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The smart trends to add value where it counts

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The smart trends to add value where it counts

Even with the rise of home makeover tv shows and savvy online real estate advice, many homebuyers still need to be shown the potential for a new home purchase.

Whether you’re looking to get max value for your home, or you just want to create a wow-factor for your own enjoyment, keeping on top of trends is a must.

In 2019, there are excellent trends to add style and value throughout your home. Find the ones that feel like the right choices to enhance your space below.


Two toned kitchen colour pallets are going to be big in 2019. Consider a warm neutral for your primary colour and use bold splashes on the cabinetry and trim to create a space that is simply unforgettable.

You can tone down your accent colour by using a matte finish, which is another hot trend for the year.

Quartz countertops are timeless, but add a prestigious presence to any kitchen that is just lacking that special something.

In a move toward clean minimalism, open storage gives a fresh, airy feel and a better sense of what is in your panty at the same time. Finally, integrated kitchen appliances such as built-in stovetops, or refrigerators that match your cabinetry, are also great options this year!


Consider re-organizing the bathroom to that your soaker tub and glass shower enclosure can sit side-by-side. This creates a spa-like ambiance that you’ll appreciate whether you’re selling your home, or just looking to pamper yourself.

Many designers are also bringing more wood elements into the bathroom this year. This creates an organic, zen-like atmosphere that helps cultivate the sense of tranquility that so many of us have been looking for.

Continuing the theme of tranquility is the predominance of neutral whites and greys for the bathroom colour scheme. These low-key colour choices have a Scandinavian energy that exudes understated elegance and intelligence.


The Great Room is where most families come together to watch movies, play board games or just enjoy quiet time together. Any trend for this room would do well to create a sense of vibrancy and openness, to welcome everyone in the family into their shared space.

Light natural flooring is one excellent current trend to cultivate the fresh, open vibe. Add a pop of energy with bold jewel tones as your accent colours, such as emerald green and navy.

More families are also choosing to bring in a minimal, eclectic look throughout the space, incorporating artisanal light fixtures, mixing period styles and having statement pieces that reflect your unique personality.

Vanessa Bellemare is  Vice-President, Sales and Marketing, at International Home Marketing Group.


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Install a bathroom anywhere with Saniflo

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How to create a luxurious bathroom

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How to create a luxurious bathroom

Photography By Stephani Buchman

Enlarging a small master bathroom can often be impractical. You don’t need to move walls or break the bank in order to create big luxury in a small master bathroom.

When you’re tight on space, but want to have it all, you’ve got to get creative. And that’s exactly what was done in this elegant, compact ensuite bathroom. When we were hired to transform this home, the biggest challenge was how to update their master ensuite while also making it more functional. There was an oversized and very dated jacuzzi tub that took up almost the entire room. A natural reaction would have been to remove the tub and add in a large two-person shower. However, we wanted to have our cake and eat it too, so instead, we added a show-stopping soaker tub combined with a shower.


Many large, luxury bathrooms today have a separate shower and soaking tub. In a smaller bathroom, it can be a challenge to find a tub that fits. In this case, the master ensuite is used by multiple members and generations in the household. We found a perfect fit with Victoria and Albert’s Vertralla tub. With its updated yet classic looks, it provided the luxury of a deep soaker tub, but on a smaller scale. The bonus of this particular tub is that it’s made of volcanic limestone, which helps to retain heat much longer than other tubs. Great for long soaks!


Although it’s a master ensuite, we had to factor children into the design. It is a three-storey home with the kids’ bathroom on the third floor, and the homeowners wanted the option to bathe their children in their master ensuite. We added a waterfall stone ledge for toys and soaps, and a built-in linen tower to house towels and baskets of bath toys.


Another essential way to add glam to any bathroom is with great lighting.

