See how Isalyn Connell, Spoak's VP of Growth & Business Operations, transformed the smallest room in her house into a big design statement.
Designer Name: Isalyn Connell
Instagram Handle: @isalynfay
Project Name: The Loo
Project Type: Residential
Project Location: Ancram, NY
Hi, I'm Isalyn, VP of Growth & Business Operations here at Spoak. My partner, Robert, and I purchased our 1870s farmhouse (read: project) in the Hudson Valley just over two years ago. While its bones were solid (ish), most of the character had been stripped away by renovations done in the '80s. Think: acoustic ceiling tiles, layers of vinyl flooring, faux everything. We dove head-first into renovations to bring back the farmhouse charm. Two years later, this small but mighty space is the first room I get to finally check off as complete.
When we first moved in, we referred to this powder room as 'the outhouse' due to how blatantly it was stuck on to the side of the house as an addition. It is on the first floor attached to our open-concept kitchen and laundry room. The room was long and narrow with just a toilet and a pedestal sink on one wall. We stole some square footage from the original room to give us a bigger adjacent pantry space, leaving us with 26.5 square feet total.
Given how small the room is, it was not high on our list of priorities to tackle. But as our overall renovation timeline progressed, so did our priorities. When we realized we would be living without a kitchen for a few months, we decided to swap out the pedestal sink and put in the laundry sink, which required minor reconfiguring of the plumbing. We ended up living without a finished kitchen for 8+ months and this laundry sink was our lifeline.
The rest of the renovation was purely cosmetic — and on a budget! We used leftover tile, paint, and shiplap from other parts of the house. All in, we probably spent $2,000 (inclusive of leftover material).
I DIYed the shiplap walls. We've been adding shiplap to most of our ceilings to replace the old ceiling tiles. I love the look of painted shiplap and it's a very simple DIY. The paint color is Benjamin Moore's Boothbay Gray. The floors are porcelain tile from Tile Bar. I hand cut each one to get the custom size I wanted and our friend and contractor installed them.
While 'the outhouse' was catchy 🙄, we now affectionately refer to this room as 'the loo' — a nod to the three years Robert and I spent living together in London.
I centered the room's design around the framed piece of art hanging front and center featuring colorful nudes. It's a painting by Anna Laurini, a London-based artist. Spoak makes it easy to create a color palette from any image, and that's what I did with a photo I took of the piece. I used Spoak to create a quick mood board for the rest of the space using mostly products and Things I already owned. I was a big scrapbooker growing up and love how Spoak lets me do that digitally.
Design-wise, the room feels quirky, eclectic, and sophisticated. I love that I was able to create a small space with a big personality. Despite being a mix of leftover materials and pre-owned Things, all the pieces came together naturally.
Robert's great-great-grandfather handmade the wooden curiosity cabinet that now houses all of my vases (and that's his portrait rested atop it!). I hadn't initially planned to put the piece in a bathroom, but it fits like a glove. It's filled with treasures from our travels, vintage finds, and family hand-me-downs. The vintage etched glass mirror sitting above the sink belonged to my uncle's parents.
The rest of the house... stay tuned!
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