From the August/September 2018 Issue  

Little Giants

Writer Marirose Krall  |  Photographer Peter Rymwid  |  Designer Valerie Grant  |  Location Summit, NJ
  • Designer Valerie Grant created a statement wall in the powder room of her home.

  • The soft blue/gray in this bathroom coordinates with the colors in the adjoining bedroom.

In Summit, NJ, a designer brings big style to small spaces.

“Sometimes I feel like the smallest rooms provide the biggest opportunities,” says Valerie Grant of Valerie Grant Interiors in Summit, New Jersey. “You can treat them like little gems. You can look for details that are special in small rooms, and you don’t need a lot of material.” Grant relied on that philosophy when it came to designing her own home. She created two spaces—a powder room and a bathroom for her daughter—that pack a lot of panache into limited square footage.

Wallpaper provided the inspiration for the powder room, Grant says. “The starting point is the amazing wall covering in the alcove.” Created by a company in Washington, the paper itself is handmade, Grant says. Then the pattern is hand-drawn onto the paper. Grant’s vision was so focused that she knew exactly where that wallpaper would go even before the room was constructed. “We designed it specifically with a nook so we could do a wall treatment on it.”

Grant wanted a modern aesthetic in the space and added details wherever she could to underscore the look. Mirrored panels on the sides and ceiling portion of the alcove reflect the custom mirror frame. “I really wanted the mirror to relate to everything that was happening; that’s why I designed the mirror to mimic the wall covering.”

Such a striking vignette—dark vanity with a light counter, squared-off sconces and a linear, layered mirror against a patterned wall—needed to be defined for emphasis. So Grant bordered the alcove with metal edging. The steel around the recess is “really masculine and grounds the space.” For Grant, the key aspect of the room’s style “is the mixture of materials. It adds interest to the wall.”

Grant “fell in love with the idea” of creating interest on the sink wall and continued the theme in her daughter’s bathroom. While the designer used wallpaper for pattern in the powder room, here she created an inlaid design. “We came up with the idea of using ceramic tile to create a Greek key pattern.” She furthered the motif with a custom-designed medicine cabinet that mimics the pattern on the wall behind it. Both elements coordinate with the cabinetry in a soft shade of blue/gray. “We color matched the vanity to the tile,” Grant says.

The custom-designed cabinetry has a subtly feminine appeal that will suit Grant’s daughter for years to come. “I wanted a room that she would grow with, with a style that’s youthful enough to appeal to her at a young age and that she could grow with throughout her teen years.” The vanity features a curved bottom, which is “a graceful detail” against the straight lines of the tile and mirror. The palette in this space corresponds to that in the daughter’s adjoining bedroom. “I wanted to make it feel like this space is an extension of the bedroom,” Grant says.

The spaces Grant created here have sophistication and style, which reflect the fact the designer treats bathrooms like other rooms: worthy of well-thought-out decorative consideration. Bathrooms, she says, are the “little hidden jewels within the home.”