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My home renovation - bathroom ideas

I am just DYING to have the work on my house started, but we've had to redo the plans to try and save a small fortune so my husband can get an extra 16" of height for his basement "man cave". While our plans are being finalized once again, we've started the quest for interior and exterior finishes and we frankly don't really know where to begin. It's a pretty daunting task for 2 people who have never really done any renovations before (except my kitchen a few years ago). We're going to need pretty much everything - a staircase, windows, exterior finishes, fireplace, bathroom fixtures, hardwood, tile and on and on... You guys help out our readers when they have design dilemmas so I thought maybe this time you could help me out. I am hoping you can give me suggestions on where to shop, design ideas etc. Since I am located in Ottawa some of the products should probably be relatively accessible locally (ie. staircase).

We also have another dilemma. This renovation is going to cost us WAY more than we initially thought, which means we're not sure we can complete the finishes in all the rooms (and I'm not even talking about furnishing them - there's talk about leaving the floors with only the sub-floor, completing only one bathroom...). This brings me to my next call for help. If anyone out there would like to help us with some of the finishes by offering great bargains for materials, even freebies (!!!) I'd LOVE to chat  (email me at desiretoinspirekim@hotmail.com). There would of course be blog mentions/publicity in return.

So today's post is about bathrooms. We will have a master bedroom ensuite, another full bathroom upstairs, and a powder room next to the front entrance. (For a peek at the plans see this post, keeping in mind the layout of the bathrooms is totally up for grabs). I'd love to have some fun with the powder room and do something really industrial and I have a thing for black and white bathrooms so I hope one of the other bathrooms can be done in those colours. I went through my stash of bathroom photos and found some of my favourites. Any ideas/sources etc. that you can suggest, let me know in the comments or via email! Thanks!

Annette English Martha Stewart
Pappas Miron Design*Sponge
Adela Cabré Hus & Hem
Design*Sponge Design*Sponge

David Mikhail
Living Etc.
Bruce Bolander
Decor Demon
The Selby
Kate Hume
Bolig Magasinet
Liz Artindale
Charles de Lisle
Met Home
Living Etc.
Lorissa Kimm
Micasa Revista
Nuevo Estilo
Oak Management
Style At Home
Country Home
Scott Weston

Reader Comments (47)

I'm afraid I am clueless as to wear you should start looking. I would be feeling very similarly to you if I were in your shoes right now. Haha. But thanks so much for the pretty bathroom inspiration!

Ironically, I am in fact redoing my half bathroom right now, but I am merely taking it from "horrid 70s cheapness" to "good enough niceness". New toilet from Lowes, new vanity hasn't been bought yet but will be from some sort of discount warehouse, and new lighting from God-only-knows-where. Nice, inexpensive bathroom lighting is nearly impossible to find!

Good luck!

22 Jun 2011 | Unregistered CommenterChristina

By "wear" I of course mean "where". *facepalm*

22 Jun 2011 | Unregistered CommenterChristina

Thanks for sharing all those pictures, they are very usefull. Here you are a bathroom which I love it.

22 Jun 2011 | Unregistered CommenterRosa Navas




Thinking of cheap and still stylish..the fist thing I though of is Ikea. Is there one near you? Well...Ikea has gotten more expensive the last years but the quality also improved. Of couse it is not for free. But for an old sink maybe you have time to check out fleamarkets? (I know renovating and time does not really fit together)

Good luck and let us know on the way how it is going!

22 Jun 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKatharina

Don't feel too daunted by the hugeness of the project. I bet everyone who has ever undertaken a renovation (unless maybe it's their 10th time) discovers sooner or later that it's all going to cost way more than they expected. We sure did! One thing that I've found is that the labor tends to be a bigger and a more variable cost than the materials (within reason, of course). Anyone we hired who was at some distance from downtown Boston or not used to working downtown was significantly more reasonably priced than the downtown folks. So getting multiple bids on each task is way more important than trying to get the absolute lowest price per square foot on Carrera 3x6s, for example. Can't wait to follow along with the house as it shapes up!

22 Jun 2011 | Unregistered Commenterredbrickbuilding

there are quite a few i like here..in a master bath i always prefer marble..its a classic and can be made to look traditional as well as contemporary..never goes out of style..thanks for sharing so many inspirational images today..have a lovely day..xx meenal

as an owner of the kohler brockway sink - i say start there! it shows up in so many of your insp. shots, and it is really quite versatile with any kind of 'look'. the faucets that you have to get with them now actually have a gold-y tone to them (i'm sure there is an actual word for this!) and it's just gorgeous in person.

