Soak It In: 10 Retreat-Like Bathrooms We Want—Nay, Need
It’s the ultimate splurge room, designed to make the morning routine a beautiful thing.
Beach House Vibe
The natural inspiration for this home in Crescent Beach, B.C., is of course, the waterfront it overlooks. But designer Robert Bailey wanted to elevate the typical beach house vibe with a careful selection of materials and a cool palette. “Maybe a little more dressed-up beach than casual beach,” he laughs. Wide-plank French oak floors and vaulted ceilings provide a warm and natural base to the room; luxe travertine tile lines the walls, and a freestanding Carrara marble bench in the shower provides a spot to drink it all in.
The Carrara marble counter has the appearance of a heavy Parsons table with its waterfall end gables—a statement piece in the room—while the millwork cabinetry underneath is set a distance below it, designed to feel like a furniture piece as well. And to welcome that beachy air into the space, the folding wall of windows opens the room right out on to the terrace.
Pattern as an Alternative to Colour
This white bathroom feels anything but staid—yet its careful balance of patterns keeps the space feeling as calm and soothing as a spa. Designer Jack Brown of Vancouver’s Jack Brown Interiors brought in more than one kind of marble into this master ensuite, a design that’s classic and timeless. “In the old world, you would have a four-inch border, and then have an infill field pattern,” he says.
Here, Brown used a white Dolomite marble as the border tile on the wall, while the floor and shower feature Calacatta Gold and a Bardiglio marble basketweave mosaic. It’s the details that hold it all together: the marble border around the shower, for example, is the same material used on the countertop. “Texture, scale, proportion and obviously a little colour—that to me is what gives depth to a space,” says Brown with a chuckle. “And really, it sounds way more technical than it is!”
Carry a Little Rock ’n’ Roll to the Bathroom
Designer Melanie Finkleman of Hazel and Brown worked with a couple on the renovation of this home in the historic neighbourhood of Shaughnessy in Vancouver, and her vision of a black and white master ensuite, with punches of gold throughout, granted their wish for a room with a “hotel feel with a little edge in it,” she says.
Cerused oak French doors create a welcome transition from the formerly old-world home to its new modern design. The Amiata bath from Victoria and Albert holds centre court in the room, though its black exterior is anything but expected—and the ideal match to the powder-coated metal-framed shower nearby, a little Brooklyn loft by way of Vancouver. A gold Visual Comfort light sparkles overhead, while two wooden stools—one for a towel, one for a glass of wine, perhaps?—offer a material connection to those gorgeous entry doors.
Bring the Dressing Room into the Master Bedroom
The ensuite in this 1930s home in Vancouver’s Shaughnessy neighbourhood was always a decent size, if a little gaudy after a previous reno. “When a home has been in Shaughnessy that many decades, it’s been renovated a multitude of times,” says designer Kelly Deck, whose team at Kelly Deck Design created the beauty of a bath that it is today. The primary focus for the design was to bring some unification throughout the home in the form of an oval motif. That rings strongly here in the millwork on the cabinet doors, on the applied moulding on the ceiling—and even in the mural pattern of the marble tile on the floor reflects the oval.
In addition to the crisp, white, oh-so-pretty aesthetic, Deck has also created a very functional space for the homeowner in the mornings: her dressing room lines the walls. The team removed the small closet that was once in the room, and created a new design that’s tailor-made for the homeowner: each cabinet is carefully planned and measured for her wardrobe—her skirts, coats and more have their own dedicated space. “It’s all very tidy,” says Deck. “Everything is done with great care to her needs.”
A Happy Medium Between Rustic and Refined
An eclectic sensibility can sometimes be a challenge for a designer—how to balance a client’s love for both modern design and a more rustic palette? In this Calgary powder room, designer Stephanie Brown created an elegant space that finds that happy medium. As an ode to reclaimed barn board—one of the client’s loves—Brown opted for new tongue and groove wood panelling on the walls, stained a taupey grey to achieve that vintage tone. To “dress it up a little more,” says Brown, she paired it with a pretty, subtly patterned and slightly metallic wallpaper.
