Design Experts

Designer tips for creating a serene bathroom

Designer tips for creating a serene bathroom

Image: Emily Followill Photography

Design Experts

Designer tips for creating a serene bathroom

A quick Q&A with designer Barbara Sallick will have you confident in your next decor project.

Co-founder of and author of , this designer has been bringing a luxurious sensibility to bathroom design for decades. Here, she reveals her tips for creating a serene space.

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Image: Emily Followill Photography


“We’re in the midst of a stone movement,” says Barbara Sallick when we ask her what trend she’s into right now. “Textured stones make you imagine how the earth was formed – what was flowing a gazillion years ago to make that shape, colour or texture.” It’s this type of thinking that makes Barbara a trendsetter in the design world. In the ’70s, Barbara was employed by the Yale University Art Gallery while her husband, Robert, worked for the family’s plumbing business. Her keen eye for design and her passion for history and architecture, paired with Robert’s engineering expertise, led the couple to create Waterworks, a luxury bath company whose long-standing mission is “to restore the bath to its rightful place within the home – and to do so in a manner suited to modern family life.”
 

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Image: Emily Followill Photography

Q: What’s the key to great bathroom design?
A: Plan the layout. It doesn’t make sense to pick toilets or tubs if you don’t know where you’re going to place them or whether you’ll even have room for them. Make sure the space you’re going to create is completely functional and livable. The key to a great bathroom is always the layout.”
 

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Image: Manolo Langis

Q: What’s your advice for working with bold materials?
A: “I was inspired by a New York arch­itect’s use of a highly figured stone – top to bottom – in her bathroom. And while I may have taken a more timid approach, it was so rich and stunning that it made me realize if you’re choos­ing to make a really bold statement, have conviction in your design. The more you use of a dramatic material, the less invasive it becomes.”
 

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Image: Paul Costello

Q: What’s the number one tip you’d give to a bathroom design novice?
A: “If you don’t plan your design, thoroughly and thoughtfully, with your style, taste and who’s going to use the space in mind, it’s all going to fail. Do your homework. Don’t go shopping until you’ve checked out Pinterest and Houzz and read magazines and whatever books you can find (and not necessarily ones that are just about bathrooms, either). The whole idea is to find something that inspires you, whether it’s colour, texture or form – I get my inspiration from museums, books and fashion, to name a few – then gather, sort and edit all the information you have found. Don’t buy anything until you’ve done this.”
 

Q: How do you choose the best contractors for the job?
A: “You absolutely must interview and vet contractors. Call references, see the work that’s been done and be extremely clear about your expectations. If you don’t do that, you may not be happy with the results. And if you do all those things, you’ll end up with a fabulous bathroom.”
 

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Image: William Waldron

Q: How can someone on a budget achieve a luxurious look in their bathroom design? 
A: “You have to design the room the same way you’d plan on wearing your little black dress – dress it up or down, just keep it neutral because it’s really about how you put the jewellery on – in this case, the fittings and hardware. If you’re trying to do something on a budget, you’ll have the best outcome if you keep it simple.”

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Design Experts

Designer tips for creating a serene bathroom

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