Tag Archives: Kohler

Reno Expert: Think Small

Reno Expert: Think Small

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Reno Expert: Think Small

by Jim Caruk

Condo and tiny-home dwellers need to find compact or multi-tasking appliances and furniture

A couple of years ago, I wrote about the growing trend of tiny houses: Residences that are only a few hundred square feet in total, often built on wheels. Cost-effective, yes, but not very practical for most people.

But even with the recent decline in housing prices, the average detached home in Toronto still goes for more than $1-million, and semi-detached homes aren’t far behind. As a result, for many people, condos have become the default starter home.

Another recent trend has been that the condos they build today keep getting smaller than the ones built in the past. While some of Toronto’s older condos have three bedrooms spread across 1,200 sq.ft. or more, most new condos are one-bedroom or bachelor units crammed into half that space, or less.


All of which adds up to having to think compact—or multi-purpose—when renovating small spaces. Luckily, appliance manufacturers have recognized this trend and are making products to fit the bill. And condo-sized doesn’t have to mean no-name, budget offerings. Home-chef favourite, Wolf has 24″-wide ovens and induction cooktops in its lineup, while Bosch boasts an 18″-wide fridge.

Other appliances are true multi-taskers, such as Panasonic’s four-in-one 1.2-cu.ft. stainless-steel oven that combines steam, convection, microwave, and grill cooking all-in-one built-in unit. There are also two-in-one washer-dryers that handle both tasks in one unit.

Even the kitchen sink can be a multi-tasker. Kohler designed its Prolific sink with small spaces specifically in mind. The 33″ x 17¾” basin comes with five accessories, including a bamboo cutting board and a dishwasher-safe colander, all of which you can store right in the sink basin when not in use.


I recently toured Panasonic Canada’s office and showroom to check out their lineup of products. Perfect for a small space and out-of-view storage are these revolving racks that can hold up to 56 pairs of shoes.





CAPTION: photography courtesy of Panasonic


Efficient use of space extends beyond the kitchen. People of my generation may remember Murphy beds as a part of the punchline from old black-and-white comedies where someone gets folded up into the wall. But by saving (extremely) valuable floor space during the day, Murphy beds have again become a popular and practical sleeping option.

And it’s not just beds that tuck away. I’ve seen sideboards that fold out into extra serving space, dining tables with extensions that slide away when not in use, and closet organizers that can hold dozens of pairs of shoes in a relatively small space. Finally, don’t forget the space that sliding pocket doors can save.

Designing and furnishing a small space requires careful planning. But if it’s done right, you can really live large.

Jim Caruk, Renovation Editor

We look forward to hearing from you and welcome your feedback. Do you have a reno or decor question for our team of experts?

Email editorial@renoanddecor.com


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Kitchen Planner

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Kitchen Planner

The faucet and sink are the focal point in the hardest working room in any home

The kitchen is the hub of any home, and the sink and faucet are probably the hardest working components in any kitchen. By focusing on those two interrelated components you can generate a lot of business working with clients ranging from budget-conscious, small-space dwellers, to affluent homeowners looking to create the luxurious kitchen of their dreams.

Tight spaces and tight budgets

Many homeowners are looking for a low-budget spruce up, either to refresh a dated but otherwise functional look, or to maximize resale value when putting their home on the market. A new sink and faucet is an affordable upgrade that doesn’t require any structural changes.


The reality for many is that condos have become the de facto “starter home.” Condo-sized kitchens required condo-sized thinking. The Prolific sink was designed with small spaces specifically in mind. The 33” x 17¾” basin comes with five accessories, including a bamboo cutting board and a dishwasher-safe colander, all of which you can store right in the sink basin when not in use.

Expansive upgrades

If space isn’t an issue, clients will appreciate a large double-basin sink that makes washing and rinsing easy. Kohler’s Whitehaven under-mount sink has a classic farmhouse style apron front that overlaps existing cabinetry. The 24”- to 36”-wide sinks have large- and medium-sized basins, separated by a low divider. Each is available in 16 different colours, from white to “Black Black,” and the durable enamelled cast-iron finish will last the lifetime of the kitchen.


