Toronto designer Margie Doyle White homes in on hydrangea to transform a lacklustre master bathroom in the city’s Cabbagetown ’hood into a serene oasis.

Upholstered furniture in the bathroom? “You bet,” says Toronto designer Margie Doyle White. In fact, it was a fabric swatch that inspired the look of Raewyn Fahlenbock’s now impossibly pretty master ensuite. “Upholstery – whether in an armchair or a Roman shade – lends softness,” explains the designer.

“The oversized hydrangea print fabric that covers the bathroom’s slipper chair is one of my all-time favourites,” says Margie, who used it here to provide a comfy perch at the makeup vanity. “It dictated the overall mood of the room.” Which is a good thing, because before Margie arrived, the 300-square-foot space was in a really bad mood. “It had no sparkle, no colour, two single vanities placed oddly far apart and a shower stall,” she says. Noticeably absent: a tub. “While her husband prefers a shower, Raewyn loves to indulge in a relaxing bath, so we knew that had to be incorporated in the redesign.” So, everything was ripped out for a clean (pun intended) start.

Because the room is long and narrow, Margie aimed for an expansive feel. “I didn’t want the tub and shower stacked on one side. I wanted to make the room feel wider than it is.” So she established symmetry by placing custom vanities – one with his-and-hers sinks, the other a makeup station – on opposite walls, visually widening the space. This set-up is echoed in the placement of the spiffy new show-stopping tub, which is positioned opposite the shower. “These are all big items,” says the designer, “but placed this way, they balance one another out.” That elegant balance runs through the room’s colour palette, from the pale wall paint that recalls the magical light of dusk to the mix of watery-hued tiles in unexpected applications, particularly the mosaic ones used in the niche above the double-sink vanity. “These delicate beauties were a huge splurge!” says Margie. “They look like individually applied mosaics, but they’re actually sheets of tiles that are applied like wallpaper.” Luckily, their budget-busting price tag was tempered by the affordable piece that started it all – a pretty floral fabric swatch that cultivated a bouquet of a bathroom.


“A beautiful free-standing tub with a chandelier above it is my idea of a dream bathroom,” says homeowner Raewyn Fahlenbock. This vessel style was chosen not only for its generous size, which is super conducive to long soaks, but also for its silhouette.


A traditional Roman shade adds some contemporary colour, pattern and texture to the space and complements other soft furnishings, like the slipper chair and a stack of fluffy white towels.


“Having a makeup vanity in the bathroom is an incredible bonus,” says Raewyn. “It gives me my own space and offers so much storage for all my girly things.”


The bathroom’s wood-look flooring is actually porcelain. “These tiles are great for a bathroom because they offer the warm appearance of wood but have the easy-to- clean waterproof practicality of porcelain,” says designer Margie Doyle White. They also appeal to Raewyn’s love of laid-back country style. The intricate detailing of the mosaic wall above the sinks counters the casual feel of the floors.

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