An unused niche now reflects small-bath success.

Mirrors tend to tell all. Not so, however, for the mirrored walls in this Bluffton, South Carolina, bath. Born out of the remnants of a house remodel, the once-wasted niche hides its past well. Now outfitted with a refreshing look, these walls are truly something else.

Window Work-Around
When the homeowners decided to start over―the entire house was gutted and renovated―they looked to designer Deborah Van Plew and cabinetry designers Stephen and Sarah Litchfield to fill in the blanks. "There were many architectural elements throughout the project that we couldn't change, so we had to come up with creative ways to incorporate these quirks into the design," says Deborah.

One space that required special consideration was just off the guest room. Its redeeming quality: a charming oval window with a spot-on view of the marsh. The window could have been perceived as an obstacle, but instead its unexpected presence enhances a new bath. Deborah and the Litchfields took on the empty nook and added a vanity. "The bath is small with steep ceiling pitches, so we made the most of the space without giving up style points," says Deborah.

Make It Fit
The Litchfields gave the room's custom-fit vanity a unique open-and-shut look. "Open shelves have countless uses, such as holding additional guest towels, soaps, and toiletries," says Sarah. "At the same time, the louvered cabinet doors hide plumbing and other items guests don't need to see."

"Mirroring the wall around the window and the adjoining walls does double duty and doesn't feel contrived," says Deborah. Mirrors not only open up the area, but they also help to reflect the vanity's sea-inspired tones and the room's natural light. "The vanity color fits perfectly with the window's invitation to nature just outside," says Sarah. "We're happy with the simplicity and elegance found in this small bath."

Tricks To Know
Think that mirrors in the bath are useful only for brushing your teeth and applying mascara? Think again. Mirrors create the instant illusion of greater space and reflect any natural or artificial light, brightening the room. Keep these tips in mind to maximize the potential of your bath.

  • Measure, measure, measure―even if you're working with a basic rectangular wall.
  • When tackling tricky areas, consider calling in a contractor or specialist. This can save you frustration.
  • For a sleek look, install sconces and light fixtures directly on the mirror. A mirror specialist or electrician can help with this project.

Design by Deborah Van Plew, J. Banks Design Group, or (843)681-5122; cabinetry by Litchfield Cabinetry, or (843) 815-7994; wall and trim paint by Benjamin Moore, Pearl Gray (863) and French Canvas (OC-41),; countertop is custom Vetrostone by Vetrostone, USA, or (843) 589-4000; lighting from The Light Post,