Other upgrades clients might want to consider include a counter- or wall-mounted pot-filler faucet by the stove, a filtered-water faucet for drinking, and built-in soap dispensers that match the look of the faucet they’ve chosen.

Regardless of kitchen size, homeowners have a plethora of options to choose from. Sinks are available in enamelled cast-iron, stainless steel, and even composite materials, such as the Cairn, made of Kohler Neoroc. For faucets and other fixtures, the range of options expands to include brushed nickel and bronze.

Logistical planning

Large or small, you’ll want to plan the kitchen to maximize space while minimizing wasted effort. Designers often refer to the “work triangle” layout when planning kitchens, with the refrigerator, cooktop, and sink at the three points of the triangle. There are a few “rules” that come with this concept, including that no object – such as a cabinet – should block movement between the three points, household traffic should not flow through the triangle, and no point should be more than nine feet from any other.


With open-concept designs, owners often picture having their sink – or a secondary one – built into an island. This typically means running additional water and drainage lines. Before committing to a particular design, you’ll want to make sure there’s space to run the lines through the joists, and that you have sufficient slope to the stack to ensure proper drainage.

Visual cues

Even with 3D animations, many clients often find it difficult to visualize how all the components of a project will come together in their renovated space. A picture may be worth a thousand words, but actually being able to see and touch the fixtures before installation can save a lifetime of disappointment with an errant purchase.

Earlier this year, the first Canadian KOHLER Signature Store opened in Vancouver. The 5,000-sq.ft. space features dozens of different kitchen and bath displays and a wall-mounted display of faucets, with many of the fixtures fully functioning. It’s open to the public seven days a week, so you can send your clients to see their options firsthand, at their convenience, prior to making their final decision. (For more information on the KOHLER Signature Store, see the June/July 2017 issue of Renovation Contractor.) Elsewhere, the company has also partnered with dozens of specialty retailers across the country that have Kohler-focussed displays.

If you can’t make it to a Kohler showroom display, contractors and clients alike will appreciate the online Kitchen Planner. Start by perusing one of the many ready made designs, ranging from traditional to eclectic, then create your own custom space by choosing from various sink, faucet, countertop, cabinetry, and wall colour options.

Big budget or small, Kohler’s range of kitchen sinks and fixtures can help you fulfill any client’s needs.


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Product Showcase: Space saving solutions

Product Showcase: Space saving solutions

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Product Showcase: Space saving solutions

by Rise Levy

The Space Discovery People

Superior Closets is an established, family-owned business catering to both the public and the designer trade. They specialize in designing and manufacturing custom-made closet organizers and cabinets, wall units and mirror doors. Choose from a variety of styles at prices to suit everyone’s budget; all products are backed by a lifetime warranty. For a free estimate, call or visit their website.


Sleek & Seamless

Whether it’s a snug condo powder room or a shower stall with barely enough room to store your bathroom accessories, a small washroom can really cramp your style. Luckily, Kohler Canada has come out with a selection of space-saving products that are sure to make a small bathroom feel bigger, as if by magic!


Unique and Practical Storage Solutions

As the premier experts in custom closets and cabinetry for the Greater Toronto Area for over 30 years, Space Age Closets is your number one provider of beautiful and practical storage solutions, offering custom closets and custom built in wall units for every room to fit all your needs. The professional in-home consultations offered by Space Age Closets are complimentary, and when they’re finished, your storage solutions are just like you: unique!



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Reno Expert: Re-Imagining Home

Reno Expert: Re-Imagining Home

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Reno Expert: Re-Imagining Home

by Jim Caruk

Renovation ideas to treat yourself and to turn your house into a home sweet home

They say that home is where the heart is. It’s also where we spend most of our time (granted, much of that time we’re fast asleep). But, still, shouldn’t your home be a place you love to be in?


