Three questions: First, have you ever read Virginia Woolf, A Room of One’s Own? Required reading.
If you subscribe to this blog, our working assumption is that you are most likely a mom. Second question: When was the last time you went to the bathroom all by yourself, in peace, no company, no interruptions? Exactly.
And finally: Do you live with 3 men? If so, maybe read this too. Shana lives with Mike D, Raines and Pax. They are all love, all three of her men people. It’s a beautiful and really fun sometimes complicated dynamic, but one that Shana reduced to a single statement for me one day when she simply said, “I am the Queen.” Sing it sister. She seriously makes me smile the biggest smiles, and then we laugh at the hilariousness of it all.
While that statement could be read many ways, if anyone else is binge watching The Crown; then we’re all clear on the fact that being the Queen isn’t an easy job, by any measure, for anyone. And not one most of us would want. So here’s this: all Queens obviously need a fitting throne, all women need a room of their own, and all mom’s need a way to find peace and happiness in the middle of the craziness of everyday life. So let’s renovate a powder room, right?
Shana’s Powder Room
This project started, as some fun ones do, with some leftover tile from their kitchen renovation, and a box of a powder room that needed some love after having not been re-renovated for more years than anyone can count. A powder room on the first floor of a city house is absolutely not a given, it’s a tiny room, that the lucky ones know is a BIG deal. Often, they just get added in, basically wherever the plumbing will let that happen, and then you close it in. S’s powder room…had some amazing potential for many reasons, and we feel pretty confident that it’s been realized! We LOVE this tiny little room in a BIG, BIG way!
First the tile! The amazing, honed, beautiful white ceramic tile! Warm white tile can brighten up any otherwise dark space! And this one, is just special enough. It’s genuinely understated elegant, earthy, and sophisticated all at once. We had just enough of it to cover the floor and to go ALL the way up one wall!
And then there’s that magic window! Windows in city houses are like gems that need to be maximized in all ways possible!!! We finished the window in reclaimed wood frame, and did a simple half shutter for privacy, but as not to block the upper light that comes in the afternoon! And for fun, we added two ceramic planters above the shutters and some air plants. Beautiful!!!! The giant mirror also helps reflect all of that great light! It’s fun to play with proportion in small spaces and sometimes what the smallest spaces need are giant accents, especially when black and white play nicely together in the same space.
We also cut out two interior windows, so that the natural light from the window would enter the rest of the space outside of the powder room. And we positioned them so that the relocated light fixture would be a fun feature when it’s lit at night from outside of the room! You can see a hint of the light fixture a few photos above. You can see it’s reflection in the below photo and there’s a detail below, below. That was a fixture that was somewhere it didn’t work in the house, but here it’s perfect. Again, proportion: love an oversized light fixture in a tiny space. The height of the room let it work. And being able to see just the fixture lit from outside of the room is so fun; it looks like a stellar constellation through the windows at night! Cutting out the interior windows also gave us an additional opportunity to add more of the reclaimed wood framing that we are in love with !
The rest of this room is details, details, and a few more carefully chosen details! First the wallpaper. Is it any fun for our readers to have insight into our own personal relationships? Of course it is, we’re all human and they are probably just like yours! Especially the friendships. I brought Shana (and Gwen, of course) ALL of the wallpaper books. 50 of them. With plenty a page tagged. We dropped 10 at a time on the floor for a fun round of yes, no, and why. Shana teases me for my, um, presentations, on ‘why’ things work or don’t, are absolutely necessary and not. I had something to say about each of the papers. Except for this one. We saved it for the last round. We let it sit. And it spoke for itself. Silence. Silence is all of our friend. Especially when playing fun choosing games with women we love. And then S said, “But wait. You didn’t have anything to say about the one I love.” And I winked, and walked…straight over to the paper store to place an order. It’s a Christian Lacroix paper. It is just gorgeous. And while papering anywhere can be expensive, sometimes the most fun places to work with paper are the tiny spaces because you don’t need much of it to make a giant impact! Voila.
*Shana’s paper is no longer available in her color scheme, but it is in others that are also absolutely lovely.
Instead of replacing the existing pedestal, we went with a full reclaimed wood counter and a top mounted sink. Sinks mounted this way look are like functional art; they take the necessary and make it beautiful! Especially when you add a gorgeous faucet in a great finish!
Living with people, men people, little women people, just lots of people, means lots of hand washing. The clean towels, which we go through plenty of are rolled in a beautiful ceramic bowl that picks up a key color of the paper. And then we hang one…the one that gets used until it’s been too used from a small iron pull. The towels are Turkish and therefore thin enough that they don’t need a towel ring per se, and fit nicely through a pull, which gives you more options for that piece of hardware.
Yes these are my favorite trash cans. Yes they are impossible to find, especially in black. And yes I had to do a one act play to get S to appreciate why ‘THIS’ was the bin this bathroom needed. Character. They have character. So do a few others we’ve recently set eyes on and instantly fallen in love with !
And sometimes it’s the simplest things, like a brass tp holder that are just beautiful and bring us peace!
Living with people a plenty we all go through more Meyers and Method hand wash than one can imagine. But it’s nice to have something special like the Savon, that smells fantastic and is fun in the bathroom that guests use. Or the one that YOU use most frequently. And yes, we burn through candles like you can’t believe, and these are by far the most special of the bunch. They are expensive, but they last if you trim them, and they smell so freaking wonderful!!! The Baies is our favorite scent and Baies in Black is just gorgeous! When we cringe at the price, we gift them to one another for special occasions and giggle with joy on receiving them!
And that bowl! From the same ceramics shop in S’s hometown as the hanging planters! You can choose your own accent color for the inside of the bowl, and the texture on the outside is just amazing! It plays well off the reclaimed wood and the honed tile. And functionally, it’s where the rolled extra Turkish hand towels live.
The inside scoop: Tankless toilets, if you have the room in your budget are amazing…and solve the challenge we banged into with getting the toilet lid to line up perfectly with the counter, while trying to work with the existing plumbing. Al and I love our conversations about moving plumbing 1/8″. I’m an optimist, he’s a realist, and someday, when we have the time and cash, we’ll replace the toilet with a tankless one. For now, this ‘works’. And it even encourages putting down of the toilet seat. So there. And then there are the fun conversations about exactly what you can ‘see’…through the windows, interior and exterior. While light was most important to some of us, Mike D had genuine again, very real concerns. So those windows and shutters were measured to within a fraction of an inch of sightline. They cover just enough…for private wiping. Well done Mike D. And the white hand towels…for sure, they get trashed. Real talk. If you are willing to use bleach, white hand towels are your friend. If you aren’t…black. Or some other strong color or pattern is probably a better idea. #realtalk
14/ MENU PEDAL BIN
This is a room of simple pleasures. Ok fine, super complicated, simple pleasures. But just a few of them, bring such joy! We all love our ‘special’ time, alone and not in this powder room and had so much fun bringing it to life!
If we missed anything you have questions about, just ask in comments and we’ll share!
Here’s to everyone finding their throne, their room of their own and their own peace! xoxo A