Transforming an outdated southwestern-style bathroom into a serene, minimalist oasis takes careful planning and execution. This extensive remodeling project in a Cleveland home demonstrates how dramatic the shift from cluttered and dark to clean and bright can be. We will explore the challenges faced, design decisions made, and stunning final reveal of the bathroom’s renovation.

Assessing the Existing Bathroom

Prior to its remodel, the bathroom exhibited all the hallmarks of heavy-handed southwestern decor. This aesthetic, popular in the 80s and 90s, tends to feature bold, earthy colors, intricate tilework, ornate lighting fixtures, and carved wood accents.

While well-intentioned, the previous homeowners’ commitment to this style resulted in an overwhelmingly busy and dark bathroom environment. Tan tile clashed with salmon paint above dense rows of timber framing the mirror. A corner jacuzzi tub took up valuable floor space. The dated look desperately needed updating for a more refined, minimalist look.

Before touching up the dated features, the homeowners and their Cleveland contractor took stock of what needed addressing:

  • Poor lighting – The room relied on a single overhead fixture, casting shadows across the space.
  • Cramped layout – Bulky jetted tub and separate shower crammed the room.
  • Dated materials – Busy tiling, painted arches, and wooden elements screamed 1980s.
  • Lack of storage – Room was void of cabinets and drawer space.

Beginning the remodel required stripping away these outdated elements to create a clean slate. Careful demolition work prepared the bathroom for its transformation.

Achieving a Minimalist Look

The homeowners wished to embrace a minimalist aesthetic moving forward. Minimizing decorative elements helps create peaceful sanctuaries. This look also complements the home’s transitional style.

Various design choices promote an uncomplicated, serene environment:

  • Neutral color palette – Shades like white and gray keep the room calm. Pops of color can be added through accessories.
  • Clean lines – Avoid ornate moldings or trims that clutter up the space.
  • Sparse decor – Limit decorative items to the essentials. Remove non-essentials.
  • Multifunctional fixtures – Opt for streamlined fixtures that serve more than one purpose. For example, floating shelves provide display space and storage.
  • Ample lighting – Proper illumination removes shadows and brightens the room. Use multiple light sources.
  • Open layouts – Remove visual barriers; create an airy, unobstructed room.

Incorporating these elements into the Cleveland bathroom’s makeover stripped away previous excesses. The final result spotlights the homeowners’ restraint and careful curation of necessities.

Demolition & Installation

Executing the bathroom’s transformation required methodical demolition followed by installation of clean-lined features. Key steps included:

Removal Process

  • Old tile floors scraped away
  • Corner jetted tub disconnected and removed
  • Shower bench and enclosure dismantled
  • Toilet, pedestal sink, and plumbing fixtures disconnected
  • Diagonal timber beams pried from walls
  • Crown molding, window cornices, light fixtures removed
  • Medicine cabinet & outdated lighting stripped away

Deconstruction cleared out dated elements down to the studs. New plumbing and electrical could then be roughed into the bathroom’s blank slate.

Installation Process

  • Subway tile floors & walls – Classic white tile creates clean backdrop
  • Duravit toilet & sink – Crisp fixtures with straight lines
  • Frameless shower enclosure – Promotes openness
  • Kohler ceiling-mount rain showerhead – Sleek cylindrical style
  • Recessed lighting – Removes shadows
  • Horizontal mirror over floating vanity – Lightens up space

Strategic placement of these minimalist components opened up the once-cramped bathroom. The space now feels serene and uncluttered.

Design Details

Several details came together to produce the bathroom’s calming minimalist environment.


