Smaller With Style – A Bathroom Renovation

For the last year, my husband and I have been immersed in a large-scale renovation on our ranch-style home. It all started with the removal of our carport, and it progressed into the addition of an attached two-car garage, mudroom/laundry room, kitchen addition and bathroom renovation. In this post, I will share with you the progress and completion of the bathroom renovation, and in future posts, I will describe other parts of our home renovation project.

The design plan – smaller with style

Our plans to create a larger, well laid out kitchen involved making this bathroom smaller as they shared a common wall.  We moved the wall between the two rooms 16 inches into the bathroom space, meaning the bathtub was moved to the end wall by the window. That left the space for a vanity/countertop to became about 1/3 of its original size.

Figure 1 Layout: before on the left and after on the right. Not to scale

Figure 1 Layout: before on the left and after on the right. Not to scale

We already had a BainUltra therapy bathtub, which was purchased at a clearance sale years ago at CANTU Bathrooms and Hardware and let’s just say, I’ve been waiting a very long time to use this bathtub.

For the new floor tile, I really had no idea what style, shape or colour I wanted, but I knew that when I saw it I would know. Isn’t that true for a lot of our decorating decisions? My clients are way better at telling me what they don’t like than what they do like.

I went to Tierra Sol in Burnaby to start my search for tile inspiration and there’s where I found both the floor tile and the wall tile for the shower. I couldn’t believe that I found what I wanted the first time out! Honestly, that rarely happens.

Floor tile – Candia di Cava hex tile with the shower wall tile and Godmorgen IKEA cabinet door.

Floor tile – Candia di Cava hex tile with the shower wall tile and Godmorgen IKEA cabinet door.

The tiling process

Here is a progress photo after the hexagon floor tile was installed.

Floor tiles not grouted

Once all the tile was installed we had to pick the grout colour. Here’s a tip to remember when selecting grout for your next tiling project: when grout is installed and dried, it ends up looking lighter than the grout sample.

tile and grout

Shower niche

Once the shower walls were grouted, we had the tiler finish off the bottom of the niche and window sill with a custom cut piece of quartz. Using quartz for your ledge allows you to customize the depth/width of your sill. We opted for a slightly deeper surface, great for the larger size shampoo/conditioner bottles that we tend to buy.    

niche with blue accent


Door or no door?

Another decision we had to make was whether we wanted shower doors or a shower curtain. The tub is used mostly for relaxing and soaking, and many styles of doors can make an awkward configuration. We didn’t want to go with a frameless glass door as this would mean that there would be a stationary panel on the edge where the controls are. With that configuration, we wouldn’t be able to reach around it to turn on the water to fill the tub without having to step into the tub. Also, I just wasn’t feeling the love for the by-pass shower door systems because that would mean there would be a frame on the edge of the tub. So we opted for a shower curtain and I love how the fabric of the curtain adds softness to the bathroom.

The choice of going with a self-assembly flat-pack vanity instead of a custom one was based on the budget for the most part; and, if I’m being truthful, that other part was because I was tired of making decisions. When you are renovating, the amount of decisions you have to make is exhausting isn’t it? I can see why people hire interior decorators/designers when they renovate their homes. 😉

We decided on the Ikea Godmorgen sink vanity in the walnut finish. What this piece lacks in size relative to our old vanity, it makes up for in simplicity and ease of assembly and installation.

Floating vanity cabinet from IKEA

Floating vanity from IKEA

The Aquabrass hand shower/tub filler set was another item purchased at CANTU.  Since the tub was mostly going to be used for soaking in, I wanted a hand shower (instead of a stationary rain shower) which makes for easy tub cleaning.

shower rail set

 Bathroom renovation completed

Bathroom renovation completed

We are very happy with this small bathroom renovation. As intended, the new tub is wonderful for long, relaxing soaks. The space feels fresh and modern, while still fitting with the style of our 60’s rancher-style home.

Are you dreaming of a bathroom renovation or bathroom makeover? A great way to start is to book a consultation with a design professional and an idea book of bathroom photos and products that you love.

For more inspiration, check out my bathroom inspiration ideabook on Houzz or my dream Bathroom board on Pinterest.



7 Tips to personalize your bathroom

When it comes to our bathrooms, most of us have a pretty good idea of what we would like our bathrooms to look like, but in reality that dream doesn’t just happen overnight. Whether you are renovating or cosmetically updating your bathroom, making a plan is the first step to ensuring you will get the look you want, the function of the space you need, and the emotional reaction you’ve been dreaming of. An important part of this process is knowing how to implement your personal style into your bathroom that will help take the look from store vignette to private home spa.

Here are my ideas for creating that presence:

1)      Create a soothing atmosphere. This can be done to fit anyone’s budget by painting your walls a soothing colour – one that you love and find relaxing. It might be a sky blue like Benjamin Moore’s Whispering Spring 2136-70. Complete the look by painting your cabinet and trim in a soft white or linen colour like Ivory White CC 130.


2)      Take it up a notch. Upgrade your counter top to a white quartz or marble for a clean, opulent look.  An added upgrade that can be DIY is to change up your cabinet hardware with a new style ranging from whimsical, to round glass knobs to shiny chrome square pulls.

3)      Trade up. Replacing your taps and faucet can bring your bathroom from the late 90’s to the current decade. A bathroom fixture manufacturer like Dornbracht has clean, soft geometrical shaped fixtures that will certainly make your bathroom feel stylized with luxury in mind.


4)       Introduce texture. If you are doing a complete renovation in your bathroom, I recommend spending a decent amount of your budget on quality, neutral materials that will not date in style or durability. Within that neutral palette, allow yourself some play with texture and pattern when planning your floor and wall tile layout.

Avalon Interiors

5)      Personalize your reflection by customizing your vanity mirror or mirrors. You can frame your existing mirror with crown moulding or replace it with a mirror in a decorative frame. A designer tip is to go tall and narrow with the mirror shape so you heighten the look of the room.

6)      Light it up. Add LED strip lighting on the toe kick of your bathroom cabinet so you can have ambient lighting while soaking in the bath.


7)      Accessorize! If you have space, add a furniture item like a chair or a stool to bring softness and comfort into your hard surfaced bathroom. And other accoutrements like candles, framed art, matching baskets, potted plants and window dressings will add finishing touches to transform your bathroom from blah and boring to a personalized charming retreat.

Following these decorator tips will make the function of your bathroom be the highlight of your home with it’s appearance of comfort, style and calming emotion.

If you are thinking of renovating your bathroom and are feeling overwhelmed with the multitude of choices, consider hiring a professional to help you with your planning and design.

Contact us here for our fee schedule and design services.