The News That Changed This Designer’s Life: You Can Glaze Toilets and Sinks in Any Color
You’ve never seen a cooler music-venue restroom.
Published Aug 18, 2023 1:10 AM
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Resonant Head, a recently completed music venue in Oklahoma City’s Capitol Hill neighborhood, is like a playground for adults. More specifically, it’s like a carnival for adults. Interior designer A.B. Lafitte, who is heavily connected to the local music scene (her husband, Cale Chronister, is a member of indie duo Sports), wanted the new concert space to feel like a psychedelic funhouse. The urinals in the men’s bathroom are Barbie pink and pumpkin colored; the exterior is a delicious shade of cotton candy by Sherwin-Williams.
As for the sloped ceiling that makes you feel like you’re standing under a tent? “The first thing I wanted to do was paint it crazy colors,” says the designer. Fortunately, Lafitte, an OKC local, wasn’t stumped by the venue when she first saw it. Back in the 1970s, ’80s, and ’90s, the building was a bar before it sat vacant for more than a decade. Even the street it sits on is pretty dead, admits Lafitte. Resonant Head is one of the first big projects geared at bringing the area back to life.
On opening night, she watched her husband get up on the stage she had so thoughtfully designed alongside the contractor, Franklin Build. The iridescent silver curtains (a major splurge) achieve the groovy vibe she was after, all while adhering to strict fire codes. “I wanted to create something that was like a TV variety set from the ’70s, but also kind of like an Acne store,” she shares. Here are a few more material moments we’re tuning in for.
Cooler Than Track Lights
Lafitte knew that the angular ceiling (its pointy shape accounts for the roof drain) would drastically affect the overall atmosphere, so she decided to paint the four-sided structure shades of red-orange, golden yellow, and light pink. “It’s definitely the dominating visual when you get in there, but I thought it was the most magical part of the whole space,” shares Lafitte. Along the equally awkward faux coffered trim, she hooked up strips of multicolored Cabochon lights that she sourced from an actual carnival-supply store. “It really makes it feel like you’re on a carousel ride,” she says.
A Moment of Reflection
Lafitte and the venue’s owners joked throughout the project that they were creating an eternal sunset. Look around and you’ll see the paint palette reflected everywhere thanks to loads of glass and tinted mirrors: The panels surrounding the column are golden hued; the dividing glass block wall by the lounge has a tinge of amber; and even the windows outside have a warm orange opacity. “Seventies club swank was the goal,” she says.
Laminate Isn’t Lame
It’s not easy to find someone who can apply chrome-edge banding to laminate countertops, Lafitte quickly discovered. But once she did, the bar came together—and for a whole lot less money than had she used popular quartz or marble. To top off the retro diner look, she covered the front of the bar in 1-by-1-inch mosaic tile.
When the tile installer expressed his distaste for the multicolored tiles in the restrooms, Lafitte knew they were onto something. After all, her mission was to give people a venue that wasn’t your typical all-black grunge bar. Plus the classic checkerboard combo on the floor automatically reminded her of the punk-music scene. “If we’re making our tile guy cringe, we’re probably doing it right,” she says with a laugh.
Turn Up the Volume
Luckily for the tile guy, he didn’t have to install the bold sinks, toilets, and urinals, which Lafitte matched to the colors of the wall tiles. “This is the big kicker that’s changed my life: I figured out there are people who will reglaze tubs and sinks and all kinds of plumbing fixtures in any color you want,” she says. Lafitte found someone locally, who has helped her do this on all of her projects. A cherry red powder room, like the one she recently designed for a client—pedestal sink and all—is music to our ears.