The marble vanity brings in that bit of modern the client loves, and polished nickel accents throughout add a touch of sparkle. And, in a bit of design mastery, a slightly awkwardly placed window looks like it was always meant to be there, with the vanity mirror fitted right up against it.
Don’t Let an Awkward Shape Stop You
The unusual angled walls in this bathroom were on the plans when Jennifer Heffel of HB Design came on board to work on the interiors. “We had two choices,” she says. “We could back-frame it away and make it smaller, or just go with it and make it really interesting.” Not surprisingly, Heffel went for the latter, and came up with a concept that feels indoor-outdoor in design. “They wanted a bathing room, but all indoors,” she says. A Japanese-style tub fits into the awkward corner, and the space overlooks a private garden.
Water for the tub spills out from a Monashee granite boulder from Adera Stone; another boulder acts as a stool or resting spot for shampoo and soap for the adjacent shower. A soft, washed-out ochre-coloured tile lines the walls, creating an almost desert vibe in the room. “It became a very natural space,” says Heffel. “Sort of like how you would feel if you were in an outdoor bathroom—which we couldn’t do in Vancouver.”
Embrace the View From Every Angle
It’s like they say: when you’ve got it, flaunt it. So when designer Jane Dabrowski of Vancouver’s Paramax Homes was tasked with designing a 220-square-foot bathroom with a full window wall, she put the stunning tree-top views front and centre. Polished black marble slabs from Margranite on either side of the window frame the sweeping views (and the slick Victoria and Albert tub that takes centre stage), while large-format, high-gloss white porcelain tiles from Julian Tile reflect and amplify the natural light streaming in.
A curbless open shower area and its glass divider create a seamless layout: no distractions here from the main event. “We wanted to take advantage of the view from every angle,” says Dabrowski.
Pair Matte and Glossy Finishes in the Same Space
For this ensuite in the new Legacy on Dunbar development in Vancouver, designer Scott Trepp steered clear of the classic “white and bright” in the space. “There was a concerted effort to remove the sterility that often comes with these bathrooms,” says Trepp. Opting for rich, luxe tones in the millwork and stone—that feature wall is made from travertine slabs—offered the added benefit of providing a striking counterpoint to bright white items in the room, like the Acritec bath.
And then there’s the sheen: each material in the room was carefully considered, and while the natural red oak and limestone flooring was given an intentionally matte and honed finish, the travertine and the antiqued Florentine silver wallpaper are polished and metallic. “The things that were meant to be the real features, like the travertine, now pop,” says Trepp. “That polished finish really gives it a more luxe feel.”
Bring the Drama with Dark Colours
Half of a designer’s job is coming up with a great idea; the other half is convincing the client to actually do it. For the Vancouver couple working with designer Vanessa Stark, a black-as-night Kohler Iron Works bathtub was not exactly what they’d had in mind when they approached her about creating a serene ensuite oasis. But Stark nudged them to take the risk, convinced that large-scale dark elements would give the space a focal point and enhance the lightness and brightness of its 112 square feet.
“They were pretty courageous,” laughs the principal of Vancouver’s Chambers and Stark. “It can be difficult for people to get used to the idea of dark colours in a small space.” But once it was in place, they loved the dark drama—which made it no problem for Stark to install a Pacific Rim Cabinets vanity in a rich navy, too.
Include a Place to Perch
There’s so much to love about this dream bathroom from designer Stephanie Brown. The inset penny-round mosaic marble tile on the floor adds a bit of glamorous sparkle, while the cool blue accent tiles on the wall—a stunning backpainted glass that the homeowner discovered—brings a watery element to the room.
And the finishing touch? That linen-upholstered bench provides a perfect resting spot in the room. “The homeowner told me she loves to relax and have a bath, and the kids want to sit and chat with her,” says Brown. “It gives family members a spot to perch and hang out.”