Too often lighting a bathroom is low on the list of priorities relative to other rooms in the house. Proper lighting is essential to making the most of this space. Your bathroom should feel bright and clean, so good overhead and task lighting are key. But don’t overlook mood lighting. You want the ability to create atmosphere that’s relaxing and spa-like, especially for those late night soaks and long steamy showers. The chandelier hanging over the tub adds warmth and sparkle, while the decorative sconces illuminate your face sufficiently for putting makeup on without overdoing it.

Designer tip: Always add dimmers to switches


Another key tip that most people overlook, and almost every designer uses, is to tile the walls of your bathroom. If you want a cleanable surface and high-end look, this is how to get it. I adore using a large marble, natural quartz tile, if the budget permits, otherwise a nice oversized subway tile will do the trick. In this bathroom, we selected wall tile for behind the tub—a super practical choice when little ones want to splash around!

And last but not least, you can increase a small bathroom feeling of extravagance by adding some flair to functional items like: faucets, mirrors and cabinet hardware. For a modest investment, you can turn everyday, often-overlooked elements into items that underscore the overall beauty of the room. Replacing a typical bathroom mirror with a uniquely shaped decorative one like we did here is another way to elevate a small bathroom to premium status. The modern brass cabinet knobs are the jewelry of the room as they add sparkle and interest.

Don’t be afraid to mix metals here too. We love the look of brass faucets and fixtures but we couldn’t quite fit it into our budget. Instead we opted to mix chrome and brass, bringing the gold sparkle into elements like the lighting and hardware.

Achieving ultimate comfort and luxury in your small-space bathroom is at your fingertips, by mixing a variety of high and low elements cohesively.


TILE, Creekside tile; FAUCETS AND FIXTURES, Watermarks; CUSTOM MILLWORK, Pure Kitchens; BATHTUB, Victoria + Albert; CONSTRUCTION, byTrimatrix; DESIGN, by Rebecca Hay Designs Inc.

RENO & DECOR myhomepage.ca Designer Rebecca Hay, Principal Designer of Rebecca Hay Designs Inc., is a Toronto-based boutique design firm offering complete design & renovation services for residential, commercial and vacation properties for over a decade. Known and celebrated for her design work and appearances on various acclaimed HGTV shows, Rebecca and her team design classic, livable spaces that reflect the homeowner’s personality. Servicing clientele throughout Toronto, the GTA and Canada. rebeccahaydesigns.com


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DESIGN/BUILD EXPERT: The Kid's Convenience

DESIGN/BUILD EXPERT: The Kid’s Convenience

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DESIGN/BUILD EXPERT: The Kid’s Convenience

by Brendan Charters
Photography: Peter Sellar

Tips for designing the perfect second bathroom

In tight urban homes, it is not uncommon that the entire family shares a single washroom in the home. While many homes have been retrofitted to accommodate a main-floor powder room, or a dungeon-style, three-piece washroom for the men to occasionally use, the main bathroom has been the historical serve-all of the home.


Since the latter half of the 20th century, homes have grown in size and many of those older homes have been expanded to allow for a proper master suite. Today, virtually every new home built has multiple bathrooms serving the bedrooms. Not all of them function as best as they could, as they rarely receive the bulk of a designer’s attention, nor homeowners’ budgets. Since bathrooms are such critical spaces in homes and can be directly linked to how comfortable a space is, we will outline some of the key elements to create a space the kids will love, which may also impact longer-term resale value.


Firstly, define who the space is serving. Is it for only one bedroom, two or more? Would it serve guests coming from other areas of the home? This will help answer the critical question of how best to access the bathroom. If serving one bedroom, creating ensuite access only (from the bedroom) is best. If serving two bedrooms, a door to a main hall helps save internal space for fixtures, but a Jack-and-Jill-style bath creates the feel of an ensuite-style. If people will be using it from a third bedroom, or any other areas of the home (say if there is no powder room for example), then you will need to ensure a door from a main hall is provided, to avoid having to walk through a bedroom to get to a bathroom.