I can’t tell you how many times in my career I’ve gone to meet with new clients, and moments after I’ve walked through the door, one of them is telling me how much “we hate our kitchen.” The space is either too small, poorly laid out, dated or all of the above.

One very common option is to remove the wall that separates the kitchen from the dining room to create an open cooking and dining space. With an island in the middle you gain valuable workspace for preparing meals, and a handy spot where guests can sit and chat with the hosts as they prep. Removing load-bearing walls, of course, requires a lot of careful planning to determine the size and location of the beam that will support things once the wall is removed.


Once you’ve opened up the area, rather than some off-the-shelf cabinetry from the local building supply store, I’d recommend custom cabinets if you can work them into the budget. For one, they won’t look cookie cutter. Plus, since everything is built to order, you can fully maximize the use of your space. Finally, you’ll feel difference in quality every time you open a cabinet or drawer.


Kohler's Numi toilet
Kohler’s Numi toilet

If having a spa-like bathroom is your focus, you’ll definitely want to look into the different options for rain showerheads and body spray jets in the shower. Stand-alone soaker tubs add a stylish focal point to the room. And if you’ve got an extra 10 grand in the budget, consider installing Kohler’s Numi toilet. From the motion-activated lid and heated seat foot rests, to the programmable lighting display and built-in sound system, this unit truly is a throne.

Schluter Systems’ Ditra-Heat

A more affordable option for adding a layer of luxury is to install a heated flooring system in the bathroom. Schluter Systems’ Ditra-Heat, for example, is an easy-to-install electric heating option that comes with a thermostat so you can set the ideal temperature for your toes.


If you’d rather spend your budget on communal living areas, you can’t go wrong building a living room around a fireplace. There is a wide range of styles of gas fireplaces on the market, from traditional to ultra modern. Other options include the realistic-looking electric fireplaces that Dimplex is producing. I also recently learned about a very old-fashioned wood-burning fireplace design that’s coming back into style. The so-called Rumford fireplace was designed in the 1700s by a physicist. The tall, shallow firebox maximizes the amount of heat radiating into a room, and the angled sidewalls direct all the smoke up the chimney. It was state-of-the-art technology at the time, but labour intensive to install, so had fallen out of fashion.


Finally, don’t overlook the great outdoors. Sure, it’s buried in snow most of the winter, but when spring rolls around, we love to expand our lives into our outdoor living space.

As I’ve written before, I love the fact that I can retreat to my own piece of paradise—complete with in-ground pool—without having to deal with bumper-to-bumper traffic all the way to cottage country.


While a pool’s not for everyone, an exterior seating area built around a gas fireplace or fire pit continues to be a trendy choice. Taking it up a notch, many homeowners are adding fully functional second kitchens to their backyards, complete with cooktops, fridges, prep counters, and running water for cleaning up.

Finally, if you invest in household versions of the patio heaters used by bars and restaurants, you can start enjoying your outdoor space from early spring until late into the fall.

Jim Caruk, Renovation Editor

We look forward to hearing from you and welcome your feedback. Do you have a reno or decor question for our team of experts?

Email editorial@renoanddecor.com


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Let it rain: Kohler’s new Real Rain™ showerhead lives up to its name

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Let it rain: Kohler’s new Real Rain™ showerhead lives up to its name

Rain falling inside a house usually means the contractor has done something very wrong. But in the case of Kohler’s new Real Rain™ showerhead, the downpour is precisely what your clients will want.

“It all started with the notion of creating a ‘rain’ showerhead,” says Rafael Rexach, Kohler’s Lead Industrial Designer Emerging Technologies, who developed the system. “What we wanted to do is emulate nature, and nature is random,” says Rexach.

The oversized 19” x 19” (48.3 cm x 48.3 cm) square head has an unprecedented 775 individual nozzles, providing complete emersion at 2 gpm while standing under it, except for a 6” diameter area in the middle to keep water off your face. Rather than a steady stream of water, Real Rain™ relies on gravity to allow three different-sized droplets to fall in a random pattern.


