John Kelsey and Sally Wilson: Powder Room Jewels

Text by John Kelsey and Sally Wilson

In our last post I talked briefly about the intrinsic relationship between the interior architecture of a home and it’s decor. The combination of the two tells a visual story of the family. At Wilson Kelsey Design, we give our clients a multi-page questionnaire that helps them share their vision with us. Occasionally, it results in asking them to write a story about their new home or room(s) we will be designing. A powder room provides us, as designers, with the perfect opportunity to reduce that story to it’s essence, and design a jewel.
Our first example is a client who was dramatic, colorful, bold, strong, and often theatrical. She knew exactly how to get your attention and hold it. Her esthetic was high-style French. No room or detail could be the same.
Clearly the powder room as it stood would not do.

Powder Room Before
So, we set out to create something theatrical.

French Style Powder Room Wilson Kelsey Design

Lion Door Wilson Kelsey Design

Photograph By Louis Michaud

Lion Door French Style Powder Room

Photograph by Louise Michaud

When you least expect it—a gold dust infused cast glass sink. Drama anyone?

French Style Powder Room with Gold Sink

Photograph by Louise Michaud

The theatrical theme carried throughout the house, and in the powder room off the reading room. This was the existing bathroom.

Before Powder Room A powder room with a library theme was a natural fit.

Library Style Powder Room

Photograph by Louise Michaud

We had another client who loved all things French. Her story, however, is of elegance, refinement, and classical expression. The inspiration The Hall of Mirrors at the Versailles Palace. Cue the decorative painting and gilding! She was also a woman of the 21st century—the tiny powder room could not feel like a museum.

Parisian Powder Room

Parisian Style Powder Room

Photograph by Doug Garrabrandts

And what does one do when your client is a leather importer? Design a powder room swathed in leather, using their product. The client was petite, lively, and full of spice, so the leather needed to be embossed alligator skin—sexy.

Powder Room with Black Leather Walls

Photograph by Michael J. Lee

What does one do for the client whose English and New England roots and values run deep? Here a closet under the stairs was converted into a “no bigger than a matchbox” powder room. Classic English chintz wallpaper, brass tap, and sink were called into service. A large mirror helped to expand the room. Et Viola!

Powder Room with Floral Wallpaper

Photograph by Richard Mandelkorn

In rooms In rooms this small, there is no place to hide. A designer must be thoughtful, carefully crafting and building one decision on the next, much like a movement in a symphony as it reaches it’s conclusion. A designer must be diligent, for just one sour note and all is lost.
John Kelsey, CAPS and Sally Wilson are principals of Wilson Kelsey Design, a residential interiors firm serving upscale clients in Greater Boston and beyond.

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