Tag Archives: Lisa Canning


Creating a modern basement

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Creating a modern basement

In our new home, we had a lot to do to create a modern playroom and functional home office. The result is amazing – and I hope it can inspire you too!

I love colour, but I wanted to try something different and edgy in my basement. Creating this space has shown me the power of a minimal palette of black and white. The way to keep things interesting is to vary your patterns but all within the black and white palette. Think stripes, geometric prints, painterly lines and high contrast cabinetry.

Floor-to-ceiling cabinetry is my secret weapon in playrooms. Putting in floor-to-ceiling cabinetry allows you to hide all the visual clutter and chaos that comes with toys, books, cards and all that fun stuff behind beautiful, closed storage. You literally get to close the door on visual clutter and it is a big reason why I love spending time in this room.

I worked with Tailored Living on this space. They make it so convenient for you to achieve organization and order by bringing all the samples to you during an in-home consultation, taking all the required measurements, working with you on a 3D design, installing the cabinets quickly and simply and really just getting you where you need to go in regards to your organizational goals. With franchises across the US and Canada, there’s a solution waiting for you.

I wanted high contrast in the cabinetry so I chose white modern shaker cabinets on the perimeter of the room, and dark drawer fronts on this generous island that allows my kids ample room to spread out and get messy. The combination of drawers and tall cabinets is an important strategy — the tall upper cabinets are great for books and board games, the deeper lower cabinets are fabulous for large bins for toys and and shallow drawers are great for art supplies, paper, Shopkins and Lego. We used laminate for its durability as well as its accessible price point. To add a bit of sparkle to the space, I added pulls by Shayne Fox Hardware. I love the handmade, rustic element these bring to this cabinetry.

I chose to put a sink in this space as it’s so practical with my seven little kids. In keeping with my monochromatic palette, I chose Delta’s new black matte Esque faucet with its sleek pull-down design and modern innovations like the ShieldSpray technology that dispenses water in an unique pattern to clean up dirty dishes while containing mess and splatter.

And I kept the matte black going with the wall paint colour which makes me so happy. I don’t think I would have been as bold to do this if I did not have so much natural light in this space, but I’m so happy with how this Wrought Iron colour by Benjamin Moore turned out. And whenever I use dark shades, I like using it in a matte finish. It’s rich and lush and I love its modern look.

The large-scale artwork might be my favourite element in my playroom. We had individual portraits of our children blown up to fit these inexpensive frames. We hung them around our TV about three inches apart and it creates a graphic element that makes me smile every time I enter the room. Keeping things black and white helps the TV to not feel like a major focal point of the room, and instead sort of blend in to the composition.

Sometimes mom and dad need a moment, but still need to keep an eye on the little ones, so we created a home office space. We actually put a wall up ourselves, including these beautiful doors from Metrie, which I painted blue. I love how the clear glass gives us the option to still peek in and see what is going on with our children.

We put the electric fireplace/media unit by Dimplex and I just love how it creates instant cozy with the press of a button. You can put an electric fireplace virtually anywhere you can run the correct power, and the results are fast, stylish, cozy and so comfortable. There is something about a fireplace that promotes instant comfort and relaxation at home, don’t you think? And that’s what a modern basement should be about.

By Lisa Canning
Blueprints for a Beautiful Life

Lisa Canning is a parenting, interior design and lifestyle expert in Toronto where she lives with her husband and seven children, ages nine and under.



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Lisa Canning

5 decluttering tips for busy parents

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5 decluttering tips for busy parents

Lisa Canning

By Lisa Canning

The juggle is real! Between laundry, dishes, picking up toys and getting on with regular life, anything we can do to make tidying up a breeze, so we can get back to actually living life, is a bonus. So if you’re a time strapped mom or dad who wants to gain a few more hours of freedom, here are my five essential decluttering tips for busy parents.

Deal with paper immediately

From permission slips to pizza lunch forms, paper can overrun a household. To ensure mounds of paper don’t build on all your surfaces, deal with paper immediately as it comes into your house. Dedicate 10 minutes (set a timer even) to go through paper as soon as you get into the house from kids’ backpacks or from the mailbox. Anything you can address in 10 minutes (such as signing a form, or filing a piece of correspondence), do immediately. Anything that needs more time to be addressed, coral in a tray to be dealt with when you are able. Commit to ensuring that tray of paper does not build up by clearing it out daily.

