Bringing the coast close to home all year round
How to turn a bathroom into a beach-themed destination
As we leave the swelteringly hot summer of 2016 behind, thoughts may turn to renovations now that windows can be thrown open to air out a room rather than be sealed shut to keep that precious, cool air conditioning from escaping. And if you were a frequent beach visitor, there are ways to bring that airy, carefree look indoors.
Toronto-based interior designer Rebecca Hay (rebeccahaydesigns.com), who has designed for HGTV’s Income Property, as well as a roster of regular clients, recently transformed a small, cold bathroom into a soothing oasis — without being too literal with the beach theme her client sought.
The theme was a no-brainer given that the client is an avid sailor with an affinity for all things nautical. “I wanted to infuse that feeling of being at the beach that she so loves without it being too kitschy and theme-y,” Hay said. The result is a subtle, inviting design with a cleverly concealed, stacked laundry pair, that eschews the obvious — i.e. seashells — for a more refined interpretation.
The focal point that anchors the room is an eye-catching pebble wall, which gives the room that “outdoorsy beach feel.” This is a relatively easy DIY, explained Hay, as you purchase 12-by-12 sheets of pebble (also referred to as river rock) mosaic. When you grout the “tiles” — a lighter colour was used so as not to detract from the stones — it resembles one continual wall. The pebbles are also featured on the shower floor.
“It feels really nice on your feet,” Hay said.
Shelves with a live edge, cut to look like driftwood, hang above the soaker tub and were sealed to prevent water damage. This is where some of the client’s personal elements, such as the trip photos, which also figure prominently throughout the home, were included.
If it is possible to have two focal points in a room, the sophisticated vanity, with its Caesarstone countertop, would be a close second. It was designed by Hay and custom-built by
“I wanted to infuse that feeling of being at the beach that she so loves without it being too kitschy and theme-y.” REBECCA HAY TORONTO-BASED INTERIOR DESIGNER
Scott McKinnon of Scott McKinnon Custom Carpentry.
“The client loved the idea of having a traditional vanity,” said Hay. “She wanted to fit in that unique space in the middle to put on her makeup and do her hair while seated.”
This self-contained area means the client’s products won’t roll into the sink as she’s doing said toilette. The ocean-blue colour — Benjamin Moore Solitude (AF-545) — is one of those understated touches that elegantly ties in with the seaside theme. It complements the “non-colour colour”— Benjamin Moore Horizon (OC-53) — that was chosen for the walls.
Another modest touch is the vanity’s light fixtures, which remind Hay of a lighthouse. “There was something really neat and old world about them,” she explained. “They were a splurge, but they totally made the room.” The one above the tub is from a different manufacturer, but it has a similar look.
Hay chose chrome over the current trend of dark, matte faucets for both budgetary reasons and esthetics. “We’re using all these really natural materials and to have the sleek, sexy, contemporary faucet with soft lines complements the natural elements found in the hardwood and stones,” Hay said. “It helps keep it current.”
Chrome is also a more economical choice.
Probably the most surprising ele- ment of the design is the fact that the flooring, described by Hay as “coastal cottage,” is tile. Hay says this is definitely a trend as many tile stores seem to be capitalizing on the look. This practical choice of materials is water-resistant and made from grooved porcelain, so the texture makes it look like hardwood, but it is also anti-slip. (Bonus: in-floor heating keeps toes toasty in the winter.) “It’s really soft, like being out on a boardwalk,” she said. It’s also another clever way to bring the coast indoors, so you can enjoy the beach all year round.
This traditional vanity is a main focal point of the bathroom adding a by-the-ocean feel with its Caesarstone countertop.
The outdoorsy pebble wall anchors the room with driftwood shelving hanging above an inviting soaker tub.