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A Modern Rustic Guide To Renovating Cottage Bathrooms

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A modern rustic bathroom style guide - Colin and Justin wash two spaces with their brand of cottage magic.

Designing (what we hope will prove to be) two perfect bathrooms, we pushed the envelope, wherever possible, to create wildly generous accommodation with ample proportions for washing, showering and associated bathroom ablutions. Oh, and more than a smattering of serious luxe cottage style.

Being that our budgets are always strict to the last dollar, we scheduled the transformation of these two spaces in the same ten-day window. Working on two bathrooms at one time allowed us to moderate costs, being that each of the required trades (drywall, plumbing, tiling etc) was booked on site together, creating what can best be described as balletic teamwork.

But before major installations could begin, our first task was to prepare each area for transformation. With the assistance of project spark Steve Churko we re-sited the electric board to our newly formed basement.

With the former panel zone "cleaned," we dry walled the space before tiling with Saltillo wood grain ceramic slabs in soft, mid grey beige. The muted tones serve as the perfect continuation to the bedroom that also features on Sunday's Cabin Pressure. Being that the zones connect, it was important to create design "flow."

Next up, to optimize natural light, we specified long Euro Vinyl windows, each fitted with opaque glass for privacy. One is fixed, whilst the other actually swings into the stall to afford the ultimate spot for indoor/outdoor lather ups. Come on: there's something extra indulgent about a shower enclosure with its own access to the exterior. Rinsed off, users can literally walk from the tiles onto to the connecting deck. Bliss!

Between the windows sits a long Unikstone vanity, stone topped and set onto a shiny steel frame with generous towel storage below. Trademark C&J black popping accent detail comes via Rubinet taps and Rejuvenation lighting, the esthetic softened by another of our fave accent points -- a Western Red Cedar ceiling that stretches into the connecting bedroom.

To provide privacy we made another big statement, this time via the doors that section the ensuite and the master bedroom. These ones, produced by Mark Livingston of Rebarn, are weighty portals that glide silently on steel cogs and rails to assure privacy as required.

We really enjoy mixing contemporary cottage décor with the traditional aesthetics of days gone by: the combo elicits what we like to call our "lux lodge" vibe. What's more the boards, salvaged from a decommissioned barn, serve as a welcome textural contrast to the white painted drywall. It's all in the balance, right?

One shower zone formed, literally from scratch, we turned our attentions to "correcting" the house bathroom. First job was to disconnect the associated plumbing and then carefully remove the old tub and loo to make way for a slick American Standard replacement.

"Borrowing" floor space (previously occupied by a hallway cupboard) resulted in an almost square footprint which was much easier to retool with the shower on the rear wall and the vanity area positioned at a perfect right angle.

Next, mindful that cottage country temperatures can dip faster than a s'more can be toaster over a fire pit, we challenged Steve to install a Nuheat under floor warming element. Impervious to water ingress, and safely concealed below tile, the ambient temperature it delivers is astounding. As back up, we added a baseboard heater for particularly frosty days and the heating combo assures temperate balance as required.

To add verve, we changed the existing window and, as replacement, specified a long transom shape outlined in dreamy jet tones. Courtesy of a waterproof wood look blind chosen to compliment the cedar ceiling (a recurring style note that features throughout the entire cottage) natural illumination can be controlled, as and when required.

For the stall floor we tracked down dreamy chevron mosaic at Saltillo in Toronto's Castlefield district -- the multiple grout lines minimise slip issues -- with a drop in rectilinear drain, whilst on the main wall areas and floor we went into honeycomb heaven with these hexagons, a gorgeous motif that makes a jouous statement.

Shower fittings are sexy black by Rubinet -- they'll custom code using any colour: pink, green, yellow, whatever -- and, teamed with matching faucets set into another long, Unikstone sink and steel base (with heaps of wonderful open storage, as before) they help our bathroom come alive.

Above the vanity station, we specified Rejuvenation lights and, detailed as they are midnight black, they're a lovely partner to the associated taps and shower wares.

Sure, both bathroom jobs were biggies but, having helped with as much hands on work as we could (guided, of course, by the pro's) we feel thoroughly "invested." It's fair to say we know the project's every twist, turn... and U bend. Prepare to feel flushed with success, come Sunday!

Cabin Pressure airs at 9 p.m., Sundays, on Cottage Life

Game of Homes (C&J are resident judges) airs Tuesdays,10 p.m., on The W Network

The main bathroom before

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We've hexagon crazy -- we love this retro feel timber effect tile

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The stone and steel mix of the Unikstone sink and vanity creates a strong style statement

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A corner of the master bedroom that's about to become a shower room

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The frosted glass windows flood the room with light and can be tilted for ventilation or opened fully to act as doors -- perfect if you feel like bathing in the woods...

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The blend between real timber flooring and timber effect ceramic works well

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A wall of vintage barn doors by Rebarn separates the shower room and adds rustic decor to the bedroom beyond

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Dividing this room into shower room and bedroom is a great use of space

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All tile... all style!

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