Bathroom Makeover - Without the Overhaul!

Thinking of updating but don't have the time or budget to gut it and start over?  There are so many solutions that will make your room feel fresh and updated that doesn't involve ripping out drywall.  This also means less dust, which is also a bonus. Take for example this boring, builder's beige of a bathroom (no offence to my favourite contractors, but you shouldn't be in charge of aesthetic decisions - that's just the way it is).   This bathroom screamed "basic model, no upgrades" of the previous homeowners, which didn't suit my vibrant and stylish clients.  

 Original Basic Tub Surround

Original Basic Tub Surround

They had just been through two big renovations (see their beautiful kitchen here) and didn't want the headache of a big reno.  Plus, the floor and shower tile was still in great shape, it was just too beige for my client, so demolishing it would have been frivolous and wasteful.  My suggestion was to replace the bathtub tile only with a proper stone tub surround and panelling detail.  Another issue was the lack of storage - everything sat on the tub ledge which looked temporary and cluttered.   My solution was to add built-ins to one side that sat atop the new stone tub deck. Not only did it add much needed storage, but it warmed up the bathtub area. Throw in a little white subway tile and it's a whole new look!

 New tub surround, panelling and built-in shelves

New tub surround, panelling and built-in shelves

 

Previously it was so empty and cold feeling - who wants to bathe in that environment?   Now it is cozy with loads of visual interest.   We added a new grey vanity and Voila! a whole new vibe.   And all without ripping out a single wall - or floor or shower tile!  If you need help with something like this, feel free to contact me for a consultation - I'd love to hear from you!

A nip here and a tuck there...

It's a debate that many of us have had: Should we sell and find/build a new house OR make the one we have work?  Well, this client decided to stay and fix what they had and I think the results are spectacular.   Plus, I got to work with amazing clients and a wonderful team that made a dream become a reality.   And it all started with Alan from Alan Heron Homes who was tasked with making it all happen.

First order of business: Modernize the exterior and re-locate the entrance.  This is where Will Hudson of Hudson Architecture started to make the client's dream a reality.  The entrance was originally on the side of the house and didn't allow for an inch of entrance space, which was a huge hassle for this family of six.  Re-locating the entrance allowed for a completely different layout on the main floor and the addition of an Ensuite bathroom in the Master bedroom.

 

The new entrance allows space to move. The antique armoire is a family treasure and this location gives it more presence and creates a focal point upon entering the house.  It also sets the tone for the home; mixing old with new; modern with vintage.

Walls came down and opened up the whole main floor.   The open kitchen has loads more storage and the island in a dark grey adds another layer of colour.   These bar stools were a great budget-friendly purchase that the client found online - they can easily be spray painted to change up the look.    

The glass backsplash adds a hit of colour and the gloss finish reflects the surrounding potlights beautifully.

 The soft grey paint that we used throughout the house is the perfect backdrop for displaying the children's artwork.  The almost rustic looking flooring throughout the house is a mid-tone brown that hides wear and tear perfectly.

 

The new Ensuite bathroom had to be squeezed in, as to allow for closet space.  Therefore, the client found the perfect space-saving vanity that set the contemporary tone for the rest of the bathroom.   

It was important to maximize the floor space, so we installed a rectangular drain along the wall and had a curbless shower intalled using the same floor tile as the rest of the bathroom.  The shower door is a fixed panel that helps keep the feeling open.  

Smaller mosaic accents in the shower and behind the vanity elevate the finishes giving the Ensuite a real custom feeling.

 

With four children, the family bathroom had to be hard-wearing and functional.   Each child has their own storage in the vanity and a hook for their own towel.  Anyone with children knows how important ownership can be and this bathroom gives each child their own space. 

The accent stripe in the shower and on the vanity wall adds interest and a hit of pattern to liven things up.

In the end, the client will be able to enjoy this functional, modern and stylish home for years to come.  The house has been given a new lease on life that will adapt to the client's changing needs as their children grow older.  Rather than start from scratch, they were able to create an updated, more functional home that they love from what they had with help from the following team:

Architect: Hudson Architecture

Builder: Alan Heron Homes

Interior Design: Rebecca Purdy Design

Kitchen: Aya Kitchens & Bath

 

The most challenging bathroom design...(and not because of the clients!)

Bathrooms are pretty straight-forward as far as layout and planning.   Things tend to be in standard places because they work there - sometimes there isn't any point to re-inventing the wheel.  If it works it works. Recently on "Leave it to Bryan" I was faced with the most challenging bathroom yet and given the 4-week timeline the pressure to figure it all out was ON.

Here is a plan of the existing bathroom (smallest family bathroom I have ever seen!):

The challenge was incorporating a separate bath, shower, large vanity and storage in such a confined space that was limited by the stairs.   The only option was to go long and narrow.  Here is the plan I proposed:

In order to combat the bowling alley feeling, or long corridor, I proposed dividing the bath and shower and putting double pocket doors right in the middle.  

