Tag Archives: bathrooms

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.

MULTI-BATHROOM 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.

ENTRY ACCESS

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.

FUNCTIONAL LAYOUT

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.

MAKE ROOM FOR FIXTURES

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.

LONG-LASTING FINISHES

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.

eurodale.ca

@eurodalehomes

(416) 782-5690


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PRODUCT SHOWCASE: Bathrooms

PRODUCT SHOWCASE: Bathrooms

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PRODUCT SHOWCASE: Bathrooms

by Rise Levy

A Total Transformation

Bathroom fixtures continue to transform, knocking off what we believe is a typical shower or a faucet, transforming the space and adding character. Current trends fuse unique contemporary designs with eye catching finishes that are not simply for looks, but offers value. Rose gold, Antique gold, Matte Black are some of the popular bathroom fixtures offered at Amati Canada.

AMATI CANADA

AmatiCanada.com

A Perfect Balance

Riobel is proud to present its newest powder room collection: Ciclo, a perfect balance between technical and design aspects in faucetry. The faucets in this new collection is offered in four finishes: chrome, brushed chrome, brushed gold and black, with three different types of handles: plain, fluted and knurled.

RIOBEL

Momenti.Riobel.ca

Large Format Porcelain Tiles

Laminam large format porcelain slabs in 1×3 and 1.62×3.24 meters are a great solution for bathroom surfaces and fireplace surroundings, due not only to their aesthetic beauty but also great technical performance, such as heat resistance, chemical resistance, ease in cleaning and minimal grout lines on walls. Shown here, Laminam Pietra di Savoia Bocciardata slabs in 5.6mm and 12mm thickness, on the vanity countertop and around the mirror.

STONE-TILE

stone-tile.com

Pretty Practical

Soapstone is an excellent choice for bathroom countertops and sinks because it is non-porous and, therefore, resistant to stains and bacteria. Soapstone does not require chemical sealants and withstands extreme temperatures. The natural-honed matte finish and silky smooth texture give this stone a timeless elegance and beauty.

GREENSVILLE SOAPSTONE COMPANY

GreensvilleSoapstone.com

An Affordable Way to Spa Everyday

The Delta HydroRain Two-in-One Shower Head installs in minutes with no special plumbing needed. Once installed, it provides you with a luxurious shower experience and complete control over your water with a pivoting raincan and the option to use the raincan on its own, the shower head on its own, or both together. Available at kitchen and bath showrooms, select retailers and online across Canada.

MASCO CANADA

MascoCanada.com

Express Unique Style

X-Tile is sure to have whatever you need to express your unique individual style. They offer you an exceptional variety of wall and flooring options in ceramic, porcelain, natural stone, glass, mosaic and much more, from leading suppliers around the world. Open seven days a week at three spacious showrooms located conveniently near you. Let their knowledgeable and friendly staff help you in your dream renovation or building project.

X-TILE CANADA

X-Tile.net

Timeless & Elegant

Special thought went into the details of this bathroom renovation designed and executed by Tapestry Decor. The classic marble used for the floors and walls adds texture, and the Caesarstone blizzard white used for the countertop on this custom floating vanity adds not only elegance but function for the space.

TAPESTRY DECOR

TapestryDecor.ca

Keeping Glass Clean & Clear

Luxclear Protect is AGC’s new anti-corrosion glass. Designed for a wide variety of applications, both commercial and residential, this coating technology is primarily used for shower enclosures to keep the glass looking clean and clear longer — protecting the homeowner’s investment long-term. The product comes with a Limited Lifetime Warranty.

AGC GLASS NORTH AMERICA

AGCGlass.com


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rc_apr25_2018_fi

Where Are They Now? Part 3 of 5

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Where Are They Now? Part 3 of 5

Details Renovations
Location: London, Ont.
Employees: 3
Annual Revenue: $325,000
Appeared in: May/June 2013

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This six-year-old business is seeing growth, and branching out. Recently, owner Sherri Player has been delving into commercial work. And loving it.

“The profit margins are bigger,” she says. Most recently, she built a 4,000-sq.-ft. bridal studio. And she built out a London location for the chain H&R Block.

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On the residential side, things are moving along well too, with some kitchens, bathrooms, and a retrofitting of an entire apartment, complete with structural work.

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But Player has also become increasingly connected to the local community. She’s now working with a nonprofit group called Pathways that gives youth a chance to learn new skills. She’s taken on an intern from that program, who worked with her in the field.

