Several new Clark County restaurants have put a surprising amount of thought and effort into their restrooms, from the drunken-monkey wallpaper at Acorn & The Oak to the otherworldy vortex at Thirsty Sasquatch to the Anthony Bourdain shrine at Mav’s Taphouse. These elaborate restrooms are unisex.
“If you’re trying to provide a semblance of inclusivity, having gender nonspecific bathrooms is important,” said Sara Newton, general manager of Thirsty Sasquatch/Hungry Sasquatch (2110 Main St., Vancouver).
Inclusivity is part of the equation, but so is dazzle.
“In Chicago, I was in advertising and branding was my specialty. If a restaurant has a fundamental design, but the bathroom was dull and industrial, they didn’t think of everything,” said Janessa Stoltz, who owns Acorn & The Oak with her husband, Chuck Stoltz.
The bathrooms at Acorn & The Oak (3533 N.E. Everett St., Camas) are a trove of interesting images that fit the disparate categories of bizarre and stylish at the same time.
“The bathrooms were a super, super important part of the interior design,” Janessa Stoltz said.
The space has two bathrooms: a darker, more adult-themed version in the bar and a lighter, PG-rated restroom in the floral shop area.
Finding the right wallpaper was the first step in setting up the spaces. The couple first went to Lowe’s and weren’t able to find the right look. Manolo Walls in Portland had the right mix of beautiful and goofy wallpaper.
For the lighter bathroom, the Stoltzes chose a print featuring raccoons in trees reaching for pizza and other goodies. Monkeys drink alcohol, smoke cigars and swing from branches on red wallpaper in the bar bathroom.
Once they selected wallpaper, the couple added artwork to fit the vibe, including a propaganda poster that reads, “Is your washroom breeding Bolsheviks?” that Janessa Stoltz bought at the International Spy Museum in Washington, D.C., as a teenager.
Chuck Stoltz searched for wall art from his favorite movies. He wanted to create the feeling that the characters were staring at the person using the toilet. The eye of HAL from “2001: A Space Odyssey” stares straight at the toilet in the bar bathroom, as does John Belushi in a print from “Animal House.” In the floral shop bathroom, Bill Murray as Bob Wiley in “What About Bob?” peers through a window pane.
At Dandelion Teahouse (109 W. Seventh St., Vancouver), mother-and- daughter team Marianne Wilson Stein and Kat Stein also started with wallpaper. Marianne Wilson Stein searched through the website spoonflower.com looking for just the right print.
“When I saw the partridges … it made me think of my siblings and I in our jammies watching ‘The Partridge Family’ and then ‘The Brady Bunch,’” said Wilson Stein. “I wouldn’t want to put it in the main room, but in a bathroom it’s good. You smile and think, ‘This is crazy.’”
The bathrooms at Thirsty Sasquatch make a statement due to their lack of color. Owner Brandon Rush wanted visual stimulation all over the pizza parlor and bar’s three rooms and outdoor areas. Elaborate Sasquatch-themed murals, neon light signs and bright green astroturf walls fill the space with bright colors, bold images and texture.
But inside the bathrooms, everything is black and white. The geometric designs have an eerie “Twilight Zone” feel, as if you’ve entered a parallel universe or slipped into an odd portal.
“The artist wanted it to be otherworldly, like stepping into an alternative reality,” said Newton, the general manager.
At Mav’s Taphouse (108 W. Evergreen Blvd., Vancouver), owner Calista Krenshaw created a shrine to a food icon in one of her bathrooms.
“I love Anthony Bourdain,” she said.
For the past 19 years, Krenshaw has dreamed and saved to open her own taproom, and creating a Bourdain-themed bathroom was a big part of her vision.
She enlisted employees from her husband’s business, High 5 Cannabis, to help her create this unusual space.
To begin, Krenshaw bought Bourdain’s books and collected photos, sketches, recipes and articles about the late food writer and television personality. Lynnsey Martin culled for the best material. Then Tabby Owens and Cali Wetstein pasted it onto the walls. After four days, Krenshaw entered to view the finished product.
“They were really nervous for me to see it, and then there were big hugs all around,” she said.
Krenshaw hasn’t decided on a theme for the second bathroom yet. She prefers to let everything happen organically. She feels the right theme will come to her when she’s ready.