A Monochrome Move Was All It Took to Make This Dated Tile Feel Intentional
When you can’t renovate, iterate.
Published Mar 10, 2022 12:19 PM
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Allison Pierce wasn’t a fan of the baby blue tile in her primary bathroom at first. Her new Los Angeles home had barely been touched since its construction in the 1930s; it had only been owned by a single family in all that time. The space was essentially a time capsule (as evidenced by the hexagonal bathroom sinks), and the interior designer was picturing a much more streamlined spot for her morning routine. However, because of budget constraints, a gut renovation wasn’t in the cards. “All of the blue tile was supposed to be ripped out,” Pierce admits. “We hated it.” Now, though, it’s her favorite element of the entire space—and she’s even keeping its yellow counterpart in the downstairs bath.
There wasn’t a backup plan for how this room would take shape, but Pierce doesn’t tend to stick to a plan anyway. “I find that if I let it happen organically, over time, I like the outcome much more,” she explains. Below, Pierce reveals how she overcame her disdain for the space’s pastel bones and made the most with what she had.
Don’t Mix, Match
Finding a paint color that would coordinate with the bold tiling was a challenge. “I thought about green, but that became too marshlike. Then it was maybe pink,” says Pierce. “Nothing felt right.” The winning combination ended up being a slightly darker shade of Farrow & Ball blue—Inchyra Blue to be exact—which covers the walls and the vanity (another dated element Pierce wished she could replace). “It makes the rest of the room feel intentional and not like we hated it,” she says.
Go Big on Texture
When it came time for Pierce to style the space, she kept introducing other colors to a minimum, relying instead on texture to offer visual interest. A wood and cane chair acts as a side table for bathtub essentials; a vintage rug keeps the floors cozy on California’s few chilly mornings; and a small-scale block-print shower curtain brings in a much needed pattern without making the room feel too busy.
Get Back to Nature
Without the ability to make any major updates, Pierce was concerned about the space looking outdated. “Everyone wants their bathroom to feel fresh and calm,” she says. The question was how to achieve that with decor alone. The answer? Natural materials. A large wood-framed mirror (another antique find that just happened to be the perfect width) and a brass sconce and shelf brackets (topped with vintage art) add some welcome grandeur. Pierce notes, “The room was designed by someone else, but it still needs to feel like me.”