Hi there, Ajai here, and I’m back with an apartment bathroom refresh. As you may already know, I’ve been making it my goal to characterize our apartment to represent the things we love, but this time around, I’ll be designing for my husband. I typically make a lot of decisions regarding the design of our home, and always try to keep in mind how we as a family function in it. That said, a lot of you may already know that we tend to enjoy a neutral color palette in our home. I recently shared the reason for this via my social media. I know that “colors evoke feelings, and neutrals are grounding. I’m in an industry where I’m constantly entering other people’s worlds and am always thinking along the lines of what other people need and how I can help them to function better in their space. So I like to have a place where I can come home to reset and feel grounded.”
Before the pandemic, I would go out and work in someone else’s home, and then spend hours on a computer sourcing for that home and designing its floor plan, and after spending all day in someone else’s space, I’d want to go home and not feel overwhelmed. I needed to give my mind a chance to relax, and take a break from such specific, and sometimes, complex designs. I also mentioned how my husband used to travel 75% of the month to different states for work. Now that we are working from home, my husband deals with a new group of customers each week. Our work worlds consist a lot of assessing and aiding the needs of others. All that to say, this is why we enjoy neutral color palettes. To quote myself exactly, “they are simple and minimalistic – tones that give a feeling of being calm and provide stability – feelings that are a necessity for me and my family in our living space.”
Since my husband (Jonathan) is the client this time around, I took into account his personality and interests, but I didn’t want to stray too far away from the concept of the other bathroom in our home. What I found myself with was an artisanal and minimal oasis fit for my husband. Beginning with a neutral palette was a no-brainer for me, yet I wanted to pick Jonathan’s brain about what his needs would be for his space. This was quite fun, and I must say, he ended up being one of my favorite clients (this is more than likely because we are generally on the same page with a lot of things and enjoy many of the same hobbies… we even have the same quirky ways about us… we have an obsession with peg racks – they’re all over our home). When I asked Jonathan what he enjoyed most about our home, he responded “I enjoy how there’s not a lot going on everywhere.” I should mention that Jonathan and I both grew up in homes where there was always a lot going on…everywhere. You could say our mothers were a bit of what we like to joke about and call “collectors.” When we were growing up, they both had a bit of a hard time parting with things. In turn, I believe this has made Jon and I minimalists. So most of the time, we are thinking about how an item not only can look nice, but how it can also function in our home. So let’s get to this bathroom of ours… I mean, his. Here is the bathroom before:
I mentioned in an earlier blog post, that we moved into a new build. So like many new builds, we’ve got the same generic glass lamp shades over the vanity in our bathroom – these had to go first. We replaced them with a new metal shade I found and spray painted. Jonathan wanted more black accents in his bathroom, so I wanted to make sure I incorporated it as much as I could for us… I mean, him. Along with the newly painted lamp shades, I sourced a black set of towels to go along with a flat weaved sand set. This way he could switch out the palette from time to time. He also mentioned how he enjoyed the antique and artisanal elements from the barbershop he used to frequent in Atlanta. It had considerably aged photographs with antiqued frames hung throughout the shop, this is what inspired the art I chose for his bathroom. I thrifted the piece that displays the two gentlemen with swords, and the print with the two ballerinas came from Juniper Print Shop (Jon and I love this print because it looks like two ladies are dabbing – you’ll have to google this if you don’t already know what dabbing is… lol). The frame I chose for the dab print was custom, and I chose it because it too had an aged/antiqued feel about it.
Sword Art (vintage) | Ballerina Art
I wanted to add more texture to the bathroom, so I chose a waffle shower curtain that is tan, to keep with the oasis feel. My husband kept saying “I want my bathroom to feel like I’m in a hotel, a relaxing hotel.” This encouraged me to play on the white aspects of the bathroom, because a white hue is airy and clean – like relaxing hotel rooms. This led me to get rid of the boring towel bar and incorporate a white peg rack. The white peg rack allows for all of the items we hang on it to look as if they are floating – a pretty cool design aspect, along with them being very functional and creating much storage. I love hanging towels and woven baskets from our peg racks to create even more storage. To keep with the black accents, I added a black wastebasket, toilet brush, and vanity organizer. Also, I want to reiterate that my husband used to travel 75% of each month for work, so I’d consider him a professional hotel-stayer lol. He would always facetime me as he walked into each hotel room to show me what the room and bathroom looked like. Then he’d come back home with a synopsis on how the space felt and functioned (I have taken so many mental notes and stashed them away for future projects).
During these summaries, I noticed how he’d always mention how easily accessible hand towels were or weren’t. I wanted to make sure I met his hand towel expectations by having them easily accessible via the towel stand, and right next to the sink. He’d also mention how hard it was to squeeze soap from the little bottles left on the bathroom countertops in hotels, and how sometimes there would be no lotion. So I sourced the cutest little artisanal soap, lotion, and q-tip cotton swab jar set from HomeGoods, along with a jar I found to host cotton balls. To finish the look I searched high and low for the perfect runner. I was able to procure a one-of-a-kind Turkish rug from Etsy (I have so many rugs and consider myself a “collector” haha… I guess the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree on this one… in fact, I have a blog that shares where my love for rugs began and highlights a few etsy sellers I love to shop with), and with the perfect dimensions. I also left out his favorite Vetiver (Jon’s favorite Scent) along with a Petit Grain 21 candle (another one of his favorites), because smells are everything when it comes to a bathroom. Jonathan is loving his bathroom refresh, and I’m so happy he is.
Before and Afters, anyone??
It was important for me to give him a space of his own that he could enjoy. Because we live in an apartment now, he doesn’t have a “man-cave,” so having a space to retreat to groom himself was so fun to create. I hear him in there during the mornings shaving and singing, and I love how happy he is after a shower and a couple sprays of his favorite scent. He came to me just yesterday and told me how much he loves the sand towel set. He said he likes that it doesn’t get extremely damp like other towels after he dries off. He thanked me for making his bathroom special then kissed me on my head, and I melted. This is what I love about design, the psychology of a space and the effect it has on us, but I guess that’s a blog post for another time.
**Design and Photos by Ajai Guyot