They say inspiration can come from anywhere. My inspiration for this post was derived from a little diamond that popped into my Facebook news feed (via a good, old friend) yesterday:
“Someone should tell you that when you have little boys, your toilet will never look the same again…”
Too funny! Yet also very true. Boys will continue to have “aim issues” for many years. And yes, even the overgrown boys otherwise known as men will often begin their exit stage left before their work is fully complete, leaving behind their telltale drips on your nice, clean floor. TMI? Come on – if you either are one, or have ever lived with one, you know what I’m talking about here! Fear not, grown men – you’re off the hook this time…but seriously, let’s clear the air! If we can’t talk about these things, how can we fix them?
If you have a powder room (or half bath, if you prefer to call it that) on your main living floor, even if it’s technically a guest bathroom, it probably gets a ton of use by the whole family, including the little ones, so it has to be practical. But from a purely decorative standpoint, I definitely subscribe to the notion of a powder room being a cozy little treasure box; a place to get a little wild, colorful and bold, even if you’re playing it safe in your other living spaces. And it can be a great place to splurge a bit on your materials – after all, there’s not much surface area in the typical powder room.
So…can you really have a pretty powder room that will also hold its own against the urinary assault of little boys?
Here are three ideas – building blocks, really – for a gorgeous, and totally boy-friendly powder room – which I have focused in the vicinity of the area of greatest concern (and, perhaps, disgust): the toilet.
1. Super-cleanable wall covering
Did you know you can get absolutely GORGEOUS wallpaper that is easily cleaned (some even scrubbable), bleachable and otherwise very durable? I’m talking about vinyl, folks – and it’s not just for your doctor’s office. There are vinyl versions of textured wallcoverings (e.g. grasscloth, raffia, silks, bamboo, linen, leather/animal skins, etc.), metallics, as well as patterned ones, all of which belie their hardcore practical qualities. Vinyl and vinyl-coated wallcoverings seems to be an area of growth in the marketplace – which is good news for all the young families out there! I’ve rounded up some of my favorites…
2. Go With The Faux
If you’re like me, you love the classic look of a carrara marble floor in a bathroom. However, this is not a great choice for families with boys because marble etches and stains in the presence of acidity – and urine is acidic. This can happen even if you are very diligent about cleaning, and yes, even if you have them sealed. If you do not love the look of pee stains along the base of your porcelain throne, I have good news! Fellow New England decorator and blogger Linda Merrill recently tipped me off to the availability of a new Ann Sacks product – the Pietra collection. Also made of porcelain! But much prettier (than the toilet, I mean). They are large porcelain field tiles that closely mimic the look of Calacatta marble (which is even more expensive and expensive-looking than carrara, and warmer in tone, which is nice).
This isn’t your grandmother’s faux marble. Just look at the veining! It almost looks edible. Though I haven’t yet seen this product in person, I’m quite certain a premier manufacturer like Ann Sacks would not release a product like this until they nailed it. Honed and polished finishes available – now I’m just waiting for the smaller field tile (e.g. subway) and mosaics to come out and I’ll be set for life (and all my clients, too)!
Other “faux” porcelain choices include those wonderful wood-look tiles I’ve blogged about in the past. Ann Sacks has some beautiful ones.
3. Gloss it Over
No blog post candidly discussing the realities of little boys and their pee pee would be complete without addressing the toilet itself.
Toilet technology has really taken a giant leap forward of late. One of the more innovative companies has been Toto. They have developed a coating – SanaGloss – which is applied to the porcelain (on sinks, too) that makes them resistant to stains, mold and bacteria, and very easily cleaned (due to the surface’s “slippery” and antimicrobial quality). This means that you’ll need to use less of those chemical cleaning products, and less water to keep the commode sparkly white. Yep, this is a good thing all around.
I like the traditional lines and “mouldings” of Toto’s Promenade elongated bowl toilet, which is available with SanaGloss for a not-huge upcharge.
I hope I have provided some inspiration for creating a hard-wearing powder room that also looks fabulous! Unfortunately, you’ll have to supply the Clorox wipes :).
Awesome post! I need to redo the floor in my powder room for the very reasons you mention:) So much traffic in there, and the floor my builder put in is not boy-friendly:(
Thanks, Kelly! Unfortunately builders often put in the high-end stuff to appeal to buyers, not necessarily to stand up to use by an actual family. One of many things that usually need to be fixed/changed when buying a spec house or flip.
Love this post, Kelly! We display the Toto with Sanagloss at Designer Bath, and it’s a top seller for the reasons you mentioned!
I have seen the marble on bathroom floors – my powder room at the upcoming Glen Magna Farms Designers Holiday Show House had a marble surround under the toilet (not pretty after 100’s of years!) while the rest of the bath had wooden floors (in good shape but clearly did not go together). I added a new flooring on top of both to solve this design challenge. It is called Bolon and it is from Landry & Arcari. To see it in person, come tour the show which opens Dec. 1 and runs thru Dec. 15th. Over a dozen rooms have been transformed and completely decorated for the holidays! I’ll be there on the 6th and some weekends. Would love to see you! More info here: http://www.danvershistory.org/events/special.html
Thank you, Yvonne! I have been planning a trip to the show house – it looks like I will be there toward the end of the run, on the 13th in the AM. If you happen to be there then, please let me know. I’m really looking forward to seeing your space!
So glad you can make the show, Kelly! I will put you on the list for press privileges so that you can take photos while there. Just inquire for a badge when you check in.
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