What Does a Bathroom Inspired by a Toilet Paper Holder Look Like? A Pastel Dream

Meanwhile, the sibling space is like a “refreshing glass of lemonade.”
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soft blue wall tile

Keren Richter, cofounder of design firm White Arrow, jokes that when Jill Singer told her she wanted to build a bathroom around a funky toilet paper holder, it felt like an art-school entrance exam. Nevertheless, when Singer, cofounder and editor in chief of Sight Unseen, showed Keren the colorful piece by British artist James Shaw that she had in mind, the designer was up for the test: “Her points of reference really helped us get inspired.” Singer had waited patiently for the recycled plastic TP holder—Shaw’s drops are sporadic and online only. 

“A friend told me recently, ‘You’re either the dream client or the absolute most nightmare client, because you know so specifically what you want,’” says Singer with a laugh. And it’s true, she had a particular vision in mind when she set out to update the kids’ and guest bathrooms in her East Hampton, New York, home: She wanted them to be reminiscent of the tile-covered bathrooms in the Gerald Luss House in Ossining, New York, where Object & Thing hosted a show in 2021. But when it came to actually fine-tuning the details, Singer depended on Keren and her husband, Thomas, for guidance.  

A Moment for the TP

plain white bathroom
The kids’ bathroom, before.

Once it was established that they would mount Shaw’s toilet paper holder in the kids’ space, the Richters looked to its powdery blue and pink components for direction. The former color became the standout choice: They swathed the room in two different tones of blue grid tile. The dusty blush tones made their way onto the vanity, which the designers concocted essentially from scratch. While the base itself is an ordinary stock cabinet, they upgraded it with an onyx counter (sourced from Keren’s favorite website, stonetrash.com), Shaker-style doors, round knobs, and a vintage Italian faucet. “I ended up hacking it so hard that it doesn’t look anything like what it started out as,” says Keren. 

Bathroom Blues

small bathroom
The kids’ bathroom, before.
blue tiled tub

While Singer practiced patience with her special TP holder, she regrets not having more when it came to picking out a tub. Initially, she fell in love with a freestanding one with giant ball feet (if you’ve seen her kitchen, you know she has a thing for items with spherical details), but its lead time was way too long.

white tub fixtures

In the end, they went with a fully tiled tub that exudes cool mid-century vibes, but she still can’t help but wonder if should she have waited. “Maybe the openness wouldn’t have been the best option for two kids showering in it…but it would have looked really cool!” shares Singer. 

Hit the Showers

shower wall with window
The guest bathroom, before.
yellow tiled bathroom

Keren admits butter yellow isn’t a color that typically makes its way into White Arrow’s projects, but given it’s one of Singer’s all-time favorites, the designers took a leap. “It’s like a refreshing glass of lemonade,” she says. After looking at 30 different tile samples, they ended up with two harmonious shades (a mid-tone and a highlight) and wrapped the saturated hue around the base of the room, stopping at the knee wall. “It’s a nice way of dividing a small space and keeping it feeling bright and light,” says the designer.

two tone yellow bathroom

There might not be a funky toilet paper holder in the guest space, but the Richters played with pink once more, this time in the form of a custom medicine cabinet and wall-hung concrete sink. A friend recently told Singer that the compact yet colorful setup gave off “a really fun locker room vibe,” and she took it as a great compliment. 

Lydia Geisel Avatar

Lydia Geisel

Home Editor

Lydia Geisel has been on the editorial team at Domino since 2017. Today, she writes and edits home and renovation stories, including house tours, before and afters, and DIYs, and leads our design news coverage. She lives in New York City.