The smallest room in the house
The downstairs facilities have many names: loo, toilet, cloakroom, bathroom, powder room. But it is one place we all visit, whether in our own homes or as a guest in someone else’s.
Indeed, it’s one place that you can pretty much guarantee that guests will see in your house, even if they don’t spend much time there, and it’s a place where you can be more bold with the design than you might want to be in the main rooms. It’s a chance to show off a bit!
The smallest room in the house is someplace where you can splash out on just a few great quality design items, because of the smaller quantities needed. Expensive wallpaper suddenly seems much more affordable if you only need a roll or two. Getting a glass splash-back made also adds a luxurious touch.
Great expense isn’t necessarily required; paying attention to the details and using -your imagination will go a long way.
Here the dramatic wallpaper (Demoiselle by Harlequin) has been hung on only two walls; the back and one of the side walls. The wall above the sink is covered in a full-width mirror, which both reflects the wallpaper and bounces light around the tiny space. A bespoke glass splash-back works with the clean look and has the advantage of no grout lines. Using a wall-hung pan also allows a small shelf to be created along the back wall which provides a useful surface and visually increases the space by keeping the floor completely clear. Simple down-lights are in the ceiling are functional and allow the wallpaper to take centre stage.
The WC is often tucked away under the stairs, calling to mind Harry Potter and his cupboard. This can involve balancing the need to have the downstairs facilities versus the need for the storage space, both of which are often lacking in many English homes. Here some space was borrowed from the room next door to allow some understairs storage to be retained. The colourful wallpaper (Limosa by Harlequin) is fun without being overpowering, and the dark blue glass splashback tiles were chosen to tone in. The mirror and accessories were found in the attic!
Wallpaper is also one of the easiest ways to update an otherwise unassuming cloakroom without the need to change anything else. Nothing was altered in this diminutive understairs loo other than hanging wallpaper (Woods and Pears by Cole and Son); it adds whimsy and elegance to what was previously a very plain and purely functional place.
Who ever thought that the humble downstairs loo would provide such scope for creativity?
Photography: Earl Smith Photography
Chris Snook Photography