House Beautiful

Tag Archive for 'habitat'

Modern Farmhouse Project: The Powder Room

Hope you guys all had a great holiday! The hardest decision I had to make all week was which Hallmark movie to watch, and whether to go white chocolate Reese’s peanut butter tree or original. It was glorious, and now my pants are totally gonna split and I don’t care one bit.

Anyhow (!) I wanted to share a sweet little powder room I’m working on for in a house in Ohio. It’s for a young family with a gaggle of kiddos who wanted a kind of cozy, modern farmhouse aesthetic… casual and warm without going too cliché rustic if you know what I mean. About 7 years ago, I had helped them revamp their little girl’s room – so I was delighted when they called and asked if I could help them with a slightly larger project – just a wee 4,000 sq ft house. Nbd.

The great thing about powder rooms is that they’re a perfect opportunity to take a little bit of a risk. And as the lovely Lauren Leiss points out in her new book HABITAT (which I am currently reading cover to cover):

“The Powder Room, often very small, is one of the most frequently used public spaces in a home… generally there isn’t much space in the powder room, so everything – the mirror, the hardware, the towels, the art – should be interesting or beautiful.”

Girlfriend is NOT wrong. Here’s the look we were going for…


Powder Bath Inso | Covet Living


We wanted to source an antique washstand to use as a vanity, and top it with a vessel sink. These were some of the ones we looked at (all from eBay and all now sold, but eBay / Craigslist are killer sources for this kind of thing if you’re up for doing a little digging):

Antique Washstand 1

washstand 2

washstand 3

We couldn’t quite find one we loved, so we had a friend in North Carolina make one to my client’s size specifications (the room is only 37” wide).

Custom Made Antique Washstand | Covet Living


As vessel sinks go, this one is a gracious size (about 19″W x 15″D x 5″H). The square-ish shape keeps with the modern aesthetic, but the curved edges add some warmth and break up all the hard angles of the vanity.

Kraus KCV 121 Vessel Sink | Covet Living MIRROR

I wanted to do a round mirror in this space to – again – introduce another shape and juxtapose some of the hard lines in the room, but finding one large enough to not look dinky but small enough to still allow us to put sconces on either size was tough. This guy was the perfect size, and lends a little industrial vibe:

Metal Mirror with Shelf | Covet Living


We were originally going to run the same hardwood through here that’s in the rest of the house, but I felt like a little pattern on the floor would be super fun… we were going for a black (but preferably navy) and white pattern and entertained some of these:

Cement Tile Shop Floor | Covet Living

Black and White TIle Floor | Covet Living


Gracias Madre Tile | Covet Living

Joanna Gaines Black and White TIle Floor | Covet Living

But looks like we’re leaning towards THIS guy (from the top picture), which we love.


If we had more time, we could choose from a palette of colors and would customize in navy, but it’s an 8-12 week lead time and the black & white is in stock, so that settles that.



Finally, we’re between two sets of sconces: the clear glass library lights (love ‘em for being a little funky and bringing some glass into the mix)…

Library Light Sconces, Powder Room | Covet Living

vs. the mixed metal sconces (love ‘em for introducing a little antique brass in the sea of darker oil rubbed bronze).

Elkins Sconces, Powder Room | Covet Living

I think they can’t go wrong. What do you guys think?!


Steph's Scanned Signature








How To Spend a Day In… London


Hello, Mates.  I’m currently in London for the first of a three-pronged European tour for the ol’ jobby job, and as with every trip I make here, I’ve once again fallen in love with this city.

It reminds me of the Big Apple; it has the familiar hustle and bustle, but with a dash more dignity due to the ol’ monarchy pervading the city. The people are polite (and I swear it’s not just the the accents), the shopping is varied – at times sophisticated, at times totally funky – and it’s incredibly easy to find your way around.  If one day is all you had in London, here’s how I’d recommend spending it:

Breakfast at Princi: Inside this chic Italian bakery (other location: Milan), which is open 24-7, are two rooms: one in which a group of bakers are kneading dough day-and-night into delightful treats such as chocolate croissants and “four season ham and cheese pizza”; the other, an open dining area with high chairs for diners to taste the fresh breads and sip a cappucino.  Tip: try the dark hot chocolate.

After the cappucino and pain au chocolat, a little retail therapy.  You’ll need a soundtrack to the day, of course!  And it’s a good thing you’ve uploaded the new album by Plan B.  A British rapper/singer who reminds me a bit of Mark Ronson, the upbeat sounds will guide you to your first stop: Furniture store Habitat.  Not yet available in the US for some reason, it’s chock full of fun, modern, well-made furniture and as my Brit colleague puts it, “is a cross between Crate and Barrel and CB2, but it’s not up its own ass.”

Then, well, it’s just not a trip to jolly ol’ LDN without some time spent scouring the racks at the mothership otherwise known as Top Shop.

I myself tend to think of it as the British H&M, but it’s still fun to see what the sassy trends are and scour through the racks in hopes of finding that one perfect purchase.

Then it’d be time to duck into my favorite, favorite pub, The Crown and Two Chairmen.  God bless the London corner pubs that overflow with rowdy Brits come happy hour time.

This particular pub oozes with charm and serves up beef bourguigon that’d rival the Barefoot Contessa’s (yeah, I said it).   Its cozy atmosphere brings to mind the scene in The Holiday when Cameron Diaz walks in and surprises Jude Law at his local pub.  *Sigh*

After lunch it’d be time to mosey through the Borough Market, one of the largest food markets in the world that sells everything from seafood to cheeses to veggies. It’s kinda like walking into a different world, and is oddly peaceful.

Speaking of fresh seafood, I’d make a reservation for dinner at Pescatori for mouthwatering fresh seafood.  Wait, fresh seafood in London?  In the UK, any mention of ‘fish…’ is usually the precursor to ‘and chips’.  But at this restaurant, seafood arrives daily from family farms by the sea, and their pasta is dee-lish as well.  What to order: Pasta filled with pear, amaretti, beef and pork, smoked butter & sage sauce.

After dinner, it’d be time to head back to my hotel, the Soho Hotel, to tuck myself in for a cozy night inside one of its luxurious yet homey rooms.  All the rooms were designed by the owner’s wife and every one is unique.

I’d nestle into the down beds, turn on the telly, and say a prayer that my new favorite UK show was on: Pineapple Dance Studios. A docu-soap series set in one of the top dance studios in the UK, my newest obsession is in Louie Spence, the Artistic Director.  He needs no further explanation – just watch this link:

Next up on the tour is Munich.  Just so happens a little festivity called Oktoberfest is coinciding with the work trip.  Oh, this should be fun.

Mind the Gap,