Decorator Showcase House Powder Room

Low ceilings, and no architectural details to salvage, this powder room space was not much more than a closet.

The challenge was to make this enclosed space feel larger.  Inspiration came from a simple Roman fountain, with execution and detailing influence from trips to Rome and Milan.

The result is a self-contained, immersive space that is quiet, reflective, and exquisite… in a way the anti-jewel box powder room. Like many of my projects, the design focused on the confident handling of materials, the detailing of which are revealed in the soft light animating the space.


Here are some of the techniques that I employed to expand the space.

Trick the senses.

The rounding of all inside corners not only highlights the thickness of the materials, but also results in a lack of shadows. Our peripheral vision, lacking the vertical shadow lines that define space, is tricked into perceiving the space as bigger. I like this about the work of James Turrell, using light-spaces to immerse the senses.

Blurring boundaries.

An ombre mirror, set at an angle into the wall, slowly fades to wall color, making the two blend together. Setting the mirror into the wall reveals the depth of materiality, and the angle catches the sunlight from the hallway window and directs it down into the room. I’ve noticed this effect of light often in Europe, where detailing of windows is more complex and effective.


Details of creating the room, including building the Inside-Out table, which has flipped expectations: the precious, waxed and polished Rosewood shelf is tucked in the interior, and simple, lightly finished Ash (often used on the interior of fancy furniture) features prominently on the exterior.