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A new window, shades of grey add style and space
By Postmedia Network - May 2, 2015


There was little — if anything — in this bathroom’s favour as we commenced its drastic rehabilitation.

Tiny? And then some. Carpet? Yuck. It’s fair to report that shag is our least favourite medium in bathroom application.

Tight proportions, however, and science lab sticky berber, weren’t our only problems. The pine wall cladding was beginning to rot and the plastic tub was nesting in a veritable crown of floor level mould. Classic cottage cute? If you’re Hannibal Lecter, perhaps.

Succinctly, it was a hellish scene with an equally noxious olfactory quotient. The void behind the flaking plastic shower walls was little more than a mouse mausoleum: the pesky creatures had ventured in (in droves) but couldn’t escape back out through the bottleneck of decayed, insulating matter.

Everyone winced as we pulled a fossilized Mickey, then Minnie — and several generations of their family — from the stinking affray.

But all was not lost. Randy, our contractor, knew precisely how to deal with the problems and, like a Velociraptor on steroids, tore away the rotten lumber, bleached the void clean, replaced the supporting 2 x 2 framework, insulated with Roxul then covered everything in thick polythene to protect against further moisture ingress.

Repairs addressed, let’s talk problem solving. The space being tiny, we elected to harvest a little square footage from a large double bedroom that lay through the wall.

We’d turned similar tricks in our guest bedroom where borrowed inches (from the closet and the kitchen on that occasion) made all the difference.

Working closely with our electrician, we opted for under-floor heating.  The Warm Up brand is a roll-out wire mesh grid laid prior to tile installation: cost effective and energy efficient, it’s a wonderful invention.

Next up, we installed a new window. Wider and taller than its predecessor, it draws more light into the previously gloomy room. Finished in dramatic black, it makes a commanding kick-off point for subsequent decorating elements. To further layer, we fitted a budget slimline Venetian (into the rebate, not onto the frame: the former is far slicker.) Their “measure it yourself” service is simple while collection from your nearest branch (and easy fit thereafter) makes DIY specification a cinch.

Having decided upon the proportions of the new wall-to-wall shower (66 centimetres is our recommended minimum width to allow ease of movement within), Jason, our tiler, installed a curb tiled to match in softest graphite from Saltillo. Detailed with Rubinet faucets and matching black storage niches (handy for soaps and shampoo bottles), the scene is fresh and inviting.

Our vanity unit? Simple: that began life as a slice of kiln dried live-edged hemlock.

As well as making furniture and barn doors, there is a stunning selection of live-edged wood that can be used for a multitude of purposes.

To make best of the space under the window, we cut the hemlock into a tapered wedge, wider to the left (to accommodate a Unikstone sink) and narrower as it runs toward the shower stall.

By now you know that, as decorating goes, we adore the grey scale. This observed, you’ll also know we generally balance things with the addition of further colours, layers or elements.

We might, for instance, specify a dramatic shot of yellow (or indeed red) or an organic ingredient to soften proceedings.

In this regard, we installed a pine ceiling, stained to resemble walnut. Further softening comes from the wooden topped drop and lift stool, the naturally shed antler — found in the forest surrounding our cabin — and via Colin and Justin Home towels.

As a house bathroom, the space is now washed with success, eminently more usable and, we hope, perceptibly larger than it was before we started work.

Sure it’s still a wee room, but creatively problem solved — and stylistically reborn — it’s ready for our guests to live large.

Need design advice, ideas and suggestions give our interior designers, architects, builders or plumbers a call! 

* This article first appeared on the Change Exchange, an online platform by BrightRock.


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