How much calm and serenity do we need in our lives right now? So. Much. And a beautifully designed bathroom is just the place to grab a few minutes’ worth. Create your own home spa with these tips from the West’s best designers.
Photo by Tracey AytonMake the tub the star, not an afterthought
What do you give a clothing designer who specializes in low-key, comfortable luxury? A master ensuite to match. Donni Rae Edmondson, founder of @styleforthepriv and mother of three (with a fourth now on the way) was looking for a place to “get away from the craziness” when she approached Gregory Funk, co-owner and lead designer at Interiors by Peridot, to design her new home. “When we met, we talked for two hours about our lives and barely even talked about the project,” says Funk. “We just hit it off right away.”
The pair quickly zeroed in on a shared design dream for the ensuite, inspired by Edmondson’s favourite Mexican resort, Cabo Azul. “It’s this comfortable luxury, low-key Cali chic kind of vibe,” says Funk. “Everything should feel effortless.” So in came the planked bleached white oak for a light, airy and super natural look, but the expansive floor plan needed a dramatic anchor to pull the room together. Using Edmondson’s manufacturing connections, Funk commissioned a custom round tub from natural black stone to be the crown jewel of the space. “We didn’t want a little tub that felt like it was floating in the middle of the room,” says Funk. “We wanted it to be really obnoxious.”
Photo by Joel KlassenMake your powder room a calling card
Calgary interior designer Amanda Hamilton cut her teeth in the restaurant industry, and designing conversation-starting washrooms was her signature move. “I’ve always loved to design in a way that inspires people to come back to the table and say, ‘Check out the washrooms!’” she says.
With residential projects, her attitude remains the same: the powder room is the perfect chance to break the mould and have some fun. “It’s an experience that can stand on its own without having to think about how it speaks to the rest of the space,” she says. “We also have fewer restrictions than a washroom, where people are showering or putting on makeup, so we can play around with light, reflection, materials and pattern in a way that is bolder and bigger.”
For this Calgary powder room, in the home of a young family with two kids, Hamilton installed a showstopper of a wallpaper from Khroma, featuring bold, contrasting colours and gingko flowers, alongside a custom marble vanity and glam alabaster-and-gold wall sconces. “I love going wild and bold in this room,” says the designer. “Why not make a statement?”
Photo by Jon AdrianTake basic tile to the next level
On paper, a wall covered in 3-by-12 white tiles might sound pretty but plain; in
practice, it’s downright playful—at least under interior designer Tori Palynchuk’s hand. “We wanted something impactful, but still simple,” says Palynchuk, who designed the master bathroom in her parents’ new home in Kelowna last year in collaboration with Fawdry Homes. Here, simple white tiles are placed in alternating vertical and
horizontal blocks, all accentuated with black grout.
These same tiles are used in the steam shower, arranged vertically on the wall and in the same topsy-turvy pattern on the ceiling. Taken together, it’s minimalist but playful, timeless and textural… anything but basic.
Photo by Gabriel HallThink off the wall
The large window in the master bathroom of a condo in Vancouver’s False Creek neighbourhood provides plenty of light, but also takes away valuable wall space. “We had to get a bit creative with the towel bar situation,” says Michelle Miazga-Hall, principal of Port and Quarter. Custom ceiling-mounted towel bars crafted by local makers at New Format Studio were the designer’s fashionable and functional solution. Coupled with the bathroom’s hexagonal flooring and black mirror details, the hanging towel rack is a minimalist solution with maximum cool factor. “Our goal was to make a strong artistic and architectural statement with just a little bit of geometry,” says Miazga-Hall.
Photo by Eymeric WidlingPlay with pattern and texture in tile
There’s a lot of luxe in this room. The homeowner wasn’t afraid of taking risks and loved pattern, notes designer Kevin Mitchell of Mitchell Design House. She fell in love with those Kilim floor tiles right from the get go, and he encouraged her to pair them with a piece of architectural salvage from Northern China that he discovered at Calgary’s Wu and McHugh—a wooden screen that separates the Wetstyle bath from the commode. The vertical tiles on the wall above the bath are intentionally quieter, but they’re just as beautiful. “They’re my cheap date secret,” laughs Mitchell. “You don’t have to break the bank on the tilework for it to look cool.” Two sizes of the same tile are alternated in a vertical stacking pattern, and contrasting grout allows the design to pop. “It’s an easy way to add a subtle, visual emphasis and pattern in a room,” says Mitchell.
Photo by Joel KlassenCreate a niche for your shampoo bottles (but make it glam too)
There’s a little Vegas inspiration in this Calgary bathroom designed by Aly Velji and Katie Mooney of Alykhan Velji Designs and Alloy Homes. Floor-to-ceiling black porcelain tile with marbled veining is paired with brushed brass fixtures in the shower, but it gets an extra hit of glam thanks to that niche that runs all the way across, lined with a swath of brass honeycomb tile. “Not only does it add visual texture,” says Velji, “but it’s super fun and very glam. The tile backs the niche in the shower, so it’s perfect for storing shampoos and soap.” In the rest of the room, the black-and-brass theme is strong, but the choice of millwork—pale, flat-front white oak cabinets that line the wall—tempers the cool treatment. “We opted to forgo going the sleek and modern route by choosing warm, white oak cabinetry,” says Velji. “It adds another layer to the space and helps to make it feel more inviting.