Designer Leanne McKeachie combines period details with modern aesthetics in an elegant ensuite.
On the outskirts of downtown Victoria sits a designated heritage building constructed in 1907 by architect David Herbert Bale as his personal home and workshop. After stints as a health-care facility and an office space, the building has now been returned to its roots as a luxury live-work space for a businessman working in the financial industry. The upper floor is for living, while the main floor houses the owner’s business office. Designer Leanne McKeachie and her client worked hard to preserve the architect’s original aesthetic, deftly merging modern conveniences with period-appropriate detailing. Nowhere is the attentiveness to detail more evident than in the home’s master bathroom.
At a Glance
Who lives here: A businessman in the financial industry Location: Victoria, B.C. Size: 144 square feet (13.4 square meters) Designer: Leanne McKeachie Design
After more than a century of revolving ownership, the bathroom still retained most of its historical trappings, including a beautiful stained-glass window. In an effort to keep the bathroom’s historic character, the original scope of the project involved simply replacing the shower, but the project quickly grew. For the shower, the homeowner wanted a curbless entry and a linear drain, so the team restructured the floor to create the appropriate slope. Though the original floor tile was in a state of disrepair and could not be salvaged, McKeachie snagged a nearly identical style to replace it with. The shower walls are clad in faux marble tile from Neolith. The man-made material is less porous than marble and therefore better suited to wet-room applications. The bathtub and pedestal sink came from a historic hotel in Victoria and had been in the house for decades. They were really worn, but McKeachie and her preservation-minded client chose to revive them. “You can’t find original cast-iron fixtures like that anymore,” McKeachie says. So they re-enameled the tub, removed the feet and had them re-plated in brass. The tub’s drain drillings wouldn’t accommodate today’s standard fixtures, so McKeachie had the original drillings patched over, re-enameled and relocated. The pedestal sink was as much an exercise in detailed preservation as the tub. In its original condition, it was too low to comfortably use, so McKeachie had it set on a wooden platform and enameled both pieces as one unit. Looking at it now, you’d never know it wasn’t all cast iron. The mirror behind the sink was custom-framed for the space and, along with the room’s light fixtures, pulls together the black details in the floor tile and the lead of the stained-glass window. Barely perceptible in this photo is a recessed medicine cabinet nested within the drywall. It's on the wall to the right of the sink and opens with a touch latch—no need for protrusive hardware. This corner of the room was completely reimagined. Before, it was just an exposed niche for a stackable washer and dryer, so making the area more discreet was a top objective. McKeachie bumped out the niche and added a door to hide the stackable washer and dryer. To the left of the door, an additional niche features open shelves and a cabinet below. The cabinet includes a pullout countertop for ironing and a space for a laundry basket. The elegant new door hardware is almost an exact match to the antique brass knobs found elsewhere in the home.
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