About catherine
Catherine is a CPA-turned-creative entrepreneur. She is the founder of Beginning in the Middle. an interior designer, photographer, writer, and business schemer.  She loves being cozy at home, miniature everything, and has a not-so-secret dream of living on an island one day.
SEARCH the blog
Before & After

White Cape Cottage: Bathroom Design

White Cape Cottage

Did you hear the news?  My parents are moving to Columbus!  They bought the cutest cape cod that Bryan & I will be renovating for them over the next few months.  We’re making progress on the living room (we’ll have updates for you in a few weeks – yay). In the meantime, we’re getting started with design plans for the first floor bathroom.

This post is sponsored by Lowe’s.


Alright folks, here’s what we’re working with.  This is the view from the entrance.

There’s a 72″ single sink vanity and toilet on the right.

And a built-in and tub on the left.  The tub and surround are in great shape, so we’ll definitely be salvaging these when we take them out.

Here’s a few shots coming from the other direction…

Here’s a look at the built-in behind the door.  It’s huge!

Overall, it could use some improvement right?  On the plus side, the space we’re working with is great and we won’t have to move plumbing too much.  That’ll allow us to put money into other areas of the space.


We’d estimate this project, including the laundry closet, to be $20k-25k if we were working with a client.  Materials will be roughly 35%, labor will be 50%, and our time spent on designing, ordering materials, and managing the project will be roughly 15%.  We don’t usually share too much about our remodeling costs because 1) we do most of the work ourselves, so it’s hard to keep track of everything and value it properly, and 2) construction varies SO much based on where you are in the country/world, which designer and/or contractor you work with, time of year, and a million other factors.  Hopefully this helps give you a very high level view of where we’d come in for a project like this!

THE design: space planning

We start every project with space planning, where we look at a 2D view of the space in our software and move things around until they feel right.  This stage is all about maximizing functionality, so we’re thinking through how my parents will use this bathroom now and in the future.  Here are the goals we’ve jotted down:

  1. The current 72” vanity only has one sink.  Replace with a double vanity that has more storage.
  2. Install medicine cabinets for more storage
  3. Replace hollow door with a new panel door
  4. Replace the brown vinyl floor tiles with something classy (heated flooring?)
  5. Add vanity lighting.
  6. Install wall molding for character.
  7. Convert the tub to a low maintenance shower (read: no grout and low/no curb).
  8. Convert built-in cabinet into first floor laundry.  Find another spot for a small closet/storage cabinet.
  9. Create space for a towel bar and hooks.
  10. Install new shower fan (bluetooth?) and other smart upgrades.

With all that in mind, here’s a snapshot of the current floorplan.

Because this will be my parents’ forever home, making it easy to move around in is important.  The laundry is currently in the basement, so we’d love to relocate it to the first floor where the current built-in is.  We’d close it off from the bathroom and open the new laundry closet up from the hall.  In order to do this, we’d need to move the wall over into the adjoining bedroom’s closet by a few inches.  To make up the space, we’d replace the old closet with more functional floor-to-ceiling wardrobes when the bathroom is finished.  Moving the wall over into the closet would also allow us to widen the shower by a few inches, so that’s a pro of this plan!

An even better version is to make the shower slightly smaller and add some storage space between the new laundry closet and shower.  Bryan and I have to confirm feasibility, but are pretty confident it’ll work.

My mom mentioned she thinks they may need more storage, so our latest version includes shrinking the 72″ vanity down to a 60″ vanity and adding more full-height storage by the door.

THE design: finishes

We’re still considering a few different options for finishes.  In the shower, my parents are looking for something super low maintenance (let’s be serious, cleaning grout at any age is not fun).  We found this Kohler surround that looks like marble, but is super easy to install and will hold up really well over time.  Faux stone shower panels can tend to look tacky in real life, but we’re hoping these ones pass the test!  On the floor in the shower, we’re installing a white shower pan with a textured base to prevent slips and falls and further reduce maintenance.

Here’s the first mood board we’re considering, which is leaning more traditional.  Brass is usually our go-to metal, and I love these parquet marble floors. (PSA: they’re currently in stock at Lowe’s, and are also available in black & white!).

parquet marble tile // vanity // shower pan // shower surround // shower faucet // hand shower // medicine cabinets // sconces // sink faucets 

The second version we’re considering has polished nickel finishes and marble hexagon floors (also in stock at Lowe’s!).

hexagon marble tile // vanity // shower pan // shower surround // shower head // hand shower head // shower bar diverter // medicine cabinets // sconces // sink faucets 

It’s so hard to choose, but I think I know which way I’m leaning.  Which would you choose?

We’re so excited to show you how this all unfolds.  If you aren’t on our email list, click here to get blog updates and other fun announcements straight to your inbox!  We’ll also be sharing our progress on Instagram in between blog posts, so come hang out with us over there, too!



+ show Comments

- Hide Comments

Add a comment

  1. Sue Cates says:

    I would choose the second option. And use the spot resistant faucets. Every little bit helps with the cleaning. Love the design!

  2. Amy says:

    I love following your projects and I’m excited for this one! My brother and I just finished my parents master bath in their new home (he’s a GC and I’m a kitchen/bath designer). One thing we did to help with aging in place is when the walls were opened up we added studs horizontally where we thought they might put grab bars if they would need them in the future. That way there would already be something substantial to screw them in to.
    Can’t wait to see the progress!

  3. Miranda says:

    I still think it’s just so cool that your parents are moving to Columbus and you guys are doing the design! What a FUN project to do together. I love where this design is headed already–is that Unusual Gray on the moulding/trim work you’re thinking of adding?

    Something I’ve considered for our bathroom remodel when we get to it, as we’re also planning to age in place, is the stud comment another poster made. Except not just where the grab bars are but also something to potentially add a seat into if need be.

    I’m so excited to see this come together already and you’re just starting!

  4. Linda Schombert says:

    Hi, just wondering what you think about the shower surrounds…we are looking for some that don’t look plastic and/or cheap so are very curious about yours…otherwise will go the large tile route…can’t wait to see what you come up with…

  5. Brittany says:

    This is such a helpful article! I’ve been dreaming of doing a bathroom remodel for years, and I can’t wait to be able to start taking these steps! Thank you for sharing.

  6. […] … and a few other functional changes to make it conducive to my parents’ lifestyle as they age.  Here’s the final layout (you can also find lots more details on our design process in this post): […]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


Catherine & Bryan Williamson moved from NYC to Columbus, OH in 2013.  Beginning in the Middle is a journal of the couple's design and renovation projects, real estate investment and Airbnb hosting journey, travel, and other life happenings.



Gift Guides





I grew up in New Jersey and always had a dream of living in New York.  There was something about the energy of the city that drew me inOur journey started unexpectedly in 2012, when we decided to make a big move from New York to Columbus. The glamour of climbing the corporate ladder was wearing off, and we knew that renting an expensive small apartment and dealing with crowded subways everyday was not going to work forever. We wanted to start creating something for ourselves, and although we didn’t know exactly what that something was, we knew NYC wasn’t the place for it.

We decided on Columbus because Bryan grew up here, and we were intrigued by all of the development going on in the downtown area at the time. We drove through many of the neighborhoods and admired the boarded up old houses, most of which were built in the early 1900s, and started dreaming about the things we could do here.

I'm Catherine, and I'm the founder of Beginning in the Middle.

read the whole story



join our email list

Let's Stay in Touch

We send out a monthly newsletter and other occasional updates exclusively to our email pals. 

sign up






© Beginning in the Middle | All rights reserved | Legal | TONIC