Jeff King and the staff of Jeff King & Co. work on houses in San Francisco, where space is at a premium. Many of the houses are located on lots 25 feet wide by 125 feet deep. Most clients want to maximize storage, so King and his crew find creative ways to use every inch of usable space.

This whole-house remodel included the renovation of a powder room off the kitchen. The tiny room was located under the stairs to the second floor, so it had a low ceiling. To provide more head room, the remodeler exposed the joists that support the stair landing, wrapped them in mahogany, and covered the upper floor sheathing with drywall.

To expand the room, King stole space from a pantry closet that could only be accessed through the powder room. He used the space for a vanity cabinet to provide storage for cleaning supplies.

ILLUSIONS OF SPACE Architect Doug Walter of Denver, says that in small spaces, like this powder room (opposite page), the designer must fight to create space. He could not enlarge the footprint of this powder room, which he thinks was a closet in the 1928 Tudor-revival house. After replacing the in-swing door with an out-swing door, Walter worked within the existing footprint to make the room feel larger.

“Mirrors are No. 1 for interior bathrooms,” he says. “You multiply whatever light is added.” This is especially true of windowless rooms. In this powder room, the two mirrors above the corner sink reflect the new pendant light. In another small-bathroom project, Walter designed a tile wainscot and mirrored all the walls above it.

The architect says that most older homes have insufficient lighting. “Adding a neat fixture and a few recessed lights makes a big difference,” he says. Painting the walls in a light hue also helps to make the room seem larger.

Walter added an exhaust fan for better ventilation and an elegant pedestal sink, as well as crown molding and mosaic floor tile to reflect the 1920s era of the house.

Using the original rear wall would have resulted in an abnormally long powder room, so King pulled the wall forward. This provided space to create a deep display niche in the wall behind the toilet. King also tiled this niche and installed a recessed fixture.
Treve Johnson Using the original rear wall would have resulted in an abnormally long powder room, so King pulled the wall forward. This provided space to create a deep display niche in the wall behind the toilet. King also tiled this niche and installed a recessed fixture.

The vanity is below an exterior wall that had an existing window, which did not leave room on the wall for a mirror. Instead, remodeler Jeff King placed the mirror in a niche on the side wall. To avoid having a medicine cabinet extend into the already small room, King created a recessed niche that provides temporary storage. He covered the interior of the niche with tile that coordinates with the vanity backsplash, and framed it with contrasting bullnose tile.
Treve Johnson The vanity is below an exterior wall that had an existing window, which did not leave room on the wall for a mirror. Instead, remodeler Jeff King placed the mirror in a niche on the side wall. To avoid having a medicine cabinet extend into the already small room, King created a recessed niche that provides temporary storage. He covered the interior of the niche with tile that coordinates with the vanity backsplash, and framed it with contrasting bullnose tile.