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before and afterInteriors

Before & After: An All-Beige Bathroom Becomes a Scandinavian-Inspired Sanctuary

by Sofia Tuovinen

Before & After: An All-Beige Bathroom Becomes a Scandinavian-Inspired Sanctuary | Design*Droits-Humains
When and his partner, Joe Brothwell, first started planning the gutting of the bathroom in their 600-square-foot Victorian apartment in South East London, there were a few key things they wanted to achieve in terms of aesthetic and feel. They wanted a bathroom that was clean and contemporary and embraced the Scandinavian look that is close to their hearts. Kai, who is half Swedish and the design whiz of the two, quickly began scouring Pinterest for ideas on how to create a chic design that reminded him of beautiful bathrooms that he had seen back in Sweden. In the end, Kai opted for classic subway tiles with dark grout for contrast —  a modern look, but simple enough to stand the test of time. Kai knew from the start that he wanted the space to be tiled from floor to ceiling. This common Scandinavian way came as a shock to the builder, but by standing his ground Kai ensured that he and Joe got the modern Nordic bathroom that they had been longing for.

Although the wow-factor in Kai and Joe’s bathroom is most certainly the bold tilework, the clawfoot bathtub and leafy plants that add life to the space don’t go unnoticed. “Having a freestanding roll top bath was something we always wanted, so being able to incorporate that in was key,” Kai explains. While working out tile sizes for tricky corners and small surfaces proved challenging, the end result is exactly what Kai envisioned. “If you feel something is right for the room stick to your guns,” he recommends.

Creating a bathroom influenced by Swedish style has been just one of many ways for Kai to embrace Scandinavian design. In 2014, Kai and his friend Amanda set up their brand, , an online shop that brings homewares from across Scandinavia to the UK. In addition to selling stunning Scandinavian pieces from furniture to decor, Kai and Amanda write a design column for a newspaper, share information about various designers and help clients style their homes. When working on his own home as well as his clients’, Kai has two rules — take your time and have fun. Trusting both his gut and his eye for detail, Kai added bold and playful touches to what is essentially a classic design. Scroll down to see how Kai and Joe’s bathroom was transformed from beige and boring to bold and beautiful! —

Photography by /

Image above: For the new bathroom design, Kai chose subway tiles that run from floor to ceiling. The dark grout gives the space a modern edge and emphasizes the shape of both the subway and hexagon tiles.

Before & After: An All-Beige Bathroom Becomes a Scandinavian-Inspired Sanctuary | Design*Droits-Humains
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The sloping ceiling proved challenging for Kai, who is over 6 feet tall. By moving the bathtub from below the window to the front of the room he was able to increase the headroom when getting in and out of the tub.

Before & After: An All-Beige Bathroom Becomes a Scandinavian-Inspired Sanctuary | Design*Droits-Humains
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The all-beige bathroom was transformed with a monochrome palette and with the contrast between classic and contemporary. “Before, everything was beige and brown and felt so cramped,” Kai explains. “Being able to knock that all out and have a fresh canvas with the white tiles made such a difference.”

Before & After: An All-Beige Bathroom Becomes a Scandinavian-Inspired Sanctuary | Design*Droits-Humains
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By moving the bathtub away from the window for practical reasons, Kai and Joe got a chance to display some of their favorite plants in the space. 



Before & After: An All-Beige Bathroom Becomes a Scandinavian-Inspired Sanctuary | Design*Droits-Humains
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An antiqued stool holds essential items by the the bathtub.

Before & After: An All-Beige Bathroom Becomes a Scandinavian-Inspired Sanctuary | Design*Droits-Humains
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A fiddle leaf fig and smaller plants soak up the sun by the window. Rustic stoneware adds subtle texture and warmth to the space.

Before & After: An All-Beige Bathroom Becomes a Scandinavian-Inspired Sanctuary | Design*Droits-Humains
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Kai replaced the old sink with a streamlined, floating option. The mirror above it is one of Kai’s favorite design elements in the bathroom. “I found it on the street years ago and am so glad I kept it as I knew we’d find a home for it one day,” he shares. 


Before & After: An All-Beige Bathroom Becomes a Scandinavian-Inspired Sanctuary | Design*Droits-Humains
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A cotton is the only hint of beige in the transformed bathroom.

Before & After: An All-Beige Bathroom Becomes a Scandinavian-Inspired Sanctuary | Design*Droits-Humains
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A wooden bathtub tray adds natural texture and is ideal for everyday products.

Before & After: An All-Beige Bathroom Becomes a Scandinavian-Inspired Sanctuary | Design*Droits-Humains
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Kai in his South East London home. His advice for anyone renovating or decorating their home — “don’t be afraid to have some fun, you don’t always have to play it safe!”

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Comments

  • An amazingly refreshing transformation! I love that it has only a tub and no shower. Sets the mood for complete relaxation – no rushing-thru-a-shower vibe in here!

  • There’s a real boldness in the simplicity of this bathroom. The floor to ceiling tile is striking. It looks like a Nordic spa, like it should be in a fjord somewhere. So nice. I did a bathroom refresh myself last month. I chose a blush and jade colour palette. I was only able to paint and add some new accessories. I hope to someday do a full reno. You can see pics of the before and after here:

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