(ARA) - The median age of America's homes is 25, making most American bathrooms relics. No room has changed more dramatically in the past few years. It has moved from a utilitarian necessity to the absolute center of personal relaxation and pampering, while a powder room, now considered a necessity, is often the quintessential showcase of a homeowner's distinctive decorating style.
While pedestal sinks add elegance to powder rooms, they sacrifice storage. New alternatives -- sinks that resemble beautiful bowls and vessels -- set atop real furniture, become the star centerpieces of even a tiny room. We mated a square-shape porcelain sink bowl with an ornate, French traditional vanity that we fitted with a black marble top and finished off with a French reproduction faucet and handles. Above it, we placed a gilded, ornately framed mirror, and beside it, an equally ornate sconce. We surrounded them all in rich Oriental scenic wallpaper from Sarong, a Jaima Brown Home Collection, to add one more scene-stealing measure of elegance to this treasure of a room, always ready to greet guests in style.
In another powder room, we hung a mirror in a wood-carved frame above an antique linen cabinet that we fitted with a drop-down marble top and inset sink. Vintage linens with crocheted edges grace the front of the cabinet, and a sconce from the same period, installed beside the mirror at eye-level, puts primping guests in a most-flattering light. All baths call for a mix of ambient and task lighting. The former should be set to cast a warming glow. All baths also cry out for a background that abolishes any vestige of the institutional look once associated with this room. The beautiful -- and restful -- Willow pattern from Sarong imparts just the right touch of elegance.
The master bath is all about providing comfort for adults. Consider raising the sink counter above the standard 30- to 34-inch cabinet height to as high as 42 inches from the floor. This accommodates a more comfortable, upright stance for shaving, performing dental hygiene, and applying makeup. While it's easier on the back, it also allows for more cabinet storage space below. More and handier storage adds convenience and diminishes clutter.
Granite countertops come in a variety of colorations, and they are both handsome and easy to clean, especially when they either contain integrated, molded sinks or rimless ones that mount underneath the countertop. Both eliminate seams that trap dirt, making clean-ups quick and easy.
Those old metal-rimmed medicine cabinets are destined for the trash heap. Yes, everyone needs a bathroom mirror and a place to store medicine, but, when it comes to accommodating these needs, it's time to think outside --way outside -- the old box. In one bath re-do, we shifted the sink to below a window and extended the window frame to the right in order to create a mirrored cabinet of the same size. This creates the look of a windowed wall, offering the pleasure of an outdoor view at the beginning and end of each day while still providing ample storage and a generous mirror.
Nordic Stripe wallpaper from the Sheridan Road collection by Jaima Brown Home gives the room a fresh, sunshine look. Crown molding and raised panel cabinets, white like the window frame, tie together all the elements of this cheerful room. Not least, a granite countertop spans the full length of the window and mirror, providing ample space for toiletries, hand towels and the never-to-be-forgotten vase of fresh flowers. A natural cream-tone grass-cloth patterned wallpaper on the ceiling comes from the same Sheridan Road collection and picks up the colors of the granite.
Bringing your bathroom up to today's real-room status not only pampers you and your guests, but also carries a highly practical bonus. It ranks with kitchen renovation as an improvement that returns more than your investment when it comes time to sell your home.
To see more of the fine fabric and wallpaper patterns in Sarong and other Jaima Brown Home collections, suitable for every room in the house, call (888) 865-0200 or visit www.jaimabrownhome.com. Jaima Brown Home collections are available through interior designers and select designer showrooms.
Courtesy of ARA Content