Saturday, October 9, 2010

Modern Log Home - Guest Bath

Guest Bathroom design concept.

Last month I took a road trip to visit a clients weekend cabin located in a popular resort town a few hours north of the city (skiing, golfing, boating etc).  The homeowners are clients of mine who I've been working with for the past several years renovating their home in the city.  They purchased a weekend property earlier this year, its a chink log cabin that was built about 20 years ago.  A chink log cabin has squared logs instead of round and are stacked horizontally with a mortar bed (chink) in between the logs.  The logs used for this type of construction are weather equally on all sides so the exterior and interior look the same, in this case the builder used pine logs that had been weathered for 5 years and aged to a beautiful heather grey.  On the second floor where the guest bathroom is, the log walls are only about 3 feet high, as a result visually this creates a horizontal wainscotting effect.  In the guest bathroom, all the walls outside the room have this log feature but inside the bathroom there are only 2 of these log walls, you can see one of them in the photo below. 

Interior log wall of Guest Bathroom.

Now that my clients own the cabin they want to update the interior to reflect their personality and lifestyle, starting with the colonial 'knotty pine' kitchen and bathrooms.  They're a young family who are drawn to character homes but love simplistic modern style interiors and especially anything that's vintage 60's and 70's.  Knowing their style, I have to admit I was pretty EXCITED at the idea of mixing this modern aesthetic with the log cabin structure,,,,,,the interior would be a cool mix of rustic + vintage + modern + industrial - whatever you wanna call it (I hate trying to labell a style) it'll be a personalize mix that can only be called 'their' style.

For some bathrooms I design I'll spend a lot of time on the details, custom designing a vanity and mirror, I may spend hours searching for just the right marble or stone,,,searching thru batches of warehouse inventories to find just the right lot of tile or the perfect slab, and I'll order that 'perfect' light fixture, and faucets and statement tub,,,,,hoping they'll arrive within the next month or two.  But for some bathrooms I design, like this one,,,,,its all about simple design with ready-made and in stock.  These are the projects I really like to share on the blog because I think more readers can relate to these types of renovations.   My objective for this bathroom was to come up with a design plan using materials that were readily available thru local building stores up north and/or products that my clients could simply purchase off the shelf and bring them to the cabin on a weekend visit. The contractor was already standing-by, ready to go he was just waiting for the design plans.  So with no time to waste (literally!) here's what I came up with... 

Keeping in mind there are weathered grey logs on two walls and no windows, I wanted to use lots of white to keep it bright, modern and really showoff the wood.  To me, nothing beats the simplicity of white subway and hex tile, the grey grout will give it a vintage vibe and an entire tiled wall simplifies all the angles.  I proposed installing the subway tile vertically to enhance the vertical lines to offset the low ceilings.  A ready-made floating vanity in high gloss white is a modern contrast to the weathered grey logs, with 2 drawers its also super functional.  Because I wanted the vanity to go wall to wall, I've asked the contractor to make a cubby shelf at the one end.  A new glass enclosed shower with ready-made carrara marble jambs will replace the tiny old one piece insert.  I suggested an industrial style cage light painted in a fun bold colour like a tourquoise blue or bold yellow,,,with towels to match.  The large round steel rimmed mirror, numbered towel sets and chevron bathmat are fun graphic elements. 

A slightly different twist on the same concept, here I suggested an entire wall (the vanity/shower wall) be clad in the multi-toned glass mosaic with the rest of the shower wall tiled in the white subway and a light grey floor tile.  I've seen this glass mosaic at Lowes and HD so its readily available and not super expensive.  I like modern graphic of the small 3/4"x3/4" and all the various tones of grey and white which I thought added interest and compliments the wide stripe effect of the grey logs, both visible from outside the bathroom too.  Although this is probably my favorite of the two options,,,they opted to go for the white subway tile, installed in the typical horizontal fashion (I tried!).  I then sketched a quick 3D for them to illustrate the shower stall glass detail and how everything all worked with the slope ceiling.

A couple of days after the design plan was finished I did a quick scouting trip for some lighting and came across this awesome outdoor fixture that I thought would be perfect for the bathroom, especially with a silver base bulb.  I love the industrial style of this fixture and at only $45 I think they're a steal!  The homeowners loved it so much they've bought several of them to use in the other bathrooms too.  Now let's see if I can convince them to paint at least one of them yellow. : )

The old bathroom was torn out about 2 weeks ago and the contractor is already about halfway finished building this new one, he'll soon be ready for the glass and the countertop to be templated which are the only things not ready-made or off the shelf but will give the entire bathroom a custom look. Once this is done I'm not quite sure yet if he'll be moving on to the new design plans I've done for Master Bedroom Ensuite,,,,, or the kitchen, but I'll keep you posted!



  1. Carol this is absolutely gorgeous - I really look forward to the finished photos because it looks like you have nailed the feel for this space. Love the light fittings - very "look at me" in happy, sunny yellow. Hard to go past the little tiles. I have just completed a client's guest bathroom in the little penny rounds and I am very pleased at how much BIGGER they have made the space.

  2. Hi Carol...

    Love the bath, and of course a great drawing gets me all fired up...yours is wonderful, and shows how effective a great presentation can be...and a small cabin is my dream after all!!


  3. Beautiful design and lights. How come I could never find a light like that with such a good price? Are they available in US?

  4. Both of your designs are great, but I'm leaning towards #2 -- love the glass mosaic tile :-)

    Looking forward to seeing the completed room :-)


  5. Carol, your blog is amazing! I just spent the better part of two hours reading as much as I could. Your aesthetic is beautiful and your information is in depth and practical.I found you through Michelle Morlan's blog and I am so glad I did. Can't wait to read more.

  6. Carol,
    I wanted to say an overdue thank you so much for the tickets to the home show. We had a good time getting out and downtown for the first time in ages. We also went to the distillery district for the first time and were blown away by it and can't wait to go back when we have time to see more. Oh and the Rave book is really incredible, girl power!

    Have a good weekend!

  7. I love both designs. I'm planning on doing something similar in our downstairs bathroom.


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