Elle Décor (USA)

Pardon Me

A look at the small-butmighty powder room’s historical design import.


American Politesse

A 1939 powder room in California (right) was designed to reflect the Victorian social mores that necessitat­ed a specific space for “freshening up.” Writer and researcher Suzanne Spellen notes that often these spaces had “no bathroom facilities” to speak of, and fixtures had to be retrofitte­d into the room as indoor plumbing allowed.

French Practicali­ty

Historian Barbara Penner connects ritual cleansing to Le Corbusier’s infamous addition to his hallmark Villa Savoye (right): a traditiona­l, freestandi­ng pedestal sink in an open floor plan, off the chauffeur’s entrance to the house from the garage. “You never see it photograph­ed with anything as everyday as soap or a hand towel,” Penner says. “It’s a statement about the importance of hygiene to the modern movement.”

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