From dated to Modern-Rustic: Before and After!

 

I apologize for my hiatus which has admittedly been extensive. Post election I’ve been feeling a bit out-of-sorts somewhat subscribing to the wise words of Thumper (Bambi’s buddy), “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say nothin’ at all.” I don’t know how much longer I can bite my tongue, but I do have something nice to say, something about a house I spent almost a year and a half working on and the sweet client who was gutsy enough to hire me.

 

 

You see, when I first saw the house, it looked like this upon entering.

 

 

 

 

 

 

And I looked like I had just swallowed a GMO watermelon! I met with the client on a Thursday and had baby Kai the following Tuesday. I was just delusional enough (high on hormones?) to say something like, “I’ll need about three weeks off after giving birth,” and my client was just crazy enough to say “Okay!” (I take this as a HUGE compliment because I had competition–he interviewed at least one other designer.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

There was not much about this house that was working. The entry had a bad pony wall, the living room felt cut off from the kitchen–wait until you see the kitchen (someone had a strong affinity for scalloped cabinets), and the bathrooms were…less than lovely.

 

 

 

 

 

 

But almost every house has some beauty lurking beneath, so I called upon my go-to architect, Jake Niksto, to help me unearth it, and we joined forces with the adept contractor Litchfield Builders. And thus the preliminary meetings began.

 

 

 

 

 

Luckily for me, Kai arrived in late November so in between holiday this and inclement weather that, said meetings were postponed so I was able to have about two months of baby-bonding before the pencils hit the paper. And when those team meetings really got going, Kai was just little and sleepy enough that quite often I could get away with wearing him strapped to my chest as long as I kept standing and swaying. I’m sure his subconscious is filled with all sorts of interesting facts about footings and tray ceilings.

 

 

 

 

I love this rough-hewn mantel. It took the client a six-hour drive, there and back, in an oversized truck that the contractor was kind enough to loan, to retrieve this raw wood that was hernia-heavy, but I think it was worth every mile, sweaty brow, and penny! This is a double-sided fireplace so you’ll see it, in a moment, on the kitchen side, as well.

 

 

 

 

 

But first, a closeup of the concrete FireBalls, the lava rock that was placed with such care, (mini on the pan, large on the base) and a hearth fabricated from some of the coolest cement tiles I have ever seen. We searched high and low through many, many styles and color-ways of cement tile and this was the clear winner; however, if you are ever planning to use a black grout on a cement tile that has white in its design, brace yourself for a headache or, better yet, email me and I’ll tell you how we avoided turning the tiles into a smeary black dis-ass-tuh, as that person in the White House might say.

 

 

 

 

 

New French doors were installed, (landscaping happening now so please excuse the view beyond the doors), along with new ceiling registers which the contractor was able to make completely flush with the wall which was a bit more effort and money, but very aesthetically pleasing to avoid the usual over-mount overlap. We laughed that there were about four people in the world who would appreciate such a thing–and we were all standing in the same room.

 

 

 

 

 

The wood floors are California Collection Mediterranean Classics, color: Aegean. (We have the same floors at our house and I can vouch for them being quite dog and toddler proof!)

 

 

Here’s the scallop cabinetry detail in the former kitchen with some outdated tiled counters to boot.

 

 

 

 

 

And After!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’m trying to give you the same vantage point in the Before and Afters, but it’s a bit tricky, because quite a few walls were removed and repositioned.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The curtained door in the photograph below, for example, was swallowed up by the new laundry room.

 

 

 

 

 

 

A different angle…

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now switching to the other side of the kitchen, and the other side of that double-sided fireplace which we had clad in a smooth gray stucco.

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s hard to tell from the photo, but up close the stucco on the fireplace has a very pretty burnished effect. We instructed the stucco guys to burnish and then burnish some more and the result is a lot like concrete, but with more depth and mottling.

 

 

 

 

 

 

And who doesn’t want a wine fridge in the kitchen? Or juice-box cooler for the wee folks?

 

 

 

 

 

Here’s a shot with the funky, rusty looking pendants from RH.