Like an actual rainstorm, this showerhead features a “Deluge” function. By pressing a button on the wall-mounted keypad the user empties a 0.5-gallon (1.9-litre) reservoir in a sustained eight-second burst, for a thorough rinse at the end of the shower.

These features recently earned Real Rain™ the prestigious Red Dot Award: Product Design, with the jury panel saying,
“The sophisticated construction of the showerhead provides a unique and, at the same time, luxurious spa experience, which finds its model in nature.”

Installing the unit is a fairly straightforward, one-person job. Installation starts with mounting a diverter valve in the wall cavity. A drop ceiling is required in the shower to accommodate the overhead unit. The printed instructions include various options for framing the space to mount the support bracket.


It’s worth noting that in addition to the installation guides that ship with all their products, Kohler has a complete library of resources online, including installation videos. To see the eight-minute installation overview, search for “Installing Real Rain” on YouTube.

The showerhead itself is available in white or grey, with seven different finishes for the trim including polished chrome, brushed nickel, matte black, and the new Vibrant Titanium. The deluge button ships with round or square faceplates.

“Seeing people’s reaction to it really gives you a sense of accomplishment that you did create something pretty special,” says Rexach. Installing a Kohler Real Rain™ shower will help you make a special splash with your clients.



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Cover Story: Modern Art

Cover Story: Modern Art

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Cover Story: Modern Art

Writen by Vicky Sanderson
Photography by Valerie Wilcox

A spa-like, contemporary ensuite design balances cool, clean lines with organic elements

From the first time designer Natalie Venalainen met with clients about expanding the third floor of their home to include a master bedroom and ensuite bath, it was clear they knew what they wanted—a clean-lined, light-filled, modern space.

“They are both artistic—he’s a writer and she’s in film. They knew very decisively that they wanted a contemporary look,” says Venalainen, an in-house designer with Toronto-based design-build firm Men at Work.


The challenge, she explains, was to combine the industrial- inspired surfaces and soothing neutral tones that define modernism, without making the space too antiseptic or dull. That’s achieved, she adds, by layering interesting finishes, restrained graphic elements and sleek but highly functional materials—and then tempering it all with warm woods and burnished metals.

“Incorporating wood can be key,” says Venalainen. “If everything is done in a flat matte finish, it can be cold. Wood softens a space—not just because it’s a natural material, but because the hues are warm.”

In this case, a floating vanity of flat-cut walnut in which double sinks are set anchors the room. The counter is Caesarstone’s Fresh Concrete quartz composite with a matte finish that perfectly mimics the real thing.

Sources: BATHROOM: CUSTOM VANITY & LINEN TOWER: Allwood Carpentry Manufacturing; PLUMBING FIXTURES: Watermarks Bath Boutique; FIXTURES: Jason Wu for Brizo; FLOOR TILE: Saltillo tile; SHOWER FLOOR TILE: Tycos Tile; WALL TILE: Ciot; ACCESSORIES: Wayfair. com; MIRROR: Crate & Barrel; SCONCES: Cedar & Moss; PENDANT LIGHT: Design Within Reach; CONCRETE STOOL: Home Sense; TOWELS: Linen Chest; ART: Aleysa Young
Sources: BATHROOM: CUSTOM VANITY & LINEN TOWER: Allwood Carpentry Manufacturing; PLUMBING FIXTURES: Watermarks Bath Boutique; FIXTURES: Jason Wu for Brizo; FLOOR TILE: Saltillo tile; SHOWER FLOOR TILE: Tycos Tile; WALL TILE: Ciot; ACCESSORIES: Wayfair. com; MIRROR: Crate & Barrel; SCONCES: Cedar & Moss; PENDANT LIGHT: Design Within Reach; CONCRETE STOOL: Home Sense; TOWELS: Linen Chest; ART: Aleysa Young


Venalainen points out, however, that the manmade surface has important advantages in a bathroom. “It’s non-porous, so you don’t have to worry about the absorption and chipping issues you would have with concrete,” she explains.

