How fitting that The Washington Post had a story today (by my friend and fellow Smithie Lindsey Roberts!) about adding some POW to the Powder Room, because just this week, I’ve been looking at some pretty high-caliber “Pow” by the renowned team of Jose Solis-Betancourt and Paul Sherrill.
Lindsey says in her story that since the powder room is such a small space, you can afford to take risks, or splurge on a luxurious color or wallpaper. OK. So how about THIS:
This powder room was created from new construction in a home in Potomac. “That’s always the challenge—to give a layering and sense of age” to the space, Paul says. He layered Fortuny wallpaper with a gilded mirror that hangs down like a painting, angled slightly forward both for dramatic effect and so the (lucky) child in the house can see better.
They also found dramatic “Rain forest” marble for the counter and sculpted backsplash over an Ebanista chest that was retrofitted for the sink. The marble against the Fortuny paper is stunning, and it totally works, but there should be a warning here: Don’t try this at home—unless you’re working with professionals like Paul and Jose.
Bathrooms are great spaces to add a punch of personality without becoming too overwhelming. Paul and Jose again accomplished this task in a DC home that floats between rustic and modern in style:
The standout here (which becomes a theme in this post) is the vanity. Paul and Jose found this farm table at John Roselli in New York and, again, had it retrofitted. The sconces were wired from architectural salvage, and the mirror was framed by the team’s picture framer (a great tip for mirrors, by the way — go to any reputable framer, and choose a kick-a** frame for a mirror. The framer will usually supply the mirror).
And this part I love: the chunky baskets underneath the sink are from Ikea! They are totally rocking the high-low thing here.
And while we’re still on personality, here is a powder room in Keswick, VA, near Charlottesville:
Jose and Paul wanted the space to look the part of a country manor, so they gave it a Gustavian feel. “We wanted it to feel ‘of the area,'” Paul says. So they used an antique, paired it with a classic Waterworks basin sink, gilded sconces and mirror, and voila.
Paul says they usually turn to antiques or custom-made furniture pieces for bathroom vanities because they can give a small space the most character. “A piece of furniture feels less architectural, a little friendly, more personal rather than being so built in,” he says.
Here are two more stunning examples: His and Hers’ master baths in DC. Just remember, these spaces are on opposite sides of the same bedroom:
The husband here has tastes that tend toward old, Neoclassical styles; hence, the dark paneling and a custom vanity made from ebony and cherry woods with marble insets on the apothocary-style drawers. The mirror-on-mirror matches the layering effect of the vanity below.
Crossing the room now, you’re also crossing styles. “He likes heavier, darker woods, and she likes light, airy, wispy,” Paul says.
Paul and Jose had the vanity reproduced to mimic an antique they found in Europe that was too precious to cut open. It dictated a style inspired by 18th-century British architect and designer Robert Adam. The trim on the soft gray walls is applied wood, and notice the painted-wood floor as well. Both bathrooms channel the Neoclassic age, but one is an ever-so-delicate counterpoint to the strong, dark and handsome other.
“People love their bathrooms,” Paul says. “They are beginning to put as much emphasis on them as they are in the kitchen.” That’s saying a LOT.
Thanks to Paul and Jose for sharing these examples. I’m officially inspired to revamp our own tiny little powder room into a space that packs a little more punch!