C&J Blog Article


As much as we like all things country...

As gentlemen who navigate the globe with the same vigour as Kim Kardashian rushing to the nail bar (are we the only ones who find the TV family tiresome?), we’ll go crazy if we have to listen to one more commentator squawk on about “boutique hotel” this or “hotel style” that. Matching night stand lamps, a cushion stack and an artfully-arranged bed throw does not create an elegant hotel vibe (in either the domestic or corporate setting) and, if you ask us, it takes more than a waxy chocolate positioned daintily on a pillow sham to conjure up the spirit of luxury. There. We said it.

For us, hotel style means so much more; it’s defined by a welcoming room that’s been perfectly preheated and illuminated to “cosy.” It’s a feeling of indulgence that settles as a thick towelling gown is plucked from its hanger and draped across travel-weary shoulders. It’s the fresh flowers, the bedside “next-day weather” note, or the friendly concierge who calls to establish that everything is tickety-boo. Little things, huh? Sure, but played properly, they make such a difference.

But hold it a moment. We’re not getting ideas above our station. Nor are we suggesting that proper hotel style is the exclusive domain of expensive hostelries. We’ve stayed in many a three star where enthusiastic staff has gone that extra mile to make us feel thoroughly at home. Conversely, we’ve camped out in five star outposts where disappointment settled from the moment we arrived. Aye, it’s less about spend and more about how interested your host actually is in making your stay a night to remember...for all the right reasons.

The good news is that Canada, from our experience, knows better than most how to proffer a tremendous welcome. Arriving in Toronto several years past, we lodged at the Four Seasons and, though its grandeur was certainly fading, the Canadian gem still retained a luxurious feel courtesy of wonderfully-competent staff. It comes as no surprise to note that the new Four Seasons in Yorkville is similarly appealing, with a welcoming team and stunning esthetics that amply warrant its five-star rating. We could go on and on . . .

And the common denominator that links our favourite hotels? In a word, the bathroom. OK, pedants, that’s two words, but you get the gist. A good bathroom, for us, is an utter necessity, both at home and on the road. This considered, what does your bathroom say about you? Is it a tranquil, organized home spa or a chaotic scene awash with soap scum, razor blades and squeezed tubes of toothpaste? If your answers favour the latter category, it’s time to rinse off the past and embrace a glossier future.

For the purposes of today’s column, we’re going to focus on the vanity area; more wash ‘n’ NO than wash ‘n’ go, we had our work cut out to bathe it clean of the past. But of course we relish a challenge; no matter how big it initially appears.


Working to the available dimensions, we created a 3D drawing of the proposed vanity (structured to allow sinks to be dropped in), all the time factoring ample space for towel storage below. Our trusty contractor created a timber frame, supported on articulated metal brackets and, this done, we clad the surfaces with toffee brown marble tile.

Well equipped

A good vanity should satisfy several requirements; surfaces should be adequate enough to display products as required and there should be bags of storage to stash items when not in use. Within this project we had the luxury of space to install two sinks, ideal for busy couples who like to brush their teeth in unison.

Vanity thrills

A small mirror positioned above each sink is all very well (see our before shot), but a huge mirrored section makes our project bathroom feel twice as large while more than satisfying reflective needs. Installed correctly, your finished results will be sleek and beautiful.

Dress to impress

A well-dressed vanity should be visually inviting and should immediately suggest order and cleanliness. Dispensing with all those half empty tubes of hemorrhoid creams and bottles of body lotions will make a huge difference, for starters! Opt instead for mirrored trays, chrome-lidded bottles and cut-glass jars; scour the aisles at The Bay ( for sensibly priced, well-designed options. The Brian Gluckstein line, for example, is particularly affordable, as is the Calvin Klein “Plush” towel range, which starts at just $12.

Lighten up

Being ready for that all-important close-up means being well lit, especially when it comes to personal grooming. And, take it from us, a little bit of planning goes a long, long way. It’s easy to get it right but similarly easy to get it wrong; lights hung above your mirror, for example, will cast unattractive shadows, whereas side lighting — as shown here — will illuminate your face more evenly. Switch yourself on to Lighting Originals ( for an inspired assembly of vanity thrills.

Successful Storage

Adding shelving for bales of fluffy towels and stacks of face cloths will give your bathroom a hotel/spa-like feel and is a great way of storing grooming paraphernalia without overcrowding your airing cupboard. Here, towel storage works particularly well due to the modesty wall which we constructed between the sink and the WC — you don’t want towels too close to the loo, for obvious reasons.

Luxe up for less

Collect free perfume miniatures and store in clear glass jars, wrap bars of soap with organic twine or decant budget supermarket bath oil into junk store crystal decanters to make a luxurious statement. In our quest for cute accessories you’re as likely to find us wandering the aisles of Dollarama ( as you are Holt Renfrew (; we’re not shy when it comes to tracking down the optimum deal at either end of the retail spectrum.

Our final vanity fare? “Check it all out when you check in” — when visiting new hotels, get into the habit of taking notes and pictures and become sufficiently inspired to make your bathroom a luxury destination, one you’ll be happy to visit time and time again. The best hotel souvenir we ever enjoyed wasn’t a dressing gown or a pair of terry towelling slippers, rather a wealth of ideas which we employ to this day in our clients’ domestic settings. Now go reflect on that! Loads of toffee marble and fresh white fittings.  Oh, and mirror. LOTS of that too!  Enjoy! 



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