Make a Statement in a Small Bath
It's Important to Impress Your Guests
Most of the Fallbrook home, in which this dark loo lives, is neutral, so designing duo Margaret Shaw-Baird and Elyssa Contardo, the principal designers and partners behind IVORY Design Studio in La Mesa, opted for high drama. “We wanted to do something unexpected in this small space,” Margaret says. “Powder rooms are perfect places to take risks,” Elyssa adds, “because the design doesn’t affect any other room in the house.”
1. Be daring.
Though the designers let the same tropical, traveled, earthy concept they employed in the rest of the home drive the ideas in this bath, they created “a whimsical, dramatic design that makes a big impact,” they say. Their advice: Go bold! Paint the walls to match a favorite magenta shade of lipstick or wallpaper the entire space in that vibrant wallcovering you’ve pinned a thousand times.
2. Think differently about lighting.
“No one is using this room to get ready in the morning,” Margaret says, “so the lighting choices you make can be more about aesthetics than about tasks.” The designers wanted the powder room to feel dark and serene, so they chose a fixture that emits a soft glow, but pendants and sconces are good choices too. Point being, you don’t have to choose a typical three—bulb vanity light in here.
3. Add a splash of character.
“Sink options are endless,” Elyssa says. To complement the overall raw, edginess in this home, Margaret and Elyssa selected a petrified wood vessel. Take a cue from the other furnishings and accessories in your home. Do you favor clean lines? Organic shapes? Let your style be your guide when shopping for the sink. Don’t just pick something off the shelf.
4. Mix sheens.
High-gloss black subway tiles pair perfectly with graphic, matte floor tiles. “This adds more dimension and depth in tiny bathrooms,” Margaret explains.
5. Don’t play matchmaker.
The mirror, trough faucet and light fixture do not have the same finish. They are all slightly different variations of a bronzy gold, “which makes them work in this room,” Elyssa says. The takeaway? Go for the same tone, not the exact match when picking hardware, fixtures and lighting.