The generously-sized horizontal, oblong mirror is flanked by sconces, whose curving lines echo the circular patterns of the floor tile, rounded vanity faucets, and an hour-glass stool placed beside the shower.

Above the mirror, a transom window takes advantage of natural light captured by a skylight in the adjoining hallway. An overhead fixture, and pot lights in the shower and the toilet provide more illumination.

The star of this bath is the bold floor of encaustic cement tiles with a striking geometric pattern which, because it's executed in classic monochromatic tones, is more timeless than trendy.
The star of this bath is the bold floor of encaustic cement tiles with a striking geometric pattern which, because it’s executed in classic monochromatic tones, is more timeless than trendy.

A tall, vertical storage unit sits snug against the vanity, but leaves ample room for the door to swing. It does not interfere, notes Venalainen, with the placement of light switches, a pet peeve for the designer.

“People will often tuck a linen closet beside a door in a design and later realize they have eliminated the space needed for a switch.” As for switches located outside a room, Venalainen has just one word. “Bad!”

Quartz countertops in a concrete finish telegraph the cool modernism the homeowners wanted to see in this ensuite bath design.
Quartz countertops in a concrete finish telegraph the cool modernism the homeowners wanted to see in this ensuite bath design.


Venalainen approved of her clients’ desire for a graphic floor, knowing that it would provide subtle yet assertive visual interest. She did, however, steer them away from more highly-coloured options to a black-and-white tonal pattern.

“I think a monochromatic scheme is timeless and works really well in a modern setting,” she explains. “And I notice that while lots of clients right now might entertain the thought of more colour in the floor, in the end they shy away (from it). Most people feel more comfortable in their homes with a neutral colour scheme.”

Sources: BEDROOM: WOOD FLOORING: Wood floors by JBW; WINDOWS: Dundas Wood Windows & Specialties Inc.; BED & NIGHT TABLES: Objets Mecaniques, Montreal; NIGHT TABLE WALL SCONCES: Cedar & Moss; AREA RUG & BEDDING: Elte MKT
Sources: BEDROOM: WOOD FLOORING: Wood floors by JBW; WINDOWS: Dundas Wood Windows & Specialties Inc.; BED & NIGHT TABLES: Objets Mecaniques, Montreal; NIGHT TABLE WALL SCONCES: Cedar & Moss; AREA RUG & BEDDING: Elte MKT


Black is repeated in flat-finish faucets, sconces, hardware and accessories, while small hits of on-trend brassy golds add a touch of sophisticated glamour. A mauve-tinted print above the door complements the natural orange hues of the walnut cabinetry.

Large-format black porcelain tiles, which make a dramatic statement in the shower enclosure, are as practical as they are pretty. “They don’t have to be sealed. And we used them with a linear drain, which means you can almost disguise the drain,” says Venalainen.

Two-by six-inch subway tiles were wrapped seamlessly across the wall beyond the shower stall. “It makes the space look bigger because there is no visual interruption,” explains Venalainen. They were laid in a horizontal grid pattern, which the designer thinks produces a more contemporary feel than a conventional brick configuration. Inside the shower, a niche offers space-saving perches for shampoo, soap and other accessories.


For her clients, the renovation process proved to be as uncomplicated as the finished design, says Venalainen. That, she insists, is one of the benefits of the design-build model, which sees a project though from start to finish.

“It’s a big advantage,” she says. “There are always things that come up during a reno. But I think in the design-build model, issues get identified faster. And there’s no finger pointing— all the focus is on problem-solving as part of a team.”



The crisp black of Delta’s Zura faucet is softened by its gentle curves.



Graphic designs, so popular in floor treatments, are also showing up in sinks. Here, Kohler’s finely detailed Caravan Persia pattern on its Conical Bell vessel bathroom sink.



Stand-alone tubs act as architectural elements in larger, luxurious bathrooms. Here, DXV’s free-standing soaking tub and bridge, shown with the tub filler faucet from its Modulus collection, which launches this fall, is framed by a textured wall. Design by Michele Alfano.



