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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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Trim Time – Aug/Sep2016

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Trim Time – Aug/Sep2016

Photography: Courtesy of Brenlo Custom Wood Products

From the floor to the ceiling, trim undoubtedly enhances the look of a home

After drywall, trim is probably the most under-appreciated building material in a home. Most of it just sits there at the base of our walls, going largely unnoticed. But trim serves a dual purpose: it protects the walls from damage (imagine what unprotected drywall would look like after a few rounds with the vacuum cleaner) and it can add a nice, low-cost design element to a room’s decor.


The current trend in baseboard trim is minimalist to go with the bright, open designs most people are choosing. That means simple lines, usually painted in a shade of white. If you’re going with this approach, you can save some money by using MDF trim. But if your style is more traditional, there are countless profiles to choose from in a variety of plain to ornate designs, in a variety of stainable woods.

People often ask me if it’s okay to paint the old trim in their house. I say, yes. Why live with a look that you don’t like just on the chance that the person you sell your house to years down the road might like a natural- wood finish? If you do sell and the new owners really want wood, they can strip it themselves.


Of course, trim isn’t limited to baseboards. Walls can be adorned with wainscotting, chair rail, plate rail, or a combination of all three.

There are a number of different companies making DIY-wainscotting kits. Or you simply add moulding pieces directly to the wall that will make it look like you’ve installed recessed panels.

Note that when you’re installing tongue-and-groove pieces, you’ll want to leave a slight gap between them to allow for expansion and contraction. If you install everything nice and snug on a dry winter day, once the summer humidity rolls around, your walls will start buckling.

In fact, you should allow all your trim to have some time to acclimatize to your home environment by leaving it in the room it will be installed in for a couple of days before you install it.


If you’re painting the room yourself (see “Colour Your World“), you can save yourself a lot of time and aggravation by painting the trim before you install it. For best results, give it a light sanding before you lay down the first coat, and then sand between every layer of paint you add. The paint will level out better and you’ll have a nicer overall finish.

Don’t forget to look up. Plate rail lining the walls just below the ceiling is both a decorative touch, and a handy storage solution or spot to house your knickknacks if space was tight.


Adding ceiling medallions around light fixtures is another easy task for a DIY that enhances the look of a room.

There’s also a wide array of choices for creating coffered ceilings with a grid pattern made from wood, drywall or MDF.

For another low-budget option, there are faux-timber beams on the market that are made of lightweight polyurethane.

Paint and trim are among the last stages of any renovation project, but they’re also the finishing touches that wrap it up, so make sure you give the colours and styles you choose as much care and planning as you did to the rest of the job.

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?



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Style Stamps

Style Stamps

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Style Stamps

by Samantha Sannella

It’s all in the details

Finishing touches emphasize the style and design of a home. From practical to the whimsical, consider some of these options.

Doors and Hardware

Interior doors are a major component of interior design and convey the style of the home. Take time to explore the hundreds of options that are available. For the best in quality, choose solid core or solid wood doors. They may be more expensive, but well worth the investment. Glass inserts in doors promote an elegant look. Check out doorsforbuilders.com.

Choosing the right hardware to go with the doors is just as important. If the home is traditional, consider oil-rubbed bronze or copper. Brushed nickel works well in transitional or eclectic homes. For a contemporary look, stainless-steel lever handles make a modern statement. Don’t forget to match the hinges to the door handles.

Trim, Moulding and Baseboards

Trim, moulding and baseboards also accentuate the style of the home. A contemporary look can be achieved with the simplicity of straight moulding, which is also much easier to dust and keep clean. For rooms with high ceilings, consider deep baseboards and large crown mouldings to make the space more luxurious. Moulding can also be used for decorative detailing such as coffered ceilings.

Window Treatments

Drapes help to soften the interior of the home with warmth and texture. Finials on drapery rods add another decorative element. Drapes work well with traditional and transitional interiors, and the type of rods and finials you choose reinforce the style. Visit worldmarket.com for a set of whitewashed bird finials, plus other fun options.

Simple roller blinds emphasize a modern aesthetic appeal. You can’t go wrong with a light-filtering neutral fabric, but certain types of shades, like vertical blinds, tend to date a space. For some great ideas visit theshadestore.com.

Wall Coverings and Paint

Wall coverings are making a huge comeback — and they add style, beauty and dimension to a room. Choose from an endless array of colours, patterns and shimmers. Custom patterns can also be created.

A fresh coat of paint goes a long way to define a space. Paint manufacturers make life easier by creating pre-determined palettes of neutrals and colours. Check out the 2015 Colour Forecast in this issue of Ontario Design.


One of the most dramatic additions to the interior of a home is lighting. Chooses fixtures that complement the door hardware and the overall style of the home. Also pay attention to the bulb type and colour rendition, so that the home is consistent. ‘Cleanability’ is an important factor to consider when choosing lighting.

Switch Plate Covers

For added pizzazz, install new switch plate covers. This is a super easy, and economical way, to add style to a home. For trendy decor, consider switch plates with hidden screws. Or for the ultimate in a contemporary statement, check out Le Grand line (legrand.ca), available at Lowes.


is an internationally renowned expert in the field of design and architecture.


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