Eliminate the search

So much frustration occurs from having to look for something, especially when you are in a rush. Commit to having a dedicated place where regularly used items such as your keys, wallet and cellphone “live” while they are at home. For example, always put your purse on the same shelf in your closet when you enter the house, or have a hook near the front door where keys always get hung. Commit to the behaviour of placing the items in the same spot every time. For chronic key losers, try a product like Tile, which syncs with your phone to help you find your lost keys.


Commit to the one-third rule

Visual clutter can also make us feel really overwhelmed. As a rule, I ensure that any practical surface in my home – such as countertops, desk tops, coffee table – has no more than one-third of it covered with stuff. So this means only one-third of your kitchen counter has a coffee maker, small appliance or other decorative items on it, only one-third of your desk surface has a tray or paper on it, and no more than one-third of your coffee table has books, remotes or decorative items on it.


Keep your living room toy free

If space allows, keep toy storage out of your main living room. This is a really important tip for a busy parent’s sanity! Parents need at least one room that is peaceful, and orderly, at the end of a busy day. And let’s be honest, sometimes the last thing we want to do when we have been working hard for everyone is clean up a room full of toys. So store toys in a playroom, the basement or kids’ rooms. Toys will inevitably make their way into your living room so every day, at the end of the day, commit to tidying up by throwing anything that does not belong in this space in a large decorative basket to be taken to its appropriate home.


Practice the 15-minute rule

Living in an uncluttered home is the result of small actions every day. At the end of every day, involve the entire family in 15 minutes of tidying up. This is your chance to move through the main areas of your home and commit to this lifestyle. These small daily habits daily will make a huge dent in the order of your space and by extension, the overall quality of your family life at home.

Lisa Canning is a parenting, interior design and lifestyle expert in Toronto where she lives with her husband and seven children, ages nine and under. To learn more about her tips for managing a house and a large family, join her at the BabyTime Show for her live presentations Nov. 16-18.

While at the BabyTime show, be sure to pick up a copies of Reno & Decor, Active Life, Condo Life and HOMES Magazine.





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Homework can be fun

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Homework can be fun

By Lisa Canning

I recently created a gorgeous bedroom space that incorporated a home office. Here are my top tops when creating multi-use spaces.

Start with a Beautiful Bed

All hard-working mamas and papas deserve a beautiful bed. After a hard day of raising kids, working outside and inside the home, moms and dads are tired. So invest in a beautiful bed.

This Wayfair bed does not disappoint; it is soft, plush and elegant. I love the tufted headboard and the drama the wingbacked headboard adds. Plus, this was a great value; I have spent upwards of $4,000 on custom upholstered, storage beds so getting this one for less than $2,000 all in is just fabulous.

A beautiful bed needs a quality mattress. Here we used the award winning Casper Mattress. This mattress offers ZonedSupport, an innovative foam framework that contours specifically to each area of the body for comfort, anatomical support and spinal alignment. I also chose Casper’s sheet and duvet set in a crisp white. A bonus, they deliver right to your door and arrive within days of ordering.

Designate a Spot for the Office

Once your bed is taken care of, designate the area you want to set up your office. I opted for custom millwork to utilize every square inch of storage I could. Going custom allowed us to paint the desk this gorgeous turquoise colour, Benjamin Moore Waterfall 2050-50. Take note of the brass hand-cast cabinet pulls from Toronto entrepreneur Shayne Fox. They’re like jewellery on this desk.

Every desk needs a chair, and this one is a game changer. It literally felt like a hug for my lower back and pelvis. The CoreChair is an ergonomic chair that provides support while introducing movement into your workday, meaning you kind of wiggle when you sit in it, which keeps the muscles active, helping us to avoid lower back pain. This chair needs to be in homes and offices everywhere.

Add Your Personality

This is important, regardless of the kind of space you are creating; it has to reflect you and your unique personality. Here I just had to add elements like the Metrie door painted Benjamin Moore Yellow Highlighter 2021-40. To ensure this was the focal point, we kept the adjacent Metrie sliding closet doors in white to ensure some balance.

