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August 01, 2010

The spa sensation

Design tips to create bliss in your bathroom

Alykhan Velji

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When it comes to renovating, most real estate agents will tell you to put your money into your kitchen and bathrooms. The reason is because these two rooms above any others in the home are the ones where you want to be surrounded by clean and stunning finishes.

Given that the bathroom is the place where you start and end your day it’s no wonder people are willing to shell out big bucks for a luxurious loo. Everything from toilets, bathtubs, sinks, countertops, and plumbing fixtures are being designed and manufactured to perfection but how can you achieve the look without blowing your budget on one room? And how can you avoid picking finishes and fixtures that look great now and look dated in just a few years?

Gone are the days of over-the-top, Donald Trump-esque, brass fixtures. The look right now is more modern and organic. We’re seeing a lot of bathrooms inspired by organic, textural and natural elements. Think exotic woods such as teak and bamboo for cabinets with polished chrome and nickel hardware. On the walls, try neutral, calming colours like warm grey tones with accents of green. If you love the look of a wallpapered bathroom, introduce the trend with natural sea grass wallpaper.

Waterfall fixtures are everywhere right now. If you love the feeling of free-flowing water, try the Pure Vida faucet from hansgrohe. This new faucet by the iconic fixture manufacturer is sleek, modern, and brings something that we have not seen with bathroom fixtures: white. If you’re looking for a chrome fixture, try the axor Starck X. It gives that modern look we all seek and the wide flow as if came directly from a spring.

The trend of single lever faucet is still going strong but we are now seeing a resurgence of widespread faucets, which have separate hot and cold knobs. These typically give a more traditional look, however the new styles available are sleek, modern and chic. These can either be installed on your counter top or on square vessel sink.

Jacuzzi tubs are losing popularity and we’re finding more manufacturers making simple, square, soaker tubs. These have a great minimal look to them. The aprons (front of the tub area) are being kept simple and flat with no details. If you are going with a drop in tub, where the front of sides of it will be tiled, then I would still suggest going with a square, simple tub. Stay away from the rounded tubs or tubs that are placed in a corner, these waste a lot of space that could otherwise be used for a bathroom sitting area or storage.

Vessel sinks are still on-trend but the materials are changing. We are seeing porcelain being used less due to its weight. One of my favorite products is by a company called WetStyle, their sinks are made with a material almost like fiberglass. The sinks are light-weight, can come in a matte or polished finish, are easy to clean and maintain, and look fantastic. Coming in a wide variety of styles, from square and streamlined to dual trough-style, they are the perfect on-trend addition to any bathroom but ones that will remain timeless.

Solid surface counter tops are also here to stay. Brands such as Sileston and Ceasarstone have come up with a composite material that is just as strong as granite but has a solid colour look to it. Granite surfaces have patterns that vary and can look really busy, while a solid surface counter looks cleaner. These come in a wide range of colours and have great durability.

If you like the look of a natural stone, fear not, there are great ways to introduce these in your powder room. Limestone, for example, has an amazing subtle pattern and looks de riguer in a shower. Using this effect like feature wall will make a huge impact but not over-complicate the space. If your budget allows it, you might also look at marble options (in moderation) such as Carrerra and Calcutta.

Finally, when it comes to tiling your perfect bathroom think about using a 12-by-24-inches tile, especially for the floor. Although a 12-by-12-inches tile may be a bit more cost-effective, it will be worth the added expense. You might also try stacking the tile (laying them one on top of another) for a super-modern look. Laying tiles the standard way, by staggering them like a brick-like pattern, will also work but will achieve a more traditional look. 

Happy bathroom decorating!  CL


Alykhan Velji
Having a successful design career for the last several years, Alykhan Velji has definitely made a name for himself on the Alberta design scene. Coming in as one of the top three finalists for HGTV’s Designer Superstar Challenge in 2006 and then landing a role as a Stylist/Design Assistant on The Style Dept. also was a great boost to his career.
As well as having his own design business, Alykhan Velji Design, Alykhan has been featured in many local and national publications, offering his expertise on design and trends. Finding inspiration in his travels and keeping abreast with the design industry’s new and innovative trends ensures his design esthetic is always fresh, all the while remaining original and timeless. In its fourth year as a design firm, Alykhan Velji Design specializes in both residential and commercial projects.



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