Space of the Week: Patterned Tile Steals the Spotlight in This California Powder Room

The small room layers coastal and traditional styles for a fresh look.

Circular Patterned blue tiles in powder room with white vanity
Photo: Design by Kate Lester / Photography by Amy Bartlam

Sometimes the circumstances of a project are more than ideal—and that's exactly what happened when interior designer Kate Lester was hired to furnish this California home. It had been expertly constructed by Titan & Co. Builders with materials that were far removed from the standard finishes, which allowed this Manhattan Beach property to fit into its particular surf-side surroundings. "It's a coastal town that is all about sun, sand, and livable luxury," Lester notes. "Since it was a new house, we didn't want to waste the resources. I got to build off an amazing palette, which is so rare."

This powder bathroom had strong details from the start: A wide, white vanity had space for four cabinets, and was topped with a marble countertop that would easily lend itself to a variety of styles. Lester aimed to celebrate the home's Californian charms, but thought that adding more European elements would give that breeziness some much-needed weight. "Overall, I wanted this design to feel personal, curated, and welcoming, rather than just trend-driven," she says. Lester also took carefully considered design risks in this room given its size, and thought that a floor-to-ceiling tile backsplash would make a stylish impact. She didn't want it to be too colorful, though, and searched for tile that could show-stop without being overwhelming. Lester found what she was looking for in a gray, black, and white circular patterned tile with crosses in the center.

"I think a bit of color in every room makes a home more unique, and I find most clients tend to feel more comfortable pushing the envelope in power rooms, like this one," she says. "That is why this bold tile just works."

She added a pair of gold mesh sconces to either end of the vanity to subtly coordinate with the spheres in the backsplash. The vanity's faucet and hardware were made to match what was arranged above. According to the designer, switching out the cabinet hardware is always a game changer.

Rather than stick to one style, Lester layered coastal and traditional design influences, styling it all until it felt right. On top of the modern, geometric tiles, an organic, nautical-inspired wood mirror attracts some attention. "I think it's important to have fun with mirrors," she says. "I recommend people ditch the medicine cabinet or glass glued to the wall and go with something that feels more like art." With layered influences and a cohesive color palette, this small room is a masterpiece.

Get the Look:

01 of 04

Choose Turkish Towels

Striped Turkish Towel
Kate Lester Home

Woven Turkish towels crafted from 100 percent cotton aren't plush like terrycloth towels, but they dry much faster and lend spa-inspired style to a bathroom. Quick-drying Turkish towels are a must-have for bathrooms that don't have great ventilation.

02 of 04

Tile a Feature Wall

circular gray patterned tiles on focal wall in bathroom with white vanity
Design by Kate Lester / Photography by Amy Bartlam

An accent wall doesn't have to be painted or wallpapered—this powder room is proof. A circular patterned tile installed from floor to ceiling serves as the room's focal point. Matching gray paint on the adjoining wall pulls the design together.

03 of 04

Rethink the Mirror

Walnut wood mirror rounded with handle

Who says your bathroom mirror has to be a predictable rectangle? This walnut mirror re-envisions an old-fashioned hand mirror on a grand scale.

04 of 04

Light the Way

Textured Gold Perforated Sconce

Perforated gold wall sconces light the room, while introducing texture and a touch of shimmer against the gray and white tiles. Juxtaposed with the traditional-style faucet, these fixtures feel especially modern.

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