  • White subway tile – Bright, neutral, sleek tile used on floors and walls
  • Quartz countertops – Provide smooth durable surfaces in white/gray swirls
  • Chrome fixtures – Matte nickel finishes for clean unified look
  • Frameless glass shower – Transparent surfaces create airy effect
  • Recessed lighting – Soft general lighting with no visible fixtures


  • Double vanity – His & hers sinks with mirrored medicine cabinets above
  • Open shower – No doors or curtains separating space
  • Unobstructed views – No visual barriers to make room feel small

Stylistic Elements

  • Crisp white palette – Monochromatic color scheme peaceful and bright
  • Sparse accessorizing – Green plants only decorative elements
  • Straight lines – Right angles in tilework and squared edges on cabinets/fixtures
  • Continuous surfaces – Wall tile flows onto shower floor for seamless look

Careful coordination of these details resulted in a brighter, cleaner, and more functional Cleveland bathroom. The minimalist makeover suited the homeowners’ desire for serene, uncluttered spaces.

Overcoming Challenges

The transformation presented some challenges requiring creative problem-solving.

Limited Square Footage

With just a single medium-sized bathroom, space limitations posed a challenge. Every surface and fixture had to fulfill a purpose without cluttering the room. Solutions included:

  • Choosing compact rectangular undermount sinks
  • Using space-saving wall-hung toilet
  • Installing slim recessed medicine cabinets
  • Building sleek open-concept shower

Establishing Consistent Lines

The previous haphazard arrangement resulted in distracting uneven lines. New fixtures aligned with flooring and walls to promote better flow.

Brightening Dark Zones

Removing bulky wood elements and adding recessed lighting banished shadows. Lighter wall colors and mirrors reflect natural light.

Minimizing Moisture Issues

The homeowners preferred an open shower without doors. Waterproofing treatments on walls/floors and installing powerful ventilation prevented moisture buildup.

The Dramatic Reveal

Gone are the dated southwestern features and haphazard layout. They have been replaced with a tranquil modern bathroom beautifully illuminated through skylights and recessed lighting.

Crisp white quartz countertops atop the double floating vanity align perfectly with the bright white subway tile floors. His & hers medicine cabinets provide mirrored surfaces which, along with the subtle green accents, hint at the room’s connection to nature.

The spacious walk-in shower, no longer confined by a cramped corner tub, provides an airy spa-like experience with its rain showerhead and sleek cylindrical design. Neutral tones are carried through with the white and gray swirled quartz walls.

By limiting decorative elements to lush green plants, strategically placed towels, and a single print above the toilet, the homeowners allowed the space itself to shine. The Cleveland bath is now a study in refined minimalism.


What defines a minimalist bathroom?

A minimalist bathroom is characterized by clean lines, neutral colors like white and gray, limited decorative accents, ample lighting, multipurpose fixtures, and an open, uncluttered layout. The focus is on necessities over clutter.

What was minimalist about the bathroom remodel?

The homeowners created a minimalist look by removing dated features like busy tiling, arched accents, and ornate lighting. They installed sleek rectangular or cylindrical fixtures, expansive surfaces of white subway tile, frameless shower enclosures, and discreet recessed lighting.

How did they brighten up the previously dark space?

Shadows were banished through installation of recessed ceiling lights. Skylights over the shower and light-reflecting mirrors also help reflect natural light around the room. Using all-white color schemes contributes brightness.

What layout changes were made?

The cramped corner jet tub was removed to allow for an open concept walk-in shower. Floating double vanities replaced the pedestal sink, increasing surface space. Medicine cabinets maximized vertical storage without cluttering walls.

How were moisture issues addressed in the shower?

The homeowners installed waterproof shower pan tile and water-resistant shower wall tile. Vents were added to provide sufficient airflow. Glass treatments on surfaces repel water and speed drying time.

What minimalist design elements could be used in other rooms?

Open layouts, neutral colors, ample lighting, multifunctional and streamlined furniture, sparse accessorizing, and clean lines can be incorporated throughout any room to cultivate a sense of minimalism. The overall goal is to strip away visual clutter.

In Closing

This Cleveland bathroom remodel demonstrates how moving from a heavily styled southwestern space to an airy minimalist retreat required rethinking layout, lighting, materials, colors, and decorative elements. By focusing on bare necessities for functionality, the homeowners created a bright, serene oasis. Their vision came together through careful demolition, installation of sleek new features, and limited accessorizing. The result is a soothing environment perfect for starting and ending each day.