Lava is a curvy geometric pattern from Walker Zanger’s Stardust collection, which pays homage to 1970s interior design and is made from glazed basalt, or lava stone, a core element of the earth.



A flush-mounted pendant rain-can showerhead from Brizo’s Litze collection includes four shower arm lengths—measuring four-, six-, eight-, and 10- inches—that can be adjusted during installation.


Vicky Sanderson, our resident Better Living Expert, freelance columnist on all things home, is a self-professed opinionista with an impressive portfolio of publications from coast to coast. Follow her on Twitter: @ATHwithVicky Instagram: @athwithvicky. For more information aroundthehouse.ca.


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Spa day: High-end bathroom renos can require some extra planning work

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Spa day: High-end bathroom renos can require some extra planning work

For many contractors, bathroom renovations are their bread and butter. For one, as people’s tastes change over time if you do a good job the first time, you could end up with repeat business every five or 10 years. Often, the work is a simple touch-up, swapping out some dated fixtures and tiles, and repainting the walls.


But some clients want a complete spa-like experience at home and are willing to take over dens and smaller bedrooms to achieve their goals. While potentially lucrative, these larger bathroom renovations require some careful planning.

For starters, you’ll likely need to extend or run new water supply lines to the new fixtures and connect the drain for each to the stack.


Many modern fixtures also often require electrical power supply. Kohler’s DTV+ system, for example, uses a waterproof touchscreen to control the showerhead, body sprays, steam settings, and built-in audio. The interface connects to a controller via a supplied 25’ cable that should be hung with a drip loop. The controller itself plugs into a standard outlet.


An in-home sauna is another luxurious option. Once framed, you’ll want to insulate the walls, floor, and ceiling around the sauna and cover it with foil vapour barrier to reflect the heat back inwards. In addition to framing the room itself, you’ll need power supply for the lights, thermostat, exhaust fan, and heating cable (or natural gas if you’re going that route). You’ll also need dedicated ductwork for the exhaust.

While long-popular overseas, bidets are slowly but surely making inroads here in Canada. Kohler’s C3 units are retrofit seats that can convert an existing toilet into a working bidet, complete with heated seat and warm-air fan for drying. The unit plugs into a dedicated GFCI receptacle. If one doesn’t exist within 12” of the basin, you’ll need to add an outlet.


Mirrors and vanities may also require wiring. Kohler’s lighted Verdera medicine cabinet has built-in LED lighting that can be connected to a dimmer switch. There are also two electrical outlets on the inside for small appliances such as electric razors and toothbrushes. The company’s Tailored Vanity series includes an optional three-plug outlet that mounts inside the cabinet.


To maximize space and add a stylish look, one increasingly popular option is a wall-mounted toilet such as Kohler’s Veil. The nice thing about this model is that the tank mounts on an adjustable bracket that fits between the wall studs. If your client is considering a Veil toilet, keep this in mind when running your other plumbing, wiring, and ductwork in the wall cavity.


If you are tearing out walls to combine existing rooms, you may need to reroute some of the ductwork so you don’t end up with hot and cold pockets in the newly configured room. Also keep in mind that adding additional fixtures and opening up walls may mean the existing exhaust fan is undersized. Check the unit’s CFM rating to see if you need to upgrade it.


Finally, if they’re going to go to all this trouble, your client will likely also want heated floors. Heated mats hardwired in place directly below the tiles are the simplest option. But for long-term savings, homeowners might want to consider a hydronic system.


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Architecture Expert – The Black and White Of It

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Architecture Expert – The Black and White Of It

A detailed look at how to pull off a bathroom in this classic colour combination.

I love the drama of a black and white bathroom, it’s elegant and fashionably timeless. By varying the physical and visual texture of the black-and-white materials and fixtures, the design possibilities are endless.

When designing a bathroom, create the overall floor plan and elevations first and locate the fixtures. This will determine how much of the budget will go to electrical, plumbing and carpentry. The next step is to source the fixtures.


