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My Classic Black and White Bathroom Reveal; Before & After

Okay the first of the two bathrooms I renovated last summer is finally here. Those of you who have been following me on my Instagram and my stories would have seen it already! This is our main bathroom:


Here’s the bathroom before:

All our towels are stored in the cabinet beside the vanity and we still needed that storage but I didn’t like how bulky it looked, so my good friend Jan Romanuk helped me design a much better, attractive vanity with towers on both sides instead.

This was how it looked for the last 5 years since we moved in, styled up, it worked for the interim:

And here it is now! Don’t get hung up on the green paint colour, you may or may not like it (and it looks brighter in the photos because there’s no natural light in here), but notice that because the hard finishes are black and white, the paint colour can easily be changed at any time.

When I say ‘All bathrooms should be white or cream‘ this is what I mean. Keep your bathroom finishes classic and timeless and you’ll love your bathrooms much longer than if you use the most current, trendy accent tile.


Because as much as you’ll love it now, you might fall out of love quickly when the next trend comes along.

Related post: It’s a Charcoal Tile Intervention, Don’t Miss This One

After – Floor Carrara with black diamond Ann Sacks | Cabinet, BM Chantilly Lace

Terreeia wanted a walk-in shower, and we have a tub in the master bedroom so that worked. For re-sale, I wouldn’t recommend removing every tub in your home, people need them to bathe their kids and who doesn’t like to have a tub after a long day?

Here’s what I’ve decided about bathtubs, now that I have the most beautiful master bathroom in the world (that post coming up shortly) if you don’t bathe, it might be because you have nothing pretty to look at.

I love to take baths, but I certainly didn’t when we had this pink beige insert (below), and our master tub (which you’ll see very soon) was a huge jacuzzi tub for two, so this was my only option.

Here are my two niches for soap and shampoo:

And here’s the before of the other side:

And here’s the after. Now that I have large drawers in the vanity, there’s lots of room for towel storage along with everything else that a main bathroom has in it.

The 4″ backsplash is pure white Caesarstone and the rest of the frame is millwork. You’ll notice I only repeated the black and white floor in the quartz countertop because I knew my black and white framed artwork was coming back into the bathroom.

I’ve said this many times, but black quickly becomes too heavy and takes over visually. A little black goes a long way!

One more thing to notice is that my faucets are not higher than the backsplash. If you’re doing a bathroom renovation, take a look at your inspiration pictures and you’ll notice that this detail looks good.

Photography by Barry Calhoun

For those of you who have not toured my house, this is the hallway you can see in the mirror (above):

See my full house tour here

Here’s the before again;

And the after:


We’re pretty happy to have a brand new main bathroom!

If you’d like your bathroom to fill you with happiness when you walk in the door, take advantage of our Create a Classic Bathroom eDesign bundle here.

If you’d like to get your whites right, download my White is Complicated, a Decorators Guide to Choosing the Right White here.

Related posts:

The Best White Bathrooms

Maria’s Bathroom Renovation Plans: Lighting and Vanity Design

5 Ways to Update a Tuscan Bathroom; Before & After


  • Joanna says:

    I love it! The black & white is timeless while the green is fun and refreshing. It’s such a happy colour! The fretwork on your towers makes them less imposing and the mirrors bounce the light around. Well done! Is the sink square?

  • Lucia says:

    Maria, when will you announce your winter workshop schedule? Every time I see your blog post in my inbox I get excited wondering if this is the email with your new workshops! Not that your bathroom isn’t exciting in its own right, it absolutely is!

  • Nichole says:

    This is beautiful! Thank you! I am very much in need of inspiration for my 1995 bathrooms.

  • Nancy says:

    Maria very pretty-
    What r your floors are they a marble ?
    What color did u do your cabinets ?

    • Nancy says:

      Maria just saw your floor color and cabinet color really love it all !!

    • Maria Killam says:

      Yes they are carrara marble with a black diamond, from Ann Sacks and the cabinets are a true white, BM Chantilly Lace. Maria

  • Vicki says:

    I have the same drawer pulls in my guest bathroom—very comfortable and big enough for a guy’s hand..
    I like all of it –very bright and cheery…

  • Tara says:

    Beautiful job!

