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Room of the Day :
A Bathroom That’s Simply Efficient
by Annie Thornton. Courtesy of www.houzz.com
IT’S AMAZING WHAT YOU CAN DO WITH 45 SQUARE FEET.
THIS TORONTO CONDO BATH GOT RECONFIGURED TO ADD STORAGE, LIGHT AND MORE.
The owners of this bathroom in Toronto’s Rosedale neighborhood approached designer Paul Stewart with a primary goal: They wanted it to be as simple and efficient as possible. The only bathroom in the 800-square-foot condo was just 35 square feet, but it needed to accommodate the homeowners and their young child, as well as out-of-town guests and professional colleagues.
The family spend much of their time in the country, staying here only on weekends or to entertain, so the condo, and especially the bathroom, was designed to be fuss-free and low-maintenance. “When they walk into this space, I wanted them to have the feeling of a calm, fresh, spa-like sanctuary,” Stewart says.
BATHROOM AT A GLANCE
Size: 45 square feet (4.2 square meters); enlarged from 35 square feet (3.3 square meters)
Designer: Projekt Home
Stewart limited his palette to three primary materials — wood, white tile and beige tile — to maintain the contemporary, pared-down look he and the homeowners wanted. “It keeps things consistent with the aesthetic of the entire home,” he says. Wood and textured warm neutrals prevent the bathroom from appearing too stark and also appeal to the homeowners’ traditional tastes.
All the tile used in the bathroom is porcelain; the wall tiles are a textured gray and the floor tiles are a mosaic white. For tile in high-traffic areas, Stewart recommends porcelain because of its strength and the way the color runs all the way through. If the tile chips, you’ll notice it less.
The same engineered-pine wood flooring flows throughout the home, including the bathroom. The wood finish on the vanity coordinates with the kitchen cabinets. “By simplifying and remaining consistent with materials, it gives the illusion of a larger space,” Stewart says. It is also cost-effective.
Storage is generally one of the biggest issues in small bathrooms, Stewart says. The design challenge is how to add storage that doesn’t take over the room. In this bathroom, he streamlined storage by concealing it.
The 33-inch-wide vanity has two wood-faced drawers with interior compartments to organize bathroom essentials, and the new sink has ample counter space. The “floating” vanity allows the eye to follow the flooring to the wall and also makes the floor easier to clean.
A 36-inch-wide, 24-inch-deep full-height built-in storage closet with pocket-door is on the wall opposite the sink. Hooks in the shower, opposite the shower head, swing out to hang towels or clothes to dry on hangers, and swing back into the wall when not in use.
The current owners bought the condo from its original owner. Stewart estimates the bathroom had been remodeled at one point since it was built in 1955, but it had inconsistent details and mismatched tile and accessories.
In addition to aesthetic renovations, Stewart also updated the bathroom’s electrical and ventilation.
Part of remodeling the bathroom involved making it appear larger, but Stewart also expanded its footprint by 10 square feet by bumping out two of the shower walls. “Just 10 square feet can make all the difference in the world,” he says. The new shower is 59 inches long and 37 inches wide. “You don’t hit the walls,” the designer adds. It also includes a bench, a built-in niche and an architectural shower head.
The bathroom previously received no natural light. New recessed lights improve the bathroom’s artificial light quality, and a new acid-etched window brings in diffused natural light. When he rebuilt one of the bumped-out shower walls, Stewart stopped the wall at 6 feet, 6 inches, and inserted the glass panel above it. Natural light from the interior of the condo streams into the now-bright bathroom all day.
A fixed glass wall encloses the shower; Stewart included it as a way to reduce maintenance by minimizing moving parts, to simplify the space and to allow natural light to permeate the space. “The less solid walls you use, the larger a space will feel,” Stewart says.