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This spring, she’ll be launching a partnership with a local blogger who does DIY projects at a site called 100 Things 2 Do. The plan: Player will draft up a simple woodworking project on SketchUp and blogger Shelly Shepherd, who also lives in London, will build it. Player plans to launch a blog to coincide with the ongoing project to draw customers to her site.

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Backing up these and other new marketing and networking plans are Player’s longtime commitment to customer service and excellence. Now a parent with two young children, she’s more aware than ever of how renovations impact her clients, and she’s intent on being safe, efficient, and clean. “I try to treat every home like it’s my home and my kids are living in it.”

—By Diane Peters

 

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Quick Bathroom Makeover that wont' Break the Bank

Quick bathroom makeover ideas that won’t break the bank

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Quick bathroom makeover ideas that won’t break the bank

by Madisyn McKee

Looking to refresh some spaces in your home? Consider these bathroom makeover ideas that won’t cost you an arm and a leg

It’s common knowledge that there are two things you can renovate in a house to increase its value; the kitchen or your bathrooms. There is no coincidence that they are also the two most expensive rooms to renovate.

While you could easily shell out thousands to replace your bathroom and give it an upgrade, you don’t have to. There are lots of options that can make it look like a completely new space. Here are a few:

Paint

This is probably the most obvious and the easiest in terms of upgrades for a bathroom. Finding the right paint for your room can make all the difference. Choose a colour that suits the room.

Light colours work best for smaller rooms that can often feel dark. If you plan on using white or light features for your bathroom, consider a darker, warmer colour. Greys, blues or greens are the most common colours for bathroom spaces.

Vanity

A relatively easy change you can make to the bathroom for a few hundred dollars is the vanity. Often it’s the size of the vanity that will determine the choice you should make. You should also consider how much storage space you’ll be looking for. If you are not a person that holds a lot of items in your bathroom, a simple vanity will do.

Lighting

Adding in a simple lighting piece can make a big difference in a small room. Look for a statement piece like a beautiful chandelier to really brighten up the room and add to the overall aesthetic. Just be sure to use your existing light sockets, otherwise your costs can add up if you have to bring in an electrician to make some changes.

Re-tile

The great thing about a bathroom makeover means there is less square footage to have to worry about. If you are handy, consider adding new tiles around the bathtub or even the walls. New floor tiles can set you back only a couple hundred dollars but change what the room looks like entirely.

Little touches

Don’t underestimate how much the little things can make a difference. Updating the colours of your towels or shower curtain can change the way a small room like the bathroom looks quite a bit. Consider adding statement pieces like a gold or brass faucet. Adding shelves in the room can make a great place for other statement pieces without taking away from usable space.

For a few hundred dollars you can easily changes what your bathroom looks like and give it the refresher that it needs.

Madisyn is a freelance writer and social media obsessed traveller based out of Toronto. Always looking for her next adventure but glued to her phone, you can contact her at madi@therestlessworker.com or visit her at therestlessworker.com


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Luxurious Gold

Luxurious Gold

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Luxurious Gold

by Linda Mazur

Synonymous with luxury and opulence, the colour gold has been enjoying a resurgence as of late. This is not the brassy yellow gold of decades past, but a fresh revitalized look of gold that not only gives this metallic colour a new lease on life but also gives the design world an inspiring playful element.

Florin shower fixture Victoria + Albert
Florin shower fixture Victoria + Albert

Metallic finishes are always a distinctive element in design and décor. They are easy to incorporate into any space and often can be the heart of the design. Metals can inspire creativity or simply be the finishing touches to your space. When looking to design a “spa-like” bathroom retreat, consider adding a bit of gold for that luxe-look. One “gold-toned” finish that definitely deserves some attention is un-lacquered brass: warm, less formal than polished nickel, less typical than chrome. Unlacquered brass has an organic, unparalleled finish that is sometimes referred to as a “living finish”. Due to the absence of the lacquer, this durable solid brass finish is able to naturally age over time and develop a beautiful patina of colour and unique texture unique. It offers a beautifully aged slightly antiqued look. Un-lacquered brass can complement a modern design, work with rustic influences or add oldworld charm to a traditional space.

Shropshire clawfoot slipper tub by Victoria + Albert
Shropshire clawfoot slipper tub by Victoria + Albert

When creating a high-end bathroom oasis, functionality, durability and comfort are just as important as selecting finishes that offer a level of timelessness. Your faucets are not only the “jewellery” in your bathroom, they are also one of the hardest working elements sustaining a large amount of daily use and abuse; as such, quality is of the utmost importance.

