Friday, July 31, 2015

My Nose-Powdering Space

Here is the peek into our powder room that I promised you, in my last post.

What strikes you as you glimpse inside the door?  The wallpaper.  Right? Because it covers the largest surface, one would think that it is the star of the show. However, actually, the whole powder room design began with the sink.

When I found this beautiful Kohler sink called "Prairie Flowers of the Midwest", I could not pass up the lovely artist renderings of plants I remember from my preschool years on a farm in Kansas.

With the delicate colors and gold leaf detailing, I did not think I would ever tire of this graceful basin. I was right, because now, nearly 20 years later, this classic sink is still available (™-design-on-Anatole-pedestal-bathroom-sink/productDetail/Prairie-Flowers/416705.htm?categoryId=430815&defaultCatId=429706).

The wallpaper followed naturally, because the gold leaves and green background perfectly complimented the basin's hand painted botanicals. If my memory serves me correctly, I believe this paper is by Colfax & Fowler. (I prefer British wallpaper because it isn't coated with a shiny film.)

Breaking up the pattern is a corner cupboard. Although these are normally used in dining rooms, I chose to have the linen closet configured in this way to maximize the powder room space.
For the walls, I chose a series of eight botanicals. There are three on each of the two walls near the loo,

and two on the wall above the towel rack.

Displayed on the hand towel rack are antique linens.

Observant guests use the paper hand towels available above the sink. :)

A miniature chandelier lights the small room. (Oops, for you observant readers, yes one of the bulbs is burned out.)

Finally, a Nest candle provides a sublime aroma: moss & mint.
Stay tuned, in my next post, I will feature two powder rooms in my daughter's home.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

A Place to Powder Your Nose

Your powder room has the potential to leave the biggest impression of any room in your house. Why? Because tiny spaces can be the most dramatic! A small space can carry off darker walls or whimsical wallpaper, while the mirror and sink can make a big splash.  Let's study the details in the rooms where you powder your nose.


The largest expanse in a powder room is the wall space. What would overpower a large space can be enchanting in a small dose. Here are some examples:

This silk paper is de Gournay, sometimes called "the Chanel of wallpaper". I know it is memorable, because although I saw the image months ago, when I thought about this post on powder rooms the de Gournay swimming koi immediately surfaced in my mind.
This powder room belongs to by Waterworks founder Barbara Sallick.
The second image I remembered was the Scalamandre prancing zebra wallpaper. You have to admit it lingers in the memory.
This paper comes in several color ways, including red!
Here is another chic wallpaper in a powder room designed by Judy Kling and her daughter, Wendy Wolcott (J K Kling Designs).

Are you noticing an animal theme? The motif must be de rigueur judging from the examples on Pinterest and in national shelter magazines. Here is yet another powder room designed by Style At Home blogger Jessica Wak featuring safari-inspired walls.
 This is Tanzania wallpaper by Thiabut. 
One of my favorite designers, Tom Scheerer, used thee same paper in a Hampton cottage.

However, let me raise a word of caution: When it comes to animals, they can be easily overdone. Wouldn't you agree that leopards on the walls combined with a tortoise shell vase and the alligator sink may be a bit over the top? 

Perhaps a more subtle nod to the wild would hold a more enduring appeal.

That would be the case, unless your motto is "go bold or go home." Even if bold is beautiful, tread softly here. Only a designer as good as Miles Redd could carry off this elegant powder room below featuring peacock feathers on gilded paper.  The combination of unusual wall covering, floating antique Georgian mirror, and unusual sink shouts softly "high end designer".    


However, before trying to replicate Redd's masterpiece, do some soul searching. Would the custom peacock feather wallpaper and Benjamin Moore Gulf Shores paint color on the door "wear well" in your home? If you describe your style as understated elegance, this room wouldn't suit you. On the other hand, if you're aiming for memorable opulence, then go for it!

One unique feature to note, if you are following Redd's lead, is the feminine Georgian mirror juxtaposed to the masculine Henry sink by Waterworks. The pairing makes this room unforgettable, and brings us to a second element that takes center stage in a powder room--the sink.

Sinks and Vanities

I have a soft spot for blue & white Chinese porcelain. As a consequence, although I am wary of cleaning around top-mounted vessel sinks, I love this powder room ensemble. The tiger-maple antique vanity is the perfect compliment to the French brass fixtures and export porcelain bowl. 

Another use of Chinoiserie appears in the vanity below. Notice the mixture of metals: gilded mirror, brass sconce and plumbing fixtures, but a silver undercounted sink. With a deft hand, the designer avoids the matchy-matchy pitfall. I especially love the shimmer of the silk Roman shade.

The vanity below looks fabulous with the French wallpaper, sconces, and mirror...

as does this mirrored vanity and Venetian mirror.

For a more modern look, try a subtle geometric tile on the mirror wall, grasscloth elsewhere, and a floating rectangular sink and starkly simple mirror.

A glossy vanity also gives a modern vibe.
Polsky Perlstein Architects
Phillip Jeffries wall coverings never disappoint, especially if transitional decor calls your name. His papers beautifully bridge traditional to contemporary design.

I really appreciate the modern profile of this chair and vanity executed in traditional mahogany and paired with the crystal chandelier and rectangular shaped Venetian mirror.


Speaking of mirrors, the shape of this tortoise shell beauty mirrors the wallpaper perfectly. ;)

This sunburst mirror holds court, even when competing with a rather bold wallpaper. And, don't you love the Carrera marble countertop?

My last image pleasingly combines wall covering, vanity, sink, and mirror. The pagoda-shaped mirror  suits the French toile wallpaper, while the Italian marble-topped antique vanity perfectly grounds the room.

In case you are wondering what I did in my own half bath? Stay tuned; my next post will give you a  peak into where I powder my nose.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

What's red, white & blue with baseballs all over?

To celebrate the fourth of July, I made a new door wreath.  It was easy, inexpensive, and turned out as well as any wreath I have ever made.  Here is the final product.
To replicate, follow these simple step-by-step instructions:
 First, gather materials. Purchase from craft store:    

A 14 inch, flat wreath-ring with holes punched in the fiberboard.

Five or six rolls of red and white stripped 1.5 inch wide grosgrain ribbon.
One pre-made blue and white polka dotted bow. (You can make your own, but I couldn't find the navy and white polka dotted ribbon except in the pre-made bow.)

And, thirteen wooden baseballs.

Hot glue gun, glue sticks, and old sheet to protect your floor.
After you have assembled supplies, cut the ribbon in 10 inch strips with ends cut on angle.

Then tie the red and white stripped ribbon around the wreathe form.  Alternate which sides you leave the tails sticking out; first tail on the outside of the ring; then tail on the inside. Push the ribbons close together to hide the wreath form.

Place the navy and white bow in the upper left hand side of the wreath.

Next, hot glue the baseballs to the ribbon-covered wreathe form.

Hang and enjoy the visual fireworks.