Again, to ensure the space didn’t feel too overwhelming with all the vibrant pops, I wrapped the room in Metrie’s tongue-and-groove paneling and painted it Benjamin Moore Decorator White CC-20. I love interior mouldings; they provide such a beautiful textural element to any space.

Every bedroom needs to feel cozy and comfortable, which is why I added ample blankets and pillows in a variety of textures, all within our colour palette to stay harmonious, and displayed them on the ladder from Bouclair. Lighting also makes a big impact in the room, with a stunning modern chandelier from Bouclair adding an architectural element.

Lastly, the fun accessories. I picked up the tray and yellow pen holder at Bouclair, where it’s easy to come home with a carful of fun, well-priced accessories. I love the painterly element of this tray and on trend rope detail.

Lisa Canning is a busy mother of seven children and the founder of Lisa Canning Interiors. www.lisacanning.ca

Photos by Dann Tardiff


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Decorate a rental like it’s your own

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Decorate a rental like it’s your own

By Lisa Canning

We sold our house earlier this year and we’ve spent the last four months unpacking boxes and decorating our rental property. I am so pleased with the balance we struck in terms of making this space truly feel like our own, making it functional for the unique needs of my large family, and making it a space that is beautiful and inspiring. I hope these tips will help you in your decorating pursuits, whether you own or rent.


I know some people might think I am crazy to be replacing doors and trim in a home that I am renting, but one of the biggest things that gives away the age of a property is trim. I know this step costs money and will need approval from your landlord, but for me it was a must to bring my rental up to a modern state that I would eventually love. Not only did I update the trim, I went a step farther and added shiplap everywhere that made sense in my main-open concept space, as well as new baseboards, crown moulding and casing.

We used Metrie’s pre-painted shiplap, which snaps together easily, and I finished it off with baseboards, casing and crown and new doors from their Very Square collection. With soon to be seven children in this house, replacing the louvered doors to solid core doors was a need not a want.


Another easy way for a rental to really feel like you is to be bold in your furnishings. I have always loved velvet and navy blue, so I used it here for the two facing sofas. I added in boldly coloured pillows and classic side chairs in complimenting colours.


In an old space, a small hit of a trendy colour is fun and unexpected. I embraced pink in my entranceway with a soft pink called Pleasant Pink by Benjamin Moore on one of our new solid doors. The effect is amazing! And the fabulous thing about paint is that it is changeable — if I change my mind on this colour, in an hour and a half I can have it changed to something else.


Designing for a rental, I basically had to get comfortable with the fact that I was spending money on things that I would not be taking with me whenever we move on. To make this decision more palatable, I chose to be really savvy with items I purchased, including shopping on Kijiji. I am a big supporter of the second-hand economy. In my line of work, I acquire lots of stuff, and I enjoy selling items I no longer need. The other thing I find helpful about supporting the second-hand economy is that it offers less pressure to keep items you do purchase. While I am a big believer in investing in quality and things you might own for a lifetime, I am also super comfortable with the notion of changing your mind, or simply wanting new items in a new space. Finding creative ways to stretch your budget, like shopping second hand, can really help get you make your rental feel like your own.

Lisa Canning is a designer and busy mother. Find her at https://lisacanning.ca/


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Strategies for busy parents

Strategies for busy parents

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Strategies for busy parents

Being a parent is a full time job and it can often feel like a juggling act you just cannot win at times.

by Lisa Canning

Being a parent is a full time job. Add in your job, household chores, attempting to exercise and squeezing in time for yourself, it can feel like a juggling act you just cannot win at times.

As a mother of six — and soon-to-be seven — children, trust me when I say I have seen it all. I have experienced times when my life is super organized and productive and it feels like I can conquer anything, and times when it feels so overwhelming and impossible that there is no way I can keep up.

But let me tell you — there is a way. There is a way to balance life, kids, work, and house and not lose your mind. I’m going to be sharing my five-step framework for doing it all at this year’s BabyTime Show in two special presentations on April 27 and April 29. At the BabyTime Show, you can also pick up copies of HOMES Publishing Group magazines, including Condo Life, HOMES Magazine, Active Life and RENO & DECOR.

To get you started, here are some of the strategies that I use to save me time.


