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Proven Design Ideas Guide Our Bath And Laundry Room Redo | ORC, FALL 2020, WEEK 3

Let the fun commence.

It's not that demo and dust and noise aren't a pleasant sign of progress. I just find dreaming up decorating schemes way more enjoyable. So, while Weeks 1 and 2 of our #OneRoomChallenge bath and laundry room overhaul has been all about getting the canvas blank, now in Week 3, it's time to get colouring.


In its eighteenth season, the One Room Challenge™, takes place in April and October. Each round, twenty design influencers take the challenge as Featured Designers. Every Wednesday, the designers document their process over six weekly posts. Better Homes and Gardens is the official media sponsor.

In addition to following along, everyone with a blog or Instagram account, is welcome to join the fun as a Guest Participant by linking their own room transformations up each Thursday, flooding the internet and social media with interior design inspiration, ideas, and encouragement.

This is our second One Room Challenge as a Guest Participant, but it's the first inside project we are tackling in our new home. See our first ORC - the makeover of our flower studio and garden. We are #LovingLeuty.


Where To Start?

I always begin with a dream. A vision for the space. I imagine only possibility. One that connects to the overarching personality of the home.

I wonder, how do I want us to feel in the space? What does the space feel like to us?

Hard or soft?

Light or dark?

Sparse or cozy?

New or old?

Playful or thoughtful?

The direction we're heading in for our dual-purpose bath/laundry room fittingly is a bit of tension. The room serves two purposes - it must wash up people and things in a space that should be welcoming to both.

It should feel clean, but not sanitary. Brighter, but not forced. Because its on the lower level with minimal natural light, we want to bring in freshness while acquiescing to the inherent attributes of a basement - a safe burrow. This is a room primarily built for function. But let it also be fabulous.

How about this as design direction?

A somewhat gritty industrial car wash, softened by fine, handmade soap.

Sounds interesting. If not, opposite. Exactly!

Then, What?

In most spaces, I work with as much as I can that is true to, and lasting in, the home. In the case of this room, because of the condition of the floors and walls which had to go, you might think there's nothing left original to the home's integrity.

Oh, but wait. Leaving the rafters exposed, not only adds height in a low room, but adds texture and history by exposing the underbelly of hundred-year-old wood support. And, the concrete, which may not be original to the home, is old and will ground the space and offer the mechanical design disposition we crave.

Week 2 Week 3

I know it doesn't look that much different. But the shower stall is now roughed in and the plumbing underway.

Week 2 Week 3

The washing machine and dryer are out of the room and the plumbing has been rerouted. Our electrician and his team were in running and updating the wires. All this behind-the-scenes stuff is so important but does inch along.


We've selected our tile and countertop colour palette and theme. It's black and white with a smudge of grey.

Girthy 24 inch by 48 inch marble-patterned porcelain tiles are for the shower stall walls. They will be laid horizontally to provide as much coverage as possible with fewer grout lines. Fewer grout lines = less grout gunk to clean. We splurged a bit on the mini-hexagon stone tiles for the base of the shower. They have wonderful sand paper feel so your feet won't slip.

We're keeping it light with the quartz countertop on the laundry side of the room. The colour is called Pure White but there are little flecks of grey and black to give just enough of a nod to the rest of the room's hue theme.

Utility Room Tips

I need to share some pretty. We are half-way through the ORC and we have been down and dirty. That's OK - you need to make a mess before you can make it beautiful.

But to encourage us that there is light at the end, I want to remember some of our other completed bath and laundry projects. There are many things we've learned along the way and we'll be applying these lessons to our current bath and laundry room refresh.

Keep it classic. When investing in expensive and hard-to-change elements like flooring and tiling, stick to timeless pieces. Marble, subway tiles, pencil railing - all have design staying power. Add character to the space with decorative elements like lighting, fixtures and accessories. PHOTO | Robin Stubbert

"I have too much storage," said no one, ever. Our old combo laundry/mudroom was designed to keep things out of sight and offer maximum work surface. Full-size closets hide appliances and sundry items to make this passageway streamlined and all the more pleasant. PHOTO | Robin Stubbert

Stay true to the space. We found brick that was laid in 1857 hiding behind drywall and floors the same age underneath layers of unsympathetic coating. Liberating the original attributes of a home frees its soul. PHOTO | Robin Stubbert

Look up. In this bathroom, we removed a false ceiling and gained inches of height. It makes a huge difference in a small space. The punch of blue helps too. PHOTO | Robin Stubbert

Surprise. In every room I design, I try to include one wow, focal point. Something fun, unexpected, different. In this bath overhaul, we had two: the statement sink and the oversized subway tiles in emerald green. PHOTO | Robin Stubbert

Up Next

Painting the rafters and polishing the concrete floor. Still not out of the dust yet. But getting there.

Need More Inspiration?

If you missed it, you can catch up on our progress:


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