A dated bathroom gets a glamorous update.
A master ensuite comes to see the light thanks to a major renovation involving a fresh layout and glamorous touches.
It all started with a major leak in her master ensuite’s shower – that’s when Mikki Sutherland, the blogger behind , knew she was in troubled waters. But instead of letting the flood damage overwhelm her, the Calgary-based homeowner took it as an opportunity to transform her confined cookie-cutter bathroom into a spa-like space reflective of her refined style. Luckily enough, Corea Sotropa Interior Design had already renovated the majority of her home, so in 2014, it made sense for the company to continue the process. “The bathroom was very basic and a bit on the rustic side,” says designer Alanna Dunn, who headed the overhaul. “We decided to reconfigure the layout to create an open-concept space with a real beauty factor.”
The first order of business: gutting the cramped quarters from top to bottom. The bathroom’s original inset soaker tub, which was located beside a narrow shower, was traded in for a free-standing clawfoot version. A new spacious glass-enclosed shower, complete with a large built-in bench for comfort, was installed across from it. The design team also rejigged the ensuite’s walk-in closet to accommodate Mikki’s ever-growing wardrobe and repositioned the water closet to further open up the layout and take advantage of the natural light spilling in from the large window.
As for the finer details, the room’s elegant aesthetic came easily thanks to a chevron-patterned marble tile Alanna stumbled across, which served as the jumping-off point for the decor. The tile, with its warm peach undertones, was used to create a feature wall to wake up the white palette and also as a floor inlay in front of the vanity “to provide a sense of separation from one area to the other,” says the designer. “Everything else fell into place from there.” (And she means everything – from the polished brass accents to the hints of blush pink.) In the end, the ensuite achieves what was intended from the start: It epitomizes Mikki’s knack for living ever so stylishly.
Problem: A dark and dated bathroom devoid of personality
Solution: Reconfigure the layout to create a bright and airy space with feminine flair.
The built-in vanity features a distinctive toe kick that tricks one into thinking it’s a stand-alone piece of furniture. Aesthetics aside, the custom unit also provides homeowner Mikki Sutherland with ample storage space for her arsenal of beauty products.
The light-filled ensuite boasts a custom double vanity that spans an entire wall without being visually intrusive. “The mirrored cabinetry creates the illusion of a larger space,” says designer Alanna Dunn. The vanity doors, together with the cristallo quartzite countertop, also bounce light around and add a dose of sparkle.
The cast iron clawfoot tub imparts a dreamy luxe vibe to the space. Hauling it up the stairs was no easy feat, however. “We originally had four people on-site to carry it and had to call for two more,” says Alanna. “That was the moment we crossed our fingers!”
To create a cohesive look, Alanna had the shower outfitted with the three different marble tiles that were used throughout the ensuite.
“We chose a floral wallpaper for the water closet to add a soft organic feel against the geometric floor tiles,” says Alanna. the spiky brass-finished pendant light lends a modern edge.
5 Designer Reno Tips
1 Stay on Budget: A simple way to save money is to keep plumbing and lighting in the same place. “Relocating fixtures is often complicated and costly,” says designer Alanna Dunn.
2 Splurge Small: “I always encourage clients to splurge on pieces with moving parts, such as faucets,” says the designer. Items like this see a lot of use, so it’s worth investing in high-quality products.
3 Mix Things Up: When pairing patterns, choose designs that vary in scale and don’t compete with one another. “I chose three unique tile styles that are noticeably different in size,” she says.
4 Embrace Less: Don’t over-accessorize. “Everything will get in the way, especially since a bathroom has to be cleaned so often,” says Alanna. Instead, opt for statement wallpaper or accent tiles.
5 Be Practical: Above all, consider how the reno will impact your daily life. “Make sure you have another bathroom!” she says. “Bathroom renovations typically take at least three months to complete.”