    Best line ever: “if you don’t bathe, it might be because you have nothing pretty to look at.” 🙂

  • Diane says:

    Beautiful bathroom. Question about lighting since you don’t have natural light in this room. I see you have the 2 sconces above the sink and it looks like one recessed light near the toilet, do you have recessed lights elsewhere or a combination fan/light? Thanks

    • Maria Killam says:

      I have 3 recessed lights, one in the shower and two in the bathroom and they are too bright really. The shower light is on a separate light switch than the other two recessed lights and that works great, sometimes we just have the shower light on and it feels like a window. Maria

  • Kristen says:

    Any chance you can show off more shower pictures? Love your bathroom renovation, beautiful as always!

  • Fran W. says:

    Beautiful! Love the floor, the countertop, the lighting, the shower, and those gorgeous cabinets. Great job as usual!

  • Anne says:

    It’s a beautiful bathroom! The colors in your entire house are just wonderful.

  • Leslie north says:

    Absolutely beautiful! And the paint colour is gorgeous!! Are those Kohler “pinstripe” faucets ???? I will soon be gutting our ensuite and my big dilemma is whether or not to keep the two sinks or do as exactly as you have done here put in two towers (we need the storage room) and do one larger sink. My reason is in 20 years, 3 houses later and I have never used the “other sink” except to wipe the dust from it! Lol

  • Linda Sewell says:

    Is that black absolute countertop Maria, I didn’t see any mention of it?

    • Maria Killam says:

      It’s a quartz countertop but I don’t have the name because it was substituted at the last minute by the countertop company and it even has a wood grain in it, I’m happy with it, it was black, which was what I wanted! Maria

  • I love the green walls! I always find black and white and green to look so crisp! Your whole house is gorgeous! I wish I had the guts to go full on colour like you have .My husband would have a heart attack I’m sure if I introduced so much colour in our house. I finally have him wearing bright blue shirts to work – one day perhaps – baby steps 😉
    Thanks for sharing – can’t wait to see your master bath

  • Kay says:

    Lovely, and looks like you.

    My sister and her husband just redid the bathroom on the main floor of their Arts and Crafts house. It had been redone at some point, and original features had been covered up or removed. They removed the dropped ceiling, restored the woodwork around the two windows, and completely reoriented the fixtures, adding a tub where before there was only an old shower. They also put in a Carrara marble basket weave floor—which is far more beautiful than it looks in pictures, as I’m sure yours is too. Theirs is edged in white-veined black marble, a detail my brother-in-law created that their contractor is now using in other houses in the area. White subway tile goes halfway up the walls, with a ceramic chair rail, and the upper walls are painted a glowing navy blue. The design principles they used are what you teach, and they now have an exquisite bath/powder room that perfectly expresses who they are. Everyone in the house takes baths in that tub, and their daughter recently had wedding pictures taken with her reclining in it. A beautiful bathroom is a joy forever.

    Am really looking forward to your master bath pics!

  • Linda says:

    Really pretty bathroom. How deep are your towers? Also, did you use pre-formed niches in your shower? If so, what brand and size are they?

  • Candice Hill says:

    Hi, Maria…Love, love, love your new bathroom! It’s perfect!!! Love ya!?Candy

  • Lorri says:

    Gorgeous and uplifting. Love the green!!! Happy color. Any clean wall color would work, so this is versatile.

  • Lorrie says:

    I love the green wall ! What really makes it even more of an entry statement is the fact that you NO longer have the baseboard heater and the chair rail.

  • Mary-Illinois says:

    Hi Maria! This was certainly worth waiting for. It’s lovely. I was wondering if the green color is the same green you used in your kitchen. You are the master of flowing colors.
    I’m envious of your towers. We have a single tower placed between the double sinks. I opted for glass shelves instead of closed storage. Huge mistake. The shelves get so dusty. And I can’t use it to store things that should really be behind closed doors. So it’s mostly decor items, picture frames, and a candle.
    I was also wondering where you keep your hand towel. I put a small hook on each side of the tower to hold ours. Hanging damp towels against it is now causing the paint to chip. ?

  • Kim says:

    Wow, what a transformation, Maria! I love that vibrant green with the classic black and white. The towers look great and how awesome to have that much storage. Thanks for pointing out that the faucets aren’t taller than the backsplash. How right you are that it looks best that way. Enjoy!

