Debbie Travis' bathroom renovation
Besides producing and hosting Painted House, Debbie is an internationally syndicated columnist and is writing her seventh book, which will be about kitchens and bathrooms. With those kinds of demands on her time, she wanted a refuge, "someplace I could relax at the end of the day," she says. Equally important, the room had to be practical enough to accommodate her husband and two teenage sons.
"Our house is a mix of modern and old," says Debbie. "The back, where the kitchen is, is very modern; the front has lots of moulding and high ceilings. For the bathroom, I wanted a luxurious European bath - really, a cross between Europe and Cape Cod, something that wouldn't date. Something timeless."
She found inspiration for the style she was after (and some accessories) at a Waterworks store in New York City. The Waterworks line, also available at Ginger's Bath at Elte in Toronto, features stylish remakes of classic bath product designs. "When I first visited the Waterworks store," she sighs, savouring the memory, "I was so excited, I drooled."
Her new bathroom has the timeless look that Waterworks is famous for. Adjacent to classic custom-made glass-front cabinetry, the marble-top double-sink vanity has old-fashioned faucets bearing hot and cold porcelain markings. The same marble is used for the curvy backsplash that Debbie designed. The vanity's sink supports double as towel racks.
"In the shower, there are lovely glazed brick tiles," she says. "But the family is split. Some love the feel of the shower, others hate it. One of the biggest challenges was the new cast-iron tub," Debbie recalls. "I never thought to check how heavy it was. It took five sweaty men to haul the thing across the lawn, into the house, up the stairs and into the bathroom."
To augment the light in the once windowless room, Debbie had a skylight installed. A chalky powder blue paint was used on the upper walls, and glossy soft white wainscotting covers the lower half, including the frame for the tub.
Mindful of frosty Montreal winters, Debbie allowed an additional indulgence: a heated marble floor. A sensualist at heart? Sure, but it's her designer's eye that's the final judge. "What I love are the textures," she says. "The mix of the flatness of the tiles, the glossy wood, and the beauty of the marble is fantastic."