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Todd Talbot Shares his Luxury Ensuite With a View

HOSS Magazine's West Coast Editor Todd Talbot’s ensuite combines modern luxury with a million-dollar view.

Next to the kitchen, your bathroom is the most expensive and complicated room in your house to design and execute. It also has the potential to deliver form and function that will add value to your everyday life—as well as the bottom line for your home. In other words, it’s one of the spaces in your home that is worth an investment in both time and money.

Ensuite with a view

I have the privilege to live in one of the most beautiful places in the world, and watching the view from the comfort of a hot steaming shower when I wake up in the morning is my kind of Zen. Every project needs a focal point to anchor the design concept and, for us, every decision made in this 72 sq. ft. space revolved around the window and the view.

While you need at least one tub in a home, we opted for only a walk-in shower in the ensuite, with an all-glass surround to keep the space open. It takes a bit more time and effort, but if you can lower the sub-floor as we did here, you’ll have a seamless transition that looks great and creates flow. Installing the shower controls at the entrance to the shower saves you having a cold start.


Wherever you want focus directed—in this case outside—will be enhanced by having the rest of the space fall away. For us to achieve that, any extras such as door knobs, towel rods, medicine cabinets or even a traditional door were minimized or hidden away.

The barn door trend is well established and it’s great for larger spaces, however, for an ensuite I prefer a tidy and uncluttered pocket door. Either way, you can maximize your square footage in a small room if you do away with the swing of a hinged door.

Designer Jamie Banfield came up with a shallow-backed storage wall idea that flowed right through into the shower stall like one giant top-to-bottom medicine cabinet. The Caesar stone door fronts were tricky to deal with but the specialists at Colonial Counter Tops were able to make a seamless aesthetic. The gas pipe towel rod (clean well before placing white towels on it) comes in different sizes to customize to your space: total cost $75. We tucked it beneath a shelf and let it hang down (not out from the wall) so it didn’t intrude into the room.

Radiant in-floor heating is similarly unobtrusive: it feels great underfoot and doesn’t take up any extra room with baseboards or vents. (Make sure you tuck the pad far enough into the shower and under the counter so your toes aren’t cold. The heat doesn’t transfer further than the pad.)

Light & bright

Lighting design is often left to the last minute, or worse, overlooked entirely. In this space, we used five different lighting elements: pot lights and Waterworks sconces on dimmers, LED strip lighting, detail lights inset below the cabinets, and, of course, the natural light from the window—courtesy of Long Life Windows & Doors.

Your colour palette is the final lighting consideration: neutral tones that are bright and reflect light tend to stand the test of time. And the colours and tones you choose for your hard finishes will impact future value of a space.

The pieces we chose:

Grey scaled travertine 1’x2’ tile from Cantu Bathrooms by Waterworks

White subway tile by Waterworks

Caesar Stone door fronts

Reclaimed Chinese Elm counter and accent shelf, milled and sealed by MTH Woodworks