Fed up with crouching and squeezing into their cramped bathroom, Rennai Hoefer and her husband got creative.
It wasn’t that the footprint was too small. But the unnecessarily tight dimensions in the couple’s Chandler, Arizona ensuite made it dysfunctional for the five-foot-nine lifestyle photographer and her six-foot husband: “We were squatting on the floor to get to our sink,” remembers Hoefer of the 30-inch-high vanity. The old shower was equally flawed: “When I was pregnant, I couldn’t shave my legs in there because I was unable to bend over to reach them. It was like being in a phone booth.”
Without changing the layout at all, the duo cleverly reconfigured the space, swapping out outdated finishes like golden oak cabinets and plastic-like countertops in the process to give the space a fresh, neutral look that would both attract future buyers and satisfy Hoefer’s discerning eye.
Hoefer’s new vanity of choice is actually two IKEA Godmorgon units combined to appear like a single piece—the couple also hung it higher at 36 inches to accommodate their height. The double set of deep drawers are topped with a custom concrete countertop with integrated sinks to offer plenty of surface area.
To make room for a larger shower, Hoefer knocked down a thick pony wall and swapped in a free-standing tub on the other side, which allowed her to add extra inches to the shower. A product niche now adds plenty of space for shampoo bottles and body wash, a luxury the previous booth did not provide, while a built-in bench supplies a welcoming seat (and a more comfortable shaving setup).
Designing to Sell
The couple doesn’t envision staying in the house forever, so they had to design with selling in mind. For the more permanent elements, Hoefer went with timeless, universal finishes like white, vertically stacked wall tile, sandstone-like flooring, and matte black faucets. “I wanted something that would appeal to a greater audience, especially since we live in the suburbs,” she explains. “I chose more basic options that could be incorporated into any type of style.”
As a photographer, Hoefer is attracted to pale hues herself. She’s attuned with the quality of light in a room, so a neutral backdrop is ideal. “When I’m getting ready and doing my makeup, I don’t want color cast,” she explains
Hoefer strategically peppered her personal taste into the space with features that are easier to trade out, like natural wood Impression Tahoe panels. “I love that Semihandmade fronts come in so many different styles, so I can switch them out for a very little amount of money,” she says.
Rounded edges and brass found in the pulls, mirrors, and sconces soften the decor, as does the ceramic lamp, original farmland print, and vintage-style rug. “I wanted to add layers so it wouldn’t feel too cool or too sterile,” Hoefer explains. The balance is just right.