The challenge: The guest bath in Linda Waddell’s Burnsville home was functional but hardly a showcase. “It was the original from 1985, when the house was built,” Waddell said. “Some of the tiles were cracked, the lighting was poor, and the vanity was not really our taste.” 

The designer: Waddell, a professional designer for Waddell Interiors, also served as general contractor (, 952-412-8309). She and her husband have lived in their home for 11 years, but she was always too busy with clients’ projects to get around to redoing her own guest bath. Her husband finally nudged for an update. “He just hated that shower,” Waddell said. “He said, ‘The whole rest of the house looks so nice.’ And we do have company from time to time.”

Maximizing the space: Space was at a premium in the 5- by 8-foot guest bath. Replacing the old shower door with a new clear-glass enclosure went a long way toward making it appear more spacious. “Before, the door was textured glass, which stopped you visually,” Waddell said. “By switching to clear glass, it added visually so much more depth to that room.” Waddell wanted a cabinet for storage — “we don’t have a linen closet in the hall,” she said — but reduced its depth so it took up less space. She also extended the vanity top behind the toilet (called a “banjo top”) to extend the space visually.

Fresh finishes: The new floor and shower are surfaced with porcelain tile that looks like marble. Waddell had it installed on the diagonal. “It draws you into the room more than straight squares.” In the shower, she added glass and stone accent tiles, and a recessed niche for shampoo. An Emperador marble vanity top, in dark chocolate brown, added richness to the small bath.

Dressed-up details: Instead of stacking two towel bars atop each other, Waddell installed them on either side of a small table with a picture hung above it — “to dress it up a little,” she said.

The result: Now Waddell has guest quarters that she’s proud to share with visiting friends and clients. “It’s more fun having company,” she said. “Everything is pulled together, and has a cleaner look. It’s refreshing, compared to what it was before.”