 

 

 

 

 

For the most part, we veered away from open shelving because storage was key, but we gave just a touch of open shelves for some pretty on-display dishes.

 

 

 

 

 

Like so…

 

 

 

 

 

Okay, before your eyes start rolling at one more gratuitous kitchen photo, let’s look into the dining room (albeit through the kitchen), shall we?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dining room with the barn door…

 

 

 

 

 

A few people have asked about this barn door and I’ll just say it was custom, with wood sourced on that aforementioned six hour (both ways!) drive and that when it comes to barn door hardware (and so many other things, darn it), you often get what you pay for, so if you want a barn door that glides with just a gentle push from your index finger, the hardware to get is KROWNLAB. (Plus their Black Stainless finish is very good, and not at all fake-aged in appearance.)

 

 

Unfortunately there aren’t any Before photos of the laundry room because to build it, we stole some of the former kitchen space, (of which there was plenty once we bumped out to add a new dining room). Good thing we had such a clever architect!

 

 

 

 

 

 

More barn door hardware from good ol’ KROWNLAB.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The other side of the laundry room. (More storage!)

 

 

 

 

 

 

This powder room also sprung up from borrowed kitchen space. I’m mad for this copper light from Rejuvenation and seriously considering recommending wall-mounted faucets for every bathroom remodel. Not only do they look interesting, but their position, as it relates to gravity, avoids the inevitable muck of pooled water that affects counter-mounted faucets.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The business (toilet) side. And more cement tile. The client and I were big fans but do remember that you need to seal cement tile very, very well to keep it looking clean and especially to avoid tinkle stains, ahem!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On to more bathrooms… Here is the Before of the guest bathroom.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And After!

 

 

 

 

The other side Before…

 

 

 

 

And After!

 

 

 

 

 

The master bath Before (with a little demo begun)…

 

 

 

 

 

 

And After…

 

 

 

 

 

 

This was as custom-built vanity and the plan was to paint it a very bright, knock-you-over-the-head-in-a-good-way blue since every other component of the bathroom would be chrome, glass, and a variation of white. Color winner: Benjamin Moore’s Old Navy.

 

 

 

The Toto Washlet Bidet Toilet. Prior to ordering, we researched that it has been called “a life changer”. My client has reported back: “Affirmative”.

 

 

 

We used a special stucco (Merlex SuperShower) to waterproof the walls on the shower side so we could keep the wall looking like a regular painted wall instead of tiling it, yet still ensuring it was waterproof. We also skipped glass walls and doors for the shower (only using a very minimal glass fin) and sloped the floor so water from the shower would head straight to the drain so we could avoid a dam/curb on the floor. This let a somewhat tight space feel as open and airy as possible and gave the European Shower feel that the client had requested.

 

 

There is also the cool factor of this Japanese Soaking tub giving this Euro-bath some Asian flair.

 

 

 

 

 

 

I styled the niche with a bar of soap and some greenery, but we all agreed this would be the perfect spot to rest a glass of wine–or sake. 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

Look, Ma! No walls (or dam/curb)!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And there you have it! Next on the list is adding furniture. But, for now, a parting shot of the charming cement tile…and me clicking my heels that the stars aligned and somehow let me simultaneously pull off the birth of my first baby and a client’s house (since this house was fully gutted and reborn in many ways)!

 

 

PS, When the Alec Baldwin skits aren’t even enough to settle the sense of unease, I try to remember the good people (the ones who were willing to hire the pregnant designer, haha) and that instead of biting my tongue, it might be better to share the nice things, the good stories, to remind ourselves of our strength, our value, and our conviction that good must triumph over evil. 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

Happy decorating!

 

 

 

20 Comments on From dated to Modern-Rustic: Before and After!

  1. picky B
    March 24, 2017 at 4:20 PM (7 months ago)

    Really really really incredible transformation. The homeowner must be thrilled!
    When will you be getting your own tv show? 😉

    Reply
    • Kisha Gianni
      March 25, 2017 at 7:36 PM (7 months ago)

      Thank you for the kind words! Now a show would be fun…:)

      Reply
  2. Cori
    March 24, 2017 at 7:52 PM (7 months ago)

    I love love love your sense of style and always enjoy reading your blog posts! The house looks beautiful!

