Great Spaces: A Picture-Perfect Powder Room
This Rosslyn half bath captures many happy memories from the owner's Instagram feed.
When Katie Harbath bought her two-story, 1,500-square-foot Rosslyn condo in 2014, she had designs on a rustic-chic bachelorette pad inspired by her family’s lakeside cabin in Wisconsin.
At the time, Harbath was working for Facebook in public policy (she now owns a consulting firm) and posted on her personal page that she was ready to renovate. A mutual friend connected her with Nancy Harper of D.C.-based Studio Miel, and together they enlisted Bethesda, Maryland, architect Jim Rill to transform the condo’s main level.
Wanting more space for entertaining, Harbath gave Rill the green light to trim four inches from a powder room to make way for a huge kitchen island. The bathroom became smaller as a result—necessitating a space-saving pocket door—but its design makes a big statement.
The defining feature is a floor-to-ceiling wallpaper grid of photos from Harbath’s Instagram feed, which Harper commissioned from a now-defunct custom wallpaper maker in New Zealand.
Assembling the montage involved culling the best shots from Harbath’s archive of more than 700 images. There are vibrant sunsets from the Wisconsin cabin, red London phone booths, and sweeping views of the Sydney Opera House, the Taj Mahal and D.C.’s own iconic memorials. A screenshot of a Redfin notification confirming Harbath’s condo purchase keeps company with a close-up of a lobster, a mound of croissants and a demitasse of espresso. Friends and family flash smiles. Blue skies and cold beers are abundant. Harbath calls the powder room her own personal time capsule.
Other elements in the loo include a Schoolhouse Electric sconce and an RH vanity with long brass legs and exposed plumbing. “We often do fun, quirky designs in a powder room,” says Harper, who left one wall blank to keep the room from feeling claustrophobic. “It’s a space where clients are more comfortable taking creative risks.”
Harbath half-jokes that the custom wallpaper idea has ruined her. She and Harper have stalled on a choice of wallcoverings for her work-in-progress upstairs bathroom. They’re waiting for the next big idea to develop.