Powder rooms come by their name honestly. Once a spot for servants
to add talcum powder to a gentlemanís wig, todayís powder rooms
offer guests style, relief and, if done well, inspiration.
Located on the main floor near the front door and adjacent to the
public rooms, these small spaces can capture big attention. Homeowners
can let their imagination run wild without breaking the bank.
Experimentation isnít only encouraged itís expected.
Research by Moen Inc. finds that 84 percent of homes have a powder
room. So whatís new with whatís generally thought of as the
smallest space in the house? "The biggest thing weíre seeing in
powder rooms is a floating vanity," says Sandra Bernacchi, a
designer with Colleen Horner Kitchen Bath Tile Stone, with showrooms
in the Third Ward and Pewaukee. A wall-mounted sink makes the room
appear much larger. Combined with smaller cabinetry, glass shelves and
glass vessel sinks, even a tiny space can reap big rewards.
Thereís no end to the choices available in the sink department.
From hand-blown Murano glass to onyx, hand-carved travertine to
cloisonnť, these fixtures have become works of art. And itís only
your budget that will constrain you. Add a wall-mounted faucet with
Lalique crystal handles for impact and your guests may not want to
come out and join the party.
Customers of Jamie Wilke Interiors are asking for vessel sinks
installed on top of small furniture pieces, says Glenn Mielke, master
designer at the storeís newest location in the Third Ward. Two
specific styles demanding attention are furniture pieces that resemble
cabinets and demilune half-moon tables. "You need some storage,
but you donít shave or bathe in the room," says Mielke.
Anything a visitor might need such as toilet paper or towels should be
immediately visible. Decorative pedestal sinks are also on homeownersí
sinks and glass wall tiles are popular looks in todayís powder
Wall colors run the gamut from light to dark. Bernacchi notes that
her clients are leaning toward the natural colors, especially sage
green. "Weíre also getting requests for renewable and recycled
types of materials for the space," she says.
Forget the rule about avoiding dark colors in a small space. Deep
maroon, chocolate, even black are finding their way onto powder room
walls. Bernacchi points to the popularity of wenge, an almost black
African wood, as evidence of an interest in non-conventional colors.
The very rich looking, sleek-grained wood is a bit less expensive than
ebony, but no less dramatic. Lighting should be well placed since
these rooms generally donít have windows and are used more at night
than during the day.
Environmental concerns appear to be dictating the choice of
toilets. "Iím finding people going for pressure assist
toilets," says Mielke. "Theyíre also going with a higher
toilet. Itís ergonomically much better for posture." But
beware. Pressure assist and power toilets are noisy and may be a poor
choice for a bathroom thatís adjacent to the kitchen or dining room.
Oval-shaped tankless toilets, called hatbox toilets, are also popular.
Colleen Horner carries fixtures, which appear to be suspended in
Glass tiles carry on the renewable theme. Colleen Horner sells a
line of floor tiles thatís crafted from completely recycled
materials. Installed with a thin layer of concrete, they are as
durable as porcelain or ceramic tile.
Some glass tiles for the wall have a sanded or textured look while
others have an iridescent coating to ensure sparkle. A line of
"crocodile" tiles simulates the texture of the reptileís
skin. Mielke likes glass mixed with other materials such as limestone
and pebbles for variety.
Imagine a wall covered in the richest of textures. That would be
leather, the newest trend in wall coverings. Leather panels are
magnetized and hung on a metal-surfaced wall. Homeowners can move the
panels around to suit their taste. From the black and white of a
Holstein cow to a buttery caramel, the luxe look is pure opulence.
"One looks like a nice Coach bag," says Bernacchi.
Because you never get a second chance to make a first impression,
donít let your imagination limit you. With so many choices, itís
easy to have a striking room with little effort.