients

mirror: Infinity black cloak wall mirror from CB2

lights: Dome pendants from Naaya

Fixtures: Radi widespread faucet from Phylrich

hooks: Stria robe hook from Phylrich

BEFORE: The tile pattern felt dated in the previous iteration.

BEFORE: The tile pattern felt dated in the previous iteration.

AFTER: The brass fixtures really sparkle in contrast with the sleek stucco walls.

AFTER: The brass fixtures really sparkle in contrast with the sleek stucco walls.

Most Insane Splurge: “I would say the plumbing fixtures were a splurge,” Hayslett says, noting that the choice of brass fixtures was influenced by the way brass interacted with the color of the stucco walls. “We wanted something really sleek and modern. We got the brass, which looks really special in there, but brass costs a lot more than if you get chrome or something like that.”

sneaker save: “The countertops,” Hayslett says without hesitation. “I don’t think most people understand sometimes that with slabs you can either get a slab at a slab yard, or you can get a prefabricated countertop.” In this particular design, a slab would have cost $2,000, and installation of it would have cost another $2,000. Instead, they went with pre-fabs. “In order to achieve that look, we didn’t want to buy a slab because that’s going to cost $2,000. This was more or less $1,200 and, because they’re pre-cut, the install was around $1,000. Literally half the price.”

What I’ll never do again: “I don’t know, because I want to do it again! I have been pushing to do some more concrete looks in other places for other projects. I was really happy with the way this turned out and the clients were really happy with how it came out. I would do it all again.”

Final bill: $54,000

AFTER: An aversion to grout  allowed the plaster walls to be a winning focal point of the design.

AFTER: An aversion to grout allowed the plaster walls to be a winning focal point of the design.

Originally Appeared on Architectural Digest

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