Symmetrical Role ReversalPublished on February 11, 2016


  • Photo by: Mark Holleron

  • Photo by: Mark Holleron

  • Photo by: Mark Holleron

  • Photo by: Mark Holleron

  • Photo by: Mark Holleron

When Caroline Tosoni and her husband David decided to renovate the master bathroom in their Cumberland-area home, she knew from her profession as a cosmetic physician that natural beauty can be revealed by enhancing just one or two key features. She also knew that light, symmetry and texture could all change a look dramatically.

“We bought this house nine years ago for its peaceful location on a two-acre treed lot with 100-year-old maple and oak trees, for its privacy and for its open-concept design and oversized windows,” says Caroline. “The specific style of the bathroom and kitchen, however, did not match our own personal taste.”

They considered building a brand new house, but in the end decided to renovate instead. Dean Large, a designer from Astro Design Centre, was approached to assist with the project. “I first met the clients at their home, where I could see their love of contemporary design in their furnishings. The house they lived in was certainly not the modern masterpiece they wished for, but was situated on a gorgeous lot,” says the designer.

With four children, they needed a space that was elegant yet efficient, while also clean and uncluttered. “Some people like chaos or have eclectic tastes,” says Caroline. “I am more at peace, both in my professional environment and home, with order, clean lines, symmetry and harmony. This permeates my day-to-day work as a cosmetic physician and it has definitively shaped the way I have approached the designing of this space.”

Before starting the project, they knew that they wanted to play up the natural beauty surrounding the house, enhance the natural light and introduce new textures that would give the space a modern look. “Being centred in a wooden lot, we chose to carry natural materials like walnut, marble and slate into the room,” states Dean. “However, to add drama and contrast, the elements are juxtaposed with industrial lighting, square high-polished fixtures and a factory-style barn door.”

As first-time renovators, the couple looked at magazine and design websites to help create a bathroom inspired by the boutique hotels at which they had stayed in California. They wanted comfortable luxury with a contemporary look.

“Several times Caroline and David expressed the importance of quality and luxury,” says the designer. “We used simple but stunning materials to achieve this.” He adds that the walnut vanities were made by WetStyle craftsmen in Montreal, and the feature wall is covered in a pale grey marble. “Nothing in the room is overly patterned; rather, we chose to use luxurious, natural materials in the space.”
The room features two large windows that the couple chose to leave bare, plus oversized mirrors that capture the reflections of the trees surrounding the property. With 11- foot ceilings, the designer anchored the room by creating dramatic 12-inch baseboards from the same Italian stone tile used on the floor.

Working with the designer was a role reversal for the doctor. “When clients come to see me as their cosmetic physician, they rely on me to be the expert and tell them what they should be doing and what their options are, based on their own ideas. I can look at them and visualize the end result even before I start,” explains Caroline. “In this project, the roles were completely reversed. I sat in the client’s chair and sought Dean’s expert advice to help us create the space we wanted.”

For the designer, the doctor’s esthetic eye and innate sense of beauty only added to the process. “Caroline was great to work with. She trusted me fully. However, together we were able to ensure all the proportions were perfect and the balance was there so that nothing feels out of place.”

Melissa Shabinsky

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