The bathroom can be a tranquil retreat for many of us. It’s practically the reason why bubble bath, Enya, and scented candles exist. Perhaps this is because the average person spends somewhere around 45 minutes in the loo each day. Over the years this adds up to about a year and a half over the course of a lifetime, so it’s no wonder that people care so much about customizing a bathroom to fit their own needs and style.
Photo by Dan Watson
Whether someone is looking to upgrade their bathroom to increase the value of their home for sale or is finally ready to create a porcelain filled oasis they’ve always dreamed about there are many options available in the Greater Toronto Area. There is so much choice in terms of these projects that it can be hard to know where to turn. Thankfully, we have a listing of the best bathroom studios in Toronto to help you get your projects off to a smooth start.
Instyle Kitchens and Bathrooms (IKB)
Instyle Kitchens and Bathrooms (IKB) not only focus their business on key rooms of the home, they also flex their expertise as veterans of the Bloor West Village and Kingsway area. Having been in business since 2001, they know all of the tricks and challenges that come with renovations in older homes that require additional work and know-how.
Owner Michael LaMarche playfully refers to these renovations as "open heart surgery" while homes and condos built after the 1980’s simply need a facelift since they have been designed by architects who had room layout in mind during the initial build.
In older homes, IKB can spend up to two weeks simply gutting a place and dealing with older plumbing and electricity. With these bigger jobs in mind, IKB tries to reduce stress and help their clients from the planning stages to the very end of their renovation keeping clean lines, timeless designs and cost efficiency as their main priority.
There is an important understanding that renovation can be a costly, time consuming, and inconvenient process, and Michael has noticed a growing trend of people renovating entire floors of their houses more often, instead of just rooms, to get the renovation over with and begin enjoying their home. Michael has also seen a big surge in customers purchasing heated floors for both their kitchens and bathrooms:
Installing heated floors used to be a very lengthy process with labour taking over a day, but technology has allowed for these installations to take half a day, opening up this simple luxury to a lot more customers and budgets.
For smaller jobs to add value he recommends simple inlays over tubs to help save some money all while making a room look a lot nicer.
People looking to renovate their condos can expect a relatively easy job since usually the plumbing is fairly new and can’t be moved. However condo owners need to be prepared to pay for the extra task of getting materials in and out of their buildings, as well as drop cloths and other preparatory measures to ensure none of the condo common space is damaged as a result of a renovation.
Square Footage Inc.
Looking for someone to ‘champion’ your bathroom renovation? Look no further than the award winning team at Square Footage Inc. who are repeat winners of awards from the National Kitchen and Bath Association, year after year. Kristian Gilbert, Social Media and Marketing Manager at Square Footage Inc. says the team is seeing a lot of exciting trends in terms of bathroom design emerging primarily in colour and patterns including rich greys, jewel tones, and soft pastels. He adds that it’s refreshing to see that people are getting braver in terms of mixing and matching of materials, patterns, and textures for their renovated looks.
Innovative projects are something that Square Footage Inc. prides themselves on and they’re able to meld a number of different elements together to create both bold and subtle visual interest.
One of the most common space saving trends involves the bath tub, and Kristian himself would select a luxurious shower as a fantastic way to upgrade a bathroom:
People today, at least in my experience, don’t take baths as often or at all, so most would prefer a better, bigger shower. Clients who do not want to forego the tub completely, will usually request a freestanding tub and separate shower.
In dealing with a smaller bathroom, something as simple as a focal point can create an optical illusion making a room appear larger than it really is. Kristian explains this is because you’re focused on the single element of the room, rather than the size of the room:
In smaller spaces, less is almost always more. Choose one interesting focal point, and leave the rest as simple and unencumbered as possible.
SWKB Design Build
SWKB Design Build has made a name for themselves in turnkey renovations solutions for Bathrooms and Kitchens, and has since expanded, offering solutions to work for the entire home. Owner Cindy Wise knows firsthand what her clients are looking for to meet their bathroom needs saying:
Freestanding bathtubs and rain head showerheads are on trend for 2017, with no sign of them losing ground anytime soon. Steam is also gaining popularity and heated floors in en-suites are a must, as is ample storage. LED lighting, with its energy efficiency, long lifespan, bright light, and low heat makes it both a highly sought-after upgrade and a trend that will last well beyond 2017.
For those with small spaces, such as Toronto condominiums, Cindy sees common challenges including small space, low ceilings, and storage issues (including off-the-shelf cabinets). Her team opts to use clean lines and open up the space by utilizing the visual help of floating vanities, and glass showers as well as customized cabinets to meet maximum storage requirements.
Debating a renovation? Cindy reminds homeowners why it's good to renovate:
A well designed, high quality renovation significantly increases the value of a property.
She warns people not to try to fit too many things into a bathroom and isn’t afraid to tell her clients that they’re better off installing a larger shower when faced between the choice of that and a smaller tub.
How do clients feel about the job? One of their clients, Cynthina was thrilled with the experience:
SWKB made the entire experience a joy—from designing the layouts to our kitchen and bathroom to choosing everything from cabinets to counter tops and even hardware— this was all done under one roof and so efficiently.
Watermarks Kitchen and Bath Boutique
Watermarks Kitchen and Bath Boutique has been serving customers since 2003, and pride themselves on providing top quality, exclusive products as a division of Marks Supply Inc. With multiple locations they can help clients in any part of the city. This family managed business has the breadth of experience and the knowhow to help clients with any sized renovation project all with a small personal business approach. Sales Growth Manager, Eric Eagleton says the most important thing in their business is the relationship between the consultant and the client:
We work with non-commissioned sales people to ensure clients are sold what is going to work for them the most. If people are happy we know we’ll have a chain reaction and word of mouth through this approach to get clients exactly what they want.
Noted trends for bathrooms, include the bolder moves for clients mixing metals with wood and stone to create a new and innovative look in terms of finishing and actual materials. People are increasingly interested in smart toilets that can provide a real feel of luxury within the bathroom with capabilities including heating, music and a bidet. In terms of space saving Eric says:
People really like the feel of wall hung furniture and free standing fixtures to provide a less-is-more look for smaller spaces because you are seeing a bit more of the floor, creating the image of additional space. People are also focused on walk in showers and steam for good health.
For those on a budget looking for a ‘wow factor’ for their space Eric suggests small details as a cost effective measure. By selecting a smart faucet clients can create an expensive feel without having to really go high end in terms of their budget. The same goes with mixing of finishes to create a modern look.