Go classic with an all-white bathroom

April 6, 2011 

No matter how simply or lavishly outfitted, the bathroom first must be a clean, safe place. When renovating, think about who uses the bathroom. Is it a busy family space or a guest bathroom; a bachelor's bath or a sybaritic, spa-like retreat? Issues of style and space differ accordingly.

There is a vast array of bathroom products from which to choose that meet today’s criteria for ecological and budget-conscious shopping.

What’s on your wish list?

Need more space? We are most vulnerable in the bathroom, and require adequate room to maneuver around toilet and sink, and to towel-dry after bathing. If you’d like to expand the size of the bathroom, have a qualified contractor or architect scout out the adjacent rooms. You may be able to extend into closet space or carve out extra footage from a big bedroom.

If you would rather shower than take a bath, you can gain space by removing the tub and installing a shower with multifunctional sprays. A clutter-free area feels more spacious. Built-in storage is essential to hold towels and toiletries, and should be organized so that everything you need, from lotions to razors and hairdressing tools, is accessible but off the counter.

Want clean style? More than ever, white rules in the bathroom. One of my worst cleaning nightmares was wiping down the dark-blue bathtub in my first apartment. It never looked good. Soap scum and cleanser streaks were impossible to remove completely. Never again; it’s been white all the way.

Colored fixtures also have a tendency to date themselves – remember ’70s avocado green and ice cream pink? It’s more practical to create your style with the shapes and contours of today’s fabulous sinks and dazzling faucets. Color can be added with paint and tiles. Solid-surface countertops are now more affordable and give way to the sleek, more seamless appearance of undercounter sinks.

The opposite theme, where everything is on show, is the eye-catching selection of above-counter vessel sinks, which come in every shape and size, from heritage basins to family-size rectangular bowls.

Should you match faucet styles and finishes? Unify the design and appearance of the bathroom with bath, shower and sink faucets and taps that have the same design and finish. Polished chrome continues to be the universal favorite, followed by brushed satin. Oil-rubbed bronze is a trend that works well in a powder room.

Here’s a glimpse of a bathroom I designed with the help of our colleagues at American Standard, www.americanstandard.ca. With the home’s soaring ceilings and rustic wood floors, the object was to maintain the airy feeling of space, but also develop a warmer atmosphere.

The all-white scheme suits the home’s lofty design but would have been too clinical without the play of rough and smooth textures – faux-brick walls, wood, basket weave and glistening porcelain.

Also, there is visual contrast between rounded shapes set against straight lines – the framed circular mirror and round-edge rectangular sink. The minimal aspect of a single control faucet complements the forward-thinking decor. By choosing white fixtures, you provide yourself with unlimited decorating options.

Experiment with almost all white ... then add a dash of color somewhere to highlight your design. It will look stunning.

Debbie Travis’ House to Home column is produced by Debbie Travis and Barbara Dingle. Follow Debbie on Twitter at www.twitter.com/Debbie_Travis. Email your questions to house2home@debbietravis.com.

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