Subtly Accessible

British Columbia has one of the fastest-aging populations in Canada, and the physical limitations that age can bring is being reflected in bathroom makeovers.

Yet, as the team at Kenorah Construction and Design Ltd. found recently, the challenge is to design a modern, stylish and accessible bath that in no way is to look like a bathroom serving a physical handicap, explained design leader Gordon Taylor.

The South Surrey client, in his 60s, had ailments that restricted mobility in his 1970s rancher. He wanted a European-style luxury bath that would not only look great but also allow easy access now and into the future.

Kenorah replied with a design that virtually eliminates barriers, by removing the shower door and curb and adjusting the floor joists to accommodate a gradual slope for drainage. The bathroom was expanded by 14 inches and a tempered glass pony wall, anchored to the foundation, was installed to separate the shower from the rest of the space.

The shower system is a fully adjustable Grohe eight-inch Rain shower head, wand and shower bar. Radiant heating is installed beneath the over-sized porcelain floor tiles.

A cirrus white Corian bench running the full length of the bathroom enables the client to easily access the shower, which is equipped with a Grohe eight-inch Rain shower head, wand, and shower bar.

Kenorah replied with a design that virtually eliminates barriers, by removing the shower door and curb and adjusting the floor joists to accommodate a gradual slope for drainage. The bathroom was expanded by 14 inches and a tempered glass pony wall, anchored to the foundation, was installed to separate the shower from the rest of the space.

A cirrus white Corian bench running the full length of the bathroom enables the client to easily access the shower, which is equipped with a Grohe eight-inch Rain shower head, wand, and shower bar.

Timeless Taste

Vancouver’s brilliant Robert Ledingham is the first Canadian designer to win the International Interior Design Association Leadership Award, and has collected scores of other honours during his 30 years at the top of the interior design field. He was recently entrusted to create a visionary kitchen for a super-luxury condominium development at the University of British Columbia.

We know, this isn’t a kitchen makeover, but we believe Ledingham’s ideas are well worth stealing.
The residences at Intracorp’s exclusive Stirling House, just 10 in all and priced from $1.15 million to $3.6 million, are thought to define contemporary interior design in Vancouver.
In an interview, Ledingham explained, “I’m looking for the sort of materials that will have a timeless quality, that 15 years from now will still look good in the space.”

Kitchen makeover

This is the same concept that savvy homeowners should carry into their own kitchen renovations.
The first thing you notice in the sleek Stirling kitchen is that the refrigerator has disappeared in the open floor plan. The 36-inch Sub-Zero is hidden within the Varenna custom-designed flat panel kitchen cabinets.

Such top-of-the-line appliances define Ledingham’s desire for timeless quality. These include a Miele 27-inch stainless steel wall oven and stainless steel warming drawer, each with Profi handles. A Fisher & Paykel DishDrawer dishwasher tucks discreetly into the entertainment-style wet island, while a large Panasonic Genius Prestige Invertor stainless steel microwave oven is built into the cabinets. The range hood is a Cristal by Faber, a high-powered, three-speed model.

Kitchen makeover

All of the countertops are Quarella quartz composite stone, which wears extremely well and will not stain. The backsplash is a tempered glass panel that reaches to the underside of the cabinets.

The message from the master designer: design your makeover for the future with quality and clarity as your guides.

Go With The Flow

The East Vancouver homeowners faced a challenge: transform three separate and boxy rooms – a kitchen, a dining room and a dilapidated old laundry room – into a modern, energy-efficient kitchen while retaining the old home’s heritage character.

Ratcheting up the complexities was that the laundry room had been built out over a deck during a previous renovation, and the years of washing had rotted out the sub floor.

“This project presented some unique obstacles,” was the understatement from Jim Bahnuk of Briar Design and Construction Ltd. in Vancouver, who has 20 years of experience in the renovation business.

The owners’ goal was to retain the home’s 1920s original heritage style, though the project had to begin with immediate demolition.

Briar’s first step was to rip up and replace the laundry floor, including new floor joists. Then, a wall-to-wall bank of windows converted this once-dysfunctional dark room into a sun-drenched, cozy solarium perfect for lounging in or watching television.

Inside, the walls between the old kitchen and dining room were removed, opening up the space for the new kitchen. During the work, Briar reclaimed a three-foot-wide section that was once a chimney surround and converted it into a full-height pantry and appliance storage cabinet.

New, energy-efficient windows were added, but in keeping with the heritage theme, they are single-hung models faced with simple, flat-stock casings. This look was carried into the kitchen cabinets, which reintroduced Shaker-style contours in an ivory colour. The new, custom-made crown mouldings are designed to match the angularity of the owners’ Mission-style furniture. Other nods to the heritage character include real hardwood flooring and a backsplash of brick-like Subway tiles.

A peninsula-style counter extension, and a new island achieve visual separation from the kitchen’s working area while still allowing family and guests to interact.

Briar also installed three types of lighting into the kitchen: enlarged windows to flood the room with natural light, under-counter task lighting and ceiling lights in a combination of pot lights and soft frosted pendants.