Metals can inspire creativity or simply be the finishing touches to your space.

As we know, sourcing reliable and reputable faucets for sinks, baths and showers can be a significant part of the design process; and knowledge is an important part of making the right selections for your project. Take the time to understand the practical elements of your selections, from water pressure, and ease of cartridge replacement, to warranties and faucet repair or replacement, there can be several deciding factors when making your final choice. Another factor you may want to consider in your decision-making process is installation. For example, exposed shower systems have gained notoriety as of late and may prove to be a simpler installation option for your project. In this case, the mixers are combined with the temperature and pressure components of the shower and are located on the exterior of the shower wall usually in unison with the shower head.

Bathroom sink, Lario 100 Volo by Victoria + Albert
Bathroom sink, Lario 100 Volo by Victoria + Albert

Whether wall mount, single lever, vintage inspired or more modern and streamlined, your selection can be the difference between a moderately successful bathroom design and renovation, or a truly remarkable one.

The following are important tips to keep in mind when selecting your bathroom faucets:

  • To avoid delays or additional costs decide early on in the renovation process if you are wanting counter top or wall mounted faucets as this is critical when your plumbing rough-ins are being completed. Also, consult with your contractor or plumber if you’re looking to situate plumbing on exterior walls.
  • Touchless faucets require electrical mechanisms that mount under the countertop. Often, the sink does not allow for enough room to accommodate them.
  • Wall hung sinks and floating countertops can be great, but ensure that any exposed plumbing is well constructed and metallic pea traps are used. All too often, contractors install plastic ones and they become unsightly focal pointed when construction is complete.
  • Select the best quality faucets from reputable suppliers that the budget permits to ensure longevity, durability and maintainability.

 

Linda Mazur is a 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.

LindaMazurDesign.com

@LindaMazurGroup



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Bathroom Bliss

Bathroom Bliss

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Bathroom Bliss

by Linda Mazur

Bathrooms are traditionally one of the smallest rooms in your home, and have long been simply a functional space that never garnered much attention.  However, today bathrooms are becoming elevated to highly stylized spaces that not only evoke personal taste but customized lavishness.

Whether it’s a “spa-like” retreat you’re after or a timeless, classic design that is big on functionality, today’s bathrooms are delivering large on luxury.  Beautiful porcelain tiles that create stylish patterns on your floors and walls, quartz countertops, custom cabinetry designed to fulfil all your storage needs, elegant soaker tubs that not only deliver on beauty and style but comfort and relaxation…these are the makings of a luxurious bathroom oasis.  However, a good bathroom design isn’t just about style, it’s also about functionality.  It doesn’t matter if your bathroom is large or small, if you prefer a charming rustic look or something more refined, when you’re looking to renovation your bathroom your design should bring together all that is the best of what you envision while still maintaining the needs of day-to-day living.

With all that is available to us today, it’s easy to be inspired.  The tile selections are endless from tile that looks like wood, to metallic finishes, to art-deco influenced tile pattern; it’s enough to make your head spin.  And then, there’s your bathroom faucets and fittings?  It used to be that chrome was the way to go, however, today we have options available from trending unlacquered brass, from respected design forward company Victoria + Albert to matte blacks and coppers.

Victoria + Albert, vandabath.com
Victoria + Albert, vandabath.com

Needless to say, today’s bathrooms are no longer just a practical space, they are rooms with character and personality that are intended as much for general usage as they are for relaxation.

Here are a few tips to keep in mind when planning your bathroom renovation:

  • Do some research and create a realistic budget, though it’s a small room, a bathroom renovation tends to be more expensive than many believe
  • Look to purchase the best quality your budget allows one of my favourite overall brands for quality and design is Victoria + Albert
  • As your tub is intended for relaxation so when shopping get in it and check out the comfort level

Come meet me at the Fall Home Show on main stage with designer Kate Davidson this Friday, September 15, 2017 at 2pm -3pm talking all about bathroom design.

****Also visit me at the RENO & DECOR booth # 1319 this Friday, September 15th from  3pm-5pm; and Saturday, September 16th from 11am – 1pm.

Check here for all of the times and event details.