This is a simple strategy, but so important. No one else decides how we spend our time, but us. While there are certain duties that we might not have a bunch of flexibility in, I bet if you looked carefully at your calendar you would realize there are a lot of areas where you do have control. So I suggest you schedule time to yourself like you would anything else you prioritize in your life, like a kids’ soccer practice, or a meeting for work.

Literally schedule a block in your calendar and make it a repeating appointment. And spend it however you want, whether it be curled up with a good book, going to the spa, or enjoying your favourite treat (check out my blog right now for my favourite time-out treat recipe with Green and Black’s Chocolate).


I cannot tell you how many parents I speak to that find cooking for their families a stressor in their home. My solution? Get rid of decision fatigue and simplify the process as much as you can.

For me, this means prepared meals, and let me tell you they are simply the best. You get meals that are nutritious and delicious, and so much of the decision-making and prep work is done for you.

I’m currently loving M&M Food Market’s prepared meals — quick, easy and delicious meal solutions for you and your entire family for your busy weeknights. They have no artificial colours, flavours and sweeteners, and you literally pop them in the oven and in minutes you look like a culinary genius. And many M&M locations offer Click & Collect services, where you place your order online, drive up to the store, and your order is ready for you, often within an hour. Eliminating the time and energy it takes to grocery shop is a huge time saving and energy saving strategy for me.


I have worked in the field of interior design for over 10 years and as a result my own home often gets put last on the list where maintenance is concerned. Trying to set up a time for trades to come, and ensure they actually show up, is quite the exercise at times. So, where possible, automate the process by setting up recurring appointments that you set and forget, or use an app like Jiffy that connects you with qualified, insured trades, who come at a time that you specify. The app is also really great for reminding you of seasonal maintenance tasks like barbecue clean up, eaves trough cleaning, or snow removal as the season demands.


The amount of paper that comes into a house — between bills, correspondence and school forms — can be overwhelming for a family. How many times have you misplaced an important receipt, a school trip form, or something you need for tax time? This is something I struggle with on a regular basis.

To keep paper clutter manageable, I like to create a centralized command centre of sorts where all this paper lives. So, as soon as the paper comes into the home, it has a place to live until it can be filed away. You can do this simply by having a three-ring binder at the front of the house with dividers for all your important papers, or a series of clip boards that hang on the wall that organize all these documents. I’d also encourage families to place a centralized calendar in the same area so everyone knows what’s going on at all times.

Lisa Canning is a coach, parent, interior design and lifestyle expert. Learn more about her sanity-saving strategies at lisacanning.ca 


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Creating the ultimate craft room

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Creating the ultimate craft room

By Lisa Canning

I wouldn’t exactly call me a crafter (my lifestyle of six children and a business means I am of DIFM — do it for me — than DIY), but I might change my ways after creating this space for my most recent makeover. We created a craft room that I think is pretty ultimate.

Here are some essential things to consider if you want to create your own:

Keep it Colourful

If you can’t have fun with colour in a craft room, where can you have fun? In this case, we went with a beautiful teal called Sylvan Mist by Benjamin Moore. It’s soft and inviting but definitely saturated enough to be whimsical and playful. I think it’s also a really fun accent to the MDF tongue and groove we applied to the walls from Metrie.

And I had to add a bit of colour with the cabinet hardware. Shayne Fox Hardware is a newcomer to the Toronto artisan community and her handmade hardware really is a piece of art. We used her cast bronze knobs in bright bronze for a pop of contrast against the white cabinets.

And, again, because it’s a craft room and why not, we chose a bold colour on the chairs. These chairs from Wayfair provide a fun pop against the white base cabinetry. And don’t forget about accessories — even in stationary products you can incorporate colour like paper clips and the feather-shaped pen holder (and pens) from HomeSense.

Keep Practicality in Mind

A craft room has to be really practical so keep paint spills, sticky fingers and a general mess in mind. For this reason, I wanted a really durable, but beautiful floor. I used ErthCovering’s Tivoli natural stone plank, which has the texture of wood but the durability and liquid resistance of stone.

