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These Baltimore designers show you how to create pretty, petite bathrooms

Navigating small spaces in your home can be tricky, especially when it comes to knowing where to store things, what colors to make the space seem larger and how to configure the space to make it fit your daily life. This can be particularly difficult in powder rooms or bathrooms, especially those found in many of Baltimore’s row homes.

Karley and Joe Sgandurra, owners of The Eden Company, an area home remodeling company, transform small spaces into ones that are functional as well as aesthetically-pleasing.

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We talked with Karley and Joe to get tips on how to take powder rooms or small bathrooms to the next level.

Joe and Karley Sgandurra, owners of the Eden Company, a construction and design firm, did the remodel of the Roland Park bathroom of Judy Kelly.
Joe and Karley Sgandurra, owners of the Eden Company, a construction and design firm, did the remodel of the Roland Park bathroom of Judy Kelly. (Barbara Haddock Taylor / Baltimore Sun)

What are some of the new trends when it comes to designing powder rooms or bathrooms like those in Baltimore rowhouses?

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Joe: With Baltimore row homes, maximizing space is the biggest challenge. We’ve seen a lot of floating vanities and open shelving vanities trending lately. These make the space feel a lot larger and you can still utilize the storage space. You can use floating shelves above the toilet and then used recessed shelving as well to give the space a lot of storage without crowding and limiting the overall footprint of the bathroom.

Karley: We’ve noticed people having a lot of fun with lighting, which makes for fun aesthetics. Also rather than using the typical square, very basic mirror that was used for a long time, people are starting to use hallway mirrors, for example, to create their own personal styles.

How do you go about selecting the right contractor for a such a project?

Karley: Do your due diligence. The best thing that you can do is to get a few estimates and talk to a few people. Don’t hire the first person you meet unless you get a strong connection right off the bat. Someone who makes you feel comfortable is huge. They’re going to be in your home for at least one week for a powder room or longer for larger spaces. Even if you don’t know all of the right questions to ask, you get the sense when you meet someone what they’re knowledgeable in and what they know about transforming your space.

Joe: A lot of people want the cheapest contractor but you’re going to get what you pay for. You don’t have to spend $10,000 on a little powder room but you should look twice before deciding on the least expensive job.

"We’ve noticed people having a lot of fun with lighting, which makes for fun aesthetics," says Karley Sgandurra, co-owner of the Eden Company, a construction and design firm.
"We’ve noticed people having a lot of fun with lighting, which makes for fun aesthetics," says Karley Sgandurra, co-owner of the Eden Company, a construction and design firm. (Barbara Haddock Taylor / Baltimore Sun)

Are there other things in a powder room that you can do yourself without major renovations?

Karley: You can always paint. That can make a huge difference in a small space. There are a million tutorials online to help you. Painting is not difficult in a small powder room. Also, something as simple as switching out a basic bathroom mirror with a fun mirror can help to show off your style.

Joe: Repurposing design items is always fun. When getting something from Second Chance or The Loading Dock, you’re giving back to the community and you’re finding unique items that can’t be found elsewhere.

"You always want to create opportunities for storage. We used a vanity in one project that had a high bottom which allowed space to put baskets underneath. The baskets were the client’s aesthetic and allowed them to store personal items without cluttering the area," says Karley Sgandurra.
"You always want to create opportunities for storage. We used a vanity in one project that had a high bottom which allowed space to put baskets underneath. The baskets were the client’s aesthetic and allowed them to store personal items without cluttering the area," says Karley Sgandurra. (Barbara Haddock Taylor / Baltimore Sun)

What are some tips for maximizing the space?

Karley: You always want to create opportunities for storage. We used a vanity in one project that had a high bottom which allowed space to put baskets underneath. The baskets were the client’s aesthetic and allowed them to store personal items without cluttering the area. Also, in Baltimore, there have been quite a few times where we’ve come across radiators in bathrooms. One way to increase storage without increasing the footprint is creating a radiator cover. That creates another shelf essentially.

An overhead lighting fixture in the bathroom of Judy Kelly of Roland Park.
An overhead lighting fixture in the bathroom of Judy Kelly of Roland Park. (Barbara Haddock Taylor / Baltimore Sun)

Joe: Depending on the location, a pocket door or a barn style door can be added to replace a door that swings out or in. And that gives the illusion of more space. And aesthetically it can look really beautiful. It doesn’t have to be expensive.

What type of decorations make the small space stand out?

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Karley: I am a lover of knickknacks and I love collecting things. [I wouldn’t] advise against them but to be selective about what you choose in a small space like a powder room. You can make a huge difference with a simple, beautiful picture. It’s going to be counterproductive if you fill up the counter space with things. A funky cool mirror and then lighting, which is a necessity, can add a little bit of your own style.

Joe: A small hanging plant can add a lot if you have higher ceilings. It adds greenery and depth. Small hanging plants would be really great as well as succulents since they’re tiny and don’t need a lot of light.

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