 

The space is so long and narrow that it was impossible to take and overall picture of the space.   Therefore, have a look at the left side of the bathroom:

And now the right:

Another trick was to use frosted doors.  This isn't always ideal in a bathroom settting, but, they are right in front of the vanity so privacy wasn't as much of a concern. This allowed the light from the bathroom to spill out into the hallway.  In taking more space for the bathroom, we also stole the only other window from the adjoining laundry room and stairs, making it quite dark.  The frosted glass doors helped eliminate this problem.

The clients were hoping for marble throughout, however our budget (although healthy) did not allow for this once the structural issues and building costs were calculated.  Therefore, I suggested marble mosaic accents with an inexpensive tile for the main tile which is how the stripes in the shower came to be.  By using more stripes in the inexpensive tile we were able to save money and create a fabulous focal point.  It is definitely one of my favourite showers (plus I'm partial to stripes).

All in all, the homeowners were thrilled with the result and now have a bathroom fit for the whole family.   In fact, they wrote a wonderful testimonial for me when the job was done.   It's always nice to help great people get what they want in a renovation.   Thank you Ian and Jacqueline for being such great clients!  

The renovation fizzle is in effect.

You know what I'm talking about...the hype of the renovation has died down, things are functioning so the pressure is off, everything left to do you can live with undone.   I am officially down in the dumps about my house again.  And yes, this is normal.  I say it to everyone else and I know it is part of the process, but it still sucks.

We are all familiar with it, it doesn't just happen with renovations.  Life takes over, priorities change and we have to move on to the other facets of our wonderfully complex lives.  Next thing you know, you're living with windows and doors with spray foam hanging out all over the place for two years and you don't even notice it anymore.   And now you understand the multitude of candidates available for shows like "Disaster DIY" on HGTV.  It just happens.

But, I WILL NOT let this slump get the best of me!  Here is my cure - I am going to review the kitchens that inspired me to do this in the first place.   They won't look like my kitchen, but, they motivated me to get to it and I'm hoping they will again.   And I'm also hoping my husband and contractors have a look and feel inspired to wrap it up and make their work in my kitchen shine as well.    In fact, they are going to get a special e-mail with a link to this page just to help out.   They love it when I'm in this mode.  They call it nagging, but I call it getting s*&t done!

 Source: www.southernliving.com

Source: www.youpaidmorethanme.blogspot.com

Source: www.wherethesidewalkbegins.blogspot.com

Source: www.doyoulovewhereyoulive.com

Source: www.rebeccapurdy.com

Source: www.countryliving.com

Source: www.housetohome.co.uk

Hope you enjoyed some of my fave kitchens and cross your fingers that I'll have some of my own beautiful kitchen shots to share in the VERY near future.  Take care and connect soon!

We're getting there...

At least that's what I keep telling myself.  We've had a mild case of the "project creep" around here.  Actually, I haven't, but my husband sure has.  All of a sudden we "need" to take down all of the plaster and lathe so we can insulate the exterior walls.  Sure, it is economical in the long run, but, my countertop budget is getting smaller! We don't freeze in the Winter, it's just a little chilly.  And we are replacing the windows next year.  I didn't see the big deal - put on a sweater! Plus, all of this happened while I was keeping the kids away up North.  And how convenient that I couldn't get in touch with my husband until it had already happened.  That's what I get for leaving my husband and my electriciam alone - now they are in cahoots!

But, the good news...My stairs are supported!  The supporting wall is a little bigger than I had wanted, but, I removed an 18" base cabinet from the island and now it all works. 

See that...new drywall EVERYWHERE.

And look at how amazing the sun is coming through the kitchen window.  It will be so nice to have that spilling into the entire main floor with that wall removed. 

 And finally...my inspiration page.   If you check out my Pinterest page, you may have seen some of these images.  But, for those of you who don't (and I honestly think you should!) here you go:

Anyway, the end is getting so near and I'm so excited to share it with you.   In the meantime, I'm questioning my sanity.  For someone who loves colour as much as I do, I can't believe I have just decided to paint white.  It's the first time in my entire life and I'm feeling a little nervous.  White cabinets, white backsplash, white walls - maybe all that's left are padded walls and a straight jacket?  We'll know soon enough....

It ain't a reno if it ain't got that porn...

Wow! Living in the house while renovating really sucks.  Not just because of all of the hideous dust, but I can look at all of the frightening issues all of the time.   This post is just going to be highlighting the horrible things people do to houses.

