07 October 2009

Designer's Wish List - Bathroom

Ever wonder what designers choose for their own homes? Here's a sneak preview of what I plan to incorporate into my next place -- and why. As I mentioned in the first wish list posting last week covering my next kitchen, I plan on buying a house or condo in need of updating, so that I can put my own stamp on it.

This post covers the wish list for my next bath. I actually plan on having two in my next home. One will be for my primary use, another for guests.
I will probably set up the master suite as my guest room, with double sinks, since many of my overnight guests will be couples.

The smaller second bedroom and guest bath will work for my primary use, since putting a single sink in a master bath would hurt resale. (I doubt that this next place will be my last. It will probably be home for the next two to five years.)

All is vanity

Shakespeare wasn't wrong. Your vanity sets the tone for the bath. Here are some that I particularly like.

I like this traditionally-styled Newport vanity from Pottery Barn for several reasons. One, it will carry the white cabinet/black countertop combination from my kitchen. Two I like the openness at the bottom, both with the legs and basket shelf. This makes the space feel larger and lighter.

This British Cane Extra-Wide Single Vanity from Restoration Hardware offers six drawers for extra storage and a beautiful marble top. It also matches the dark wood of my armoire and planned bed. The caned doors are dreamy, and I like the legs, as well.

I may dispense with a cabinet altogether and go with a pedestal sink. I particularly like the neo-traditional styling on Kohler's Memoirs Pedestal Lavatory, and would get the matching toilet, too. This would necessitate a small storage cabinet nearby to hold all those girly things one needs to keep close at hand.

Here's another cabinet-less variation from Pottery Barn. Their Apothecary Single Sink Console's styling also makes a small bath feel more open and spacious. It needs a storage supplement, as well. What's nice about both of these models is having a nice amount of counter space for soap, toothbrush and the like.

Storage style

Bathrooms, especially small ones, often lack storage. This is particularly true for baths served by pedestal or console sinks, as shown above. Here are a couple of options for keeping your necessities close at hand when there's no cabinet below your sink, (or even if there is).

A great medicine cabinet, like this Cartright model from Restoration Hardware, can hold a number of personal items.

So can a small floor cabinet, like this Newport Sundry Cabinet from Pottery Barn. (It matches the vanity I like, above.)

A towel shelf, like this Paris style from Amazon.com, is another storage option. It can hold robes and in-use-towels on the hooks below, and folded towels on the shelf above.

Tile style

As you've already deduced, I like traditional and transitional styling, and that carries through to my tile choices. I may opt for simple white subway tile if I'm short on funds. If money is no object in this space, here are a couple of options I'm considering.

This is the Esmeralda floor from New Ravenna Mosaics, an award-winning tile company. I would carry the detailing into the shower and around the room as a wainscot. Beautiful!

I absolutely adore the Studio Moderne series from Walker Zanger. It comes in various colors and shapes, but the tone-on-tone geometry is gorgeous throughout the line. It's both modern and traditional at the same time, and absolutely fabulous!

On a quieter note, I could opt for the softer tones of Trikeenan Tile's Weave series. It's soft and beautiful and would work really well with the fixtures I have in mind.

Fixture fancy

I'm hoping that by the time I'm ready to remodel my next bath, Kohler would have added dual-flush capability to its elegant Memoirs toilet, shown here.

If you're not familiar with the dual-flush concept, you're missing out on a great water-saving opportunity. As the name implies, the toilet offers two flushing options. One uses far less water and for the majority of bathroom visits, that's all that's needed. The boost is there for just when you need it. I prefer the newer comfort-height commodes that tend to be a few inches taller in the seat than standard builder-grade toilets. (Caution: We learned a couple of years ago that some space saver storage units won't work with the taller tank!)

One aspect of my current master bath that I really enjoy is its hand-held, massaging shower head. That's a must-have for my next bath, too.

Shown here is the Kohler Forte Multi-Function Handshower, wall-mounted on a matching bracket with its own controls. That's the configuration I would opt for. The master bath would also have a stationery head. It would probably be a Forte, as well. I used that at a Ritz Carlton and it was divine!

For sink faucets, I like a few different models, all with easy-to-operate lever handles.

This beautiful Art Deco faucet just crossed my in-box, and may very well find its way into my next bathroom. It comes from a company called THG, not a household name, but deserving of recognition, don't you think!

I like this South Seas Collection faucet from Danze quite a bit, too. Very kitsch, don't you think!

If funds are tight, I'll head to my nearest Home Depot and pick up the Archer Faucet by Kohler. It's got nice clean transitional lines that would work with many of the looks I like. Since it's an in-stock item, it's easy on the budget, as well as the eyes.

Shedding light

Lighting is essential for the bathroom and comes in some good-looking varieties. Typically, a small bath will have lighting at the sink and over the shower. Here are a couple of fixtures I wouldn't mind seeing above my mirror. (There's usually not room for side sconces in small baths, though each of these comes in that preferred configuration if space allows.)

This Strande Triple Sconce is available at Restoration Hardware, one of my favorite home stores. There are also nifty Strande hooks and cabinet knobs if you want to extend the look.

This Portland fixture from Home Depot's Eco Options series has nice styling and offers energy efficiency, too! Not a bad combination.

... And beyond

More goes into a bath than the stationery items above. There are accessories, towels, paint and even artwork. One of the items I'll be bringing to my next place from my current one is my favorite Macy's Hotel Collection towel set. They are plush, incredibly soft and absolutely yummy against wet skin. The add-on sets will probably be white. I've never found a towel I like more!

I have fun picking accessory sets like other women have fun shopping for jewelry. Here are a few I have my eye on...

This animal print is by Labrazel for Horchow. I love the markings, but will only go for this pattern if I get a solid black vanity top.

Look closely at this white Isaac Mizrahi for Target set and you'll see the mod embossing. It's a pretty cool look at a pretty cool price, given the Target connection. If the budget doesn't allow for Jonathan Adler accessories, these could do in a pinch!

If I go with the South Seas faucet, I'd likely opt for these Tava pieces from Pottery Barn.

I like this Hampstead Mirror from Williams Sonoma Home, too. It comes in white, if I opt for the white/black look in one of the baths.

I like the idea of using environmentally-friendly, low VOC paints like Benjamin Moore's Aura. I'll probably go for this Amorous hue, or something close to it, for my bath. It will work with either the darker wood tones or the white cabinetry.

This Soleil shade, also in Aura, will probably cover the master suite. The master bedroom will have a lot of black furniture and white bedding in it; this will tie in very well.


  1. THG has some really great stuff. In their Paris Collection, there's a faucet called Montmartre and I'm drawn to it for reasons I can't understand. http://www.thgusa.com/products.php?parent_id=_465_44_109

    Note to THG: your website needs some work!

    Make it all happen Jamie, you're going to do great.

  2. I really enjoyed reading this post, as well as your dream kitchen post. It's always interesting to see what designers would like to do in their own homes :-)

    I love the dark wood vanity from RH, and that purpley grey paint colour is gorgeous!! The two together would be stunning, especially with one of the chrome faucets. And how about a chandelier to really up the wow factor?? :-)


  3. Thanks for this post. I am looking at buying a condo w/ 1 full bath and 1 powder room, and the full bath in particular needs some updating.

    Oh, and that Memoirs sink from Kohler seems to be in about half the condo rehabs in Chicago!

  4. That was interesting - you've hardly put any thought into it at all. /tongue-in-cheek

    Trouble is, we know the majority of what's available -- isn't that a killer? (Although overall, it looks like you have a British Colonial love affair going on...) :)


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