Setting a Theme Bath? Exercise Caution
By: Rose Bennett Gilbert
Q. What to do in our new master bath? We’ve picked out our “furniture,” including a good-looking vanity with space for double sinks. Here’s the question: Would it be tacky to do a theme bath? Maybe French Provincial? Our bedroom is all blue-and-white toile. We just don’t want to be too cutesy.
A: Why not? It’s your private bath, after all. Who else is coming in there with you?
Go on and do up your personal space according to your personal taste … as long as you exercise good taste. You can relax about your affection for blue-and-white toile. It’s virtually failsafe. Toile is a classic that can be sophisticated Parisian or French “country,” depending on how you accessorize.
To get back to your basic question: Are theme baths “tacky?” That, too, depends on how you present and accessorize your theme. In the Asian-inspired bath we show here, for example, designer Aparna Vijayan uses gentle colors and Oriental accessories to evoke an elegant, Zen-like attitude.
She commissioned a custom mural for the shower (seen reflected in the wide mirror), depicting colorful Koi fish in glass pebbles. The colors and Oriental motif are echoed in the cloisonn‚ vessel sink (by Linkasink, linkasink.com) and the red cinnabar finish on the maple cabinets (by Wood-Mode, (www.wood-mode.com), appropriately accented with antique brass Asian-style hardware.
In sum, the designer has created a theme bath that’s highly personal, calm and anything but tacky.
Q: Stolen any good design tips lately?
A: If not, you haven’t been making the rounds of the summer designer showhouses.
Showhouses are always a great source of ideas — they’re a major advertising vehicle for the designers, so they pull out all the stops to strut their stuff and attract paying clients. You get their ideas for free. So take a notebook and take home ideas you can adapt under your own roof.
Here’s a look at the notes we brought home last week from the Hampton Designer Showhouse, presented by Traditional Home magazine in Sag Harbor, N.Y.
— Bored with center-hall chandeliers? Hang three instead of one, and hang them off-center and at different heights, quoting HB Home designers’ eccentric approach to the two-story entry to the showhouse (healingbarsanti.com)
— Dining room too small for a conventional sideboard? Uber designer Richard Keith Langham braced two narrow half-consoles against a wall (only two long cabriole legs in front) and painted them the same elusive blue-green as the walls (richardkeithlangham.com).
— Tiny guest bath? “Widen” it with horizontal stripes. The design team at English Country Antiques painted them in two blurry, weathered blues all around the walls of their mini-bath (ecantiques.com).
— Huge master bath? Glass-in an equally enormous shower space that has two rain shower heads (Bakes and Company, bakesandcompany.com).
— Slanted ceilings stealing potential storage space? Steal the solution from Lisa Sternfeld, who built narrow cupboards to fill the slant and faced them with old, unmatched shuttered and raised-panel cabinet doors (lucasstudioinc.com).
Rose Bennett Gilbert is the co-author of “Manhattan Style” and six other books on interior design. To find out more about Rose Bennett Gilbert and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.Creators.com.
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