Secondly, layout is key. Think first impressions. When the door swings open, or is left open, one does not want to stare at a toilet. This is an architectural atrocity for any bathroom. We routinely try to conceal the ‘House of Lords’ behind a door that swings, or tucked beside a vanity, tub or shower…or if space will allow, within its own separate room, also termed a water closet. This allows for more than one person to use the bathroom at a time, which can be valuable on busy school mornings. Likewise, if the main room is tied in with a tub and/or shower, it becomes a pro shared-gender use, allowing for makeup or toothbrushing to happen at the same time, as more private activities are behind a closed door.


Space allocations come next. While a double-vanity is a dream, if you have less than four to five feet to provide for it, a single trough-style sink with two faucets can provide the feeling of more space. For a toilet, if a three-foot-wide water closet cannot fit, we recommend at least a 30″ width be reserved, with absolute minimum being 27″, or else it will be cramped. If adjacent to a vanity, the space will feel more open than if tucked in beside a full-height obstruction. For the tub, shower or tub/shower combination, think of the size of the children (and their parents). Will a five-foot tub be enough? When thinking resale, think of potential buyers with babies. While a shower may feel more convenient to you, those new parents will need a tub somewhere to bathe kids so we recommend a combined tub/shower. Standard tubs are easier to get in and out of versus a soaker tub, but it depends on lifestyle if a deeper tub is preferred. If the kids are over the age of 5, a shower only may suffice, as it can save on space and may be more comfortable for them to use, but we recommend not selling within the next 10 years. Storage of ‘stuff’ is also of utmost importance, so planning hidden cubbies for toiletries, benches, recessed medicine cabinets at the start can go a long way at hiding the inevitable onslaught of products that will be tossed about this room on a daily basis.


Kids are rough, they tend to avoid manual labour associated with cleaning and will be relatively hard on the space. Durable and functional is what we recommend for the fixtures. Toilets that flush well and have a fully glazed trapway will reduce clogs and mess inside the bowl. Vanities with solid-surface counters like Cambria Quartz and undermount or integrated sinks reduce damages from splashing water as well as bacteria. Faucets and shower valves will take a lot of punishment, so go for durability and thermostatic adjustability of the mixing valves, ensuring long-term comfort is managed. Frameless glass for shower and tub surrounds with mould-resistant caulkings and a squeegee on-hand can reduce soap scum and mould growth. For tile, ceramic or porcelain, large-format tiles with thin grout lines is best for the main floors and tub/shower walls. Avoid the use of natural stone as they can require regular maintenance since they stain more easily. Fusion Pro premixed grout is stain- and mould-resistant and offers great protection in this regard. Even the accessories need to be thought out.

Have some fun, and if this space is predominantly for the kids, we recommend involving them in the design and selection process. The pride of space may start here and help in their desire to keep it clean and nice, which would be a bonus. Select finishes with the goal of them lasting at least 10 years, and also finishes that reflect their personalities and age ranges.

Brendan Charters is Partner at Toronto Design-Build Firm Eurodale Developments Inc. – 2017 OHBA Renovator of the Year.



(416) 782-5690


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Design Expert: Bathroom Bliss

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Design Expert: Bathroom Bliss

Technology that enhances the bathroom experience

Can you imagine a world where you would never again have to argue over who didn’t flush the toilet, or who left the seat up? Well, imagine no more. If you forgot to flush, there is no need to run back because you can do that now from your phone app, even though the toilet likely did that on its own after you left the room. Just like the shower turned off after you asked it to. The home automation craze has asked to visit your bathroom and boy, did they make some changes while they were in there! Let me fill you in so you know what to expect.


The automated temperature of the room isn’t so surprising. Many are familiar with Nest and Ecobee for remote temperature control. It doesn’t matter if you are in your own bedroom, or halfway around the world, you can adjust the thermostat from your phone app. These thermostats learn your behaviour and warm up the bathroom before you arrive. Smart thermostats now connect with products like Nu Heat, which warms the floor tiles and shower bench before you arrive, and gets the towel warmers rolling so you don’t even have to think about it. The whole system “talks” to the weatherman, so it is always aware of the seasons and the outdoor temperature. The room will be cooled in warmer months and the floor heating turned off completely. It is intuitively set up for energy conservation and complete comfort.


