Space of the Week: A Seaside Bathroom Takes on the Nautical Look in a Modern Yet Timeless Way

This space has us dreaming of summer escapes to the shore.

Nautical bathroom with wood and painted wall paneling, ship-inspired wall sconces and an angular mirror
Photo: Bryan Graybill

When Bryan Graybill, an interior designer and property developer, bought this home with his husband, they assumed they'd use it as a secondary property. "We thought we'd be here for weekends and holidays, and then we decided to make it our primary residence," he says.

It's hard to blame them. Their address is in the historic bed and breakfast district of East Hampton, where wide lawns and winding roads are never far from the ocean's salty water. The hideaway they chose, though, wasn't primed for a quick vacation, let alone a longtime stay. "We started our renovations in 2018 and it took about 18 months to finish," Graybill notes. "This bathroom hadn't been touched since the late 1950s, and there was linoleum tiles and asbestos!"

Graybill knew that the entire bathroom needed to be upgraded, but he didn't want to disrupt its compact size. "Small can be delightful," he notes. "I was inspired by renovations I'd seen in Provincetown, Mass. that work within roof eaves and use wood planking and plaster as durable materials. I also saw a number of projects where mirrors were unapologetically applied into whatever space was available."

With that other seaside getaway in mind, Graybill went about renovating this bathroom with a focus on natural materials, classic finishes, and simple applications. He chose a high-gloss white paint for the walls to help bounce light around, giving the illusion of more square footage, and then mounted a streamlined black marble vanity on the wall for one distinctive focal point. A single shelf underneath provides storage, while the wood accent behind the mirror brings in a certain maritime charm that's underscored by touches of brass. As for that angled mirror, Graybill ensured that it was cut to follow the roofline to showcase its unique placement.

"We also used wall-mounted taps to save room, since the sink is wide but not deep," he says.

In all, the bathroom is almost entirely brand new, which isn't unlike the couple's fresh start in the area. And just like them, the space feels like it always belonged there.

Get the Look:

01 of 04

Grab for the Gold Ring

Signature Hardware Brass Towel Ring with gray towel

Touches of brass help the small space shine. Graybill found a gold towel ring at Waterworks, but we also have our eye on this affordable look-alike from Signature Hardware.

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Captain's Quarters

Fluted Glass and Brass Wall Sconce
Lamps Plus

Sconces crafted from fluted glass and brass contribute to the space's nautical style, giving the impression you've entered the cabin of a ship.

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Sea Sponge Storage

Glass Canister With Lid holding loofah sponges
Pottery Barn

Gather an assortment of lidded glass jars in various sizes to fill with bathroom essentials: exfoliating sea sponges, cotton balls, and makeup-removing wipes.

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Resort-Worthy Towels

Sferra White Bath Towel

Cue luxury hotel vibes with the most luxuriously fluffy, absorbent bath towels. If you get in the habit of washing white towels with bleach, it's easy to keep them looking clean.

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