Bathrooms Photo Credit: Paulina Ochoa, original photos on Houzz

We Love This Bright and Airy Bathroom Reno

An outdated bathroom gets the luxe spa treatment.

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Over the years, this Calgary family has updated their home room by room. And now that their kids are grown, a couple of new empty nesters have the opportunity to remodel the master bathroom. This doctor and educator also love to spend time outdoors and try to limit their impact on the environment. They asked Natalie Brierley and Sylvie Croteau-Willard of Interior Design Shoppe to create an eco-friendly bathroom inspired by European design. This bathroom shows that you can have luxurious design while staying energy efficient.

BEFORE The space was originally two separate bathrooms, and it seemed as though everything needed replacing. The homeowners felt it was time to make the most of this space, both with function and design. (Photo: Original photo on Houzz.)

At a Glance

Who lives here: A pair of empty nesters
Location: Northwest Calgary, Alberta
Size: 193 square feet
Designers: Natalie Brierley and Sylvie Croteau-Willard of Interior Design Shoppe


(Photo: Original photo on Houzz.)

“The vision was to create a clean, contemporary space with natural materials for a European-inspired spa experience,” Croteau-Willard says.

Before any project, Brierley and Croteau-Willard consider the location of the client’s home. They want to ensure that their design enhances the property’s value and makes it easier to sell later. This home is in a highly esteemed Calgary neighbourhood called Varsity. The designers needed to create a room that made this home stand out.

As for the layout, the homeowners wanted to keep the laundry room attached but add a walk-in closet. Although this is an ensuite master bathroom, the second access point located in the laundry room opens up its use to others when their children visit.

The renovation started with eco-friendly elements behind the walls and within the windows. The design team improved the ceiling insulation, enhanced the wall thickness and added energy-efficient windows.

(Photo: Paulina Ochoa, original photo on Houzz.0

A steamy shower, heated floors and a heated towel rack give the homeowners a spa experience. The tile design gives the room a European style.

The designers used 8-by-13-inch white tiles, sourced from a Spanish manufacturer called Porcelanosa, to cover all the bathroom walls. “Using tile formats in unexpected ways is a tip we recommend when creating a unique-looking space,” Croteau-Willard says. “We believe this sets the space apart from other bathrooms.”

(Photo: Paulina Ochoa, original photo on Houzz.)

An interesting detail in the room transforms the shower into a little steam room. You can open or close the transom above the shower door to manipulate how steamy you want the space to be. To prevent too much moisture from accumulating on surfaces in the room, a small fan near the shower quickly removes the steam.

(Photo: Paulina Ochoa, original photo on Houzz.)

The designers used more natural light sources, pot lighting and task lighting to create a bright, open space, Croteau-Willard says. Additionally, it was important for the client and the designers to only use LED lights.

During the remodel, there was a little holdup with the design. After the demolition, the designers realized they could not put the toilet on the right side of the bathtub as planned. After talking with the plumber and the homeowners, the designers needed to put the toilet between the shower and tub.

(Photo: Paulina Ochoa, original photo on Houzz.)

Knowing a mostly white bathroom could read as flat or neutral, the designers added teak-toned furniture and accessories to create focal points and movement. “A clean palette with earthy tones was chosen to give the space a contemporary yet grounded aesthetic,” Croteau-Willard says.

The old bathroom was also lacking in storage space, so the designers created tiled storage niches, such as the one behind the bathtub, added drawers in the vanity and put a dresser in the walk-in closet-laundry room. Most of the storage elements in the room were custom-built for the space, then stained for a natural look.

One of the custom-made drying racks was installed above the bathtub because it would be out of the way of the high-traffic areas, such as around the sinks or above the door. Because air-drying clothes is more time consuming than using machine dryers, using two drying racks (one above the bathtub and one in the closet) speeds up the process.

(Photo: Paulina Ochoa, original photo on Houzz.)

Here you can see the other drying rack installed where you would expect it: in the laundry room. The design of the drying racks imitates a clothesline or folding rack.

The clients already owned an energy-efficient washing machine, but adding the custom-built wardrobe and dresser allowed the designers to make this a multipurpose room. The homeowners now have a walk-in closet and a short walk to put away clean clothes.

Interested in making your home more energy efficient? “The best thing a homeowner can do is speak to a designer with experience in this area and have the property’s energy efficiency evaluated,” Croteau-Willard says. “These professionals will advise on everything from how the mechanics of your home can be improved to which environmentally friendly features can be incorporated into your project.”


More from Houzz

Budget a Bathroom Remodel the Right Way

Mosaic Tiles for a Luxe European Feel

Shower Stalls with Transoms for a Steam Room


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