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Candice Olson


One Bathroom's Transformation From Blah to Spa

Posted: 06/28/2012 7:54 am

Wendy's guest bathroom was completely washed out. Located prominently at the top of the stairs, this room was definitely a real eyesore. Complete with dim lighting, lack of storage and even a broken toilet, this bathroom was ready for renovation!

Wendy does lots of entertaining and often has out-of-town guests, so she wanted to give this space a guest-friendly facelift with high impact and loads of style. To begin this transformation, the bathroom was completely gutted and the existing fixtures -- pedestal sink, toilet, bidet and tub -- were given a one-way ticket to the dump.


I decided on a dramatic colour scheme for Wendy's new bathroom, using rich ebony, crisp white and a few splashes of bright red. We treated the walls to a fresh coat of clean white paint, which flows into the white tiles we used in the new wall-to-wall shower with frameless glass enclosure. The glass gives the room an open feel and creates an impression of space in this relatively small room. The bathroom floor was covered in elegant black tiles that have just a hint of texture in them.

To create counter space as well as storage for guests, I designed some custom cabinetry made from ebony-stained oak. (Here's an important tip to remember when staining oak: be sure to condition the wood first! A quick coat of conditioner makes the stain go on much more evenly and smoothly.)

A wall-mounted storage unit is located where the bidet once stood, offering lots of space to stash toiletries, towels and guests' possessions. In place of the pedestal sink, we created a functional yet beautiful vanity. Tall mirrors flow into a black oak shelf, which in turn melds into a marble mosaic countertop. Open shelving underneath adds even more storage space. But the crowning glory in this bathroom reno is definitely the red glass basin, which perches majestically on the mosaic countertop. This gorgeous sink will definitely get Wendy's guests talking! To save space, and also to allow the basin to take centre stage, I chose a sleek and modern wall-mounted faucet.

The custom, glass-enclosed shower is another work of art. Guests will love this spacious shower, which features a mosaic-tiled floor and bench in varying shades of our black and white theme. We did have to replace the existing window in the shower with a new, waterproof model. To prevent water damage, the sill is angled downward so water will just flow right off.

As always, gorgeous fixtures and custom finishes are nothing without the proper lighting to shine down on them. We installed waterproof overhead lighting in the shower, pot lights in the ceiling, under-cabinet lighting in the storage unit, and two gorgeous sconces mounted right through the vanity mirror. This medley of light is functional yet soft and inviting, which will make guests feel right at home.

Wendy has filled her home with art, so I wanted to incorporate artwork into the bathroom. The problem is that the humid atmosphere in a bathroom is not kind to traditional paintings. So I decided that some fabric art would be just the thing to liven up this space. Using rich fabrics in our colour scheme and geometric shapes, we created a tapestry that hangs on the wall just to the left of the doorway. We added some other finishing touches -- a basket of toiletries in the shower, several red accent pieces, towels and soaps -- and this bright, ultra-modern bathroom was ready for action!

Wendy's bathroom is now a guest-friendly oasis. Far from worrying about the sad state of her facilities, Wendy's only problem now is whether her guests will ever leave!


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  • Before

    This dingy bathroom felt cramped and out of date. For all of the guests filing through Wendy's door, there was hardly any space. Not to mention, terrible lighting!

  • Before

    A toilet and a bidet? These side-by-side bathroom fixtures took up lots of space without adding much to the look of the room. And who uses a bidet anymore, anyway?

  • After

    Ta-da! The finished bathroom has a light, spacious feel with tons of new storage options for Wendy and her guests. Thoughtful lighting, a new and improved shower area and la piece de resistance -- the red sink basin -- make this room both stylishly chic and effortlessly functional.

  • After

    Goodbye clunky old sink, hello gorgeous! This show piece of a basin sets the tone for the rest of the room, while freeing up counter space by attaching the fixtures to the wall. Ooh la la!

  • After

    Who needs a bidet? With the old space-stealer gone, there's room for new cabinets where both family and guests can store their things. The modern oak cabinets give the bathroom a sleek finish.