Comfy Details in a Cottage Bath

English Arts & Crafts wallpaper and a painted wood wainscot create an informal room with style that bridges eras.

Gross + Daley

The old Shingle-style house in East Hampton, Long Island, was built in 1907 with elements both classical and Arts & Crafts. Before restoration, the large house had just two bathrooms, one original and another added during a renovation in the 1920s. The family was very clear that they did not want to lose the history and informality of the house; those existing bathrooms were restored. Under the direction of interior designer Rick Esposito, new bathrooms were added in the style of the 1920s. Esposito explains that bathrooms of that later period had more amenities and thus are more compatible with life today. As an example, he explains that a 1907 bathroom would have had separate hot and cold taps; by the 1920s, mixer faucets were not uncommon.

The powder room shown is in an addition. Its mood is informal, a mix of cottage style and Arts & Crafts leanings. (Adjacent rooms are done in Arts & Crafts style.) Note how the window trim, as in the original house, has a bungalow-era look but with more classical moulding profiles. The commodious pedestal sink, a vintage piece, is central. Wainscoting and trim were copied from the remaining 1907 bathroom. The dark green floor tiles are distinctly Arts & Crafts; owl and rabbit motifs decorate a few tiles. For this more public room located downstairs, white tiles might have looked too clinical. Antique, hammered-copper sconces flank the recessed medicine cabinet that was designed for the room.

1. WALLPAPER’S APPEAL Wallpaper in the bath is no problem with modern ventilation. A Morris & Co. design introduces whimsy and color, setting a cottage mood. Note: Morris ‘Blackberry’ is not currently in production.

2. BEADED BOARD Beadboard for walls and ceilings was a standard finish in service areas and summer homes. Based on an original 1907 wainscot in the house, this one is nicely trimmed at base and rail.

3. ARTS & CRAFTS TILES Dark-body matte or unglazed tiles lend a more furnished look than do white tile hexes. With a border or with deco tiles interspersed in the field, the practical floor becomes an artisan’s work of art.

4. FINISHING TOUCHES A vintage pedestal sink, a reproduction toilet (‘Oxford’ from St. Thomas Creations), and carefully chosen accessories add to the period look. The hammered-copper sconces are antique.


TP Beauty Urban Archaeology’s Victorian Toilet Paper Holder has an Art Nouveau style that complements the twining wallpaper.

Artful Floor Tile Motawi makes field tile and decos in many sizes. Shown are Stag and Dog from the Art Tile collection. Tiles come in many glaze colors, including 8 greens.

Sconces With its square backplate and specialty finish, Brass Light Gallery’s Morris One Light Straight Arm Sconce is an Arts & Crafts offering in a world of Colonial Revival electric candles. Available in 15 metal finishes; try a silk shade in Bisque, Flaxen, or Ginger rather than white.

Bramble Paper Just as sweet is ‘Essex Rose’, designed in 1906 by C.F.A. Voysey. Look for his signature heart motif amidst the brambles. Reproduced today by Trustworth Studios,

A Similar Sink That vintage sink has a squat column and oversize top; similar models show up in salvage shops.

A Train Rack Modeled after those in old passenger cars, Van Dyke’s Small Train Rack Shelf is scaled down. Solid brass in brass or nickel finish, 28¾” wide with a 12″ projection.

Tags: bathroom beadboard floor tile OHJ February 2016

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