Light and sound can also be controlled remotely in the bathroom. There are whole home systems that allow you to remotely adjust the house lighting, or you can ask an electronic personal assistant like Alexa or Google to do it for you. Lights on or off, dimmed or brightened; all possible with a simple command. “Alexa, increase the room light by 50 per cent; tell me my schedule for the day and play my favourite morning playlist,” thanks to systems like Sonos with Wi-Fi-enabled speakers. Place one in the bathroom and listen to your “get-ready” music in just the bathroom, or throughout the entire home. You simply launch the app, then set your favourite music to begin your day.


The newest answer to “who left the toilet seat up” is going to be: The App! But no one will ask anymore. The newest Numi toilet by Kohler, not only lifts the toilet cover, it warms the toilet seat. You can select an interior light colour along with the music most suited to you. If you stand to use the toilet, you simply tap your toe and the seat also lifts up for you. On the other hand, if you’re going to sit, then feel free to use the foot heater to keep your tootsies warm while you sit. Naturally, you will want to have a bidet when you’re finished, although historically, they are not really popular in North America. The bidet is built into the toilet with adjustable spray heads. You can adjust the spray locations, pressure, temperature as well as the same adjustability with the drying process. When you leave the bathroom, the seats and cover will close, the toilet will flush and be sanitized with ultraviolet lights. The Numi will leave you feeling brand new, and your guests might be spending even more time in your powder room.


Moen has created a shower system that works with voice activation. The “U by Moen’s system connects with Google’s helper, Alexa, so when you’re ready to shower, you simply ask her to start your shower so the temperature is perfect when you get there. More specifically, you can ask for “Sally’s” shower—the U system customizes shower preferences accordingly. It understands how you like to shower as opposed to how your partner likes to shower. There is a digital display in the shower for “live adjustments,” which controls a maximum of four values. If you like the body jets at the same time as your rain head, the U system has got you covered. Now don’t worry if you get distracted after you ask for the shower to start. The auto shut-off system understands if you were delayed by a face time call. You can operate it from the app on your phone, if your partner is still asleep or just get Alexa to do it for you. You don’t have to touch anything but the shampoo and your own hair.


Many companies have touchless lavatory faucets so you don’t have to wash your hands and touch the faucets just after you’ve cleaned them. Now you don’t run the faucet with an app, but with the wave of a hand for on and off. When it comes to using a towel to dry your hands, we still recommend you do it “old school” with a hand towel. In fact, you are still going to have to brush your own teeth and comb your hair with no digital assistance at all…at least for now. Check back here next year when all that may have changed.

Extensive experience in residential, commercial and hospitality design. Principal of design firm Grafus Design Build, Glen Peloso is frequently in the media as design expert on the Marilyn Denis Show, and CHCH Morning Live, a contributor to Global Morning News, Breakfast Television Toronto, past series with HGTV and the Food Network, along with Radio and Blogs. Reporting on design trends from around the world, his work has been featured in various print publications throughout North America. Twitter: glenpeloso Instagram: glenpelosodesigner


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Designer Tip: Everyday Luxury

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Designer Tip: Everyday Luxury

Interior designer Heather Segreti creates a sumptuous retreat echoing the features and feel of a luxury vacation

By Heather Segreti • Photography By Larry Arnal

Vacation every day is the theme for this master bathroom. Who doesn’t want to wake up every morning and feel like they just walked into a luxury resort master ensuite?

With that being said, our departure point for this down-to-earth couple with exceptional taste was to provide them with all the amenities as well as the esthetic experience you would find in a luxury resort.

Nestled in the King City area of north Toronto, this sprawling bungalow set the stage for what would soon be an exquisite master ensuite oasis.

Where to start? With a grand tile of course!


