Dear Debbie: After 15 years of sharing a bathroom with our kids, we are at the stage where we can afford to design our very own master bathroom. The idea of two sinks is appealing. Other than that, we thought you would have some ideas on how to make it luxurious and grown-up, if you know what I mean. Thank you for any help you can offer. - Marie and Francois
Dear Marie and Francois: I totally relate to your dream and, of course, by now your children also want their own private space where they can spend the hours teens require to achieve their look. The quietly elegant bathroom I discovered at the Shangri-La Hotel in Vancouver shows how meticulous attention to balance and detail produces a sophisticated space that is perfect for morning rejuvenation and evening relaxation. For your en suite bath, take inspiration from the balancing tenets of Asian design?
Lack of clutter is essential. To keep the energy in a room flowing, there must be room to breathe. Cabinets with doors or drawers work well, as do open shelves for large stackable towels. This free-standing wood vanity was designed to resemble a piece of antique Asian furniture and provides a warm contrast to the pale tones of the bianco statuario marble floor and walls. Below-counter sinks provide for a sleek, unbroken counter surface, while stylish chrome taps and rounded edges on sink and bathtub bring in positive energy.
Draw on a palette of pastel shades to heighten the feeling of cleanliness and airy space. Mirrors add a practical and decorative touch, and are particularly important in a room with no natural light.
Dear Debbie: I am planning to paint my kitchen, and I am really tired of the knotty pine walls, also in my entry and front hall. I have no idea if the pine has been sealed. How do I cover it, what do I use? Please help. – Shirley
Dear Shirley: For solid coverage, the important step is to seal the knots or they will continue to bleed through your fresh paint job. First, clean the walls with a heavy-duty cleanser to remove any grease and dirt. Use wood filler to repair holes or cracks in the wood, including around the knots. Sand smooth. Ask your paint shop professional for the correct primer – a shellac primer is tough and will stop the bleed. Apply two coats to be sure. Proceed with water-based paint in your color choice.
Dear Debbie: There is a window over our bathtub/ shower. We want the natural light but prefer privacy. Are there any products that would frost the window? It would need to be done on site, as the window is not removable. Thanks. – Sharon
Dear Sharon: You will find frosted sprays for glass at your hardware or paint store that are designed for just this purpose. They will stick to the window, but are not permanent. Be sure to tape off and protect the surrounding area before you apply the frost, as spray is airborne. If you fancy having a window pattern, draw and cut out small shapes from tape and adhere to the glass before you spray. You may also create a frosted appearance that allows the light through with etching cream. However, this is permanent, as the etching cream actually eats the surface of the glass.
Debbie Travis’ House to Home column is produced by Debbie Travis and Barbara Dingle. You can follow Debbie on Twitter at www.twitter.com/debbie_travis. Please e-mail your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.