We sat down with Nicole Zeigler, the founder of Utah interior design firm Enzy, to learn more about how they tackle one of the most frequently used and often overlooked spaces in the home: the bathroom.
Nicole started Enzy in 2009 after moving to Utah from Washington DC and realizing there was a genuine need for professional design help in kitchens and bathrooms. She observed consistent trends of homeowners struggling to create a cohesive experience throughout their space, feeling stressed when the outcome didn’t match their vision, and frequently underestimating the budget required. A decade later Enzy continues to flourish by successfully integrating their client's style with tested design principles for timeless outcomes. By actively listening and letting function drive the design, similar to our process at Dorai, Enzy avoids chasing trends or falling into a single look.
Nicole’s Tips for Designing Bathrooms of All Styles:
1. Start by listing your morning routines to outfit a space that complements your lifestyle.
“Evaluate your needs for the space by asking questions: who wakes up first, what should be quickly accessible on a daily basis? How many people need to use this space? It may look good but if it’s not improving your life, then it’s not functional.”
This could mean having hooks for robes in the bathroom, baskets for towels and built in storage that keeps daily items handy but concealed. Some items are within reach, and others are in closets for storage. This small step can make a big impact on the ease of your daily routine.
2. Capture the feeling you want to experience, but don’t overdo a trend.
Bathrooms are small and easy to overcrowd. Instead of buying every item that fits your desired ‘theme’ a la Pinterest, ask yourself, “how do I want to feel when I’m in this space?”
Based on the desired feeling, find 1 item that becomes your focal point and then gradually find smaller ways to complement that. The space can quickly become dizzying if we get into trend chasing.
“It’s terrible for the environment to be so disposable, buying the trendiest stuff made of low-quality materials. We want people to invest in what they really like... items that last for a while, not just rushing to get something that will be dated in order to fill the space.”
For example, let’s say you want to embody the same relaxing spa vibe of our favorite local escape, The Kura Door. You may start with a subtle, neutral paint color, choose an orchid or unique wood sculpture as a focal point, and add wood baskets and trash bin to that complement the plant’s box.
3. Multi-use lighting must be considered from the start.
Lighting should enable multi-tasking: relaxing options for evenings or day-to-day, and more direct focused lighting for getting ready, putting on make-up, etc. Bathrooms fill many roles on a daily basis, one of the most important is helping us feel our best in the mornings. There’s a reason many of us hate the stark, blinding lights in hotels that facilitate an instant urge for sunless tanner. You want warmer, natural hues that make you feel confident, while not causing you to have to strain or find the perfect angle. This can be accomplished with a mix of dimming overhead, direct wall fixtures and task specific mirrors.
4. Integrate nature with materials, plants and textures, especially when you don’t have good natural light.
Many of us struggle to create that light, airy look we see all over Pinterest and Instagram, but there are ways to help simulate the same effect.
Nicole suggests “bringing greenery and natural materials to ground it. Stylize with natural elements such as wood, plants, and soft colors.”
Nicole has been testing the Dorai Bath Mat and describes it as a functionally better solution that brings a natural look to bathrooms. The Dorai team is following along to see how talented professionals will integrate our mat into future designs to help create a relaxing experience with a sustainable material.
5. Proactively avoid clutter and make organization easier.
Most of the clutter comes from smaller daily things that we tend to leave out because it’s easier than storing. The Enzy team likes to install recessed medicine cabinets to help aid in this. Drawer organizers are effective for makeup or bottles.One of the biggest components for creating a ‘livable’ space is thoughtful organization solutions. Continuing with our relaxing, spa example, it’s best to keep the clutter out of daily view.
We continue to see more items that consume our shelf space requiring outlets for charging, if possible have outlets and USB ports, built into the drawer. “We try to hide all this stuff with outlets in discreet places.”
If you have open shelves, it’s a good place to keep matching towels or solid baskets to hold items without drawing visual attention from loose bottles, colorful packaging, etc. By getting into a habit of putting things in designated spaces that are easily accessible, you allow for easier cleaning and limit the amount of routine clutter.
Good bathroom design goes well beyond the ‘stuff’ we put inside. We learned it’s far more important to focus on the function and experience we want to ignite, before filling the space with accessories. In a world of quick, disposable solutions focus on a few high-quality items that align with your lifestyle. Trends come and go, but creating a space that you love waking up in everyday is far more powerful for your overall well being.
Thanks Nicole for sitting down with us and we appreciate your support! All beautiful bathroom photos showcase the work of Enzy Design.