Because fixtures vary so much in pricing and style, you may want to narrow down your choices before committing to an overall bathroom style. Remember, every manufacturer has their specific shade of white. Some plumbing fixtures are more off-white than others. Buying porcelain products from the same manufacturer guarantees a match. If you decide on black fixtures, I would definitely recommend you stay within the same manufacturer. Kohler has a beautiful line of black fixtures. The Kohler Veil is a wall-mounted elongated toilet that comes in ‘black black,’ which is Kohler’s darkest colour. Pair it with one of Kohler’s ‘black black’ sinks and tubs. Victoria and Albert also offers a lovely line of sinks and tubs in gloss and matte black.


Finding the perfect vanity can set the style for the bathroom. Luxury vanity companies offer freestanding vanities that are reminiscent of furniture. For true elegance, look for solid wood and hand-carved marble tops. There are many companies that offer ‘off the shelf,’ sleek, modern style wall-mounted vanities in gloss white and black. For those of you who want to make the most of your space, consider getting a vanity made with the countertop of your choice. The vanity can be made with customized drawers for makeup, jewelry and toiletries. Most recently, I have added pull-out trolleys as towers on either side of the counter to maximize vertical space. Additionally, for the budget-conscious, consider a vanity from a big-box store. Before committing, look for durable surface finishes and plywood or solid-wood construction.


The newest trend on the market is matte-black faucets. Most of the major companies such as Kohler and Delta sell them. Available for sinks and tubs, check the specific style line before you commit, as they are not always available for both and many don’t offer a bidet option.

Faucet, Brizo Vox Sink, Kohler Brillo Tile, Ciot


When sourcing natural-stone tiles or slabs, the earth gifts us with many amazing options. For those who want an extra special feature bathtub, consider a carved bathtub in Nero Marquina marble or polished black granite. When deciding upon a tub like this, make sure you consider what other fixtures you will pair with it. For floor or wall tiles, a wonderful marble choice is Port Black, which has a slight white vein. There are quite a few black marbles from Turkey, Spain and France, many with white veins or bronze veining. The classic Thassos marble from Greece is one of the whitest marbles, while marbles like Calcutta and Carrera vary from yellow to grey. For those of you with a big budget, White Quartzite is stunning and offers an unparalleled depth and visible crystals.


Porcelains and composite stones offer a more sustainable solution and allow the designer to play around with texture as many of these materials now have a 3D relief on the surface made possible by laser cutting. One such tile, offered by CIOT is the Brillo from Spain, which is a 3D-hexagonal tile. Each box comes with several profiles and they fit together like a puzzle. One of my favourite floors is Nero Marquina herringbone tile. Mix this with a crisp white vanity and tub, and you have an instantly stylish solution. There are thousands of choices in tiles, just remember slip-resistance is important in wet spaces. In a bathroom, I would highly recommend epoxy or stain-resistant grout.


Lighting a black-and-white bathroom can be tricky. You want to make sure that the white surfaces are free from shadows. As always, choose three types of lighting: general, task and decorative. Make sure fixtures are bright and dimmable. When choosing fixtures, pay special attention to the colour temperature, which is measured in Kelvin; 3000-3200K is a good temperature for bathroom light. The higher the temperature, for example 6000K, the cooler and bluer the light will be. Blue light is very unflattering and has no place in the bathroom! Conversely, don’t go below 3000K, or you will appear jaundiced in the mirror.

By: Samantha Sannella

SOURCES – URBAN RETREAT HOMES, BATHTUB: Dahlia from Dezign Market LIGHTING: Ruskii from Viso


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Product Showcase: Recently Introduced

Product Showcase: Recently Introduced

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Product Showcase: Recently Introduced

by Rise Levy

Liberate Your Hands – Tap Your Feet

The GROHE foot-activated faucet delivers a totally hands-free experience. Water flow is activated with a simple tap of the sensor with your foot. Water temperature can be pre-set, and the faucet can still be operated as normal. A retro-fit kit is also available to convert any GROHE pull-out kitchen faucet. GROHE Foot Control faucets are available at The Water Closet.