I suggested we look at a large-format porcelain option, which is making headway in the marketplace right now. The latest trend is to digitally produce imagery of actual stone printed onto porcelain tile, the options are endless. Sizes can go up from five to 10 feet for the wall tiles, and smaller formats for the floors.

After viewing the product on display at CIOT Marble and Granite in Vaughan, we made our choice. Onice–Perla, a beautiful onyx image with a vertical vein direction, which would accentuate the 11-foot ceilings.


The space-planning mandate was to have a separate water closet, large shower with bench seat and rain showerhead, spa-like soaker tub with floor-mounted tub filler, as well as a spacious his-and-her double-sink vanity with makeup area.

We firmed up the details of the vanity, shower footprint along with the tub and enclosed water closet. Once the footprint for the space was established, we then expanded on the details.


The vanity sits on custom legs with a laser-cut, lower decorative panel allowing the tile to flow under the cabinets for a more open, furniture look. The custom vanity with fully integrated mirrors and lighting added to the customization and grandeur of the space.

In the centre of the vanity, in the mirror panel over the makeup counter, we added a recessed hidden cabinet in the wall to conceal bathroom items. You would not even know that it opens by looking at it.


One of the most exciting and impactful features of this ensuite is the large-format onyx porcelain wall panels, paired with the matching large-scale floor tiles. These panels created the perfect backdrop for the stunning Victoria & Albert Limestone soaker tub.

The “Toulouse” tub’s elegant curves complement the winding, vertical veining of the onyx slabs. Their tubs are made of a blend of volcanic limestone and high-performance resins. Naturally white, each item is individually hand-finished by craftsman. We complemented the tub with the very beautiful Perrin and Rowe floor-mounted tub filler in a polished nickel finish.


All the hardware in the space is polished nickel for a cohesive look throughout the rest of the house. I added in subtle details that add to the synergy in the space, such as the custom plaster crown moulding, which mirrors the wood detailing at the base of the vanity.

We created a calm, spa-like experience with a neutral colour palette that has minimal contrast. We utilized natural materials associated with nature, such as the porcelain panels, gentle, flowing lines rather than sharp angles like the oval undermount sinks, Toulouse V&A soaker tub along with the vertical veining in the porcelain onyx slabs.

The simplicity of the Caesarstone countertop and bench seat allow for the onyx slabs to stand out, yet I can’t emphasize enough the importance of the balance and synergy by choosing finishes that complement each other, rather than compete with each other.

Our master ensuite flows beautifully with the master bedroom adding to the calm oasis, a spa-like feeling the homeowners enjoy every day

Award-winning Interior Designer Heather Segreti N.C.I.D.Q. , A.R.I.D.O. ,I.D.C. known for creating true luxury bespoke designs Whether you are building a custom luxury home, renovating or redesigning an existing space, Segreti Design has the vision to make this space uniquely yours. segretidesign.com


Soaker Tub, Victoria and Albert Tub Filler, Perrin and Rowe, Sinks, Oval Undermount Toto Rendezvous Faucets, Perrin and Rowe

Porcelain Tile Floor, Onice Perla, Ciot Marble and Granite 30” x 30” Porcelain Tile Wall Slabs, Max Fine Porcelain

Counter top & Shower Jambs, Quartz #4600 Organic White, Caesarstone

Shower Floor Tile, Marble Depot Mosaic

Crown Moulding, Custom to match millwork base by Classic Moulding

Vanity, Manorwood Custom Cabinetry

Vanity & Wall Paint colour, CC-50 White Down, Benjamin Moore

Light Fixtures, Hudson Valley wall sconces

Custom Ottoman & Bench, Segreti Design Ottoman & Bench, Vinyl, JF Fabrics

Cabinetry Hardware, Richelieu


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Cover Story: Bold Moves

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Cover Story: Bold Moves

By Lydia McNutt • Photography By Stacey Van Berkel

British-Canadian interior decorating guru, television host and entrepreneur, Debbie Travis takes RENO & DECOR to the historic streets of Wandsworth, London, inside her very own 19th-Century townhouse—and the site of a recent renovation intended to breathe new life into this old home.


