Bathrooms. Thank Goodness We Don't Have Outhouses.

So listen... I think by now you guys know me all too well. Pajamas.  Check.  Au Lit Fine Linens (if you don't know who then click here) feather pillow.  Check.  Glass of warm milk on the nightstand.  Check.... that is if you substitute milk for Hendricks.

If you've guessed that today is Wednesday on the Bloggie then you're correct.  And I'm ignoring you and letting one of the great Salt Lake designers take the reign. 

Oh yeah.  Some design coming to you straight from the state that brought you the Sundance Film Festival.  And Chick-Fil-A.  I think.  I'm not fact checking that one.

So without further adieu.... Take it away April!

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I am thrilled to be Brandon’s guest blogger on the Bloggie today.  I hope my post will be worthy of all that makes the Bloggie one of my top favorite blogs (edit: I did not pay her to say that.  Boy Scout's Honor). Brandon is an extremely talented designer but it is his honest realness in the way he expresses himself that completely inspires me...keeps me entertained and has endeared him to me.

I have decided to discuss the somewhat taboo topic of the bathroom… possibly because I haven’t dared to be so bold on my own blog yet

When it comes to designing the bathroom we always put function first. We have too. The bathroom was invented for some very specific functions which have evolved over the years…thank goodness! I am so glad that we don’t have outhouses to tromp out to in the middle of the night, or that I have to fill my tub up in the kitchen from a kettle hanging over a fireplace with a curtain…or not, hanging over the doorway.  How did people do that anyway?

The great thing about this whole functional process is that there are people/plumbers who already have that part under control, so as long as things are per code, nothing leaks, your cold water is on the right and your hot on the left, toilets flush properly, you probably don’t think too much about it.  Truth is I know more about such things then I really want to, so I prefer to focus a bit more on the aesthetics of the bath.

If you spend any time at all in the bathroom you understand the value of having the bath be attractive as possible. If you put makeup on, blow dry and/or hot iron your hair, bathe children, potty train said children or shave…you’re putting in some time. These functions also require your bathroom to be organized. This is a bit too complex to cover since we all have different needs in this area…for organization you probably want to hire a professional…a designer who will help you tackle the specifics.

I learned a few years ago that long hot baths with a bevy of lit candles, bath salts, Tori Amos, Dido and even sometimes Sarah Brightman playing in the background was the best way for me to unwind after a stressful week. That is when I fell in love with the real beauty of the bathroom.  You can hide a multitude of sins in candle light which can make most any bathroom seem magical, but here are some of my favorite ways to make a statement in your bathrooms design, sans the candles.

A nicely framed mirror over the sink can give the bathroom a complete look. The mirror becomes a focal point where otherwise it sort of disappears. Yes, it is more of an investment than having the mirror glued to the wall but it is worth every penny. It doesn’t have to be ornate either. Details, even simple ones can make a big difference.

Think outside the box here. It doesn’t have to be a wood frame. Tile creates a myriad of color and textural possibilities that wood just can’t so mix it up a bit.

You can even use a combination of both, surrounding the framed mirror with tile so it looks as though the mirror is hanging on a tiled wall (not as expensive as tiling the whole wall which I have done) or even creating a higher back-splash and placing the mirror part-way in as is shown here.

That brings me to one of my favorite decorative treatments and that is back-splashes. I typically like to use materials that aren’t as commonly seen and used, such as this black glass mixed with black mother of pearl covered tile in a herringbone pattern as shown here.

It is pricy I will admit but there is nothing quite like a well designed tile shower and tile tub surround with a few decorative liners or dots in metal or glass. I honestly never get tired of laying out and designing new versions of these.

A tile wainscot with a few decorative tile borders is the perfect way to add personality to those tiny half baths that are really nothing more than a closet with a few plumbing fixtures. These are the bathrooms that all you have room to do is put a mirror over the pedestal sink and a painting over the toilet. Can you say sparse? This is usually the bathroom your visiting guests use, so do something to make it memorable and interesting.

Paint of course is a way to make a statement, but you will want to consider the amount of lighting you have before going too bold. I personally prefer the guest baths, half baths and power rooms in the bolder colors as long as they are bigger and lit well enough to handle it. This is not a place to be feeling claustrophobic.

One of my favorite ways to give a smaller bathroom some wow factor is using wallpaper as an accent wall. Busy, bold wallpaper in a small bath can be over powering but wallpaper is an inexpensive way to add some character, if it is used correctly. Opt to use softer tones and go less bold in those smaller areas.

Here is a before and after of my own mothers bathroom she let me help her update a few years back. I am not sure who originally picked the pistachio color with the wallpaper border and I about died when my mother told me she wanted another border…thank goodness I couldn’t find any…here was my compromise.

This bathroom does not have any widows so it was dependent on the light over the vanity. We upgraded it to a three light with 60 watt bulbs and lightened the wall color considerably, and the room that once felt like a leprechaun's cave now is the best place in the house for putting on makeup and plucking your eyebrows.

Decorative and natural lighting can make a huge impact on the bath as well as stylish plumbing fixtures that fit in with the look of the room. Look at choices that have some personality even something unexpected. Like the Canyon faucet I am storing from HANSA that is going in my next guest bathroom.

This isn't everything that goes into a great looking bathroom not by a long shot, but it is something to chew on. Thank you Brandon for this great opportunity. You are the best!

So Isn't April awesome?  And not just because she saved me having to write a post this morning.  And we hit our 1000 word minimum.  Yippee!  If you want to find out more about April and AE Design, you can find her on her blog Inspired to Create ByOr if you live in the Salt Lake Area, you can read her column in the Examiner.

All Images courtesy the Author.  D.Coop was not compensated for this post.  Unless you could love and best wishes. Though she did win my photo so maybe I paid her for the post.  Wait a minute....