The redesigned master bathroom features heated tile floors, white enameled built-ins, cozy window seat and glazed subway tile in a calming color scheme.


Before & After: Master bath makeover

  • Article by: Lynn Underwood
  • Star Tribune
  • October 19, 2013 - 1:13 PM

The challenge: Paulette and John Cervenka had built their multi-level home in New Prague in 1974; a remodeled master bathroom was next on their to-do list. After nearly 40 years, they were ready to change out the dated blue bathtub and cream-carpeted floor, improve the poor lighting and redesign the plain window bench. The impractical cabinets were so deep and cavernous that Paulette couldn’t find items stored inside them. The couple wanted an updated fresh look that created a feeling of serenity, while keeping the bathroom’s existing size and layout.

The designer: Renae Keller, Renae Keller Interior Design,, 952-261-9031.

Sophisticated style: Keller blended traditional touches with simple clean lines to create a clean, crisp look, she said. The dual-sink vanity, topped with Silestone, sports tapered legs for a fine furniture feel. The cabinetry is stained a darker gray-taupe so it stands out among the other built-ins of white painted woodwork.

“I like the variation, and everything isn’t so matchy,” said Paulette. She also requested three sets of “yours, mine and ours” vanity drawers. “There’s a designated place for our things, and it keeps peace in the bathroom.”

Stylish sinks: The two rectangular under-mount sinks echo the shape of the room and subway tile, said Keller.

Restyled window seat: A rebuilt seat includes storage drawers and is finished with a thick upholstered cushion accented with orange floral and pale blue pillows, which infuse color in the mostly neutral space. The handy drawers hold bath toys and spare children’s clothes for when Paulette cares for her grandchildren. “For us, it’s also a nice place to sit and talk about the day,” she said.

Heated tile vs. carpet: Paulette was concerned that tile would be cold and hard, and implored Keller to put in soft carpeting at least on part of the bathroom floor. Keller nixed that idea and suggested a heated tile floor. “It’s so warm and comfortable,” said Paulette.

Let there be light: Three wall sconces around the mirror and recessed ceiling lights illuminate makeup and shaving stations.

Decorative niche: A mother-of-pearl mosaic tile rectangular niche breaks up the shower wall of crackle-glazed subway tile and is an ideal spot to place candles for a relaxing ambience. “We’re bath people,” said Paulette. “That’s how I unwind at the end of the day.”

Hurray for herringbone: “Without encouragement from Renae, I would not have been brave enough to do a herringbone pattern on the floor — it can seem too busy,” said Paulette. “But I love the pattern and the tile’s unpolished soft look.”

From ordinary to elegant: A new tall cabinet next to the window seat features molding, crystal knobs and doors inlaid with art glass to display colorful towels and other items. “It’s more detailed and finished than the old one,” said Keller.

Blank canvas: A palette of sand, cream, limestone, white and robin’s egg blue (Benjamin Moore Silver Marlin) allows Paulette to “change colors seasonally in the towels, rugs and pillows,” said Keller.

Biggest splurge: The pricey custom mirrored medicine cabinet built into the wall and framed by silver black picture molding. It’s composed of two medicine cabinets with a mirror in the middle. Paulette really wanted one after she saw a display of Robern cabinets in a Kohler showroom.

The result: “It’s a pretty, well-appointed room where they like to start and end their day,” said Keller.


Lynn Underwood • 612-673-7619


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