Including a sink makes so much sense. We used the Delta Cassidy faucet, with Touch20 technology, which allows you to simply tap anywhere on the faucet when the handle is in the on position. When your hands are covered in glitter glue, and the faucet is as pretty as this, you better believe that Touch20 capability comes in handy. I also love how the pull-down spout is integrated so elegantly in the design, and you can position elements like the spray toggle and handle as per your personal preference. Finally, I love how the Champagne Bronze finish looks with the knobs.

Keep it Cozy

This room is in the basement adjacent to the backyard entrance and is cold and drafty, especially in the winter. To keep it cozy, we put in the Celeste stove by Dimplex. My favourite thing about this electric fireplace is how portable and easy to install it is. It provides instant warmth and a cozy atmosphere to a space, with very little fuss, mess, or expense. The pop of colour in this carpet from HomeSense completes this cozy vignette.

To help with that exterior draft, we replaced the window with an Energy Star-rated, top-quality vinyl window in white by Fieldstone Windows and finished it off with Metrie’s Very Square casing to keep the details contemporary.

Keep it Personal

Again, I feel like a craft room is where you can get really fun and personal. This homeowner loves the outdoors, nature, and essential oils, so I worked with Posterjack to create all of the artwork in the room using personal photos to create unique pieces. With an assortment of styles and sizes to choose from including canvas prints, framed prints and acrylic prints you can really create a customized look featuring your own photos.

Keep it Organized

This is arguably the most important element! Keeping craft supplies organized really is the key to an ultimate craft room. And the best solution to this, hands down, is strategic storage cabinetry. I partnered with Tailored Living on this project, a custom organization company with franchise locations across Canada and the U.S. They provide all the tools to create effective storage solutions that will help you meet your organizational goals. In a craft room, this means a combination of shallow drawers for small items like essential oils and paper, base cabinets for tall bottles and jars, and tall cabinets for rolls of wrapping paper and banners. Colourful baskets from HomeSense keep the interiors neat and tidy.



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Laundry room makeover

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Laundry room makeover

Laundry room update is the perfect opportunity to add a pop of colour and create more strategic storage.

By Lisa Canning

A design dilemma if ever there was one: How to create a customized space for a room that had to serve many different purposes. Without a basement, garage or garden shed, the space had to be able to store off-season clothing, sports equipment, paint cans, as well as random odds and ends. Plus, it had to function as a laundry room.

If you’re looking to give your laundry room a refresh soon, here are a few ways you can add some custom elements to your space.

Start With Colour
I think the laundry room is the perfect spot to inject a bold hit of colour — you can be more adventurous than you might typically be in a bedroom or living room. With all the natural light in this space, I knew we could go dark and bold, so I used Benjamin Moore’s Bermuda Blue on the custom cabinets and picked up the colour in a beautiful patterned rug from HomeSense and striped towels by Pamuk and Co. Bright, bold colour in any application (but especially in painted millwork) can really make a space look and feel more custom and original.

Add Architectural Details
Another way to instantly make a space look custom is to add architectural details. We changed the swing on the original door to open against the staircase to maximize the space in the laundry room and replaced the interior door with a beautiful Metrie Pretty Simple door with Millennium patterned glass. In addition, we wrapped the entire room in Metrie’s MDF tongue and groove to create a shiplap look. I like shiplap (and all mouldings, really) as it provides a subtle texture to a room.

Customize Your Storage

Strategic storage makes me really happy. Proper storage is essential to keeping a space clutter free and a family from feeling overwhelmed by stuff. The millwork I designed for this room is 36-inches deep to give the family lots of space for large, bulky storage. But to make sure these large cavities remain really practical, I used a series of large, easy-view bins by Neatfreak to keep things that require more frequent access — like towels and cleaning supplies — in plain sight. The triple-sorter laundry system with built-in ironing board, also from Neatfreak, allows the family to create an additional surface area for laundry sorting and folding and eliminates the need for a folding ironing board, saving precious storage space.

Lastly, we created custom floating shelves out of the same Belanger laminate counter we used to provide the room for additional storage and decorative display.

Add Some Bling
I love me some handcrafted cabinet hardware, and these pieces by Shayne Fox Hardware are my current obsession. These bright bronze pulls and knobs are made out of cast bronze and are finished in what is called a living finish — they are going to oxidize and patina over time.

And we continued my obsession with all things bronze with the Cassidy faucet by Delta in Champagne Bronze. A small hit of a warm metal is a really on trend way to provide a custom element in your laundry room.