  • Hi Maria – your bathroom looks wonderful, and I am so happy for you! Thank you for sharing it – and I saw you specified the floor tile and cabinet colors in the comments, that detail is so fun to see, too. Enjoy it – can’t wait to see your new master bathroom!

  • karen says:

    Hi Maria,

    I really like how the tower on the left blocks most of the view of the toilet. Very nice results!

  • Sarah says:

    This is beautiful! I’m especially in love with the floor tiles. I’m using something similar in my bath renovation next month, but I’m stuck on what grout color to use. I’m inclined towards something lighter, but I know it’ll get dirty so quickly! Any insights?

    • Maria Killam says:

      Yes, I matched the blue grey undertone of the carrara marble to a blue grey grout because white grout is the first to get dirty! That’s what I would suggest! Maria

  • Brenda says:

    I love this Maria! It really is simple, but the details make it special. You did a magnificent job and I can’t wait to see the master bathroom!

  • Jennifer says:

    I’m a fairly new reader to the blog and love it! Your bathroom looks great! I was just wondering why you picked more of a medium gray color for the floor and not white. It seems (to me) like the gray isn’t relating to much in the room. Is it just the way the color appears on my screen?

    • Maria Killam says:

      It’s carrara marble . . which goes with all fresh colours, I wouldn’t pair it with earthy tones. Maria

  • Claire says:

    I love it! We are doing our bathroom in the spring, and you are giving me great inspiration!

  • Lucy says:

    Love it love it! The green is so refreshing! I like your combination of pulls on your cabinet. The crystal knobs repeat the sconces on each side of the mirror. Also your shower door is the latest look and makes the room look larger. I would like to do that in my bathrooms! Question. ..Is your subway tile in the shower cushioned? I think thats what they call it anyway. I really like it!

    Job well done Maria. Looking forward to seeing your master bath.

    Have a safe trip home from Fiji!

  • Fra Na says:

    Your bathroom is beautiful. Thanks to your blog when we built our home I was able to choose the right tile. The shower is white subway (which the builder tried to talk me out of) and the floor is 1″ carrara marble but that was the only options we were able to choose. When we moved in we replaced the counter top with a slab of carrara marble, replaced the sconces, faucets and drawer pulls, painted the walls blue. I found a wonderful picture and some beautiful blue glass at Good Will and all new white towels. What a difference!
    Thank you for teaching me how to turn an everyday builder home into something we love to live in.

    • Maria Killam says:

      I love hearing that! Thanks for your comment! x Maria

      • Carmen Ellis Vecchio says:

        Fra Na- I am doing the same. Renovating room by room with ideas gleaned from this blog. The salesperson at our tile dealer also tried to talk me out of white subway tile, saying there was nothing wrong with it, it was just a little “boring.” Ha! I do not want to rip out dated, trendy tile EVER again. Boring sounds good. I’ll add the excitement with color and accessories, like Maria. Thanks, Maria, and that floor is so, so beautiful. Looking forward to the next bathroom post!

  • Debra says:

    I LOVE black, white and green together.
    Especially a brighter, more Key West type green.

    So cute!

  • Christine says:

    Beautiful renovation. In a previous post about this reno you were debating different black sconces but you did not go with black. Why not?

    • Maria Killam says:

      Because I realized I was decorating with black and white frames, that was repeating the black enough! Maria

  • sandi says:

    It would be nice to see what you did inside the shower in regard to tile or? Thank you!

  • sandi says:

    I forgot to ask about the Ann Sacks tiles—were they already sealed or did you seal them?

  • Linda Trammel says:

    I love your new bathroom! Congrats to you! I just love the white vanity and storage towers. Then you can put color with it! A little black does make for great decorating. The wall of green is such a special touch for sure and the floor is very pretty tying it all in. Love all your photos and decorating advice!

  • Helen says:

    Absolutely beautiful and difficult to date to any one decade. I love that it’s gorgeous and “you” with the fresh green walls but is also simple to change to become anyone “else”. If I may ask a selfish question, about how long is the vanity/cabinet assembly? I’ve been looking to copy this same cabinet layout in my own home but can’t tell if it will feel luxurious or crowded.

  • Looks good, Maria! Did I miss what is the green paint color? It does look a little bright but cheerful, and as you said, can easily be changed for not much money.

