Big on design
Designers of two powder rooms and two full baths demonstrate how to deliver bling in the smallest room in the house.
Dramatic modern cabinets in espresso stained wood are topped with a marble countertop featuring white inset sinks in this Upper Arlington bath. Photo by Michael A. Foley/ Rycus Assoc.
As the smallest room in the house, bathrooms can present big design challenges. Loaded with essential equipment, often there isn’t much space to accommodate décor. Here, we’ve selected four small bathrooms—two powder rooms and two full baths—that are packed with plenty of design inspiration and clever solutions to make the most of limited space.
A savvy update
One Upper Arlington couple brought the space-efficient mindset they had acquired while living in Manhattan to the renovation of their 1950s ranch home. When it came to their bathroom’s makeover, they called on builder Nimon Collier and Classico Tile & Marble to make smart use of the 13-by-8-and-a-half-foot space. The sunken tub and cherub doorknobs were removed, and the outdated shower stall was enlarged and updated with a luxurious travertine one.
For the vanity, Collier built dramatic modern cabinets in an espresso stained wood and added an Emperador Dark marble counter with porcelain under-mount sinks by Kallista. A large mirror and inconspicuous mirrored cabinets not only function well for dressing, but also make the room appear larger. “Mirrors double the size of a room instantly,” says Jan Cahill of Classico Tile & Marble. French doors with art glass inserts created by Franklin Art Glass Studios Inc. provide a nice transition to the bedroom and allow more natural light to enter the room.
To make the shower feel larger, Cahill chose 16-inch travertine squares to minimize grout lines. Then, he suggested turning the upper tiles on the diagonal to make the space appear to be wider. By extending the travertine tile along the wall, the design further stretched the shower’s appearance. In addition, repeating the wall tiles in the floor pattern helped connect elements of the room.
To finish the makeover, the homeowner says she selected hardware and fixtures as the “jewelry” for the space. Although she considered satin nickel finishes, she decided on Kohler faucets and towel bars in shiny chrome, sconces by Hudson Valley Lighting and cabinet hardware by Amerock. “It gives such a lift to the room,” she says. With the dreaded cherubs now gone, the plain closet doors were bejeweled with crystal door knobs.
A bathroom with bling
For a pint-sized powder room in a Dakota penthouse, designer Jody Dierksheide wanted to continue the modern, clean feeling of his client’s 1,850-square-foot condo but also make the space unique. “There was no room to place ornamental objects, so the walls, ceiling and lighting needed to be special like a modern jewel box,” says Dierksheide regarding the 3-by-7-and-a-half-foot space.
He chose a glass-beaded wall covering from Bedazzled and a mirrored ceiling to visually create more height in the room. The floating vanity cabinet features a counter of Caesarstone quartz with Kohler sink and faucet.
Schonbek pendant lights, from the Geometrix collection, add bling to the jewel box space with their Swarovski crystals and an exposed bulb. Bamboo floors used throughout the condo are repeated in the bathroom.
Artwork that features scenes from the life of Christ is displayed on the rear wall. More than a century old, the Russian Orthodox church icon was purchased by the penthouse owner on a trip to St. Petersburg. The piece is one of the owner’s many worldly works of art displayed throughout the residence.
A powder room in red
Lynnda-Maria Davis designed an eye-catching powder room just steps from the front door of the three-year-old Georgian-style home in New Albany where she and her husband, Steven, live. “You’d be surprised how many stop and peek as they pass through,” says the former interior decorator. No wonder, the small, red-painted and richly appointed bathroom stands out adjacent to the home’s grand entry, which is designed in neutral tones.
Having grown up in a small house, Davis says she’s always had a love for decorating small spaces and applies her childhood experiences of using space well. “Dress up the space,” she says, “and make everything you put in it functional.”
In this 10-by-5-foot bathroom, she began by dressing the space with color. She chose Spanish Red by Sherwin Williams—the deepest color in her home’s palette—for the room’s walls and ceiling. Working with designer Anita Henning of the Hamilton Parker Company, the two selected 12-inch travertine squares, set diagonally, and then accented with 4-inch porcelain stone tiles and a matching border. Henning says this Palais tile line, which is a highly engineered resin tile, mimicked the characteristics of the travertine stone, yet provided an affordable option for an ornately detailed border.
Davis turned to the home’s builder, Steve Tuckerman, for the room’s custom carpentry, including 14-inch dentil molding and a curved-front wooden vanity, stained in white oak, and featuring a crème marble countertop. For added drama, a large raised sink was selected. A hard-to-find traditional porcelain sink was finally discovered at CARR Supply, as was the faucet used with it.
To light the room, two golden sconces were chosen for the vanity area and a crystal basket ceiling fixture dangles overhead. Gold-toned accessories, a painting in complementary colors and an oversized gold mirror complete the space.
When an Upper Arlington couple wanted to re-do a guest bathroom for their grandchildren, they decided on a large tile mosaic for the main wall. The room’s designer, Jan Cahill of Classico Tile & Marble, advises that it’s important to create a single focal point in small rooms. “You can’t have a ‘wow’ in every corner,” he says.
The woman of the house says the bathroom was one of the original baths in the 1949 home, where she lived as a child, and purchased with her husband in 1995. She liked the original bathroom’s use of floor-to-ceiling tile but wanted to update its look and fixtures. Prizm Floors was contracted to gut the room and install new materials.
In creating the room’s new design, Cahill says he drew from the home’s Frank Lloyd Wright architectural elements, including its signature low horizontal lines, open interior spaces and organic influences from the surrounding environment. For three walls, he proposed large, rectangular, white tiles from Artistic Tile’s Frameworks Collection. For the other focal wall, he chose a wavy, green stone mosaic which reflects the home’s ravined property. A recycled glass tile covers the floor and is accented with mosaic elements from the wall design. Hinged, clear-glass doors were installed around a deeper tub area, in place of the original, gray-tinted sliding doors. Updated fixtures include a high-efficiency Toto toilet and a remote exhaust fan.
Rather than a traditional vanity, Cahill suggested an open console of wenge wood with a remnant piece of gray quartz for the counter, a 5-inch porcelain vessel sink and a chrome faucet by Linea. All in Wood was contracted to build a wall cabinet with pull-out drawers for additional storage. Ceiling cans and sconces, from Ginger’s Surface line, brighten the space. Towel hooks, says the lady of the house, were installed to make it easy for the grandchildren to hang their towels—at least “most of the time.”
Teresa Woodard is a freelance writer.