Published on July 29, 2021

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Photography by Chad Mellon

Bathrooms that belong to teens are one of Raili Clasen’s favorite things to design, which is why she’s done so many of them. “It’s the one space in the house where you can stretch the personality,” she says. “And teenagers are full of that.” For a lot of her SoCal-based clients, the beach is basically a bonus backyard, so Clasen has learned to bring in nods to the surf and sun without skewing too nautical. “The key is putting the brakes on before it gets theme-y,” she says. 

Powder-coated pendant lights, cast-iron sinks, and peacock blue tiles are some of her go-to moves. These features can easily transition into guest bathroom mode, but more important, they encourage a sense of levity and the ever-important pursuit of self-care. Plus the rooms look good amid the getting-ready-for-school chaos. Ahead, the designer shares her tips for creating a far-out space that brings the coastal vibes year-round. 

Say Skater, Subtly

When it came to designing her son’s shower at their Costa Mesa home, Clasen took cues from his shoe closet, which almost exclusively consists of checkered Vans. “It’s a little ode to the slip-ons,” she says of the floor tiles. (Her husband also happens to work for the company.) As a rule of thumb, the designer lets teens’ personal style and interests lead the way. “I also take a hint from the bedroom we’ve designed for them,” she says. Her son’s striped Pendleton bedding brings the graphic touch full circle. 

Durable Surfaces Are Their BFF

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Photography by David Tsay

Wood flooring is (almost) always off-limits. “I try to make these spaces pretty indestructible,” says Clasen. Tile and stone surfaces are much more equipped to handle that damp pile of towels sitting in the corner or that half-opened toothpaste tube stuck to the vanity counter. The designer makes the most of the materials she works with by going beyond a simple pop of color. In one space, she took the wavy navy floor tiles a step further by bringing them into the shower—a playful effect that is “less adultlike but still keeps it cool,” she notes.

Bring the Beach Inside

Even in the depths of winter, an Endless Summer print or graffitied surfboard will transport your teenagers somewhere warm and sandy. The best part is these additions require little commitment on your part—just swap them out with something new when their tastes evolve. “Start off with a white cabinet and counter and just bring in a fun cluster of lights, a two-tone canvas shower curtain, and even some wallpaper,” says Clasen of making the space teen-appropriate.  

Build Organization Into Their Morning Routine

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Photography by Karyn Millet

A pegboard wall is a surprisingly futureproof storage option. When her son heads off to college, Clasen plans on adding a cabinet to his peg system so it’s a touch friendlier for guests. Because while most boys can get away with a few open shelves, she likes to offer drawer-filled vanities and lockers for everyone else. “Especially for girls,” she says. “At that age, they’re slapping on every kind of makeup sample.”

The Shopping List

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Photography by Karyn Millet

Fun Lighting

Clasen swears by Schoolhouse, Industrial Light Electric, and Dutton Brown for sourcing playful, powder-coated light fixtures that range from tangerine orange to fire-engine red. 

Ship-Worthy Fixtures

For vintage-looking sink levers that look like they belong on a boat, Watermark is her go-to. 

Punchy Tile

Clé and Popham Design put a modern twist on Moroccan tiles that will make you feel forever young. 

Shareable Sinks

Clasen draws on her favorite New York restaurant bathrooms by bringing in trough-style sinks when siblings are involved.

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