22 Jun 2011 | Unregistered Commenterjenn@theinteriorist

I don't know how handy you two are, but doing the finishing work can save a bundle. My parents re-did their first floor, but we have done most of the finish work. We've installed all the trim, tile, painted, hung lights, framed doors, etc. The designers did the big stuff like hang kitchen cabinets, plumbing, electrical,and drywall. It saved my parents probably close to 50k, just because it is very time intensive work. It's taken almost a year of weekends, but the savings and satifiaction that your getting what you want is worth it. The other thing to maybe consider is just getting the big stuff done. Get the layout you want and the big hard to move stuff (like bath tubs) done the way you want and up grade the rest later as it is needed/affordable. Paint instead of tiling a whole wall, but tile later when you can, decent wall to wall carpet might be ok until the perfect flooring goes on sale. My parents had to tell themselves that it's all a evolving process. Can't wait to see what you come up with!

22 Jun 2011 | Unregistered Commentererica

http://www.thedoorstore.ca if in Toronto sometimes, it is a must visit, even just for inspiration, fantastic place, lots of French and some Egyptian items, they use to do tone of architectural salvage in Ontario too.
http://www.legacyvintage.com/ Cobourg, On, on a similar note, bit lover price point, last time I was there they had several staircases.

My Husband and I have been fixing up our 1860, red brick house, Eastern Otario, for last three years, doing most of the work ourselves.
These places are great source of information,materials and reference, when researching.

Ebey is great source for small items, tiles, faucets, for a bargain price.

Good luck!

22 Jun 2011 | Unregistered Commenterlucie


Flooring - more of great "local" places,great people,wood milled on location, custom trim, reasonable price

22 Jun 2011 | Unregistered Commenterlucie

I'd be glad to give you some pointers.

One place you can check for building materials is your local paper.. sometimes people will tear down a house and if you are willing to remove the items, wood floors, brick etc.. you can have them for free.

You can paint the room yourselves. If you know any electricians, plumbers, etc... swap skills with them.. barter :-) for a discount or free help.

I'm not sure what stores are in your area but we have a place that sales only items that have been discontinued , scratched etc... you could check around... we got all the tile in our house that way. AND last but not least ALWAYS keep a copy of your blueprints in your car/truck...you never know where you will find a deal and need to jump on it! You will want those plans close by to make sure you get enough to finish the job. :-D

Best wishes,


22 Jun 2011 | Unregistered CommenterDebra

I know EXACTLY how you're feeling because I was in your shoes 18 months ago. It is daunting when the ideas outstrip the money!!
We are now 2/3 the way renovating and extending our 1880s cottage in Adelaide so I have learnt a lot in that time.
1. Get at least 4 quotes from builders and don't dismiss the no name local builder with years of experience. Ours has been fantastic and saved us loads of money because he has the knowledge, flexibility and lower overheads than a building company. We LOVE him!!
2. Do a moodboard for every room - only put on there what you absolutely love and it will really help you define the look and the furniture/fittings /colour schemes etc. I couldn't believe how fussy I was but also how that really helped me decide
3. Choose one or 2 "must haves". I chose a stunning pendant light and an exposed stone wall and I can't stop looking at them!!
4. Dont underestimate your talent for putting a beautiful space together with inexpensive things - buy things when theyre on sale or a bargain or use what you already have because they will look different in a new space
5. Get the big spaces right - we went for less rooms but bigger ones; more glass, and put aside money for landscaping ( another "big room"). I can't emphasise that last one enough!
6. Use standard sizes where you can and when you're doing the cabinetry, use a cabinet maker not a kitchen or bathroom company. They also saved us heaps ( as did using pool mosaics for the ensuite instead of regular mosaics)

I have so much more I could tell you! My email is jshudson@adam.com.au if you want to talk some more!

22 Jun 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSarah

That Design Sponge vanity looks like it might be easy enough to make yourselves if you're a little bit handy

22 Jun 2011 | Unregistered Commenterkath

Olympia Tile has the best prices and the largest selection in Ottawa. That I found :)
oh, and when you get to choosing your staircase, please blog about it!!! I'd love to redo my minto ugliness and I"m obsessively looking for a good price on a modern staircase railing :))

22 Jun 2011 | Unregistered CommenterNat

Thanks so much for the tips everyone!!!
(I'll be sharing the whole process - including sources - as the project moves along)

22 Jun 2011 | Registered CommenterKiM

I'm also pre-reno right now and in your exact same boat--I like so many things and haven't gotten it down to exactly what I want yet.