Better Health Made Simple

Do you find the vitamin aisle confusing? Not sure which products to take? Start with Jamieson Essentials. Four products recommended by the experts at Jamieson as a foundation for good health, include a multivitamin, omega-3, probiotic and vitamin D.


A Fine Wine

Pillitteri Estates Winery in Niagara-on-the-Lake introduces The Debbie Travis Fine Wine Collection. The first in this collection is a crisp Pinot Grigio that is smooth, aromatic, floral and fruit-driven. Available through Pillitteri and the LCBO while supplies last.


Kohler Composed Collection

Composed is one of Kohler’s newest collections. This gorgeous bathroom faucet epitomizes the ever-popular minimalist design with refined curves, making it an elegant, timeless piece. Atlantis Bath Centre is showcasing several pieces from the new Composed collection. Visit the location nearest you to get started on your new bathroom renovation.


Magnolia Homes by Joanna Gaines

Styled after an early office piece, Joanna’s Primitive Cabinet Armoire offers style and functionality, and is covered in a beautiful, dusty grey-green patina finish with rubbed wood tones showing through. This armoire includes small file card drawers, deep drawers and adjustable shelves for plenty of storage.


Practical Storage Solutions

Premier experts in custom closets and cabinetry for the Greater Toronto Area for more than 30 years, Space Age Closets is your number one provider of beautiful, and practical, storage solutions, offering custom closets and custom-built wall units for every room. Professional, in-home consultations offered by Space Age Closets are complimentary, and when they’re finished, your storage solutions are just like you – completely unique.



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Trend Watch

Trend Watch: Serenity Now

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Trend Watch: Serenity Now

by Silvana Longo

Beyond the fixtures and finishes, the rise of turning bathrooms into a soothing retreat is only getting stronger. From the big choices to the small, here are our picks to create a little zen at home.

Lighting The Way

The Benchwright collection reflects timeless American style. A gently frosted glass shade on the sconce provides the bath with soft, luminescent light.

Antique bronze or polished nickel finish, starts at $242

Clean & Contemporary

Handcrafted of solid reclaimed oak timbers from decades-old buildings in Russia, this piece is a salute to clean and contemporary style that celebrates the beauty of unadorned Russian salvaged oak.

Reclaimed Russian Oak Double Washstand from Restoration Hardware

Big Luxury in Small Spaces

The Charism 5736 gives a modern twist to freestanding design with a sleek silhouette and a distinctive, handcrafted band of colour that outlines the exterior of the tub.

Starts at $6,495

Get Drenched

The paper-thin design is the attention-getting feature of this unique showerhead. The brassball joint ensures easy movement and the air injection technology offers a strong yet smooth flow of water. Homeowners, designers and builders alike appreciate the clean, understated look and love the experience the water spray offers the user. The new Drench rain showerheads are available in chrome and brushed nickel finishes for both sizes.

Square and round eight-inch versions in chrome start at $199
available at Emco Showrooms throughout Ontario.

Water Works

Handcrafted in England, the new Tubo 20 from Victoria + Albert is a thermostatic wall-mounted shower mixer with easy-to-use controls, a separate handheld shower attachment and a unique eight-inch crescent shaped showerhead featuring rub-clean rubber nozzles.

Perfect for a modernist setting, $5,200

Getting Hooked

BALUNGEN Double Hook

chrome-plated, $8.99

Pretty Persian Pattern

Decorative architecture and Moorish style define the distinctive Persian pattern. Striking open linework contrasts with geometric patterns, giving this Conical Bell sink its finely detailed look. A white background emphasizes the pattern yet is neutral enough to complement different fixture styles. This sink makes a dramatic, artistic statement.

Caravan Persia on Conical Bell Vessel Sink, $2,071

Mirror, Mirror on the Wall

Not based on vanity, the bathroom mirror is a must!

Gold Bevelled Mirror, 24X36, $400

Curtain Call

Samantha Pynn Shower Curtain

Trellis, $85


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