Elegance is simply natural Design: Properly sealed and finished, wood, ceramic and marble can be used to dress up a bathroom.

March 29, 1998|By Rita St. Clair | Rita St. Clair,LOS ANGELES TIMES SYNDICATE

We want to remodel and divide a big, old-fashioned bathroom. One part is to be converted into a powder room for guests; the rest of the space will remain a bathroom adjoining a seldom-used spare bedroom. We want to give both spaces a bit of flair so that they don't look purely functional. Can you suggest alternatives to white fixtures, tile and counter tops, and pastel wallpaper?

In aiming for "flair," you're probably also seeking to give that new powder room a touch of elegance. That will certainly preclude not only the lab-like look of all-white surfaces, but also any use of pastels.

Think in terms of dramatic colors. And if your budget permits such imaginings, think, too, of marble, granite or ceramic tiles for the floor, counters and tub surround. Properly sealed and finished, these types of horizontal surfaces will only look better as they age.

In the bathroom section of the divided space, you might consider installing a sink cabinet made of various hardwoods. Along with walls that have been even partially paneled in hardwoods, such a piece will take you far in whatever design direction you've chosen; whether contemporary or traditional, the look is sure to be elegant because of the use of high-quality natural material.

Walls in both the bathroom and powder room won't have to be wallpapered as long as the colors and textures in each space provide enough visual interest. The photograph suggests how this can be achieved.

A black marble floor with beige marble inserts helps give this powder room a highly dramatic appearance. The theme is amplified by means of the black stone counter top with a black "under-counter" sink and cabinet drawers in solid bird's-eye and tiger maple. For an added touch of class, designer Linda Barnes used black lacquer and gilded accents on the moldings.

In sharp contrast to the pale walls, the ceiling has been painted in a dark color and hung with a small chandelier. That light source is augmented by the pair of sconces on the mirrored wall.

The wall space above the sink cabinet is sheet-mirrored all the way up to the ceiling. A mirror frame, however, has been added just above the sink in order to anchor the cabinet visually in relation to the rest of the room.

As for the bathroom fixtures, the look of elegance will be enhanced by the choice of bone or a similarly neutral color. Once those and all the other suggested elements are in place, you're sure to have achieved the flair you were seeking.

Pub Date: 3/29/98

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