Linda Mazur is a 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.

lindamazurdesign.com

@LindaMazurGroup



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Design/Build Expert: Bathroom Basics

Design/Build Expert: Bathroom Basics

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Design/Build Expert: Bathroom Basics

by Brendan Charters

Standard features with an eye towards the future

The earliest records of baths date back to 3000 BC. In 5,000 years, the basic need for bathing has not changed tremendously, though the frequency of use of this societal norm has increased and so has our expectations of this essential space. The technological revolution is also helping to shift our expectations of what we encounter when we enter these rooms. When thinking of these spaces, virtually every aspect of these rooms can be categorized into two main segments.

HIGH STANDARDS: Heated floors, steam showers, stone and glass tile, custom niches and cabinets are all perceived luxuries we see as standard or basic features in most projects today. Photography by Valerie Wilcox.
HIGH STANDARDS: Heated floors, steam showers, stone and glass tile, custom niches and cabinets are all perceived luxuries we see as standard or basic features in most projects today. Photography by Valerie Wilcox.

DEGREES OF DISCRETION

The first is privacy. Powder rooms on the main floor must never open directly into the dining, kitchen or even living rooms. The expectation is growing that these rooms have some level of sound attenuation to them, with solid-core doors and sound insulation, and even sound-board drywall. Stack drains are also frequently being insulated. Pocket doors, while functional at saving space, do little to conceal what is occurring beyond the door. Quiet ventilation fans are nice when located as an ensuite feature, yet noisier fans can come in handy when trying to cancel other sounds. In many ensuite bathrooms, we are noticing a resurgence of more formal water closets, giving the toilet its own space for its own function, resulting in a more spa-like experience for the rest of the bathroom, and allowing for more comfortable multi-user scenarios.

EXCUSE ME The fortress of solitude-or—enclosed water closet—is a luxury few think about, but all fall in love with when they realize the functionality. Photography by Valerie Wilcox.
EXCUSE ME The fortress of solitude-or—enclosed water closet—is a luxury few think about, but all fall in love with when they realize the functionality. Photography by Valerie Wilcox.

COMFORT ZONE

The second is comfort. Comfort is a highly subjective term, and one which we internally frame in different ways, depending on our personal situation and lifestyle experience, as well as needs. While 10 years ago, I would have thought comfort includes a shower with multiple body sprayers, a Kohler steam shower, heated floors, marble-tile finishes and a Toto washlet (a toilet with a heated seat, built-in bidet and blow dryer function—who needs toilet paper?!). Now, in 2017, I think of accessibility, critically positioned grab bars, wide doorway entrances, curbless showers, floating vanities, occupant-sensing lights, and moisture-sensing fans. When we are healthy and able-bodied, bathrooms fill dream and Pinterest boards with spa-like set-ups, rich finishes, mountain or seaside views and candles. When loved ones around us (or even ourselves) are not physically well, the access to and simple usability of a washroom becomes the most basic of needs, that if not designed and built with access restrictions in mind, can become an unattainable and non-functioning space, forcing them out of the home.

CAUTION–CURB AHEAD Regardless of the quality of finishes, if you are unable to get in to, or out of, a shower safely and easily, it can render a beautiful bathroom, useless. Photography by Andrew Snow.
CAUTION–CURB AHEAD Regardless of the quality of finishes, if you are unable to get in to, or out of, a shower safely and easily, it can render a beautiful bathroom, useless. Photography by Andrew Snow.

PREPARE FOR THE FUTURE

In recent years, I have noticed more and more clients planning for the dream of aging in place, or simply being able to return home, versus staying in hospital or a long-term care facility. With personal family and friends being forced to undue prior expensive cosmetic renovations in order to make an existing bathroom an accessible place, it definitely makes me pause and think about what the new era of standard features in a bathroom should be. Even if only needed for temporary injury or rehabilitation, an accessible bathroom in every home should become a basic need, one which I bet our Baby Boomer generation will push for in upcoming building code revisions. Forget your spa experience (for now)—let’s create spaces that everyone can use and benefit from for the long term—so we can all stay at home if we want to, no matter the health circumstance.

Lastly, and most importantly, before undertaking a renovation project in your own home, start your search at the home for the Professional Renovator at renomark.ca, where the top licensed and insured contractors can be found in Canada, from coast to coast. Happy Renovating!

Brendan Charters is co-owner of Toronto Design-Build Firm Eurodale Developments – 2016 BILD Renovator of the Year.

Visit eurodale.ca or follow Brendan on Twitter @EurodaleHomes



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Universal Design

Universal Design

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Universal Design

by Samantha Sannella

As our population ages and diversifies, demand on design professionals is growing. The following is an abbreviated checklist for applying Universal Design concepts to your solutions.