    Reply
  3. J. Hall
    March 26, 2017 at 9:02 PM (7 months ago)

    Wow!!! WHAT a difference! You rocked it! J. Hall

    Reply
  4. sherry hart
    April 3, 2017 at 4:22 AM (7 months ago)

    Beautiful….down to the very last detail! Love all of the tile selections…..so good!

    Reply
  5. Summer
    July 3, 2017 at 2:05 AM (4 months ago)

    The burnished stucco on the fireplace turned out beautifully! Did you use a special stucco, or was it the burnishing that gave it that depth/ages appearance? Thanks!

    Reply
    • Kisha Gianni
      July 5, 2017 at 1:23 PM (4 months ago)

      Than you! It was regular stucco (we used La Habra brand; Merlex is another one I have used), but stucco comes in different textures so you would need to specify a fine texture. The burnishing, however, is what gives it the mottled effect and that look of depth/patina.

      Reply
  6. tony.d
    July 3, 2017 at 9:56 PM (4 months ago)

    was that stucco used for the fireplace?

    Reply
    • Kisha Gianni
      July 5, 2017 at 1:25 PM (4 months ago)

      Yes. La Habra brand. Merlex is another brand. If using Merlex, ask for the “Santa Barbara” texture. If La Habra, ask for a fine texture. Lots of burnishing is also important to give some depth to the appearance–if you are after that look. 🙂

      Reply
      • tony.d
        July 6, 2017 at 6:51 PM (4 months ago)

        awesome.. was that a specific color?

        Reply
        • Kisha Gianni
          October 6, 2017 at 10:22 AM (2 weeks ago)

          Thank you! I’m sorry I only saw your comment just now. The color was Silverado by La Habra.

          Reply
  7. Phoebe Monteith
    July 30, 2017 at 6:47 PM (3 months ago)

    Hi – I’m considering the Merlex for shower walls.
    Was the installer on this project already familiar with the product?
    The material looks pricey.
    Would any good plasterer be able to learn quickly how to work it without too much waste?
    Also wondering how long it took to cure. How did it smell during installation, and how long does the smell last?
    Looks gorgeous!
    Thanks.

    Reply
    • Kisha Gianni
      July 30, 2017 at 10:48 PM (3 months ago)

      I think the installer had only worked with Merlex one time before this project. I got the idea that its application was very similar to regular smooth-finish stucco. I don’t know the price, but it had a very great effect and I can’t imagine it would cost any more than tile and we used it in lieu of tile on the shower walls. Hope that helps!

      Reply
  8. Kari
    October 4, 2017 at 8:27 PM (3 weeks ago)

    I adore everything about this house! I’m especially in love with the fireplace. I see it’s La Habra brand with a fine texture and lots of burnishing, but do you know the specific color used for the stucco? Hoping to achieve a similar look. I wish you could design our entire house! Beautiful work!

    Reply
    • Kisha Gianni
      October 6, 2017 at 10:23 AM (2 weeks ago)

      Thank you for the kind words! The color was Silverado by La Habra. 🙂

      Reply
  9. Abigail
    October 18, 2017 at 8:15 AM (5 days ago)

    What a beautiful transformation! We will be using the Merlex Super Shower in our master bath and I’ve been trying out creamy white colors. We’ve gotten samples, but it’s hard to get an idea of what the colors look like large scale. Do you mind sharing which color you chose? Thanks and keep up the great work!

    Reply
    • Kisha Gianni
      October 18, 2017 at 2:23 PM (5 days ago)

      Thank you. We wanted a fairly white white since the flooring was white hex tile so we didn’t want one white to look dingy or grimy in contrast so we used the Merlex Glacier White. Hope that helps! I’m excited for you that you’ll be using this product. It’s not commonly used, yet it is rather amazing! 🙂

      Reply
      • Abigail
        October 19, 2017 at 7:33 AM (4 days ago)

        Thank you for getting back to me so quickly, I really appreciate it! We’re excited too! Now just have to finalize that color….!

        Reply

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