This Bathroom is Right As Rain
An architect’s clean-lined ensuite serves as sanctuary and, unexpectedly, a weather desk.
In designing the ensuite to his and his wife’s master bedroom, architect Ryan Scarff wanted an adults-only sanctuary—an extension of their bedroom that was intended to be (for the most part) off limits to the couple’s young son and daughter, who had the run of the rest of their family-focused, contemporary Calgary home.
Well, while the bathroom succeeds as an elegant ode to relaxation and solitude with its neutral, monochromatic tile and the secluded positioning of the bath, one feature inadvertently makes the room irresistible to Scarff’s seven-year-old son, Finn. “I put a skylight in over the toilet and shower,” explains Scarff, “which are encased in an acid-etched glass ‘box.’” While the bathroom’s large, east-facing windows give the glass cube an ethereal sunrise glow, the skylight provides an excellent view of the morning sky from the perspective of the toilet seat—from where Finn loudly announces a daily weather report.
“It’s not always the relaxing sanctuary we had in mind,” says Scarff with a laugh. “But it’s become another great place for all of us to spend time together.”
The Pro Knows
Architect Ryan Scarff’s top 5 tips for creating a sanctuary.
1. Create a large-scale feeling of harmony by using the same flooring material in every room of your house. The two-by-four floor tile (from Bobo Lamina) is used throughout the Scarff home as well as on the outside decks, which makes for seamless transitions from one room to the next.
2. Don’t “save” conversation-worthy decor pieces for high-traffic areas. The Moooi Smoke chandelier is a campy, high-design element in an otherwise understated room, and it gives the bathroom an interesting focal point—no matter that it’s “only” the homeowners who generally enjoy it.
3. Choose one hard, heat-, stain- and abrasion-proof surface and stick with it. The bathroom countertops are the same Caesarstone found in the kitchen, the desks in the children’s rooms, the front entrance and the mudroom (all chosen in a nougat colour for its charming, “1950s elementary-school-gym-floor,” mid-century modern quality).
4. Seek ways to add interest to modern lines with texture. The side of the tub and the adjacent wall are covered in the same material as the floor (though the former has a slight overlay pattern), but the architect chose a subtle tone-on-tone pattern to accentuate how the tile, used vertically, captures the light in a way it doesn’t on the floor.
5. Think of the mirror as a backdrop to the room. Where an ornate frame is often a good place to add interest to a clean, modern room, sometimes simple packs the biggest punch. Here, a large, unframed mirror reflects the glamorous light fixture and lets it take centre stage.