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A heritage home in Victoria is returned to its original majestic design, with a spa-like bath thats full of modern conveniences.
First published in April 2012.Renovating a heritage home, like this one in the Uplands in Victoria, has its challenges. Tops on that list: there’s a good chance that it’s been renovated before (you get to be 100-plus years old, and someone’s changed their mind about something along the way). Many of the living spaces in this home had maintained their character—wall panelling, coffered ceilings, hardwood floors—but the kitchens and baths had been given an ’80s remake that was decidedly out of sync.Stephanie Brown of Vancouver’s McIntyre Brown came on board to bring this ensuite back to its original glamour. Jerusalem gold limestone for the floor and walls connects the space with the colour palette of the rest of the home: it’s a material repeated in the kitchen and the lower-level spa. Quarter-sawn oak, stained a rich dark walnut, provides elegant contrast in the custom cabinetry and heavy-framed mirrors. And to give the ensuite an extra-luxe nod, gold fixtures furnish the room—24 karat in the shower, and a French gold finish on the sconces, towel bars and hooks.Because a big, modern glass shower didn’t fit with the era of home, Brown didn’t want to play it up—so while the shower has all the modern conveniences (rainshower, body spray), it sits quietly behind a frosted glass door. “We wanted to do the best of what should have been done,” explains Brown, “to keep it functional and attractive for today—but to not have it date itself anytime soon.” Avoid overhead lighting in the bathroom. Downcast lights create unattractive shadows on the face; instead, opt for sconces on either side of the mirror—much better for applying makeup or shaving. Play up symmetry with carefully chosen materials. Frosted glass doors on either side of the bath lead to the steam room and shower on one side, and the water closet on the left, providing visual balance.