    I hid my toilet with the vanity when I redid my similarly configured guest bath and used a really great soaking tub in there.

    I’ve used that shower door in a number of bath remodels and beveled small subway in the last master bathroom redo that I’d done for a whole house remodel after a master bath flooding. She literally had tears of joy when the repainted kktchen cabinets doors went on.

    I’ve got to update my website with the photos and quotes, but my mom had a metastatic brain tumor bleed and removed 6 days ago, so it’s not as big a priority as my current remodeling/new construction projects. Thankfully, my clients have been super understanding. I have a great job with great clients and a great mom who is getting better every day.

  • Glenda says:

    Really nice #big surprise. Love the green so fresh !

    I got rid of all the tubs in my house….I’m not spending a dime on how the NEXT people are going to live, besides, I bought a house WITH tubs and didn’t care, so people that want them back in mine, can just put them back. On their bill. #liveyourownlife. IMHO.

    • Maria Killam says:

      Haha, well I do agree with that, but if someone was actually flipping a house, my advice would apply. Someone said “you’re not installing a microwave in your kitchen? What about re-sale?” I don’t care. Or. . .you are not doing a shower in your master bathroom, what about re-sale” My house is the most beautiful house in my entire town, so NO ONE and I mean NO ONE, is going to walk in when the time comes, and NOT buy it for those reasons. Amen. Enough said. Maria

      • Mid America Mom says:

        LOL! I would NOT have that monster (micro) but it was thrust upon me in this and the last kitchen as we tend to move.

  • Mid America Mom says:

    Lovely! I am glad you did not go with a white top. The mirror door seems more appropriate than glass for a bathroom. Just realized that the vanity is very long. Willing to share thoughts on why you went with one bowl? Also how do you combat water from damaging the bottom of the upper cabinets? My cousin has those and they are damaged..

  • Sumner MacRae says:

    Hi. Beautiful bathroom. I love the candlesticks, do you mind sharing where they are from?

  • sumner macrae says:

    I love the candle holders, where are they from?

  • Diane says:

    What happened to the heat register?

  • Julie says:

    Totally agree about B&W baths being classic, I suspect that’s the only reason I don’t hate the 90s era renovated bathroom that came with my house. Except for the white floor tiles which show every hair (I swear I am clean but we have 3 people with long hair sharing the room – not even daily sweeping is enough). Your flooring option looks great and should be a lot more forgiving. I would go with some kind of variegation in my counters as well for similar reasons. Great inspiration for when I finally do need to redo mine.

  • Elle says:

    I find it super confusing that although your philosophy and approach to interior design strongly resonates with me, I’m not a huge fan of the way the majority of the rooms in your home are decorated. Not sure what to make of that.

    • Maria Killam says:

      Too much colour maybe? My point with this bathroom is that it can be many colours 🙂 Maria

  • Sheila McDonald says:

    Gorgeous!! I’ve compared the before/after photos and one thing I’m not seeing. In the before you had a tall cabinet between the vanity and wall. In the after you have a cabinet on both sides of the vanity. They vanity doesn’t look any longer based on the location of the sink. I guess the question is – is the vanity now longer than before?

    • Maria Killam says:

      Yes the vanity is now the full length of the space the tall tower took up before and now has two towers on both sides instead. We still needed the storage which is why we did that. Maria

  • Mel says:

    Maria – what is your opinion on going with Carrara quartz countertop and Carrara like hex marble porcelain for the bathroom floor? Would it look better with a solid white countertop instead? Thank you so much!

  • Trish Mann says:

    Love the bathroom and appreciate the tip on faucet height and backsplash. These “little” details become so huge and mysterious when faced with such decisions in the midst of a reno!! Us amateur diyers just don’t know such things! 🙂

  • Whitney says:

    Hi Maria – Curious, where did the baseboard heater go? I just purchased a home with ugly hydronic baseboard heaters in every room and it never occurred to me they could go away!

  • Diane Wiest says:

    What is the floor baseboard (moulding) that you used? Height? Depth? I am asking because the floor moulding was just installed yesterday in my bathroom and it looks like a hunk of lumber. Something isn’t quite right…

  • JJ says:

    Fantastic redesign! Thank you so much for sharing with us ideas for practical yet stylish and enduring bathroom designs.

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