Customize Your Cleaning
And finally, don’t forget you can customize the most important aspect of your laundry room, your washer and dryer. We selected a stackable pair by Whirlpool to maximize all available space. The front load machines offer a multitude of settings that allow the family to wash and dry everything from well-worn sports gear, to delicate dance costumes. Available in three finishes, we went white as a bold contrast against the blue cabinetry.



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A SPA-like BATHROOM – in your own home!

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A SPA-like BATHROOM – in your own home!

Who doesn’t love a long soak in a hot bath? And if that bath is in a totally gorgeous bathroom, that’s like a prescription for relaxation. To create a luxury retreat-like bathroom, here are some tips:


When I think of a spa, white instantly comes to mind. Fresh white walls combined with the beautiful natural light in this recently renovated bathroom are ideal. Here we used my personal favourite white of all time – Benjamin Moore Decorator White. To ensure the room didn’t start to feel bland and boring we incorporated a lot of texture – mainly  in the tiles. We used Daltile’s Octagon & Dot mosaic on the floor, and their Florentine tile on the shower walls. This tile is a glazed porcelain tile that has a marble design printed on it, so it is a great budget saving option. Having a mix of patterns and textures ensures a monochromatic colour scheme like this does not feel boring! We picked up the grey on the floor with the neutral grey in the Auguste vanity by Foremost.


Have you ever thought about trim? Well I do. In every room I ever design. Trim can help you to achieve a whole new level of luxury with a material that has a very reasonable price point. To ensure this white room did not feel too plain and basic, we added crown, applied moulding and baseboard in Metrie’s Pretty Simple collection. There are so many options, sizes, profiles available, but if you want to add a level of luxury through trim and don’t know where to start, Metrie has simplified the process with its curated Then & Now Finishing Collections. They take away all the guesswork by presenting coordinated lines. Each moulding element within each Collection has been meticulously designed, so every joint and reveal is seamless. Look at this bathroom – I just love how the trim turned out!


All the white in this room called for some contrast, so we incorporated some pieces from one of my favourite retailers, Artemano. This tree stump makes for a perfect perch for a wine glass or book while relaxing in the soaker tub. Artemano’s buying team travels the world in search of modern solid wood furniture pieces, and other home decor accessories that add artistic flair. We also added a small rustic wood shelf for candles adjacent to the tub. These little contrasts give the bathroom a grounded, earthy element. And what spa would be complete without candles? Handcrafted candle holders in natural textures like concrete are definitely essential.

Your Fixture is the room’s JEWELRY

Plumbing fixtures are like jewelry on an otherwise plain outfit- the jewelry makes it fancy. In this spectacular bathroom we used the Ara collection by Delta to bring a bit of a modern edge to this space with its geometric angles and edges, and it took the room’s luxury level up to that of a five star spa. I love the contrast of the modern fixture next to the traditional soaker tub- it makes for such a bold statement!

LUXURY doesn’t have to break the bank

There are so many ways to add luxury to any space – and a bathroom is no exception. This room wasn’t just supposed to be a bathroom – it needed to feel like a spa! So we added as much luxury as possible, without breaking the bank. First of all, we created a custom shower, complete with a bench. This looks and feels grand, but we kept the costs reasonable by using pre-fabricated glass shower enclosures (as opposed to all custom glass) by The Shower House. For a truly invigorating shower, we added body jets on the wall.

A few perfect touches included adding a decorative hamper, modern stool and this leaning towel ladder from Bouclair, which adds a gorgeous visual element and can show off plush, luxurious towels. Quality towels are a must – and I love these striped Turkish cotton towels.
The detail you cannot see – floors heated by the Nuheat flooring system so that even your feet are happy when you get out of the shower or bath.

And the final piece of this puzzle – the soaker tub! This soaker tub has been with the homeowners for years, literally sitting in the garage just waiting for the perfect bathroom renovation. With a brand new coat of Newburry Port Blue, I must say that this tu steals the show.

These tips will help you to create a spa-like oasis in your own home. Remember, creating a spa is all about relaxation, comfort and luxury. And you deserve all that!

Special thanks to the brands mentioned above for partnering with me on this project. Photos by the talented Dann Tardif.


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