November 21, 2014

Bathroom revision

A few deft design changes turn this dated en suite to a classic with big impact



These Vancouver homeowners were looking for help to bring their master en suite bathroom out of the ’90s. This bathroom has a very common layout with a built-in soaker tub in the bay window, a tiny pre-fab shower unit tucked in the opposite corner, and a dated double vanity with laminate countertops and drop-in sinks.

The owners have put up with this space for far too long and are yearning for a change. They are hoping for a classic bathroom that will age well; they also want a larger tiled shower and a freestanding tub. The layout of this bathroom does not require significant change to have big impact. It’s an adequate size to meet the homeowners’ needs, but requires some slight modifications to improve the function. Removing the large built-in soaker tub and installing a freestanding tub opens up quite a bit of space in this en suite and allows for the toilet to shift towards the window a few feet. Moving toilets is generally a last resort, but with the floor framing running towards the window shifting this toilet within the same joist cavity would not be difficult.

A luxurious floor to ceiling tiled glass shower replaces the tiny pre-fab unit

Relocating the toilet gives room to expand that tiny shower and install a spacious floor to ceiling tiled shower with frameless glass enclosure. A recessed niche is installed for shampoo bottles, and accented with a mosaic tile. This fulfils the request for the luxurious tiled glass shower the homeowners were dreaming of. It also allowed the toilet to be moved out of the direct sightline from the door to the bedroom.

Traditional wainscoting around the bottom portion of the room gives a classic feel and adds more interest – something that paint just can’t achieve. A slate blue wall colour adds contrast to a bright, mostly white bathroom. Crown moulding runs throughout the room and ties in seamlessly with the vanity millwork. Moulding can be added in bathrooms and even run into the shower provided the right product is chosen and the correct installation details are followed – take care to build out the moulding to allow for the depth of the tile.

Crown moulding throughout the room ties in with the vanity millwork

Beautiful inlayed marble mosaics are bordered on the floor in front of the spacious double vanity. The vanity features classic Shaker with a bevel detail for the cabinet doors and a centre feature with glass shelving for display and personal items. The vanity is large enough to accommodate double sinks and centre drawers – perfect for a couple that gets ready together. Recessed lighting is added over the shower, and the vanity lighting relocated to sit beside the framed mirrors. This provides better lighting for personal grooming at the vanity.

This bathroom renovation is the perfect upgrade for this couple tired of a dated, uninspiring en suite. It allows the homeowners to move out of the ’90s and enjoy an amazing, bright and beautiful place to start the day.

Sarah Gallop is a registered interior designer and principal at SGDI, an award-winning, full service interior design firm specializing in custom homes and renovations. A gallery of her work may be seen at

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