Monday, February 28, 2011

Bathroom Design: Creating a Retreat for My Tween

There isn’t much guidance out there in the design world for creating spaces for kids between 9 and 12, or more specifically, tweens.

Our daughter is 10 and I’m trying to design the 2nd floor bath in a way that feels like her personal retreat, but is universal enough so that guests are comfortable using it too.

So far she is only minimally interested in hair and clothing, and baths are still all about playing with toys in the water. That suits me just fine—I’d like her childhood to last as long as possible. But I suspect that is all about to change...!

I’m aiming for a bathroom that gives her privacy to experiment with hairstyles, make faces in the mirror, and generally try out new versions of herself as she grows into her teens. It should have room to organize what will probably be a growing arsenal of personal care products. It should store towels and bed linens, extra toilet paper, and a good-sized clothes hamper. It should be relatively easy to clean and hard to damage. It should be able to survive the occasional science experiment and spilled nail polish, slamming of cabinet doors, and washing of the fish tank, and still come out looking good.

The décor needs to be fun but not childish. Modern but not cold. Personal but also welcoming to guests. It needs to be able to grow with her. It should be large enough for two, or even three, giggling girls with hair dryers. A floor-length mirror and a lot of good light would be a nice touch too.

So what have I come up with for Miss K’s bathroom?
Here’s the line-up so far based on the inspiration of these two photos:

  • Schuler “Manhattan” cabinet in cherry with a chestnut stain—the wood will add warmth to the otherwise mostly white design. Cabinet handles still to be determined—something simple in nickel?
  • Grohe “Atrio” faucets—wall mounted so as not to worry about grime building up around the base on the countertop; makes it easier for her to clean. (She WILL be cleaning her own bathroom!) 
  • Kohler “Serif” undercounter sink—again, the focus is on easy cleaning.
  • Quartz countertop in sparkling white and white porcelain floor tiles—I know, you’re thinking “White?? My heavens, how will she keep it clean?” but both of these products are nearly indestructible. A sleek white tile, tightly grouted that cleans up easily with a damp mop, might actually be a good thing. Being able to see the dirt will go a long way toward encouraging Miss K to keep it clean—no more “But Mom, it doesn’t look dirty to me!”
  • Nickel and etched glass sconces, one on each side of the vanity, plus a heat lamp in the ceiling, fan outside the shower, and a light inside the shower. 
    Lamps Plus
  • Walls and ceiling in gloss white; maybe an accent wall in hot pink?
  • Decorations and color—at this point, almost any color added to the cherry cabinets and white floor and countertop will work; this makes the design flexible for the future. For now I’m thinking of bright orange and hot pink, but Miss K has lately expressed an interest in violet so that’s a possibility too. 
    Hairbrushes from Garnet Hill

Prints by Thomas Paul
 Shower tile, accent tile, backsplash, rug…all still to be determined. Any suggestions?

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