A Dramatic, Hotel-Like Makeover for a Tiny And Old Bathroom
Interior designer Nikki Audine successfully transformed a dull and dated T&B into a functional and hotel-like space with essential safety features
Renovating the bathroom is not as easy as it seems. While you can instantly update the look with new accessories and décor, keeping it safe and functional means having the right tiles and fixtures in place—especially if an elderly person uses it.
Homeowner Thessa Borromeo has been planning to renovate the private space of her parents for quite some time, but due to work and other commitments, the renovation had to take a back seat. To make it as comfortable as possible for them, they had to make do with DIY solutions like adding grab bars in every corner of the bathroom. “Nadulas ang Dad before, kaya pinuno namin ng bars so when they get dizzy, hahawak lang agad. We want to make it senior-friendly kaya lang wala kaming makitang designs,” she shares.
After her Dad’s passing in 2015, Thessa made it her mission to improve the space not only to ensure her Mommy Purita’s safety, but to help her move on from the sad event, as well, since the bathroom is located within her parents’ bedroom. “I asked for her permission first if we can change it kasi all the memories andun, e,” she adds. As fate willed, the bathroom was chosen for a Real Living makeover, an unexpected blessing that they’re more than happy to welcome. To transform the lackluster T&B into a safe, functional, and contemporary space, RL worked with Sanitec and interior designer Nikki Audine.
Sanitec has been providing quality products to consumers since 2003. Aside from making topnotch bath fixtures, fittings, accessories, and bath systems readily available in the market, they’ve also successfully brought trusted and premium brands like Cotto, CAE, Kohler, VRH, Primy, Viglacera, and Lecston, to name a few, to the Philippines.
After visiting the space, Nikki made a list of changes to be made and an initial game plan for the renovation. “Yung existing tiles ay madulas, tapos yung buong ceiling nakita ko may sira na siya. Inisip ko, paano magmumukhang hindi masikip yung space kasi yung itsura nya makintab na masikip. Parang hindi nakakahinga yung naliligo at kulob, hindi lumalabas yung amoy,” the designer relates. Thessa and Mommy Purita gave their complete trust to Nikki, allowing her to make the necessary adjustments to improve the space. Fortunately, the designer didn't have a hard time going around the Sanitec showroom to find the materials she will add to the bathroom. A dedicated sales associate helped her from selection to purchase making the process easier. It also helped that Sanitec's showroom are filled with vignettes that can be used as sources of inspiration.
Before the makeover, the T&B looked ordinary, with a simple plastic chair in the middle. The new look of the space can be likened to a hotel, with an ambiance reminiscent of spas and a mix of contemporary and tropical touches. Nikki took inspiration from the details found in Mommy Purita’s bedroom in finalizing the concept for the space. “Maraming pieces na may curves sa kuwarto ni Mommy so ang ginawa ko, parang hotel. May plants and frames with prints,” she says.
Since Nikki’s primary concern was the slippery tiles, she decided to completely remove the old ones. They didn’t retain anything from the old bathroom except the door. “Nag decide akong ipabakbak ang mga lumang tiles kasi hindi puwedeng mag tile-on-tile dahil madulas ang mga nakalagay,” she explains. To ensure the safety of Mommy Purita, Nikki chose slip-resistant porcelain tiles from Cerim Italy that are easy to install for the flooring, and look like natural stone. The new Cotto Opera two-piece toilet adds a sleek touch.
“Dati, tuluy-tuloy ang kulay. Ngayon, ginawa nating from light to dark to separate the toilet area from the shower area,” the designer adds. A half-inch drop in the floor level also defines one area from the other to avoid accidents and to keep water from flooding the entire bathroom. The sleek, linear floor drain, also from Cotto, adds a designer touch, and can drain off water faster, making the shower area more safe. A darker, gray slip-resistant tile helps visually define the area.
Slate-look porcelain tiles, also by Cerim, spruce up the walls and give it a warm, earthy feel. To keep it from being too plain, Nikki incorporated darker mosaic tiles—also from Cerim—as accents behind the water closet. She chose tiles in a darker color to create contrast against the light-colored pieces.
