Tag Archives: ensuite bathroom


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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