7 Powder Rooms with Pow
Allow your guests to excuse themselves to a private nook awash in high-end finishes, exotic materials and surprising splashes of color and pattern
AFTER AN ALL-TOO-LONG SUSPENSION, ENTERTAINING IS BACK.
Front doors across the nation are once again being thrown open, and we’re all happily welcoming a steady stream of family and friends into our homes.
And while this new lease on life doesn’t necessarily require a total home renovation, top interior designers say they’re being called on to transform the one place guests are sure to visit: the powder room.
These tiny retreats are tailor made for bold colors, patterns and artwork that might be a little too much for larger spaces. Smaller square footage also means that spending top dollar on high-end finishes like hand-painted wallpapers, handsome hardware, one-of-a-kind vanities and sculptural sconces makes a huge impact.
When it comes down to it, the powder room is the only place in your home visitors can take in wholly on their own, so why not offer them the finest spot to freshen up?
A ROOM WITH A VIEW
Most powder rooms don’t come with mountain views for the sake of privacy. But as soon as interior designer Sharon Lohss of Shelter Interiors laid eyes on Pierre Frey’s national parksinspired wallpaper, she knew she didn’t need windows to set the scene in a powder bathroom in a Big Sky, Montana, Yellowstone Club home. “
I love wallpaper in small spaces,” she says. “And Pierre Frey makes the most beautiful fabrics and wallcoverings. This pattern was just the right tie-in for the space and its surroundings.”
Lohss worked with local craftspeople and vendors to outfit the rest of the room with a custom-built steel vanity topped with soapstone, bronze plumbing and lighting from Sun Valley Bronze and a bronze-and-steel mirror by Caste Design that seamlessly marries all the elements.
“On my list of important spaces, the powder room is always at the top,” explains Lohss. “It’s exciting to walk in and find something totally unexpected.”
While using brain power isn’t all that unusual when it comes to interior design, using brain scans is. But that’s just what designer Cynthia Tibbitts of architectural firm CLB did when she was called on to create a smart and stylish powder room for a couple in Jackson Hole, Wyoming.
“The space absolutely started with that brain-scan-inspired wallpaper [by Timorous Beasties]. As soon as my client saw it and heard what it was, she loved it. It’s super quirky,” says Tibbitts.
But the room isn’t built on MRIs alone. The designer balanced the bold color and pattern on the walls with a bespoke concrete vanity and protective backsplash, amber pendant lighting by Hennipen Made and right-sized black accents.
“Silver would have been too reflective, and black felt more special,” she says. “It’s such a surprising little space, and it ended up setting the tone and palette for the rest of the house.”
In a remote part of Wyoming, the owners of a grand vacation home anchored by trees wanted to carve out a powder room that would amaze all who entered.
While they knew what they wanted, they turned to Jeremiah Young of Kibler & Kirch to help them make their dreams for the space a reality. Taking design cues from the land around them, they opted to layer in natural elements—with a twist.
“The room started with the concept for the sink,” says Young. “The vanity is a big slab of redwood with a petrified sink, and the main light source comes from beneath.”
While the client focused on adding a little extra illumination via a one-of-a-kind sconce, Young worked with the contractor to create just the right finish on the plastered walls.
The only problem with the finished product? Guests may never leave. Says Young: “It’s a super flattering room—people feel and look really good in here.”
Interior Designer: Jeremiah Young, Kibler & Kirch
SET IN STONE
How do you make a splash in a space that’s both modern and in keeping with a historic Colorado neighborhood? If you’re Brooklyn-based designer Lisa Kanning, you turn to texture.
“The architecture of the home needed to maintain a certain amount of traditional elements to fit in with the surrounding Victorians,” she says.
In order to create a timeless feel for the powder bath, Kanning layered in plenty of natural materials. “Most of the elements in the room are monochromatic stone, but they all have different finishes, which allows them to reflect the light differently.”
Seed Cloud Installation lighting by Ochre adds softness and helps properly bathe the limestone walls, Colorado Buff stone floors and marble sink and bench-turned-vanity by Stone Forest in dramatic mood lighting.
“It’s the ‘jewelry,’ offsetting the more casual elements of mountain design. Lighting elevates the design of the space, and the placement also adds drama,” notes Kanning. “It becomes a functional art sculpture.”
REFINED BY DESIGN
As soon as guests step into this Aspen, Colorado, powder room, they step back into a more civilized time. That’s because Dallas-based interior designer Donna Guerra worked with architect Charles Cunniffe to create a sparkling jewel-box with a well-curated mix of antiques and reproductions.
In fact, Guerra says the modern-mountain-meets-Art-Deco room began taking shape in her mind as soon as she laid eyes on the William Switzer French Nouveau buffet.
“I fell in love with it before we even broke ground on the house. The curves and overall scale were perfect, so we retrofitted it into a vanity, and it became our starting point.”
She doubled down on the glamour with a hand-painted Gracie wallcovering (a re-creation of an Edgar Brandt pattern), a pair of 1970s-era Murano glass sconces and a vintage French mirror that she found at Aspen’s Paris Underground.
Says Guerra, “There’s a feeling of elegance that you experience when you enter the space—all the details really come together.”
SMOKE AND MIRRORS
Gina Bauerle is all about making a big statement in a small space—and that goes double for powder rooms. “You don’t have to follow the rules here; it’s not a place where anyone is getting ready to go out,” she says. “But it is a room that everyone uses. Why not make it an unexpected experience?”
So when it came time to design the guest bath for a Colorado mountainside vacation home, the Denver-based interior designer and owner of D’Amore Interiors pulled out all the stops, starting with the chamcha wood console.
“Root tables are the perfect blend of modern meets rustic,” she says. Once in place, the one-of-a-kind piece was fitted with a white bronze vessel sink by Stone Forest.
From there, Bauerle set the mood with a dark wallpaper by Fabricut and mirrored the back wall. (“It keeps the room from feeling too small or dark,” she advises.)
The artwork—black-and-white photography of elk in fog—perfectly encompasses the mood of the room and the pristine mountain setting.
HAIL TO THE KING
Amazing views, great design and a killer art collection shouldn’t stop at the bathroom door, says Chicago-based designer Shea Soucie.
“Powder rooms are less about overcoming challenges and more about opportunities to take risks and make statements that might be overpowering in a larger space,” she says. “This is a fairly subdued room overall, but the details make it very special.”
Soucie laid the groundwork for a refined-yet-rustic setting in this Jackson, Wyoming, home with Parthenon wallcoverings by Phillip Jeffries, Tuxedo paver flooring and a custom cerused walnut vanity with honed Corinthian countertops.
But she also brought in plenty of swagger thanks to a special guest appearance by “the King” himself, Elvis Presley.
“The finishes and materials in here are quiet, so we love the energy he brings,” says Shea. “We gave the art here the same treatment as anywhere else in the house: We made it the focal point and surrounded it with finishes and materials that are local, natural and allow it to be the star.”