Dreamy Baths

Whether your sanctuary is teeny-tiny or large and luxurious, you'll find these storage ideas refreshing.
By Lacey N. Howard

We all have those days. Days when we need to let the stress of the workplace or the needs of weekend guests float away in a tub brimming with suds. But if your fluffy towels and cozy robe await in a closet down the hall--instead of within arm's reach--your bathroom needs more storage space. Here, in these inviting rooms where scented soap meets clever decor, you're sure to find inspiration.

Jim and Joan Reiher dreamed of having a large master bath when they built their new home near the shore in Quogue, New York. "We had such a tiny master bathroom before," Joan says. "It was the size of our (new) shower, literally." So the couple worked with an architect to incorporate a cathedral ceiling, space for an old-fashioned tub, and plenty of room for bath essentials.

Joan chose an armoire to complete the look of a welcoming sitting room. The Reihers hang their robes in the long cabinet, keep colorful towels in the glass-front drawers, and use the solid drawers for toiletries. The family painted the walls a calming sea-green hue to link their spacious bath with the water.

Laguna Beach, California, designer Barclay Butera added color and light to his bath by putting a window over the sink. A view into the garden visually opened up his tight powder room, but the bath still lacked storage. "The room is only 4 by 8 feet--very tiny. The only place to put things was under the sink," he says. Barclay responded by using canisters to hold essentials on the countertop. "The clear glass canisters make everything feel so clean," he says.

Frank and Carol Stout of Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina, had the opposite problem: Their master bath had plenty of square footage, but windows surrounded most of the room, making storage placement tricky. The Stouts and interior designer Jack Fhillips solved it by adding 8-foot-tall, glass-front apothecary cabinets above both sinks. "They were a great way to tie in the height of the room, plus add much-needed storage," Jack explains.

Limited surface area was an issue for architect Lewin Wertheimer in a client's California home. He placed the tub where the blue marble surface around its edge could be large enough to hold towels, washcloths, soaps, bottles, and candles. Lewin chose the marble "to connect the room to the ocean."

Georgia artist Maureen Kriegh worked with color in a different way in her St. Simons Island bath. With a few shades of paint, Maureen created a colorful centerpiece for the room. First, "I found a fish sink at a MacKenzie-Childs store," she says. "I thought it was really fun." Later, Maureen found a $150 sideboard that fit the long wall in the room. A carpenter cut holes in the piece, and Maureen inserted the sink and plumbing. After days of cleaning, sanding, and coating the piece with white sealant, she spent 12 hours painting it with a design to match the sink. She now uses both side cabinets as storage. "On one side, I keep TP and sundries for guests--soap, shampoo, lotion," she says. "I leave the other side open for the stuff they bring."

Tori Kittredge also improvised storage in her 1910 Boca Grande, Florida, cottage. She tucked baskets with towels and washcloths underneath the four-legged console sink. She added a wardrobe (opposite the sink) to serve as a medicine cabinet and hide not-so-decorative items.

Joan Reiher speaks for all of these homeowners when she says, "I love this room. It's a dream."