The bathroom became a focus of Travis’ redesign, thanks to its obvious space constraints and perhaps more importantly, its lack of character.

It’s here, Travis reveals, that this self-taught pro came up against an all-too-common interior decorating hurdle—limited size. She thoughtfully describes the space as her “challenge.”

“It’s a luxury being able to start from scratch in the bathroom,” says Travis of the renovation.

TIP: One of the easiest ways to start a bathroom renovation is with a mood board. Collect your inspirations, whether it’s colour, texture, or the type of finish you want. You may work on this for months, Travis says, but the choices evolve. “Don’t rush the job,” says Travis. “Play with that space over and over again, until you get the image that you want.”


Travis’ selections are methodical, functional and beautiful. An arresting freestanding bathtub not only became a beautiful focal point in Travis’ bathroom, but it also artfully creates the illusion of more space.

“It worked perfectly in here because it’s not too high, it’s not too long, and it has this wonderful organic shape,” Travis explains. “It’s incredibly comfortable.”

When shopping for a bathtub, it pays off to research different shapes, styles and sizes to ensure that it’s a good fit for you. Don’t be shy to get inside the tub and try it on for size, so to speak. It’s really the only way to determine whether the style complements your curves.


Travis likes to play with different materials to create textural interest. Surfaces such as rough natural stone or marble are great base textures, and pair well with woods and glass. In Travis’ own bathroom, tile and texture became important decor elements. She selected a chic, fabric-inspired tile for the shower, featuring an oversized stripe. “You don’t have to have a huge room to go large scale,” Travis says.



Speaking of large scale, let’s address the Sophia Loren in the room. Don’t get us wrong. Travis is a proponent of neutral, simple and classic style. “Then, look to add the drama and personality,” she says. Travis selected an image of a young Sophia Loren, which she had enlarged and printed onto a durable canvas. This dramatic background makes the bathtub stand out even more.

The resulting interior is cleverly filled with light, texture and personality—a welcoming, luxurious and relaxing retreat Travis is proud to call “home.”

“A successful bathroom makeover, when it comes down to it, is about how it makes you feel. I’m very pleased about how my bathroom turned out. It is a gorgeous place to start the day. But even better, it is an incredible place to end the day, soaking in this tub with a glass of champagne.”

Lydia McNutt is an award-winning writer, editor, journalist pro based in the Greater Toronto Area.


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Active Home: The Powder Room

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Active Home: The Powder Room

Dramatic tones for the secondary throne

By Jane Lockhart

The powder room is the one place that many of your guests get up close and personal with. And because it’s generally set apart from the rest of the home, it’s the perfect room to experiment with the latest in design and decor.


For a dramatic palette, choose rich, dark shades like charcoal grey, navy blue, chocolate brown or black. The contrast of the room’s edges almost disappear, when you cover the ceilings, walls, doors and door frames in the same colour. What you’re left with is the perfect jewel box ready for its gems.

Since it’s a small room, consider splurging on some expensive wallpaper, also in a dark shade, to complement the trim. You can find patterns that have a subtle reflective quality – it just needs the right light to make it shine.


I’m a firm believer in layered lighting, especially in the powder room. Lighting has the ability to take a room from functional to glamorous. The installation of pot lights (even just one) immediately upgrades the room, as the crisp downlight lights up the surfaces.

Avoid the flycatchers – those upside down shades that light up the ceiling, instead of what’s below. Chandeliers add sophistication and the light dances off the reflective surfaces.

Cross-illumination can be created by adding side lights that hang on either side of the mirror, or choose show-stopping sconces.

“Lighting has the ability to take a room from functional to glamorous.”

Some bathroom vanities feature under-cabinet lighting that reflects on the floor – a wonderful night light option for safety and navigation.

This is your chance to select the most glamorous lighting that you can handle – the blingier, the better.


