Thursday, August 20, 2009

A Chat with Nancy Van Natta: A Wonderful Teenage Girl's Bathroom for the 2009 San Francisco Decorator's Showhouse

On Monday, I showcased the teenage bedroom's room by Palmer Weiss.
Today, I'm following up with the en-suite bathroom for the same show-
house that was designed by Nancy Van Natta and her time designed to
match the bedroom. I must say that the bathroom is every bit the smashing
success the bedroom was. This bathroom is chic, sophisticated, functional
and you cannot mistake that it's for a girl. Girl Power! One look at those hot
pink lacquered cabinets with a marble counter top and I was drooling.
Everything in the bathroom down to smallest detail was thought out. Beautiful
shades, high end materials and fixtures, and a seriously cool photo illuminated
illustration of the silhouette of a woman.

I posed the same questions to Nancy as I did to Palmer and she was
also gracious enough to share with us details about the bathroom.

Are there any particular styles or designers that you would say has
influenced your design sense?

I like working in many different styles. When I have an Art Deco project
I’m in love with all things art deco. And the same for Arts and Crafts,
Modernist, Mediterranean . What I look for consistently in all styles is a
sense of symmetry, a beautiful line and elegant proportion. I love interiors
that reflect the Japanese definition of beauty – Wabi – tranquil simplicity,
Sabi – patina of age, and Suki – elegance.

In the spring, you completed a project for the 2009 San Francisco Design
Showcase. The project was a teenage girl's bathroom. There's been a lot of
excitement about the bathroom and I had some follow up questions for you.

What was the initial inspiration for the room?

I was inspired by Coco Chanel who as a teen had virtually nothing –
no money, no family support, no prospects – and who went on to create
a style empire based on her own talent and hard work. I wanted my
room to celebrate Chanel and her amazing style.

Do you have a process that you go through when putting a room like this together?

My ‘process’ is just an uncomfortable muddle for a time with many random
ideas all stepping all over each other as I gradually refine and refine. I always
try to put a lot of creativity into a showcase room – details that people have
never seen before – and this provides a lot of added pressure.

The bathroom was attached to a room that Palmer Weiss did. Did you
collaborate with her to make sure there was a uniform look between the
adjoining spaces?

It was very important that my room coordinated well with Palmer’s. I
looked at her board and got a sample of her fabric to use for color check.

I think many readers would be interested to know about the sourcing for
the items in the bathroom. Can you give us information about where you
procured the items in the room?

- The paint color used for the cabinets (absolutely gorgeous.)
The paint is Benjamin Moore Pink Ladies in a gloss. I thought it was fun.

- How you achieved the lacquered look on the cabinets.
I had no time to spray. I hired a good painter and he brushed the cabinet.

- Where you got the light fixtures attached to the mirror?

The light fixtures are from Emanuel Morez through
Wroolie & Co.
I think his lighting is fabulous.

- Where you got that fun painting with the luminescent girl's face on the wall
(a stroke of genius I think as I love lighting and silhouettes.)

I created the wall panel. The face was carved glass based on a photo of my
granddaughter, Bailey. The panel was something of a technical feat with
portions backlit and others done with glass inlay. The finish was a hand
rubbed white lacquer.

- How you put the Chanel images on the shower doors? (tons of fun)

We created a stencil of the Chanel perfume bottle and used a Rus-Oleum
spray for the ‘etching’. Then we applied vinyl labels for the wax seal and the

- Did you create the frame for the large mirror?
We had the mirror made with a traditional frame that we sprayed white lacquer.

- Anything else you would like to add about he bathroom?

I really liked the room when it was done. I loved working with the stark white
walls and intense pops of fuchsia and lilac. I also felt good that my backlit panel
looked good – and it has opened up a new area of portraits in glass and light.

I’m proud of the work my team and I are doing right now. Everything is
very tuned to the clients – their color palette, their furniture preferences.
But wabi, sabi, suki prevails!

I just can't get over the fact how perfectly lacquered these cabinets
are when they were brush painted! It looks like a spray finish.

I don't know about you but I'd venture to say that Nancy Van Natta
definitely has the philosophies of Wabi, Sabi and Suki down! She and
her team obviously pay attention to details as she crafted this bathroom
to match the teenage bedroom based on a sample board and fabrics only.
They truly look like they belong together.

Hope you enjoyed the interview and especially feasting your eyes on
this wonderful bathroom filled with fantastic ideas and creativity.