Is your bath perfect or just perfectly nice? When done well, a bathroom design will be perfect. You can’t just purchase the perfect bath, it must be created and designed. And, just like any other room in your home, it all starts with inspiration.
I recently attended an event at Cantu, a fabulous bathroom and kitchen showroom in Vancouver. Their special guest was the co-founder and vice president of Waterworks Barbara Sallick. She gave a talk on what it takes to have The Perfect Bath.
Barbara Sallick – The Perfect Bath
How to design the perfect bath.
I gathered so many bathroom design nuggets that I wanted to share some with you in this post. Here are some of the highlights.
“Design integrity in a bath means that you must select the right ingredients and assemble them with clarity and style.”
My two most favourite parts of her talk was:
1. The way she set up her advice. It started with this:
“I’m not saying I’m right, I’m just saying this conversation comes from my point of view.”
2. She loves a white bathroom as much as I do. 🙂
If your bath fixtures are white, you must have additional white in your bathroom design.
Barbara believes that bath fixtures should always be white. Almost every image in her presentation had some element of white repeated in the room along with white plumbing fixtures.
For example, there’s nothing worse than a bathroom filled with tile in multiple colours and not a stitch of white in any of it. And then there are a bunch of screaming bright white plumbing fixtures.
In the image below, there is no white in the tile and notice that the sinks are also not white. It would look odd if the only white in this bathroom was found in the sinks as there are already at least four colours found in the tile – and not one of them is white.
She told an interesting story where Waterworks mailed 70 instant cameras to selected customers and asked them to take photos of their bathrooms and mail them back. Waterworks would develop the images.
15 sent them back for a total of 322 photos. Barbara liked only two of the bathroom images.
The rest of the photos? Well, to her eye, there was always something that didn’t work. Most of the bathrooms photographed were just “perfectly acceptable or nice” bathrooms, and not the perfect bath.
- The tub is too big or too small
- The vanity looks like it belongs in the kitchen
- The tile installer didn’t dry lay the tile or plan for balanced cuts
- No one took the time to plan the right variations and balance
- The grout colour is completely wrong
The perfect bath design begins with inspiration.
According to Barbara, the best (and perfect) bathroom designs happen when you set out to create a total experience. You have to design inside the experience. You can’t just buy the perfect bath – you have to create it personally and tastefully.
And, all of it starts with a bath that is inspired.
Just as it’s very difficult to design a room without any inspiration or starting off point, it’s the same for a bathroom.
First she showed us a bathroom with just a plain framed mirror and said, “See how this is a perfectly nice bathroom?” And then she shared the same photo (above) with this fabulous mirror. It’s the mirror – a detail both grand and unexpected – that suddenly turned this bathroom into something much more extraordinary… and made it perfect.
Barbara noted that the bright colour trends have not migrated to the bath and there is good reason for this. Almost everything in the bath is attached to the wall or the floor and it is both difficult and expensive to change a fixture you no longer like.
However, colour on the walls is easy to change and if your bathroom is all Carrara marble. Nothing brings grey tile/marble to life faster than a bright pop of colour like turquoise, yellow, or pink.
Is Your Bath Perfect or Just Perfectly Nice?
The most important reason why I was inspired to share her bath design tips with you is this:
Here is a designer, and in fact the co-founder of Waterworks, and someone who has been in this design business for a very long time – and she, too, is trying to save the world from yet another “meh” or just perfectly nice looking bathroom.
And you know what else? There wasn’t any accent tile to be found in a single photo of her presentation. No. Accent. Tile. Just in case you’re new to the blog, here’s one more reason you should skip accent tile altogether.
Ceramic architecture? Yes. (example below) Here’s the difference.
At the end of her talk, she shared a glimpse of one of the bathrooms in her own house. And guess what it was?
White Subway Tile
I rest my case. For today anyway. 😉