categories | articles | write a review | design your space
log in | sign up ARE YOU A HOME PRO?

Two Bathrooms, One Cottage: How two different bathroom looks work in one home

If you’re renovating the bathrooms in your home – or in this case, a cottage – do the bathrooms have to be the same style? Or, can you play around with different looks under one roof? The design duo Colin and Justin did just this in their cottage. The experts wrote about it in  Reno and Decor, but here’s your glimpse into how the project turned out!

Case Study

When it came to creating two distinctly different bathrooms in our log cabin our design prowess was more than flexed. You see, the problem was this: Cherri and David (with whom we share the cottage) are very traditional in their decorative leanings, whereas we have very modern inclinations as far as design is concerned.

Cherri and David aspired to an indulgent haven that would remind them of their travels to some of the world’s finest hotels. They love the dripping deluxe marble esthetic, as witnessed in The Savoy in London or the Hotel Du Cap in Cannes.

Meanwhile, we had decided that our own ensuite cottage bathroom would be inspired by a bomb shelter. Yup, the curious notion was birthed after spotting and snapping a photo of a tin sign above the entrance to a now defunct air raid space in The Big Apple. We found it enticingly bleak, yet somehow chic; we loved its simplicity.

All things considered, though, our bleak chic isn’t even remotely stark like that of a luxury European hotel. The hotel look is, of course, measured, but it’s also warm and inviting into the decorative bargain.

Nonetheless, we said, “All hail the fallout shelter esthetic.” But would Cherri and David’s bathroom turn out as well? Hmm…let’s see. First up is Cherri and David’s hotel-inspired
retreat, followed by our bleak-chic ensuite.


Hotel-Inspired Retreat

Just a shell of a dowdy wash zone whose style gene had long since been flushed from the space, this room bore all the allure of a Two-Star Bed & Breakfast. To complicate matters, our co-owners had differing opinions as to function. While Sir hoped we could squeeze in a shower, Madame’s heart was set on a deep soaker tub. So we set to work.


The existing paper was damp, so we whipped it off—along with the mouldy drywall lurking behind—and installed specialized moisture-resistant plasterboard to protect against subsequent issues. After two coats of Benjamin Moore in Revere Pewter (satin finish is particularly durable in moisture-prone rooms), the walls—and woodwork—were complete.

Need wallpaper for your bathroom? Use our directory to find a wallpaper contractor to get the project done!

Shower vs. Bath

Short on space for a shower stall, we positioned a fabulous American Standard soaker towards the right-hand side. This enabled a massive shower head, elevated from the wall, to drain perfectly into the bath below. Cladding in Caesarstone, supplied and fitted by Mike at The bathroomHouse of Granite, elicited a seamless vision with display area.

Handy towel storage was secreted to the left. When tackling a project like this, it’s imperative to work with a good fabricator. Our chap produced paper templates to fit the awkward ceiling lines and the results speak for themselves. A final coup de grâce was a slick shower screen, expertly fitted by Access Glass.


A TV unit, inherited as part of the cottage chattels, was surplus to requirements in our great room, so we hauled it upstairs where its height and shape made it the ideal candidate for an interesting sink vanity. Using the template which came with the drop-in basin, and a cordless jigsaw, we carefully cut a hole to fit.

Next, it was time for a little dermabrasion! Rough-grade paper loosened—and ultimately removed—the old varnish, while medium-grade smoothed the timber ahead of washing down with soap and water. When thoroughly dry, it was ready for Benjamin Moore’s Iron Mountain satin-finish paint. The deep grey works especially well as a bridge between the sanded and re-varnished timber floor and, of course, the white sink. Take a tip: Don’t rush. Build up several light coats, rather than one heavy application. A little patience at this stage, promotes better colouration and durability.

At last we were on the home run. After adding a new chrome knob, our buddies at House of Granite cut a Caesarstone top using leftover wall material. This done, we dropped in the Town Square sink and taps by American Standard and called it a day! With a little love and a smattering of Highland Hocus Pocus, the bathroom is awash with style. It’s the perfect place for David to wet it and forget it in a quick shower, or for Cherri to pour a glass of bubbly and dip and sip in a long, languid bath.

We clearly created two very different bathrooms within the one cottage. Each one was realized after careful planning and meticulous installation. And, while each wash zone is the diametrical opposite of the other, you’ll see that both work equally well as part of our lakeside bolthole.

cottage bathroom

The Bleak-Chic Ensuite

In a space once occupied by a decidedly run-of-the-mill basement bathroom, we would create our bomb shelter-inspired ensuite. From our Toronto studio, we recalled the NYC snapshot on our laptop and let inspiration flood forth.

The subway tile (against which the sign was attached) has long-since been a fave default mechanism for C&J. We suppose the simplicity is its primary appeal. The glossy, white bevelled edges scream utilitarian—a decorative mood that seldom wanes. But first, we had to deal with the rip-out, at which point we discovered fungus and black mould. Damnation!

Let’s just say venting from the laundry had been incorrectly pumped into the ceiling void above the bathroom, rather than through an
exterior wall. The drywall was blackened and the smell of death was noxious; the void behind the drywall, you see, was little more than a mouse mausoleum.

But worry not because little fazes Dan our contractor. He simply removed the rotten 2×2-inch lumber, bleached the space clean, replaced the framework then covered it all in thick polythene. Thermoseal insulation was pumped into the newly created wall voids, fresh drywall attached and within days, the stench vanished.

Thereafter, our design couldn’t have been any simpler.

  • Side walls were clad with affordable white subway tile from Tile Shoppe and large concrete-look slabs (from the same source) were applied to the other two walls and floor. Bingo! Our bleak-chic esthetic was slowly emerging;
  • After visiting Huntsville-based concrete fabricators Dare To Be Different, and supplying them with a sketch and precise proportions, we waited just one week before our blocky poured-concrete structure materialized;
  • The taps and shower fixtures are by American Standard, while the glazed panel was installed by Access Glass;
  • Final layering comes courtesy of $15 bulk-head lights from Home Depot;
  • Fluffy towels from Winners;
  • A circular mirror from Ikea;
  • and Gypsy Potter hand-thrown vessels, Decorated with naturally shed horse hair (embedded into the surface pre-firing) each Gypsy Potter piece is unique and affordable, around $40 a throw.

cottage bathroom2

What do you think of these distinct, unique bathroom looks? Can you picture either look in your home? Get started on your very own bathroom renovation by using our directory to find a bathroom renovator! Show them pictures of what you like, share your budget with them, and let a bathroom contractor build you the perfect bathroom space for your home. Don’t be afraid to go wild when it comes to your tastes and design!

Want to see more of what Colin and Justin can do? Visit Reno and Decor online for more inspiration!

More in Bathroom Renovations

Transform your bathroom with these upgrades to increase value

Your ultimate guide to bathroom decorating

Array ( [0] => 8 [1] => 5 )