Suite Dream

Catherine and Bryan at Mix Design Collective like to think a little outside the walls of traditional home remodeling. For example, turning a tight space on the third floor of their own home into a brilliant guest suite by doing the unthinkable: getting rid of a bedroom. Yep, in a world where the number next to that “BR” is equivalent to real estate gold, the husband-and-wife designer team re-fashioned a fresh new space by flipping the ratio between bed and bath. The result: a stunning guest bathroom, flush with natural light, clean lines, and deft details.

We made Catherine pause for a few minutes between projects to break down one of of our favorite new renovations:

We found Riad Tile through Instagram and were thrilled to learn that their cement tile is $9 per square foot, compared to $15-20 that we had been seeing everywhere else.  They were so easy to work with and really helpful, which made our first experience using cement tile a pleasant one. Pro tip: Unsealed cement tile is really, really porous, which means that it’ll absorb everything and anything before it’s sealed. When installing, try to keep tiles clean as you go, and avoid letting anything sit on them for too long. Seal when you’re done installing (before grouting). Also: use lighter grout on lighter tiles. We used dark grout, which was difficult to wipe up off of the light tile. We lightly sanded and buffed all of the tiles to remove the residue, and everything came up easily!

In addition to the cement tile we used from Riad, we incorporated vinyl wallpaper from Ellie Cashman, cedar accents, and a mix of silver and black metals.  We had a rug from Dolores Wares leftover from another kitchen flip project we decided to test in here, too.

Because of the sloped ceiling, we needed a vanity that was really narrow.  Bryan designed and built one out of cedar 4x4s, steel, and concrete, which he made using Quikrete countertop mix.

We mounted a vessel sink on the concrete surface, and chose a satin nickel wall mounted faucet to save space—both purchased from Amazon! We found the mirror and sconces on sale at the Restoration Hardware outlet, now new to Easton!

We had lots of knee wall storage options to consider—closed vs. open, built-in or not, etc. We ultimately opted for open storage because we plan to use this as a guest suite, and having open storage means that people who aren’t familiar with the space can easily find what they need. It was also much less expensive and time consuming than doing custom built-ins. We made the shelves entirely out of 1×2 cedar slats from Home Depot, and incorporated a copper pipe towel bar into the slats. It seemed like a perfect spot for one.

Eco Glass came out and measured the space for the shower door, and then custom made an enclosure to fit the slope. We chose matte black hardware that tied in with the mirror, and had another towel bar added to the glass.  We’ll be adding a shelf or a bench inside the shower soon for storage.

As for the adjoining bedroom, we have a Crate & Barrel Karnes Twin Sleeper Sofa that we found at the outlet for $450 a year ago (reg. $2,899!). The memory foam mattress is a really comfortable alternative to spring mattresses that pull outs tend to have (several family members have tested it) and the couch is also comfortable to sit on when it’s folded up. We exposed the original beams and original 12-foot brick chimney, which add a ton of character to the space.

After moving from New York to Columbus in 2012, Bryan and Catherine Williamson unknowingly began creating Mix Design Collective (“Mix”) by sharing their home renovation progress on their now popular blog, Beginning in the Middle. Their unique spaces recognized nationally in publications such as DesignSponge, House Beautiful, and Apartment Therapy. For more, visit