To help Mommy Purita move around and avoid tripping, the space is well lit with white lights—one in the toilet area and another in the shower area. Nikki also added warm soffit lighting to help set the mood in the space. This can be left turned on at night to make sure that Mommy Purita can still use the bathroom even without turning on the main lights.
“In designing a bathroom for the elderly, you need to have a space that’s free from obstructions. For this makeover, maluwag sya,” Nikki shares.
Instead of installing a caddy where toiletries can be stored, the designer incorporated a niche that can hold shampoo bottles, soap, and other essentials. The same Cerim mosaic tiles were used to define the storage nook for a cohesive look. With this storage option, Mommy Purita can move around freely without fear of bumping into hanging caddies.
According to Nikki, she allotted a bigger space for the shower area to allow the owners to place a chair beneath the shower during bath time.
The fixtures were chosen to add a modern touch while ensuring the convenience of Mommy Purita like the rain overhead shower and a three-function handshower set from Cotto. “Inayos na din natin yung mga pipes, nag re-piping given the overhead shower since yung connection runs from the wall to the ceiling,” the designer explains.
Nikki installed four grab bars in the bathroom. An L-shaped Yatin bath grip was added near the toilet, while three more Lavo grab bars were installed in the shower area—two below the storage niche and one behind the shower.
Indoor plants add a refreshing tropical vibe to the space. Nikki placed them in lovely rustic-inspired containers to make the setup more interesting. Adding plants is an easy way to spruce up windowsills aside from adding blinds and curtains.
Prior to the makeover, the cabinets outside the bathroom were painted an outdated pink with a marble countertop and a drop-in sink. To maintain the contemporary tropical vibe, Nikki had the cabinets painted in white, creating an airy, spacious look. Hanging plants, woven hampers and bins, and colorful prints were also added to liven up the area.
Nikki decided to lower the height of the countertop to make sure that Mommy Purita can use it with ease. The marble countertop was also replaced with a carrara marble-look porcelain tile from Cerim. To spruce up the wall, the designer opted to install dainty wallpaper with floral prints, which also dictated the rest of the pieces added in the space.
A capiz-frame mirror adds a glamorous touch. Completing the look is a Cotto Bliss vessel-type basin that’s reminiscent of a blooming flower—complementing the outdoorsy, nature-inspired ambiance. Beneath the sink and inside the cabinet, Nikki also installed a multi-point instantaneous water heater from Lecston for a truly hotel-like experience.
From a dark and cramped hallway, Mommy Purita now has a bright and inviting personal space. Choosing white opened up the space and made it even more relaxing. Nikki notes that the sunset looks extra spectacular from this angle as light streams through the windows.
For a seamless look, Nikki made sure that Mommy Purita’s primp corner is also in order. Aside from putting heartwarming photos on display, she also had the vanity table painted in white while concealing the chipped glass on the table.
“Tinakpan namin using the excess wallpaper. For it to stick to the surface, niliha muna namin, para maging magaspang at para kumapit,” she explains.
“Working on the bathroom wasn’t hard at all. The materials from Cotto were easy to install and the owners are very pleasant,” Nikki exclaims. It's also good to know that Sanitec has a reliable after-sales service that the owners can count on. Now that the bathroom and closet area are improved, Thessa hopes to work on the rest of her mother’s room. “We’re really happy with the outcome. We realized na sobrang puno ng gamit yung room, natatakpan na yung walls. Iniisip na namin ngayon kung anong pwedeng gawin sa other side. It’s time to do something about it,” she shares.
Special thanks to our makeover sponsor, Sanitec, Bath & Kitchen Design Specialist. For more details about Sanitec, its brands, and products, visit their website or follow them on Facebook.
Visit Sanitec's showrooms and experience personalized service at these locations:
G/F-3/F Sanitec Building, #240 E. Rodriguez Sr. Avenue, Bgy. Don Manuel, Quezon City
Tel. (02) 230-4065
MC Home Builders Depot
32nd Street, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig City
Tel. (02) 815-6057
CW Home Depot - Ortigas
#1 Dona Julia Vargas Avenue, Bgy. Ugong, Pasig City
Tel. (02) 638-5586
CW Home Depot - Macapagal
G/F CW Home Depot Manila Bay, Sen. Gil Puyat Avenue Extension corner Macapagal Blvd., Pasay City
Tel. (02) 556-2049