If You’re Not Using a Towel Bar in Your Kitchen This Way, You’re Missing Out

updated Oct 13, 2020
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
Anthony Rodriguez's fireplace

There’s seemingly endless room for creativity when it comes to designing a home. Whether you’re creating a modern take on classic decor or decorating for a holiday, options abound, and I’m always excited when I see a truly unique solution for faking luxe details or a home hack I wish I’d thought of myself.

Over the course of the past year, as Anthony Rodriguez worked closely with interior designer Leo Cesareo to restore his 1930s San Francisco home, he found ample opportunities for these kinds of clever swaps. Rodriguez is a brand manager, interior stylist, and artist who uses the moniker @136Home on Instagram, where he shares DIY projects and, of course, photos of his gorgeous home. 

Rodriguez and his husband began renovating their space, a two-story single-family home in the Miraloma Park district, shortly after they bought it. Walls and doors got a fresh coat of paint, they laid new tile, and they even turned a small bonus room into a walk-in closet. The devil’s in the details though; renovations can be expensive, and creativity goes a long way when you’re trying to stretch a budget. 

The couple’s eat-in banquette is a perfect example of ingenuity in action. In view from the hallway and framed by a gorgeous arched opening that nods to Art Deco design, sits a dining nook that Rodriguez calls “the Beyoncé of banquettes.” It’s not hard to see why. “We both love London-style cafés,” says Rodriguez. “[We] wanted to infuse that casual yet sophisticated vibe of dining al fresco into this location.” To build out the base of the banquette, black benches are topped with custom upholstered seat cushions. Ready for the clincher? For an extra dose of comfiness on the cheap, they suspended cushions for their backs using bathroom towel bars! 

That’s right: The couple used a bathroom accessory in their dining nook! These aren’t your run-of-the-mill pieces of hardware either. At Cesareo’s suggestion, Rodriguez went with solid brass towel bars from Pepe & Carols. Paired with the golden Robert Allen velvet cushions, which are supported by black leather straps, the warm brass towel bars add an element of subtle glam to the space. Keeping their back cushions floating on the wall this way—as opposed to mounted on a built-in bench back—the couple maximized the small corner and saved some dollars by avoiding extra construction costs. A marble pedestal table, black pendant, and art round out the space. 

Why towel bars? Rodriguez says the decision was borne out of budget. Some of the items in their home—like the custom bench cushions—were definitely a splurge purchase, while others, including the bathroom hardware, helped balance out the bottom line. A mix of high and low is usually a good idea. 

This banquette concept would be fairly simple to replicate in your home if you have an empty corner near your kitchen or otherwise. Towel bars like these only require a couple of fasteners in the wall, which means this solution could work well for renters as well. To recreate this look on an even tighter budget, try using a body pillow with leather straps or cotton webbing. An inexpensive towel bar from a hardware or big box store would work just the same as a fancy solid brass design, too. Of course, you have to measure to make sure readymade items’ dimensions will work in your space, but don’t be afraid of a little asymmetry either. One side of this corner built-in might be a tad longer (with longer cushions), but that little quirk actually makes it even more dynamic to look at. Work with what you have, and you just might be able to have your very own “Beyoncé of banquettes,” too.