If You Didn’t Think Tile Grout Could Ever Be Sexy, This Bathroom Will Make You Think Again

published Dec 12, 2022
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Fiona Watt Toronto House Tour
Credit: Janet Kwan

It’s not every day that I get worked up over bathroom grout. After all, it’s a fairly utilitarian finish, necessary for keeping shower tiles, backsplashes, and floors set in place, and so often, the piece of this puzzle that’s the most dazzling is the tile. With the rise of perfectly-imperfect zellige tile, colorful subway tile, and tons of imported patterned and textured tiles, it can be daunting to even choose which direction you want to go for a given space with your walls and floors… let alone your grout. That’s why so much grout ends up being, well, white or gray.

I suppose when you’re the proprietor of a well-curated store of vintage furniture (and your apartment is just above said store), you’re more likely to dream up clever, out-of-the-box finishes for utilitarian things that don’t always shine. The proprietor at hand is Fiona Watt, who owns The Apartment, an online and IRL store dedicated to one-of-a-kind vintage wares, and the shower — which is located smack-dab in the middle of her apartment, mind you — is a scene-stealer in all the best ways.

Credit: Janet Kwan

“As a designer,” she says, “the biggest challenge with my space was the shower being located in the kitchen.” Surely, this is an unusual quirk for an apartment but not one that would deter some city-dwellers accustomed to making concessions to live in a desirable area. “Originally, it resembled a claustrophobic, dark, closet-like stall that had one of those terrible molded plastic liners,” Watt continues. “With a small budget of $3,000, I’ve completely transformed the space. Now in its place stands a spacious, bright, bold spa-like shower.” That area is what’s on display here, and for such a small shower surround, it’s worth seeing all the angles so you can take it all in.

Credit: Janet Kwan

In fact, upon first glance, the shower looks like it might be plain white tile with a clear, gridded shower curtain in front of it, but it’s actually white, square tiles with bright pink grout. The look is Tetris meets Barbie meets graph paper in the best way possible, and I’d say it owes that epithet to the grout, which is the unexpected choice here that elevates the plain white tile. “My favorite elements are the custom made pink grout and the candy-apple red shower fixtures,” says Watt. “Walking into the space now, the juxtaposition feels more intentional and creates a connection between the shower and the rest of the kitchen.”

The upshot here? Whether your bathroom is on display in your kitchen or not, colored grout might be the one thing that’s missing from your design scheme. It’s a small tweak that you can make for a relatively low-cost that can really change the look and feel of a bathroom. More colored grout in 2023, please and thank you!