An Entry and Powder Room for Family and Guests

by Alden Miller | November 5, 2013 | Kitchens and Baths, Montara - A Mountain Escape, Projects + Press

Not once have I been to my Montara, CA project residence and not been offered food or drink. Warmth and laughter fill the home, and the kids are often playing ball and running around the house. Brad and Melanie are all about family and friends — and being great hosts to their guests.

For the Lucas family, providing a welcoming space to the people they share their lives with defines their character. Because the entry and the powder room are places that the family shares with their guests, the importance for these spaces to feel comfortable and look nice, was clear.

The Entry

At the entry we began by replacing the ceramic tile with natural cleft brazilian black slate. The impact was immediate. The entry looked sharper — and lent a powerful energy to the entire house.

We found the slate at Echeguren Slate (a wonderful resource for slate in San Francisco) at a great price (around $5/sf). Slate usually comes honed (smooth) or natural cleft (where there is a bit more texture). Natural cleft is a good choice for an entry because it is less slippery and comes in the larger 12×24 size.

After the slate, we selected a stain for their new wood floors that was compatible with the slate, the bedroom carpets, the existing wood furniture, and the powder room floor. It’s very important, by the way, to get a couple of stain options applied directly onto the actual floor because (just as with paint color) this will show how the color will look in the space.

The Powder Room

Located on the second floor, the powder room had its door directly facing the stairs leading up from the entry. We shifted the door to a different part of the room, which allowed for good feng shui while opening up a space for artwork on the second floor landing.

The powder room was the perfect spot to use non-custom cabinetry. Restoration Hardware (RH) has quality, original looking (though not inexpensive) stuff for around the price of plain-looking custom pieces. RH also has attractive stone selections and it can function as a one-stop-shop — this is particularly cost-effective when you would not otherwise need to have a slew of tradespeople (cabinet maker, stone worker, plumber) coming through the space.

Brad and Melanie wanted less contrast in the powder room, and so went with a brown tone on the floor for a more grounding feel. We also added a skylight, which allowed us to connect this fully interior room to nature.