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 (re­bec­c­a­hay­de­, 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.

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