All too often in a redesign, we tend to think conventionally first, wondering if we “should” have a certain room or feature, rather than if we need it or want it. Some homeowners will emphasize how their choice will impact the resale value of their house. Of course, if there are immediate plans to sell a house, this is a wise concern and should factor heavily into the redesign process. If however, there aren’t any plans to sell in the foreseeable future, it doesn’t always do the homeowner a service to live for years with features that they will seldom use nor want, just on the off-chance that it will influence some hypothetical future buyer’s decision. Approaching the dream de-sign of this perfectly personalized ensuite for the Cusimano’s we focused in on their needs first before conventional design aspects.


The ideal renovation focuses on designing a personalized space; it places the client’s needs and wants before conventional approaches. Instead of asking, “is a home sup-posed to have a dining room?” people should ask, “will we use a dining room?”. In-stead of wondering what the neighbours did, try to focus on how your lifestyle is best supported. Instead of asking, “should an ensuite have a bathtub?” ask the question, “do we want a bathtub?”

For the Cusimanos, the answer to this question was no. So instead of sacrificing shower size to accommodate a bathtub that wasn’t needed, they made the wise decision to place their needs first and installed a luxurious walk-in shower with ample space.


The original bathroom was not functioning in a way that met the family’s needs. We offered a number of different layout options and in a highly collaborative design process then selected a layout which met all of their needs. First and foremost was the shower. We selected a framed glass enclosure for the shower, which gave the bathroom a light, open feeling, and allows plenty of natural light and sunshine to stream into the shower from the window. The glass enclosure also wraps around the side, with a half-wall providing privacy for the toilet area.

We also featured pristine, pearly white porcelain tiles on the shower walls, like fresh snow on a slate mountain, this helps to enhance the clean, open feeling of the room. Dark charcoal coloured tiles on the shower floor provide a pleasing contrast, while the 1×4” mosaic tiles allow for more traction when wet and are excellent for concealing dirt and water spots. A generously sized shampoo niche ensures there will never be a problem with toiletries on the floor of the shower. In the niche, we opted for a bit more pat-tern with a beautiful marble mosaic that complements the wall tiles while maintaining the light, bright, open feeling.

The shower bench and curb are composed of durable, stylish engineered quartz in a natural subtle marble pattern. In keeping with the theme of luxury and comfort, we incorporated a rain showerhead (for him) as well as a wall-mounted hand shower (for her).


Framing the bathroom doors are two identical vanities. The door provides a clear definition between the two equal spaces, while their proximity allows for connection in shared bathroom time. The elegant walnut veneer of the vanities lends a cozy warmth to the room, balancing the light, open feel perfectly. The slab front cabinet doors high-light the modern look of the vanities. Playing with colour, we selected a glass penny round mosaic in smoke colour for the vanity backsplash. For continuity, we used the same marble-coloured engineered quartz for the counters as we did for the shower bench and curb.

We kept the walls a very light shade of grey to again make the space feel more open and vibrant. The lightness of the walls also provides a stage for the shower and vanities to be the stand out pieces, like works of art curated in a museum. Wall-mounted mirrors over both sinks as well as a mirror on the back of the bathroom door amplify the light and expand the bathroom, opening the room even further.


Although the main focus of the renovation was to incorporate a large walk-in shower and allow for two vanities, the other practical considerations during the design process were durability and storage space.

The Cusimanos have two teenagers that frequently use the ensuite bathroom, so care had to be taken in selecting durable materials that would stand the test of time. Engineered quartz, used for the shower bench and curb, as well as the vanity counters, is both easy to maintain and extremely durable. Elegant, sturdy hardware used on the cabinets will withstand everyday use. Opting for towel hooks instead of a bar maximized the space, and ensured room for everyone’s towels.

To add more storage, counter-to-ceiling towers were installed on each vanity. Not only does this provide ample space to organize and easily access all the necessary toiletries, but it also keeps the counters clean and clear, so the minimalistic, bright, open feel is maintained even with everyday use. The towers also frame the room, creating a continuous flow, drawing the eye upward and giving the illusion of more space.


With the main focus placed on the needs and wants of the Cusimano family, we collaboratively designed a perfect ensuite that satisfied all of the goals we set out to accomplish. Not only is the bathroom stunning and well-balanced in colour and form, but the functionality is amazing. This ensuite was designed to be used. The spacious shower with multiple heads, the personal space afforded by two separate vanities, the durable materials selected – everything was carefully planned to create a bathroom that puts a check mark in every box.

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