Windsor Smith: Tips for a Designer Bathroom

Brentwood-based designer Windsor Smith is known for creating interiors that exude a traditional, stately feel but that are imbued with a fresh and friendly sensibility, shunning staid and boring for true livability. “I want real living rooms,” she recently told Veranda, explaining that a mix of old and new creates layers and a sense of history but noting that she’s not a slave to the past. “I love things with a sense of provenance and a story, but I don’t discriminate against the new and the glossy.” So what then, we wondered, are some of her secrets for creating a beautiful, spa-like bathroom in her signature, coveted style? We asked. She answered. Read on for her top ten tips—ideas that will surely get you thinking on ways to refresh your own home in the New Year.

1. I love small tables pulled up next to a freestanding tub. They could be as small as a pedestal— just enough area to easily grab brushes, soaps, or light a candle.

2. Plush and oversized bathmats, at least 5’x 7’ for the look of a small area rug.

3. I always include comfortable seating in the bathroom—real furniture pieces like a high-backed chair at the vanity, a slipcovered lounge or, yes, a full-sized, tufted sofa on legs sited directly across from the sink console.

4. Closed storage keeps things tidy but open shelving makes a bath look restful and lived in. I like a mix of both, leaving floorspace for étagères stacked with silver canisters and crystal decanters to hold soaps and brushes, for instance.

5. Sidelights at the vanity or wall washers—every bath needs layers of lighting. Down lighting alone isn’t practical, or romantic.

6. Personally, I love a television in my own bath—it’s a chance to catch up on guilty pleasures.

7. Lately, I’ve been installing thermostat-set valves outside the shower stall to avoid that awkward moment of reaching in.

8. Freestanding marble or driftwood stools inside the shower are beautiful to look at and keep the stall larger. No floor space is lost, as with wall-to-wall shower seats.

9. Sharing! Baths are intimate spaces…a place to relax and get reacquainted after a long day. Nothing promotes intimacy like side-by-side bath rituals… and nothing’s less romantic than separate baths.

10. Break down the wall if you have to! Master baths are one of the more important rooms in a house and should be large, spacious—and maybe not baths at all. The most luxurious scenario is a larger room that the bath is one part of. Try combining the bath with sitting rooms or closets (adding built-in cabinets for clothing). Or, put your tub in the closet. It’s all about whatever works for how you live and how you need to escape.

 

To learn more about Windsor’s style and to find even more inspiration, check out her book, Windsor Smith Homefront: Design for Modern Living, from Rizzoli.