Lighting and Electricity

As we age, we need approximately 30% more light to see clearly. Provide an increased number of electrical outlets for extra lighting — especially in bedrooms. Mount electrical outlets at 18″ AFF and switches 48″ AFF. At bedside tables, mount outlets at nightstand height. Consider sourcing lighting that uses the same type of light bulb — ideally an LED one to minimize changing them.

In addition to good quality general lighting in the kitchen, under cabinet task lighting is very important.

Flooring

I cannot overstate the importance of non-slip flooring. While we all love a polished marble entry, an Ontario winter with muddy boots can cause a slip and fall accident. The bathroom is a frequent site of injuries; consequently non-slip flooring is important here as well. Mosiacs can work well in this situation. Between rooms, minimize the threshold as much as possible. Thresholds are difficult to navigate for persons in wheelchairs and with limited mobility. Moreover, carpet can be difficult for wheelchairs and area rugs must be secured thoroughly as they present a trip hazard.

Kitchens

When designing kitchens, ensure that appliances are easily operable and intuitive. Too many options can create problems! Easy to read controls are a must. Make sure that a high level of contrast is provided. Controls should also be glare free. Ergonomic controls that are easy to operate without hand strength are a must.

Induction cooktops are great. They only work via the magnetic connection between the cooktop and pot so when the pot is removed, the heat goes off. A ‘lock-out’ feature is a good addition that prevents children from accidentally turning the appliances on. When sourcing an oven, ensure that the racks are easy to remove and clean. Fail-safe features, such as automatic shut off, is great for cooktops, ovens and other appliances that can overheat.

Appliances that beep and or flash when on or opened are good for all of us, but especially the aged or those with children.

Ovens present a big problem for people without strength. I highly recommend a wall mounted oven rather than a range, as it is easier to control the height and hence, the lift strength needed to place and remove food. As well, a microwave with easy access to a shelf nearby is a good solution. Kitchen cabinets with knee space under sink or cooktop is a great idea. Additionally, an area where food preparation can be performed from a seated position is desirable.

Bottom mounted or side-by-side freezers are a better solution that the top mounted freezer, however, an ideal solution would be a separate fridge and freezer (both full width and height).

Dishwashers with top of door controls are an issue for people with limited visibility. They look great, but can be very difficult to read. When sourcing dishwashers, low decibel dishwashers are good for people with hearing impairments as background noises interfere with hearing aids.

Storage

Bar type pulls are much easier for persons with limited strength and touch-latch opening mechanisms are great options for everyone. It’s a good idea to offer a variety of storage options that are easily accessible. Shelves that roll out and drawers that are easy to pull are good options for all of us. No one really wants to get down on their knees to rummage through kitchen cabinets! For those pesky corners, Magic Corners that pull out and make use of all the space are truly a wonderful invention. There are many new and useful storage options available, included mechanized inserts that lower and raise shelves for upper cabinetry.

Washrooms

The best option for showers is curb-less with sliding doors. Swing doors are harder to maneuver around for the elderly or disabled people. It is always good to provide a vanity cabinet with knee space underneath. Suggest to your contractor to broadly applied blocking around inside walls, toilets, tubs and showers for grab bar installation. There are many new grab bars on the market that don’t look institutional.

Offset shower controls to avoid burning, bending, reaching and stretching. Under the showerhead is not ideal, as hot or cold water may shock the person. As always, anti-scald shower devices on plumbing fixtures are desirable.

Lever faucets in the kitchen and bath are a must. People with limited hand strength (this includes children) find circular dial type handles very difficult.

When renovating, it is common sense to put shut off valves at W/D, sinks and toilets; however, I still encounter many homes that don’t have them. This is a MUST! Relatively new on the North American market are toilet/bidet combination units or toilets that can include a washlet. I highly recommend these, as they make life much easier for people with limited mobility, broken limbs, aging population, illness, etc. And, as always, a 17″ or comfort height toilet is recommended. Especially useful is a wall-mounted toilet, as these make cleaning the floor a breeze.

Laundry Rooms

When planning laundry rooms, front loading machines with front mounted controls are preferred. Pedestal bases are preferable to raise the height. A nearby area for folding clothes and managing laundry is desirable, as is a place to hang-dry clothes.

Using Common Sense

Ease of Use, Size and Space for Approach of Use, Flexibility, Simple and Intuitive are established principles of Universal Design. However, a good dose of common sense will go a long way. Does it work for a child? Aging person? Would it work if you were pregnant? Or had a broken arm? When planning a renovation or new construction, ask yourself about the phases of your life and think forward to what you might require.

