For Andrea McMullen, designer and owner of ADM Design Inc., the bathroom is the perfect room in the house to make a splash — both literally and figuratively. She took us through four unique spaces and spoke about what makes them so awe-inspiring.
By Lisa van de Geyn

Where do I start when designing a bathroom? I like to have both form and function. I talk about it all the time. I like my spaces to work with whoever is living in the home,” says Andrea McMullen, the designer extraordinaire behind the four bathrooms featured in the pages that follow. “But really, I always look for that wow factor and the wow feature. If you want to be in that world of luxury, you need to think that way.”

When considering bathrooms, it’s all about who’s using it, how they’re using it and how best to facilitate that function. But it’s also about exercising your creativity. “Beyond your kitchen, your bathroom makes you the most money in your house, so why not be creative, interesting and innovative?” McMullen asks passionately. “Bathrooms are smaller spaces so per square foot, you can put more money into them. It’s an opportunity. Just because it’s a bathroom, it doesn’t mean it can’t be the most spectacular room in your house.”

“It’s very hotel-chic.”


This black-and-white bathroom is in a townhouse on Lakeshore West in Toronto. “The homeowner is super glitz,” says McMullen. “It’s not the first house I’ve done for this client, who’s all about luxury.” McMullen dolled up this bathroom by adorning it with the perfect amount of glamour — she opted for Rubinet faucets with black crystals, a mosaicglass art piece, vintage black-and-white retro photos and, the pièce de résistance, the chandelier hung prominently above the tub. “The chandelier was taken from the dining room in her old house. It’s just massive. We had to measure her height and stand in the tub to make sure she could get in and out comfortably. Not everyone is going to think to put a piece like this above their bathtub. It certainly makes a statement,” she says. “I love repurposing people’s sentimental pieces in different, unexpected ways that they’d never think of.” This house is also filled to the brim with luxury brand names, and the principal bedroom this bathroom is attached to is a Versace room, complete with Versace bedding and accents. “I also love the contrast between the black and white in the bathroom. There’s a feminine boldness in the black, but the chandelier, crystal, Versace, Dior and Chanel all over the house really add a lot of sparkle to the entire space. It was a really fun house to design.”


Sometimes homeowners, especially those who travel extensively or who have vacation homes, want their ensuites modelled after spas — a more relaxing retreat than a bold space. That was the case in this bathroom, done in Innisfil, Ont.’s Friday Harbour Resort. “We did a full renovation on the unit and this bathroom was just so lovely,” says McMullen. “The homeowners are an older couple, and I was happy that they allowed me to get inspired and just let us take the design where we wanted to go.” The bathroom has an incredibly serene feel — you can almost imagine it being attached to a luxurious spa. “It’s their vacation home, and we wanted it to be elegant and fresh. I think it works beautifully.” In this room, it’s all about the details. The gold circle mirrors with gorgeous ribbing detail are perfection — they’re classic but unexpected. “There’s also a beautiful gold-threaded bathmat from St. Genève of Quebec. It’s an exclusive high-end line that ADM sources for our luxury clients,” she adds. The custom-made lights are also remarkable. “Not only did they luminate the space perfectly, but they were also exquisite in design. A large window sits above a beautiful soaker tub, allowing natural light to bounce off the mixed metals in this space.”

While the ensuite is a spa-like haven, the powder room in the house is a work of art. With an awe-inspiring, back-lit glass built into a custom wooden case, the changing, dancing light leaves guests with a real wow factor. “We built a massive frame to fit the panel of onyx exactly. You walk in this long, narrow powder room, and it’s on the back wall. It’s such a statement and can be used as a nightlight. People don’t want to leave this bathroom, it’s that incredible,” McMullen says. “The rest of the room is simple and white with luxe chrome features, but that wow feature has made it the most popular room in the house when guests come over. Everyone is wowed by it.”


There’s nothing like a cool bathroom for the younger set. And the young guys who get to use this one love the nautical feel of its grey studded mirrors, the bidet and the colourful graffiti art above the toilet. The LED-luminated faucets that light up when engaged would be enough to excite any jetsetter. These are all neat features, sure, but the wow factor in this long, skinny bathroom is certainly the shower. “I did the vanity in navy and paired it with interesting nautical mirrors, but then really wanted to do something big and wow, so I used a textured metallic silver tile and it’s such a feature that it completely elevates the entire look of the space,” she says. “With an exciting, trending, 3D tile in a metallic sheen, this elevates the space to a next level. For this bathroom, it’s for young guys and I wanted the design to reflect who would be using the space. It would’ve been fresh and new and clean, but it wouldn’t have been spectacular if I hadn’t done the feature wall. You can see how they’d want to leave the bathroom door open when you can look in and see this.”