Design Hints

Vanity Fair

Soften modern-era bathroom fixtures by working in primitive details that allow country style preferences to shine.

Design Hints

A spacious en suite with a double-sink vanity is a prized amenity. However, a utilitarian space like this can seem disconnected from other rooms. To remedy this, Laura Sue and James Woidyla swapped new elements in their bathroom for more prim-minded designs when they decorated their Phoenix, Arizona, home. "Anyone can do this. If you love it and can envision it, you can make it happen," Laura Sue advises. Here are her nine solutions for making newer bathrooms look toward Colonial days:

1. Minimize the glass. Remove wall-to-wall mirrors and mount smaller mirrors with handsome black frames above the sinks.
2. Show a sign of the times. Center an old-fashioned artwork as a focal point between the mirrors.
3. Light with style. Install vanity lights that feature rows of electric candles set on a rustic board. Add a pair of metal candle sconces to suggest accent lighting.
4. Forgo shine. Remove chrome faucets and towel rods and replace them with oil-rubbed fixtures.
5. Have a seat. Use a classic Windsor chair with a braided pad in place of a modern vanity stool.
6. Faux a patina. Mimic the time-mellowed hue of old wood by staining cabinetry medium brown and distressing it.
7. Raise a counter point. Install a dark granite countertop that provides subtle contrast and a grounding influence.
8. Check the cabinets. Stock toiletries in a countertop spice cabinet and a recessed medicine cabinet featuring an old latch.
9. Trade textiles. Raise the curtain rod much higher than usual at the bathtub. Hang a primitive curtain from the rod, backing it with a waterproof liner held in place with a second rod if necessary. The fabric curtainís extra length and drape offers a hint of elegance.

Written by Cheryl Hackett
Photographed by Gridley + Graves