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March 26, 2020 – Published in Design & Decor Spring 2017 issue
Words Kenneth Tanti – Interior designer
Bathrooms have become my favourite rooms to design these days. With so much choice of materials, styles and ideas it really is unlimited what one can do and come up with. Giving this room a bit more thought and importance really makes your bathroom stand out from all the rest and is really worth going that extra mile.
In this old townhouse renovation I worked on, I was torn whether to divide a room into two bathrooms or just leave it in the large size it was. One for guests and one as an ensuite. However in my mind I always wanted to keep it as one grand bathroom, or shower room in this case. Creating a feeling as though you are in someones living room and not in the bathroom. And so I went ahead with my plans and the result was magnificent. Since then I try to make these rooms feel as though you are in some other place and not in your typical loo.
To accomplish this I used hand cut marble pieces for the lower end of the walls to create a subway tile effect and wallpapered the rest of the walls creating a feel of classical marble with that of a vintage subway tile. The combination of mat surfaces and highly polished ones truly intensifies the contrast from one another. Not to mention the wall to wall bevel cut mirrors to add to that art deco feel. A cocktail of styles all mixed into one room that worked perfectly well and sparkly elegantly.
Using furniture that one would not expect in bathrooms also has become my aim. This concept really throws you off when entering the room and finding a library or a small comfortable niche that can serve as a reading area. Not to mention the use of lampshades and a couple of decorative pieces combined with paintings or pictures. This produces a perfect accompaniment with your sanitary ware and fittings.
Storage is always one of the main requests that I get from my clients. Would I have space for my towels? or would I be able to hide all my clutter and products? The use of vanities and small pieces of furniture all contribute in solving this problem.
Niches cut out in the tiled walls are a blessing when possible to have. Cut outs in shower cubicles, above bath tubs or wherever possible will help in placing bottles of products that are of everyday use.
Colour of the tiles or marble always relates to the space available. Now some might find this contradicting, but I have always preferred using darker finishes in smaller spaces. The first thing that comes to mind is usually to keep it light. However I find that the darker the bathroom when tiny, the more confusing it becomes to the eye to see where corners meet or how high the actual ceiling is. I use this concept especially in minute guest powder rooms where one can be a bit more adventurous and maybe ostentatious. Being small, one can opt for a more costly marble with lovely light fittings and sanitary ware that look beautiful. Something that becomes a point of conversation when your guests join you back at the dining table!
Lighting is something else that I focus on in bathrooms. Working with soffits and different sets of circuits. Lighting going around the perimeter of the room must all be dimmable and maybe a center light slightly more decorative. If you have height use a hanging light or fix it to the ceiling if this is limited.
One thing I like to observe when travelling and in hotel rooms are their bathrooms. These are always well thought of when it comes to making them look nice and be practical at the same time. Having said that, sometimes they can be a complete mess! Whilst others, I can take ideas from.
This cold and echoing room in reality has potential. It does not need to look like the stereotypical room any more. There are solutions to every problem, size or shape that in actual fact may sometimes be used in your favour to create that unique bathroom you have always dreamt of.