When a historic preservationist hired Anne Sage to update the bathroom in her 1923 Tudor home in East LA, the interior designer knew that she’d need to revive its early 20th-century charm.
The nearly century-old space had undergone a series of unfortunate renovations over the decades and had lost its retro allure. The original goldenrod tile and built-in vanity were strangely juxtaposed with newer linoleum flooring and a mismatched cabinet. “It was a hodgepodge of colors and patterns, of old and slightly less old,” Sage describes.
Beautiful dual arches over the toilet and the bathtub, however, remained intact and inspired the Golden Age of Hollywood meets contemporary California spa vibe that Sage channeled throughout the remodel. Here’s how she managed to retain the former character while modernizing at the same time.
Sage sought to play with contrast in scale, so she anchored the refreshed bathroom with large ceramic Fireclay tiles on the bottom half of the walls and created movement with small, skinny ones on the top. “Tiling arches is also extraordinarily difficult,” she explains. “We used that 1×6 tile to achieve as smooth a curve as possible.”
The tile also informed the color palette for the whole project. “It felt really serendipitous because these shades of mauve and blush that we used were trending at the time the house was built, but they’re also very current and having a very strong moment now,” observes Sage.
The warm hues continue with a BOXI by Semihandmade floating cupboard in Oat, a woodgrain slab style cabinet. The clever unit adds a sense of airiness as it hovers above the floor, yet still spans the width of the room to encompass two sinks and plenty of storage. “It felt like a really great way to bring in that more modern touch,” Sage reflects.
The doors are adorned with pill-shaped brass pulls from Rejuvenation. Sage sourced all the fixtures, from the Art Deco-style sconces to the sleek faucets, from the retailer because it embodies her desired balance. “They straddle that line between honoring the vintage and bringing it into the 21st century,” she notes.
Completing the Look
Once Sage had established a striking aesthetic, she needed supporting players to uplift the attention-grabbing elements. White quartz counters with bronze veining aren’t the star of the show, but complement the oak-like veneer and brass hardware below. “It’s nothing crazy, out-of-the-box special, but it worked out perfectly,” Sage reasons.
Similarly, the big, rectangular mirror is incredibly simple, yet serves to echo the silhouette of the solid vanity cabinet and lets the lighting above shine. It also provides an uninterrupted reflection of the stunning twin arches, the pièce de résistance that started it all.