The end result, completed this summer, is a great-room kitchen that has the latest in EnerGuide-rated appliances and finishing yet retains a heritage charm.

“Although the overall footprint was not changed, the interconnectivity makes the space feel significantly larger,” Bahnuk said.

The makeover was a contender in the 2009 Georgie competition for the best kitchen renovation in B.C.

DNA Of A Makeover

A leak and resulting water damage allowed a Whistler couple the opportunity for a major renovation of their master bath, a contract entrusted to award-winning designer Earl Lawson of V6B Design Group of Vancouver.

The original room was a standard condominium five-foot by eight foot bathroom with a sink and toilet on one wall and a tub on the other. The master bedroom suite, however, was quite large, and there was enough room to plan for a more luxurious master ensuite.

There were concerns as to how to include all the elements requested by the client inside the bathroom while incorporating a proper hallway and the closet storage required outside, Lawson said. The bathroom was redesigned to accommodate a double sink vanity, a frameless glass shower enclosure (for him) and a soaker tub (for her).

The key element in making the room plan work was the angled hallway. While decreasing the space in the bathroom at the toilet end, this hallway plan allowed for additional closet to be included on the opposite wall and gave a more central entry into the bedroom, he explained.
V6B, which accepted three awards this spring in the 2007 Art of the Industry National Kitchen and Bath Association Design Competition, drew out extensive floor plans and elevations on the project so the client and crew would know exactly what was to be done.
As the residence is at a ski resort, the finishes were kept very natural: stained knotty alder cabinetry with black highlights, matching his and hers mirrors, and extensive use of travertine and tumbled marble. In order to accommodate the increased bathroom size, the hallway and closets had to be reworked. The new closets were framed out with knotty alder closet doors to match the vanity cabinetry. The entry doors were also changed to knotty alder to complete the transition. Matching door hardware was used throughout.
Lawson notes that homeowners should not be swept up with the most recent fads or fashions, but concentrate on putting together a design that works for their lifestyle and the particular style of the home, at a quality level that is consistent with the homes value.

Form Meets Function

In some older homes the extra bathroom is a secret place, and for good reason. Installed originally for convenience and tolerated ever since, everyone tries not to think too much about it. That is until it is pressed into reluctant service for a house full of guests to the embarrassment of the owners.

Yet, as this low-key conversion shows, a small bathroom can claim glory through annexation and intelligent design.

Completed by CCI Renovations of North Vancouver and named as one of the top two ensuite renovations in this year’s Georgie awards, the makeover merged separate and feuding factions into a harmony of function.
Using the original location of a closet and the old sink/toilet and tub, the renovation created space, light and pride of place.

Masterful Ensuite

The direction from the client, a well-known and well-travelled Greater Vancouver chef, was simple: the master suite renovation had to be masculine, yet warm and inviting, “like a luxury hotel.”

The house, set on ocean view property in Ladner, was certainly worth the upscale upgrade, which was entrusted to veteran contractors Kenorah Construction and Design Ltd., of Delta, and cost $78,000 to complete.

The result proved impressive to judges in the annual Georgie competition, which named it the best master suite renovation in the province for 2006.

The ensuite is part of a whole-house renovation (the kitchen portion was profiled in Home Makeover last summer) yet extra care was taken in this, the busy client’s private sanctuary.
The custom-built limestone and glass shower, for example, features black beauty granite seating and shelving, an oversized Grohe rain head-shower, and multi-head, adjustable body spray system.

The hand-built floating cabinets are lit from beneath and support a custom crafted sink made from travertine marble.

The BainUltra air-jet soaker tub is framed in granite and boasts a view-through gas fireplace perched at one end.

The flooring, warmed by in-floor radiant heating, is finished in large 18-by-36-inch limestone tiles, with African hardwood extending to the bedroom area.

A nod to the environment is found in the reclaimed leaded glass doors that discreetly shield the low-flow dual-flush Caroma toilet and bidet.

Access to the outdoor pool and garden area is through Euroline Tilt-and-Turn French doors.
The natural gas fireplace, wireless remote controlled lighting and high-end audio system add to the sensual and luxurious experiences provided by this makeover space.

Bedroom To Bathroom

When Robin and Wayne Poncia bought a charming English Arts and Crafts home in the affluent Uplands district of Victoria, they wanted to retain its 1920s-era character while updating its interior.

The first step was adding a much larger bathroom to the four-bedroom home.

Built in 1929, and close to 5,000 square feet, the house needed some updating. But the couple was adamant that home’s fine features and classic lines would remain preserved and intact. They found a soulmate in Victoria designer Bruce Wilkin of Bruce Wilkin Design.

“With two school-age boys, the bathroom can be a busy place, so we had to bring all of our needs together in this space,” Robin explained.

The solution proved to be converting a second floor bedroom and small ensuite into a large new family bathroom.

The first challenge Wilkin encountered was how to accommodate the bathroom’s functional elements.