Tying in knob and tube to ANYTHING is wrong:

 

Letting your stairs float from the second floor to the main floor.  As a general rule in houses: Most things, especially stairs, need structural support.  I'm not sure why this one seems to be forgotten so often.  The entire weight of my stairs is being supported by the stringer, and not tied into much else.  Take a look:

 

And most recently, someone (not us, I assure you!) installed potlights the WRONG way. I don't know all of the technical terminology for this, but there is supposed to be a plastic ring that protects the wire where it goes into the fixture (heaven knows I heard this spoken about enough, right Bryan?).  Here is what you shouldn't do:

And here is my favourite:

This is not a load-bearing wall.  However, it doesn't mean you should take any scrap of wood lying around and stick them together and call it a wall.  This is pure craziness.   This wall is why I need to apologize to my husband - Christopher, I am sorry for all of those times I nagged and criticized you for not being able to find a stud.  I take back any nasty comment about the number of holes you put in the wall trying to hang anything up.  Now I understand why and I am sorry I ever thought it was you (at least for most circumstances). 

And last but not least, it is great what you can find buried in old walls.  We found these stashed in the joist bay of the basement:

I'm hoping the birthday card from "Mom" that accompanied it came from a different present and just got caught up in the stash.  It would be kind of odd if this person's Mom was giving him porn for his birthday, wouldn't it?

All this to say, this is definitely not the worst house I've seen, which is slightly comforting.  Keep in mind the houses I have seen have had to be bad enough to make it onto television so they were pretty bad.  So really, maybe mine is horrible and I'm just de-sensitized?  I'm going to go with not that bad and trust what my wonderful contractors Todd and Scott are saying. 

Tune in next time to hear what Paul, my electrician, has to say.  And I promise to start posting some pretty pictures.  I'll make next post my "Inspiration" post.  Until then, take care!

My Kitchen is a Dump (But not for long!)

Hear ye! Hear ye!  The renovation of my very own kitchen has begun.  That may not be exciting news to you, but I've been waiting four years for this.   My kitchen has been an embarrassment to me as an Interior Designer. Not that I picked the hideous tiles circa 1978 or the peach-flecked wall tiles that don't even match (not that matching the floor would have made things better).  Here, have a look for yourself:                                              (Obviously a little messier than normal - hey! We're renovating...)                         

Anyway, we were all ready to start gutting it and discovered asbestos around the ductwork in the wall we are removing.  If it's going to stay in your wall, it's not such a big deal but exposing it to the house (and the kids) was the big concern.  Therefore, we did the job properly and called in the experts to test it, as well as the plaster.  We have a pretty old house, so anything is possible.  

Fortunately, we just had to have an abatement (proper removal of hazardous materials) .  I use the word "just" lightly because having a mold or asbestos abatement can be intrusive and very costly.   For example, I asked how much it would have cost if we had found asbestos in the plaster and I was told anywhere between $20,000-$30,000 to remove everything.                                                                                                                           (Where the duct was removed - take note of the craftmanship of the stud; not good foreshadowing for the rest of the renovation)

On that note, thanks a bunch Tara from Environmental Services Group and Mark from Kryztiuk Contracting Inc. for your help in managing our asbestos issue.  I will sleep easier knowing we did it properly. This may not be the exciting part, but, it is definitely a part I enjoy - knowing we are taking care of things and making our house safe again for ourselves and most importantly our children.   

The fun part is almost here.  I can't wait to show you the floors I have chosen (Marmoleum), the countertops (Butcher block AND Quartz), the cabinets (Ikea, Adel - yes, I really do love Ikea cabinets and you can't beat the price!) and the penny round backsplash.  

I will share all of my excitement, trials and tribulations.  I might even tell you about some of the arguments I have with my husband. Like the one today when I asked him not to demolish the floors just yet because it takes longer than the 2 hours we had to remove 4 layers of flooring and concrete.   Plus, who wants a two and a five-year old running around in that sort of mess?  He eventually relented and saw my point.  And if you are thinking "happy wife, happy life" please spare me and keep it to yourself.  I hate that expression (even if there is a slight possibility it is true!).                                                                                                                                           (Does this LOOK like an easy floor to remove?  I didn't think so.  I love you Christopher xo)

I could go on and on, and I probably will, so check back regularly to see how it goes.  Take care!

Leave it to Bryan - Season 2

Watch HGTV Canada tonight at 10pm for back to back episodes of the new season "Leave it to Bryan". It's been great making it (we're half way through) and we've had some amazing homeowners. How they are so trusting I'm not so sure? Although I trust Bryan completely would I be able to hand over a big chunk of money and let him go to town on my house without any control? I'm not so sure - it's a pretty brave move. Although the more I look at my kitchen floor tile (circa 1971), my caving in garage roof or my possibly leaky basement the more I think I would. Actually, let's get me on the show! I need some major work on my house - and yes, I might actually be able to hand over control to Bryan. As long as he promised no tumbled marble! It's not my thing...
Anyway, enjoy the show! I certainly will.