22 Jun 2011 | Unregistered Commenterjessica define

Oh wow. I love so many bathrooms you posted. I'll tell you which ones I recommend you avoid: Decor Demon (too cold), Bruce Bolander (cool but not neutral enough), envelopeA+D (yikes! Red is anti Feng Shui, you'll flush your chi down the drain, apparently), Martha Stewart (blah), Bolig Magasinet (does it come with room service?).

My faves are Nuevo Estilo, Country Home, Style at Home and Dwell. Neutrality is key for a bathroom/home spa. You wanna feel fresh. And remember the interior designer's mantra: white is always right.

Have you tried Habitat Restore on Walkley? If you're on a budget, this is the place to be. People who renovate their homes and discard functional items often dump MINT+AWESOME things here. I found a $250 designer faucet for $40 and a NEW ceramic sink from Mexico for $50.

22 Jun 2011 | Unregistered CommenterRosy

Okay I can't decide which bathroom I love the most. lol! So here are my top 3: design sponge (1st photo), hus & hem and adela cabre. :) A bathroom makeover is always exciting so good luck and have fun!

22 Jun 2011 | Unregistered CommenterZsa Zsa

You HAVE to check out http://svkkitchenandbath.blogspot.com!! So many great kitchen and bath ideas, inspiration, and great information! This is the absolute best source for kitchen and bath inspiration! Let me know any questions you may have about your renovation, and consider them answered :)

23 Jun 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSVK Interior Design

The idea by Hus & Hem is good one, many light, clean and easy. For me toilet have to be easy and relax. Its Something that i always wanted to sit down or just relax for while after crazy day. too many details would screw your bathroom moment. Maybe Wood floor instead and little touch of Japanese bathroom Stuff can be an idea... anyway, thank you for brought this up, iam just about to thing to do renov mind as well...

23 Jun 2011 | Unregistered Commentermrmichaelbali

Ahhh someone else's favourites folder looks like mine. A total mish mash of everything that has ever caught my eye LOL. Sometime having too many choices can stop you making any choices. Having done 2 sucessful renos my tips would be ditch at least half your photos,work out what you really really like, read Sarah and Debra's good advice and then read mine...

1: Never pay full price. Everything is on sale at one time or another. Shop around. Do your homework and don't be afraid to ask for a discount.

2: Keep it simple. I wouldn't try and do three different styles of bathrooms in the same house. By all means have fun but you'll get better deals if you order the same tiles and basins for all three rooms. Mix it up with styling and colours.

3: Large format tiles are quicker to lay and therefore cheaper to install. Less cuts and less grout is needed. Mosiacs are also relatively quick to install but they practically eat grout!

4: Check out your local suburban newsletter classfieds. You can often find semi-retired tradesmen who only work for a couple of days a week. They sometimes take cash and you'll find that often they'll be really skilled tradies who take a real pride in their work.

5: Don't sweat the small stuff. You can repaint a wall but you can't move a bath!

Good luck - I'm sure we are all looking forward to seeing your progress :)

23 Jun 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSammy

In two weeks time we start work on a black (600 x 600 tiled floor to ceiling) ensuite bathroom - will send some pictures when it's finished.

What a great project! ...now, it all depends on your likes and the style that the rest of the house is designed in. You could email me your specific needs :)
For the time being take a look at some of my earliers articles: '
1. http://ereszke.wordpress.com/2011/06/08/a-little-bit-of-glamour-and-luxury/
2. http://ereszke.wordpress.com/2010/02/13/jeg-elsker-byliv-ogsa-ude-pa-badev%c3%a6relset/ (in Danish but go directly to highlighted links)
3. http://ereszke.wordpress.com/2010/11/09/extra-storage-for-your-less-spaciaous-bathroom/ (a super cool space saving sink solution)

Good luck!

23 Jun 2011 | Unregistered CommenterEwelina

Love the design demon one. I like a white bathroom for clean reasons: http://rocknrollproblems.wordpress.com/tag/bathroom/

23 Jun 2011 | Unregistered Commenterapril

I recently renovated our main bathroom, and it looks like your tastes are quite similar - especially in terms of materials/colours and the number of floating vanities you show as examples.

One thing I could add to all the other comments, is have you considered designing/building your own custon vanity ? I did a very simple black walnut box myself, and it floats quite nicely above a pristine white marble floor (not for everyone !). I would also add that you should never cheap out on tile and fixtures.

hope these pics/links work.

I can send you more pictures if you're keen.





3D image of the design...


23 Jun 2011 | Unregistered Commenterneko

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