Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Sarah's House 4: Master Ensuite + Recreation Room

We are in the final stretch of Season 4 of Sarah's House.  This whole back-to-back episodes setup at HGTV Canada really speeds up the process and this week, Sarah and Tommy are finishing up the Master Ensuite and tackling the Rec Room.

Taking lead from the Master Bedroom, the color palette of this sumptuous ensuite is all about mixing ming green with pale grey and warm white, plus sparkles!

image via Double Oak Homes
With a beautiful Master Bedroom as "foreword", Sarah and Tommy set out to design a decadent, luxurious, and elegant ensuite for ultimate relaxation.  With almost 200 square feet as their playground, here is the layout the dynamic duo come up with.

To achieve the perfect sightline the moment you open up those double doors, you need a breathtaking vanity with stone counter and exquisite faucets with vintage charm.  Ordering a custom vanity Tommy likes would cost over $3,000 without countertop and faucets.  To save some dollars to splurge on tiles, wall sconces, and a beautiful free-standing tub, Sarah customized the standard vanity by shrinking the two side slightly (so the edges are away from the walls), pushing the bank of drawers in the middle back slightly, adding curvaceous Queen Anne inspired legs, and antique mirror panels, here is a piece of furniture you don't see in standard builder's home!

From Plan:

To reality:

Finishes are particularly important in bathroom renovation as this is where you score the biggest return of your investment (well ...  maybe a close second after kitchen).  In this ensuite, natural stone tiles in ming green are installed throughout and Sarah added a carpet detail to the installation.

Tip from Sarah: check with your tiller and see if installation is more expensive with larger tiles.  In this case, Sarah picked a 12" x 12" tile since installing the 18" x 18" would be considered an upgrade.  Going with the smaller tiles, the fund can now be allocated to the intricate mosaic border on the floor.

With splurge on the floor tiles and the size of the shower in mind, Sarah selected glossy white subway tiles as the foundation in the shower.  Adding a chair rail with a band of tile in a diamond motif at 60" above ground means the beautiful band will not intervene the plumbing, and you will also see your splurge at eye level.

Nothing says luxury and relaxation more so than a beautiful free-standing soaker tub.  It is also the perfect sculptural beauty to juxtapose against all the boxy elements like the vanity and the shower.  Adding sheered cotton drapes, a freshly reupholstered/refinished vintage chair, and a whimsical side table with intricate carving, I could spend a whole day in this spa retreat!

Other elements I love include the diamond shaped mirrors and how they echo the vintage crystal + glass wall sconces for a touch of Hollywood glam!  After studying the show religiously season after season, I also picked up a new art work grouping trick: pairing art work with one hanging horizontally and one vertically for a dynamic grouping.     

With the master ensuite wrapped up, we are ready to move on to the last area of this custom builder home: the basement.  This sub-level, below ground space is often associated with bad lighting, cold and uninviting.  This maybe true to some but it's certainly not the case in Sarah's House, especially after spending over $10,000 on creating a walk-out from the basement!

This warm, welcoming, and light-filled recreation room is the ultimate sweet spot for the family to kick their feet up on movie nights or a friendly billiard competition.  Here is the layout of the room:

Actually this layout was slightly modified at the construction stage.  See the billiard table on the left end of the room? There isn't enough space for one to move around the table comfortably, little alone having the best shot at the game.  Sarah's rule of thumb is to have at least 5' moving space around the billard table.  With a little bit of convincing, the builder agreed to remove the wall next to the billiard table and now we have one big open concept space for family and friends to enjoy!

To add warmth to the rec room, Sarah and Tommy picked this "retro" Perisan rug fills with vibrant patterns and bold colors as the jumping off point. This rug is perfect for the recreation room as it is hardwearing and practical (its patterns and colors hide all dirt), not to mention the hot trend of laying rug on broadloom. I did the same in the nursery project and love it!

image via Double Oak Homes
The trick to pull off such strong jumping off point is to pair it with fabrics in similar colors and strength.  In this case, a collection of linen, wool, and cotton in shades of red and greys is used on toss pillows, and check out those gorgeous drapes!  Most of the walls are painted grey to complement the red accents, except for the two end walls in Barn Red to cozy up the space.  When painting your space with rich/intense colors, make sure you ask for neutral base paint (instead of clear base) for maximum coverage in just a couple of coats.

To make sure this recreation room welcomes everyone, a pair of William Birch inspired sofa and loveseat in classic old school English club style grounds the room.  Another tip from Sarah: when picking a sofa for the media room/rec room, make sure it's extra deep with high back for casual lounging.  A sofa with tight back also allows you to add more toss pillows for comfort, texture, and visual interest.  I also love the two industrial side tables (one of many amazing products by Sarah's little brother, Theo). 

To inject more masculine touches in the space, a harvest table doubling as console behind the sofa can also become the dining destination.  Pot lights are the practical choice in the basement.  For drama and ambience, nothing beats this lantern style pendant in antique bronze finish, which ties in to the charcoal touches throughout the space.  It also adds a traditional touch to the space and draws your eyes down from the ceiling.    

Recreation room is all about having a good time and nothing too serious.  Sarah and Tommy have certainly scored A+ on both counts and I love these groupings of occasional chairs!

Now do you like this industrial style two tiers stand in race car red?  Here is your chance to own it at Of Things Past!  Big thank you to HGTV Canada for all these amazing pictures!

Until next week for curb appeal and final reveal!  You can also check out my earlier recaps here.


  1. Although the master ensuite looks luxurious, I'm not sure that I would have chosen all of the green tile. It feels a bit 80's, and unfortunately it would be very expensive to replace.
    The rec room is definitely a place that I would definitely want to hang out in. It looks super comfortable, and it would be great for movie nights and billiards nights!!

  2. Thanks for the fantastic recap! I missed the show this week so this is my "fix" until I can watch it online.

    I'm loving your blog.

  3. Love it! Yes the bathroom looks a little green on tv but they look a lot more muted in pictures. I just can't get enough of the rec room and that walkout!

    Hard to believe it is the end of Sarah's House 4 already!

  4. Nice article and great knowledge. Thanks for the share. I love this story and enjoy with your words!
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