How do I make my long/narrow water closet space fun and interesting???

Many Victorian homes had a narrow toilet/water closet space for visitors to use.   For those facing a remodel of this space the question was….how to make it seem less like a tunnel???

Photo from: architecturaldigest.com

Many city/remodel codes require varied measurements for space between toilet fixture, so relocation of these items is very difficult.  The answer then lies in making what you have renewed and exciting.

In the Victorian/Edwardian era of design architects designed rooms with at least one window of ventilation because these homes were not outfitted with central air nor electricity.  Cross flow ventilation was the only system creating breeze and air flow in the home.

Our special photograph demonstrating one creative idea for a “tunnel water closet”.  It might be called…” Have Fun” … showing framed friends/family photographs on the walls.   But look further and you will see under the photographs a wallcovering. Another design idea is a bead board paneling the height of the wall under the window around the entire space creating a separated area for photos/artwork.   

Most of us think a sink must protrude into the space but look….an elongated sink made for two is unobtrusive.  And next to the sink is a heated towel holder. Many of the old homes have moisture and towels don’t dry properly…thus heated towel holders work well.

Let’s try some creative ideas….

  • This space would most likely (in the old world) be used not only for comfort but also to make certain grooming was up to date. And so, a larger mirror perhaps with side sconces (electrical in our day, candle in Victorian times) to make certain grooming was perfect.
  • Although we can’t see it a ceiling fixture was probably the only source of lighting and it can be a real stunner….not only for lighting but for artistic style.
  • Plants in the window well are a welcomed addition and perhaps adding more to this area and maybe adding glass shelves over the water closet for a more environmental feel. Don’t forget plants can be a wonderful addition to the floor by the w/c (Water Closet) and the window well as well as glass shelves above the w/c
  • Color !!!! why not choose wild wall covering for the upper part of the room and a corresponding color for the bottom wainscoting…. go ahead, be wild.
  • Photos deserve a special area…. how about to the right/left of each sconce.  Each group is tightly formed creating a feeling of a subject.
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Bold Patterns in Small Spaces

Image: House Beautiful Magazine

Many of us were taught design options for small rooms such as a powder room were limited to neutral paint colors and small wall covering patterns.

As times and designs have changed, so have these tired design ideas. Many homes now are being built or remodeled with the powder room used as a guest toilette area with bathrooms used for the family members.

Our blog photo from House Beautiful shows a powder room which rejects all the old design tenants replacing them with new bold colors and strong wall covering patterns.

  • Color selections are also updated using leaf green, eggplant and Tiffany blue creating the basic palette.
  • The tones in the wall covering are cooler meaning there is less warm or yellow/orange in the color range and the tones are very clear and clean.

Details are what make a small room design a success or not. This is where hiring a design consultant for a few hours will help create a true design success.

Where might I go wrong you ask…

  • Consider the selection of the stone sink surround, the fixtures, sink cabinet and sconces.  If visualizing the big picture of the finished space doesn’t come easily for you, you may choose these items based on your color and finish preference.  Perhaps you like a warm beige stone and oil rubbed bronze fixtures. If these choices are selected, you have a small space with both warm and cool tones creating a non-cohesive feeling.
  • A large-scale wall covering print in a small space creates a sense of warmth. A small-scale print feels busier and a little claustrophobic. Our design goal is a feeling of warmth and inclusion.  Each room has an atmosphere…. a message to those who enter…about its purpose.

Remember to let the space/room convey to your guest a sense of welcome. Go ahead, be creative and create your own splendor in a small space. Remember love is in the details!!

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