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christine brun


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Your House's Smallest Room Has Endless Possibilities


Sometimes the smallest room is the most luxurious one in the house. Imagine a jewel of a powder bath, butler's pantry or wine cellar. Alternatively, it might be a pet room or even a basic mudroom that garners attention. Most of the sumptuousness is found in the fact that a household is even able to afford to allocate space dedicated for a very narrow purpose.

There is indeed a sort of decadence to the sumptuous small room, and why not fully enhance the enjoyment of it? You might begin with a unique wall treatment or even a daring paint color. Swath a little powder bathroom in a strong color that you wouldn't dare to use in the main spaces of your home. If you're going to use imaginative color, go big: Paint every wall and even the ceiling in the unique tone.

When a room is tiny, you'll find that you can afford a great wallpaper because you need so little of the material. For example, a 5-by-5-foot powder bath with 9-foot ceilings would take about seven single rolls of wallpaper, depending upon the repeat of pattern.

A pet room is one of the most extraordinary features for any home. Such a space might include a washing station with a floor drain, a feeding area or a grooming area. Flooring for this purpose should be highly practical and easily cleaned. Wall hooks for leashes and pick-up bags or a backpack ready for walks can be hung up for easy access. A sink for filling water bottles and a water dish is desirable. The walls of your pet room could be decorated with whimsical and easy-to-install wall decals.

I fell in love with the pictured highly versatile yet vintage-looking wall-mounted sink, handcrafted from French and domestic oak wine barrels; little spaces benefit so grandly from introducing an out-of-the-ordinary element. Made by the California-based Native Trails company, the Bordeaux Wall Mount is a charming piece that can be adapted for small bathrooms or wine cellars or as a quaint wet bar for a small but highly visible space.

Artisans disassemble the barrel, cut it down to ideal size, reassemble the slats and then sand the wood to prep it for a multi-step finishing process.

Residuals from the original winemaking process are removed by wire brushing, and two custom-blend waxes are applied to seal and protect for daily use. This little sink measures just 24 by 19 by 19 inches, and each piece has its own unique, individual grain pattern and natural coloring that tells the life story of the oak barrel. A matching mirror is also available that bears the original barrel maker's stamp.

One cool aspect of anything wall-hung is that you can easily mount the item at your optimal height. A mudroom with storage and a stand-up-height counter, for instance, is extremely practical for a household docking station, mail center and message area. Receipts might be gathered in such a spot, along with the household grocery list. Homework assignments, permission slips, items that need to be returned to a store or clothing for the dry cleaners might be assembled in a hard-working mudroom.

Think about flexibility in this area, which might include adjustable storage shelves, permanent storage cubbyholes for each family member, and shoe storage. Running shoes, rain boots, house slippers and garden shoes might be gathered here. Hooks for outdoor gear and rain wear and seasonal hats are very practical too. Consider small drawers for sunscreen, stamps, stapler, tape and scissors. You might even keep toothbrushes and toothpaste close by. Chewing gum, trail snacks or bottled water in an under-the-counter refrigerator would be very handy as you scoot out the door in a hurry.

And don't forget a mirror for that last-minute visual check as you leave the house. Anything that might make a unique space even more functional is a luxury worthy of the fast pace of modern life.

Christine Brun, ASID, is a San Diego-based interior designer and the author of "Small Space Living." Send questions and comments to her by email at To find out more about Christine Brun and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at



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Christine Brun
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