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Glam baths


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POSTED: Thursday, May 21, 2009

You know a furniture store takes every nook and cranny of design seriously when even its restroom is tres chic. What makes these “;guest baths”; pop is the use of simple building materials combined with an element of surprise. Here's how the proprietors of two stores achieved their respective looks.

Fishcake / 307-C Kamani St.

There's beauty in the beast. For the folks at Fishcake, a home furnishings store, co-owner and interior designer Maura Fujihira, with associate Brooke Berrington, worked with the utilitarian features of the restroom rather than hide them.

“;We were going along with what was existing. The plaster was irregular, so we painted over it with Ralph Lauren's Suede paint in 'Ayers Rock.'

“;If you touch it, it has a sandy texture. It's really low maintenance in this application,”; said Fujihira.

She particularly liked the striking white of the existing porcelain toilet and the shine of its silver plumbing. Artwork with wide white matting and a large C.S. Wo wood-frame mirror with a silvertone finish highlight those features.

“;Even the back of the door is painted white.”;

The restroom makeover was done “;on the cheap,”; said Fujihira. “;We worked with the utilitarian fixtures and just made the surroundings different.”;

CMU-stacked, hollow tile brick make up its pedestal sink, finished with epoxy. It's topped with Norwegian slate, a leftover paver Fujihira had lying around, that now supports a white porcelain countertop vessel sink.

The contrast is enhanced by an antique Asian chair from her collection, River Rock flooring from Bella Pietra, and a secondhand crystal chandelier that was a gift from a client.

She suggests homeowners search Craigslist.org to find pieces that can be repurposed as decor, and in updating a restroom, to invest most of their dollars in a sink. Theirs is by Duravit, purchased from a contractor who was unable to use it at a job site. The sink fixture is a vessel filler from Home Depot.

The pink of an orchid plant stands out against the mix of white and earthy tones.

Fujihira's overall assessment of the restroom: “;It's very rough and ready.”;

Pacific Home / 420 Ward Ave.

Just like Pacific Home, a furniture store that blends edgy and traditional for a fresh take on home furnishings, its guest restroom is a reflection of its owners: Aubrey Morgan-Yee, an importing whiz; Jenn Johnson, who has an architectural background; and Jamie Jackson, lead interior designer. Together, they came up with a restroom that is bathed in warm orange, not the kind that makes you squint.

It's what Yee calls a pumpkin spice tone.

Of the space, Yee said, “;I love the countertop, it's just a simple piece of teak wood with marine finish on it.”; (The kind used to seal boat decks.)

Held up with just an unfinished pipe, the countertop is a mix of industrial and organic inspirations. Aside from the one essential “;chair”; it's the only fixed element in the room.

The “;aha!”; of this concept is allowing the staff to make changes without a lot of fuss. Similar to the little black dress, it achieves different moods with a quick change of accessories.

The countertop is long enough to accommodate the mirror, a Balinese carving and tray of magazines.

“;We change the mirror every once in a while, so it's kind of fun that it's not attached to the wall.”;

The teak carving has also been switched out accordingly.

Yee suggests that homeowners considering a remodel should invest the most dollars in the fixtures. “;Sink and faucet are important,”; she said. The shop uses the Kohler Purist collection.

For similar results, she advises, “;Don't overdo the materials. You want it to be really simple. It's just a simple, solid wood countertop. There's not a lot going on, it's clean, which makes it peaceful.

“;The floor is stained concrete, still industrial, but warm,”; she said, describing it as an earthy brown.

A credenza serves as a storage cabinet.

“;That's also been changed over time. Right now it's a short piece, but we've had a tall piece (armoire) there.

“;The whole look is based around getting creative with your use of materials,”; she said. “;Most people wouldn't think to use wood for a bathroom countertop. But it works really well.”;