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Ask A Designer: Bathroom Fix-Up

House Home Photo Ask A Designer Bathroom Fix-Up

Working with an awkward layout.

Q. Our bathroom has a horrible layout. When you walk in, the first thing you see is the toilet. In addition, the vanity's drawers hit it when pulled open. The wall is too small for a 60" vanity, but a 48" vanity along that wall would leave a 6" gap on either side. Would that look wrong? I don't know what to do to reconfigure the room. Help!

— L. B., Burlington, Ont. (To submit your own question, see our Ask A Designer™ page.)

A. Make peace with the layout.

Having the toilet opposite the door isn't ideal, but instead of blowing your budget on relocating plumbing, focus your money on fixtures and decorating. Since the toilet will stay in its highly visible spot, invest in a good-looking one. The Aquia II dual-flush toilet from Toto (shown) has a sleek design and uses a lot less water than a single-flush model. It's about 15" wide, so it will also save on space.

Create a new vanity.

A console table with open shelves makes a chic and striking bathroom vanity. And since it doesn't have drawers, you won't have to worry about them bumping the toilet. Look for a suitably sized console table (48" wide is the perfect size) at a secondhand store, and paint it black. Then, add an above-counter vessel sink, such as Kohler's Fit Vessel Lavatory (shown). You could add a new counter (white marble, grey limestone or quartz would work), but it isn't essential.

Incorporate storage.

Add a pair of Ikea's 24"-wide Godmorgon mirrored cabinets above the sink to store medicine and smaller toiletries. Stash larger items on the vanity shelves in covered woven boxes, like West Elm's Modern Weave lidded boxes (shown).

Introduce texture and pattern.

Tile the floor and tub walls with light grey 3⁄4" penny-round tiles from Ciot (shown). Paper the walls with Graham & Brown's Topkapi Blue (17784) or Elinor Blue (57190) patterns, through Crown Wallpaper (shown).

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1. Aquia II dual-flush toilet, Toto. 2. Graham & Brown wallpaper in Topkapi Blue (17784) (left) or Elinor Blue (57190), Crown Wallpaper. 3. Penny Round tiles in Shiny Light Grey, Ciot. 4. Modern Weave lidded boxes, West Elm. 5. Fit Vessels Lavatory sink, Kohler.


Cameron MacNeil


Andre Rider (inspiration room); Jodi Pudge (wallpaper, tiles).

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