Cover a whole wall with a mirror, or with smoky subway tiles. Mirrors augment the lighting, and add style and shine. Consider mirrored vanities to double up on the drama. Not only do mirrors reflect your personality, but they heighten the intensity of the fixtures and the artwork.


Tiled floors are the way to go in the powder room, and because the space is limited, consider it your canvas. From simple ceramics to patterned mosaics, the available choices are endless. Surfaces also vary dramatically, including matt, glossy or reflective.


Choosing the finishes and upgrades for your powder room is all in the details. The dresser-as-vanity trend continues, and we’re seeing more custom-made cabinetry that looks like stand-alone furniture pieces.

If you’re not into a complete makeover, changing out the faucets, cabinet pulls and knobs can give the room an updated lift. It’s completely acceptable, and oh-so trendy, to mix metals. Stainless, silver, nickle, copper, gold and rose gold are available in a variety of finishes.

And don’t forget to accessorize. Something as simple as a new soap dish can add vitality to the room.

The powder room is where you can unleash your inner boldness, and try out rich colours, shiny surfaces and spectacular lighting. And, it just might end up being the nicest room in the house.

Jane Lockhart, B.A.A.I.D., is a multi-award winning designer, author and television personality. Jane Lockhart Interior Design janelockhart.com


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DESIGN: Making Your Beautiful Small Space Bathroom Deliver Large on Luxury

DESIGN: Making Your Beautiful Small Space Bathroom Deliver Large on Luxury

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DESIGN: Making Your Beautiful Small Space Bathroom Deliver Large on Luxury

by Linda Mazur

At first glance, small spaces often seem discouraging. Your renovation dreams and ideas are large. However, the footprint you must work within may be awkwardly small and challenging to fulfill the wish list for your “luxe” new bath space.

Bathrooms have been elevated from the simply utilitarian to the highly stylized, evoking both personal taste and customized lavishness. Whether you desire a “spa-like” retreat, a classic look that is big on functionality or a minimalistic approach that still packs a punch, today’s bathrooms deliver large on luxury.

When working in a smaller footprint, design is as much about creative thinking as well as making good use of your space. Every design element should have a purpose and be functional in some way or another to create a space-saving sanctuary. With the surge in small-space dwelling we are finding that many retailers have introduced designs that cater to the small space dwellers. Take for example Victoria + Albert, a company that is completely on trend with their extraordinary collection of freestanding tubs designed for a smaller footprint without compromising on luxury.

Though your space is smaller, custom vanities can make a large impact in your bathroom. There are many benefits to going the custom route for your vanity; primarily it affords you the option of maximizing the functionality and usage of your space while still injecting an abundance of style. The finishes you select are also key to enhancing the highend, luxe feel of a “spa-like” retreat. Whether you decide on the trendy matte black finish for your faucets and fittings, or the always classic brushed nickel you are sure to find that the selections are endless. Wallmount faucets are always a great option. Though sometimes a bit tricky in a condo setting, they can deliver large on style. Today’s tile options are also quite inspirational in creating an upscale look for your new bath space. Whether you are drawn to the bold patterns of encaustic cement tiles or the simplicity of a basic white subway tile you are sure to find your creativity jogged by what you may find.

Style and luxury is not determined by the size of your space, but the design. Be inspired by all that you see, but also be realistic about your space and your budget. A good bathroom design will be able to deliver all that your heart desires while creating for you a wonderfully luxurious, relaxing and inviting room that reflects your individuality and needs for years to come.


  • Select appropriately sized bathroom fixtures for your small space, and don’t feel that a larger scaled tile cannot be used in a smaller bathroom.
  • Investigate the benefits of a well designed custom vanity vs a pre-fab, for small space bathroom design the custom approach may be the way to go to maximize the efficiency of your space.
  • A separate soaker tub and shower may be what you desire, but it’s just not be a realistic approach for your space …plan well and ensure you make wise choices.
  • Set a realistic budget. Some believe that since the bathroom is a small area it will not cost a lot to renovate. On the contrary. Once you start looking at all the options available to you, whether in tile, fixtures or storage you might be surprised at what is out there and how much it can cost.
Linda Mazur is an award-winning, nationally publicized designer and Principal of Linda Mazur Design Group.

