A turret bathroom with a rococo mural

When we were looking at buying our carriage house, the real estate agent warned us about the eccentric art in the master bath. “You’ll either love it or hate it” she said. When I stepped into the tiny turret bathroom (it’s literally a step up from the bedroom and it’s a one-person-at-a-time size bathroom), I took in the art in all its quirky rococo glory and I fell for it.

After we purchased the house and whenever we have guests over, I always say “Wait until you see the upstairs bathroom!” Tall people have to duck just to get through the doorway, but once they’re in and do a 360 degree turn, they’re always impressed. It’s truly the surprise feature of the house and there are plenty of other peculiarities about it.

I’ve been wanting to do a bathroom tour of the turret since completing our bedroom makeover, but the challenge was finding a wide enough lens to photograph it with. Luckily, Apple leant me the new iPhone 11 Pro with the ultra-wide camera so now I can take you on a proper tour.

I’d always assumed the bathers behind the toilet were Greek or Roman, but after doing a bit of research, I found the painting that inspired the previous owner. This vignette is loosely inspired by French rococo painter Jean-Baptiste Pater’s “Bathing Party in a Park.” The result is a bit rough, yet I still love it.

Bathing Party in a Park by Jean-Baptiste Pater

“Bathing Party in a Park” by Jean-Baptiste Pater © Wallace Collection, London

Above the small window is a scene with God, his arm outstretched, palm up as if he’s blessing the bathers below. There are a few angels around him which appear to be holding him up. I found this artwork which could have served as the inspiration “God the Father in the Clouds supported by Angels and Putti” by Italian rococo painter Giovanni Domenico Tiepolo.

God the Father in the Clouds supported by Angels and Putti by Giovanni Domenico Tiepolo

“God the Father in the Clouds supported by Angels and Putti” by Giovanni Domenico Tiepolo

Above the sink and medicine cabinet are two cherubs, one is holding cupid’s target from another recognizable rococo painting entitled “Les Amours des Dieux” (1758) by François Boucher. I always found them a bit menacing and I would love to fix their scowls someday.

Les Amours des Dieux by François Boucher

“Les Amours des Dieux” (1758) by François Boucher

In the shower is one of two more mysterious or allegorical vignettes: a god or man pouring something from a bottle into the shower. I’ve searched and searched for an image that might solve the mystery of this somewhat creepy bearded and bald man, but all I can come up with is that it could represent Dionysus, the Greek God associated with wild and ecstatic parties, or a snippet from a bacchanalian painting. If anyone has a better inkling on who or what he could be, please let me know!

Which leads me to the final scene in the bathroom which is the one I find most intriguing. You notice it upon entering the turret or more directly, when seated upon the throne (where I’ve obviously had more time to reflect upon it). This vignette features three bathers who appear to be from more modern times. I assume they are depictions of the previous homeowner and two of his close friends because of their contemporary haircuts and moustachioed visages. It makes for an interesting addition to the other 18th Century rococo scenes and leaves you to wonder what made him decide to immortalize them in the mural.

While I still love our little bathroom, I can certainly imagine that it would not be everyone’s cup of tea. We are hoping to give it an upgrade one day, budget permitting, but I would still try to keep as much of the mural as possible – it’s what makes this space so unique! That and the fact that it’s in a turret which sits on top of our neighbour’s entrance way.

© Christina Esteban

The turret is where this bathroom is located. Photo: © Christina Esteban Photography

Let me know in a comment what you liked best about the space and if you enjoyed this bathroom tour,  you might want to check out my powder room makeover.

These last two shots were taken using Night Mode which is great for low light situations like in our bathroom. All of the bathroom photos were shot on the iPhone 11 Pro. Thanks to the Apple Canada team for lending me the iPhone 11 Pro – I couldn’t have done the bathroom justice without its ultra wide camera.

Special thanks to my friend Guillaume of Montreal’s Sofitel for the gift of the Hermès Orange Verte toiletries!