Sensuous & serene sanctuaryPublished on May 5, 2019


  • Photo by: Mark Holleron

  • Photo by: Mark Holleron

  • Photo by: Mark Holleron

  • Susan Bryson
    Photo by: Mark Holleron

A design inspired by natural elements and the classical architecture of an older home in Cedar Hill has transported a bathroom that was a high-end beauty in the early ‘90s into an elegant sanctuary with a timeless hotel-chic vibe.

Interior designer Susan Bryson put her considerable talents to work on her own master bathroom in a spectacular design that has been submitted for a NKBA Ottawa chapter award. The bathroom was completely gutted to create a clean, classic space that she says, “feels simultaneously peaceful yet powerful, serene yet bold, classic yet edgy.” Susan explains that the tension between these dynamics gives the room a distinctive energy, and admits that her husband chose one of the finishes to help achieve this appealing effect.


The 100 square-foot bathroom was opened up from the master bedroom by enlarging the entry to a double-door design. This enhances the impressive impact of the floor-to-ceiling shower that stretches ten feet along the end wall. Designed as the dramatic focal point of the bathroom, the shower features a panel of mosaic tiles in natural stone centred on a white marble-effect wall of large-format porcelain tiles.

“Scale and proportion were key elements of the design,” says Susan. “Set out from the main wall, the shower was installed on a vertical plane to mimic the pattern of falling rain. For added dimension we raised the shower floor and dropped the ceiling to create a framing effect round the shower.”

The glass front was upgraded to a panel of clear glass for its reflective quality so that the sightlines are not obstructed from inside or out. With a rain-shower head and a soft Joyo light that washes down onto the mosaic tile, plus incredible views of the large treed backyard through a wall of windows, Susan describes the shower experience as, “The feeling of being outdoors or standing on the sidewalk in the rain.”

A luxurious double vanity with an oversized mirror and hand-polished, richly-plated faucets from Italy contribute to the elevated pampering element of the space. While Susan initially planned for an all-marble style bathroom, she changed the flooring to large format, grey-cement tiles. “My husband wanted a bit more of an edgy, industrial element—so it wasn’t all pretty and feminine,” laughs the designer, who notes that it added a grounding feature to the bathroom.

Susan applauds the outstanding work of her contractor, Thomas Ziolkowski of A-Z Renovations, who also did some beautiful panelling on the bathroom walls for extra architectural detail. The designer sourced nearly everything through Astro Design, and she catalogued the following major products and décor touches that went into the creation of this spectacular sanctuary.


The wall shower:

  • Mosaic tiles, 12” × 12” Runway Salt Mix by Mudtile from MudMosaic, Montreal.
  • Shower wall and base, Statuario Rex Classico Calacatta by Florim from Euro Tile & Stone.
  • Shower heads by Hansgrohe.
  • Starfire clear glass panel from Ottawa Shower Glass.

Double sink vanity:

  • Vanity from Downsview Kitchens in Toronto with R.W. Atlas hardware from Waterworks.
  • Fantini sink faucets from Italy.
  • Resin bowl by Martha Sturdy from Cadieux Interiors.
  • Caesarstone countertop in Calacatta Nuvo and high 8” backsplash done by Stone Design Concepts.

Flooring in large 24” × 48” cement tiles from Euro Tile.

Sconces from Restoration Hardware.

Metrie double-entry doors with circular motif from Lowe’s; handles from Preston Hardware.

Hand stool in matte white; an iconic design made in Portugal from Cadieux Interiors.

Jane Whiting

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