Posts Tagged ‘blue vanity’

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. ๐Ÿ™‚

 

 

 

 

 

 

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. ๐Ÿ™‚

 

 

 

 

 

 

Happy decorating!

 

 

 

Project Updates and a Kitchen Reveal!

 

 

I was all set to write a day-after-the-election post. It was going to begin something like this: “Phew!” And then things turned out…as they did…and I have been feeling quite the opposite of “phew!” But through the brow furrowing, stomach dropping, hand wringing and general sense of, “My God, What Have We Done?”* as President Obama cheerfully reminded us–perhaps a wee bit cheerier than our tear stained, swollen-eyed heads were ready to hear–yes, the sun did come up. And so we breathe. And focus. And try to stay calm–or peacefully protest; it’s your prerogative. ๐Ÿ™‚

 

 

*Quote attribution: Commander Robert Lewis as the bomb detonated over Hiroshima.

 

 

Okay, on to design. Who doesn’t love a good Before and After? I missed the After up until a few weeks ago because much of the installation happened while I was having a baby and taking care of said baby, but I was recently able to see the transformation in person.

 

 

The Before

 

 

 

kitchen-before-1

 

 

 

And one more..

 

 

 

kitchen-before-2

 

 

 

The After

 

 

 

traditional-kitchen-after

 

 

 

Ahh…So nice, right?

 

 

 

traditional-kitchen-after-2

 

 

One detail that, unfortunately, isn’t visible in the Before photos is the ceiling which was formerly smooth. In order to give it some pizazz, the plan was to add tongue and groove boards. There was a bit of a debate about whether to go with the tight wainscotted look associated with country farmhouses (this house is a 1920s colonial-meets-Craftsman) which was already originally used in some areas of the house versus wider (think shiplap) boards. It was a funny moment when the contractor flipped the sample of the skinny version over and we realized if we installed the skinny stuff backwards, we’d get the much wider dimensions that I had visions of dancing in my head.ย  With that visual literally in hand, (and a stack of photos I’d brought to illustrate how much BETTER the wider boards would look), the client was convinced and this beautiful ceiling was born. I now think 2/3 of America’s kitchens need this ceiling. It is that good.

 

 

farmhouse-sink-furniture-foot-kitchen

We reserved the furniture foot for the sink area only, which added some mega charm.

 

 

 

chrome-bin-pull-cabinet-detail-kitchen

It’s hard to see from the photo, but the porcelain tile has this watery gray glaze with tons of subtle crazing (crackles in the glaze) so it becomes even more interesting the closer you get.

 

 

 

In other news, here is a bathroom at a different home that looked like this when I first “met” it…

 

 

 

 

bathroom-construction

 

 

 

 

It’s quickly becoming the zen-like space the clients were after, starting with the shower. More photos to come after the installation is complete and it’s ready for its close-up.

 

 

 

pebble-shower-floor-in-progress

 

 

 

On to another house that is getting the full gut-job (which always leads to some of the most exciting results). Walls were bumped out, footings poured; new windows in different sizes and locations than the previous windows were also installed. Here is the kitchen, looking rather naked.

 

 

 

house-construction-studs

 

 

 

A little less naked…

 

 

 

shaker-cabinet-construction-intallation

 

 

 

Getting dressed in its Limestone (color: Ash) backsplash along with Caesarstone quartz counters (color: Raven). “Jewelry” (hardware, appliances, sink, etc.) to come.

 

 

 

limestone-ash-tile-kitchen-backsplash-installation

 

 

 

The double-sided fireplace was formerly raw brick on the kitchen side (as seen below) and clad in large 70s style stones on the other.

 

 

 

double-sided-brick-fireplace

Kitchen-side view of the double-sided fireplace.

 

 

It has now been refreshed with stucco.

 

 

rough-coat-stucco-double-sided-fireplace

Rough coat

 

 

 

smooth-coat-stucco-double-sided-fireplaceSmooth coat.

 

 

 

The hearth will be made of this very bold cement tile which the flooring installers were figuring out how to picture-frame with the new wood flooring when I took this shot, (dirty footprints, and all!).

 

 

 

cement-tile-hearth-installation

 

 

 

 

Mantels have been chosen…

 

 

 

rough-hewn-fireplace-mantel-display-copy

 

 

 

 

 

The master bath has been redesigned to be devoid of shower walls or even a shower curb. Instead there will be one 18″ wide glass fin that goes from floor to almost the ceiling to separate the shower from the rest of the room and the tile floor will gradually slope toward the drain to keep the water headed in that direction. In order to do this, we were limited to a 2″ x 2″ tile size so a white hex it is. A Japanese soaking tub will live in the corner.

 

 

 

merlex-super-shower-wall

No tile necessary:ย  instead, white Merlex Super Shower Finish (looks very similar to smooth stucco) on the shower walls!

 

 

 

All the components of the master bath (floor, walls, tub, toilet, sink, and counter) will be white except for the...dark blue…master vanity.

 

 

 

blue-vanity-color

Master vanity color options. Winner on the right.

 

 

 

New board and batten siding replaced the former siding that had dimensions that just felt off (too bulky).

 

 

 

board-and-batten-installation

 

 

 

 

exterior-board-and-batten

Sticking with the house “getting dressed” analogy, itย  now looks a bit like it’s wearing a pin-striped suit, in a handsome-man sort of way. We have since chosen the world’s best shade of exterior white (at least we think so after much agonizing) which definitely tones down the “pin stripes” (aka the battens).

 

 

 

My client mentioned wanting a red door in the very, very beginning and I immediately started showing him alternative colors because I didn’t see this house as having the traditional, done-so-many-times-before red door. But we worked our way back to the red family and finally found a winner with an orange-ish red which I Iove because it takes the drama of a red door and adds a kind of pop art spin. Is it too soon to suggest orange is the new red?

 

 

 

red-front-door-color

 

 

 

 

Here is Kai at 10-months-old helping me select a grout color for the backsplash.

 

 

 

kai-looking-at-tileHe chose wisely!

 

 

 

PS, I had such a nice response to the How To Clean A Sheepskin Rug post (thank you, all!) that I have decided it is time to sift through my old Design Intervention newspaper columns and give them a new lease on life on my blog. For those of you who read them when they were first published, I hope you don’t mind seeing them again. And for those of you who have never read them, I think/hope they will teach you something new and since they will exist here on the blog, they will be easy to reference if/when you need to. Posting them is one of my goals for the New Year, so I figured if I wrote about it here, I might feel compelled to actually makeย  it happen! I know the sun will come out if I do it or don’t, but we might as well all keep doing our best, right? Here’s to fighting the good fight and doing what we can!

 

 

Wishing you a peaceful and wonderful Thanksgiving! ๐Ÿ™‚

 

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