Much attention is lavished on powder rooms — and understandably. The demands on it are small and the decorative potential is high. Mirrored tile ceiling — sure. Mylar wallpapered walls — no problem, it’s not like you live there. No, in fact, that distinguished responsibility is carried by the primary bathroom. The room that begins and ends your days. The room you decompress in, where you wash off the day, or start fresh in the morning. This is a room you really want to love. A room that can get away with a novelty scheme designed to impress the neighbors. Your personal bathroom plays for keeps. No pressure!
Designer Garrow Kedigian, who splits his time between New York, Paris, and his native Montréal says the primary bathroom has a most unusual and distinguished role in the home. “Most rooms are used socially—with other people—but the bathroom is one person one at a time, so it’s a very personal experience,” he explains. “It’s a unique opportunity to be in one zone—solitude! That’s why the experience needs to be extra special.”
If you’re planning your own dream bath — be it a transporting powder room or an estate-sized primary or en suite, here’s what the pros say are your top factors to consider:
Lighting is practical and technical, but also a chance for a big stylistic flex. To approach this category, break it down, says Paul Corrie, a Washington D.C. designer. “I think about task and ambient lighting in separate categories,” he says. “Task lighting is dictated by function, so I ask myself, who is the client and how are they using this space. But ambient lighting is a great way to personalize the space and to create an environment and a feeling.” Corrie tends to use side-lighting, i.e. to the left and right of a mirror, for example, for vanities where clients shave or apply makeup. For ambient lighting, be it overhead or in sconces, he insists on one rule: “always on dimmers.”
Some lighting silhouettes fit both needs: ambient, dimmable warmth and task-driven illumination performance, such as for grooming. The new Mid-Century Two Light Sconce by Kohler Lighting for the Ann Sacks Curated Bath, has double conical shades hand-carved from alabaster and cinched at the waist with a band of metal.
Upholstery buffs and apparel obsessives know it well: Contrasting textures make for dynamic designs. Think silk cord on velvet cushions, or leather and lace. The same holds true in bathrooms and powder rooms — there’s space for texture power plays. A honed stone surface and polished nickel fittings are a classic pairing, but that’s just the start. Consider the journey of feeling from entry (a metal door pull and lock) to the tap knobs, to the soap and towel… and that’s just your hands. Treating your feet to compelling surfaces is another opportunity. Thinking about how tile and stone surfaces contribute to the shower experience. And as a finishing touch, linens provide one of those most luxury-per-dollar available. Stack them, roll them — a display of abundance is easy and the feeling of being a guest never grows old.
Your hands won’t lie — you know quality when you feel it. The Kallista Pinna Paletta faucet by Laura Kirar has handcrafted engraved textural details that are both artful and simply enjoyable to touch.
Creating a floorplan that factors in practicality (existing waste-pipe placement and plumbing elements) is a starting place for bathroom design. But when it’s time to bring the drama it’s a statement vanity that most designers seek. “It’s often the first thing you see in the room and it’s also your chance to make it the room’s most striking moment, too,” says Seth Stevens, Chief Designer, Decorative Products, Kohler. Stevens helped bring to market the first-ever collection of Ann Sacks vanities, each with signature stone surfaces and in a something-for-everyone array of styles. The vanity can be singularly eye-catching — like the fluted terrazzo Claudette, says Stevens, “ or it can serve as a jumping-off point for the rest of the room.” So, starting with a vanity profile that exemplifies a particular style, the way the new Stanwyck vanity does with Art Deco, means it’s easy to draw on it those cues for elements throughout the space.
Sculptural and unapologetically luxe, the Claudette Vanity is one of the offerings in the new line of Ann Sacks vanities; each has a distinct point of view. The product pulls from a star-studded lineup of Kohler brands: Robern vanities, known for craftsmanship; luxe Kallista fittings, Kohler lighting, and signature stone surfaces from Ann Sacks.
Garrow Kedigian, based in NYC and Montréal, can’t resist designing over-the-top baths, but argues that even his flights of fancy are grounded in best practices. “I always use mosaic on floors—never on walls,” he says. “Mosaics have grout lines — which are ideal for traction, so, put it where it counts!”
There are finishing touches that will make the room sing — for some people it’s a feathery fern (perfect for low-light spaces) on the windowsill, for others, fancy French milled soap, or investing in fixtures and plumbing elements that are handsome and appealing to touch. Of course, it all rests on the canvas itself, which is why designers seem to embrace universally the idea of floor to ceiling tile — and then some! Let’s face it: Extending that swath of color, glimmer, or hand-wrought artistry is always a good look.
Designed for those who value quality materials and meticulous craftsmanship, the new Ann Sacks Curated Bath collection draws together the best designs from a family of four exceptional brands – Ann Sacks, Robern, Kallista and Kohler Lighting – and is comprised of seven inspiring, fully appointed bathroom sets.
The kitchen reno conundrum: It’s hard to decide where to splurge, easy to carelessly overspend; and the choices you commit to are lasting. Here, some industry pros talk honestly about where the money’s worth it, where not—and why. There’s one thing they all agree on: The easiest choices are guided by love.