With almost two decades of experience this in demand multi-disciplinary design firm is known for creating relaxed stylish spaces and full-scale design builds within Toronto, the GTA and throughout Canada.



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Design 101: Made-To-Measure

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Design 101: Made-To-Measure

This baby bungalow gets a major function and style boost

By Cynthia Soda

Photography By Jason Hartog

It’s (now) safe to say that there’s no place like home for our newlywed clients, whose 1950s bungalow was in desperate need of updates in both style and function. What was once a “well-loved” piece of Toronto real estate is now a fresh, functional home, bursting with colour and personality on the inside.


It’s not about the amount of space you have, but what you do with it that makes the difference. When we attack a design project, we tend to think of each space as a puzzle. As soon as the pieces all fit together, we have the basis to add the fun to the function. With the main floor at a scant 710 square feet, our small space included a front entrance, side entrance and stairwell (with landing), kitchen, living room, dining room, two bedrooms and a main bathroom. Each space was separated into zones of use, which created small rooms that weren’t conducive to the homeowners’ modern living requirements. To add to the challenge, there were architectural elements in place (like the stairwell opening taking up valuable kitchen cupboard space) that provided some opportunities to get creative with design solutions.

“It’s not about the amount of space you have, but what you do with it that makes the difference.”


The main concern was squeezing every functional ounce out of the available space and making it more personal and reflective of their style. Taking down the walls between the kitchen, entrance and main living zones meant not only opening the rooms to optimal light, it also provided the opportunity for a considerably large island (given the square footage) and customized cabinets to house every kitchen utensil and small appliance the couple owned, and then some. Removing the walls between the dining and living area also meant that we were able to incorporate a large sectional, comfortable lounge chair and a cosy dining area with room to grow.


For many, adding colour to an interior can be a scary thing. If you have a small space, it can seem even scarier. Since colours may evoke an emotional response, most tend to worry that they’ll tire or get bored of the colour, or that it won’t be “timeless” and they’ll have to re-do everything in a couple of years. Incorporating a grey-blue and white scheme provided a twist on a neutral canvas that makes the vibrant colour accents pop throughout the space. The blue tone of the cabinet colour is amplified with the blue-glass backsplash providing contrast and balances against the wood tones of the floor and counter stools. A designated space for wine bottles and glasses was also an important feature for our clients, offering an opportunity to integrate glass uppers, adding a bit of sparkle to the kitchen.


The main bathroom maintained its existing footprint, which included a narrow vanity and sink, but the custom-designed cabinets maximized the amount of cubic footage and storage capacity for toiletries and extra linens. The conversation-starting, black-andwhite hexagon floor tile is a casual nod to the era of the home, and provides the basis to incorporate yet another opportunity for colour.

While it is true that styles are constantly evolving, it is important to design with function and form in mind. When styles change, or your tastes evolve, you can buy new cushion covers, swap out the rug, the accessories (even have your cabinets re-painted) but as long as the layout works, you will always have a home that is equal parts stylish and functional, no matter the square footage.


CUSTOM CABINETRY: Designed by Sodapop design, built by Colclo Custom Woodworking; LIGHT FIXTURES: Wayfair; FLOORS: Maple Sandstone; PAINT: Cabinets Chantilly Lace & Flint, WALLS: Wickham Gray, Benjamin Moore

Cynthia Soda is owner, principal interior designer of Soda Pop Design Inc., a multi-disciplinary interior design firm providing complete custom renovation and design services for residential and commercial clients throughout the GTA. Soda Pop Design Inc. focuses on merging the client’s lifestyle, personality and architecture to create customized, liveable luxury. sodapopdesign.ca Instagram: @ csodapop, Twitter: @sodapopdesign


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