SAMANTHA SANNELLA, BFA ID, M ARCH, is a designer, educator and principal at Urban Retreat Homes and an internationally renowned expert in the field of design and architecture. She is a columnist for RENO&DECOR magazine and editor of the Ontario Design Trade Sourcebook.

urbanretreathomes.com


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Design: Bathroom Luxury in a Small Space

Design: Bathroom Luxury in a Small Space

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Design: Bathroom Luxury in a Small Space

by Linda Mazur

Many of us reside in what is considered a “small space.” Whether we are urbanites, condo dwellers or empty-nesters who have down-sized, we find that our square footage is at a premium.

However, just because we live in a slightly smaller footprint than perhaps our suburbanite counterparts doesn’t mean we must forgo a beautiful and luxurious aesthetic in our homes.

Bathrooms have been elevated from simply utilitarian rooms to highly stylized spaces that not only evoke personal taste but customized lavishness. Whether you desire a “spa-like” retreat or simply a classic look that is big on functionality, today’s bathrooms deliver large on luxury.

When working with a smaller footprint, design is as much about creative thinking as making good use of your space, which is enhanced by utilizing correctly sized products. With the surge in small-space dwelling we are finding that many retailers have introduced designs that cater to this population. 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.

Photo: Victoria+Albert tub courtesy of VandaBaths.com
Photo: Victoria+Albert tub courtesy of VandaBaths.com

Add to your bathroom design with a custom-made vanity that offers maximum storage while fitting your space correctly, and enhance it with any number of beautiful, durable and low-maintenance quartz countertops from Quartex Surfaces. To complete your elevated bathroom design, look to one of my go-to bathroom boutiques, Watermark, for a great selection of faucets and fixtures in many of the wonderful warm metal finishes we have been seeing to complete the look of your beautiful new space.

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.

Here are a few tips to keep in mind:

  • Set a realistic budget. As a designer I often find 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 today, whether in tile, fixtures or storage, you might be surprised at what is out there and how much it can cost. Do some investigating to see what the best options are for you, and look to working with a designer to maximize your bathroom design options.
  • When shopping for tile don’t be swayed into believing that because your room is small you must stay with a small-scaled tile. In fact, a simple large–scaled tile can produce a much simpler look in your bathroom. Also, tiles is a great way to add personality and charm to your design, so mix it up a bit and consider adding some pattern to your space.
  • Valuable dollars are often lost on incorrect purchases or poor scheduling; be wise when renovating and look for assistance from professionals to not only be efficient with your designs but your dollars.
Linda Mazur is a 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.

LindaMazurDesign.com

@LindaMazurGroup


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Small Space Bathroom Luxury

Small Space Bathroom Luxury

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Small Space Bathroom Luxury

by Linda Mazur

Many of us live in what is commonly considered “small spaces”, whether we are urbanites, condo dwellers or empty-nesters who have down-sized, we find that our square footage is now at a premium.  However, just because we live in a slightly smaller footprint than perhaps our suburbanite counterparts does not mean we must forgo a beautiful and luxurious aesthetic in our homes.

Small space design is about creative thinking as well as making good use of your space; which is enhanced by utilizing correctly sized products.  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.  Add to your bathroom design with a custom-made vanity that offers maximum storage while fitting your space correctly and enhance it with any number of beautiful, durable and low-maintenance quartz countertops from Quartex Surfaces.   To complete your elevated bathroom design, look to one of my go-to bathroom boutiques in the city Watermark, for a great selection of faucets and fixtures that will complement your space beautifully.

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.

If you’re considering creating a luxury bathroom for yourself this year, join me at the GTA Home and Reno Show, International Centre, where I’ll be discussing how to make the most of your upcoming bathroom renovation without compromising on luxury, style or functionality.

Splish Splash — Create A Luxurious Bath ! 

Saturday, February 18, 2017 @  5 pm
Monday, February 20, 2017 @ 1 pm

Presented by RENO & DECOR and Quartex Surfaces


Also, be sure to visit Linda at the Design Intervention booth #263 during the following times:

Friday, February 17, 2017 = 11 am – 2 pm
Saturday, February 18, 2017 = 2 pm – 4:30 pm
Sunday, February 19, 2017 = 3 pm – 5:30 pm
Monday, February 20, 2017 = 2 pm – 5 pm


Linda Mazur is a 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.

LindaMazurDesign.com, @LindaMazurGroup


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