Project Update: 1893

Summer is my busiest season with my workload and the whole work-life balance. Things have been moving right along and I have a few projects underway right now, a few of them that should be wrapping up soon(ish). And I wanted to give you guys an updated look at the progress on the 1893 House!

The tile work is done in the bathrooms, the new wood floors have gone in where needed, all the windows are in and we are only waiting on the custom french doors leading out from the kitchen. The cabinetry started to go in over the last week or so and the counters have all been templated. We have selected paint colors and had the guys swatch them on the walls for us and we will be meeting at the house on Monday to review and finalize so they can paint. All in all, good progress has been made and I am starting to really see the light at the end of this one! And if you ask me, it is looking pretty bright!

How has your summer been so far? I hope it’s going well, filled with a lot of competed projects and fun adventures on your end too! More updates to come… Happy Friday!

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Reveal | Master Bathroom That Wows

I have been busy with work and training and projects running their course, we hosted Easter, which I really want to share more about at some point, but for now I really just want to share with you this finished bathroom!

AT2_4409

This is the project that the homeowners main request was to open the doors and feel “wow-factor.” I shared the progress report over a year ago and it just took a long time to get schedules lined up for photography.

I don’t know about you, but I definitely think that mission was accomplished!

What do you think? Are these photos not the most beautiful thing? (Thanks Lindsay Photography!) They really show off all of the details in the space!

More work/life/general updates to come late this weekend/next week! What do you have planned for the weekend?

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The 1893 House

This suburban New Jersey project has been under way for us for about 6 months now, with DBK involved for a little over 2 months. They found the home last summer and immediately started seeking out contractors and an architect and I didn’t step onto the project until the architects plans were complete and the crew was about to break down the walls.

I love this project. I love this old home, the clients, the character in the details, the things we are able to salvage and retain and the things we are working so hard to incorporate to get it back to it’s hay-day style. (The pictures above are from the real estate listing which didn’t share photographer information, but since I came on board late there was already a bit of debris around the house so I wanted to share something so you could at least envision the space before it became a construction zone.)

I love being able to walk in and envision film reels of this house’s glory days. I can’t wait for this couple to be able to enjoy their own glory days in the homes renewed beauty when we are done with it.

That said, when I first walked in and walked through with the client, I was awe struck. The details truly are magnificent and they really don’t make homes like this anymore. However, upon seeing the architects plans for the house, I had to proceed with making a few adjustments, and without hesitation, I brought up my concerns with the client.

Basically I had concerns with the layout of the master suite, and the flow of the kitchen. There were some minor issues with the hall bath that we caught and addressed before they would become an issue, and we have more recently been combing through the electrical plan and making sure the lighting is enough and that we have our proper layers of light in each space. (The lighting I will have to share more on another day, because I get so excited just mentioning it… I can’t wait until it’s actually all in place.)

For the Master Suite (first five images in this photo group), the changes were made but didn’t get to the construction crew in time, and because of this, we had to re-frame the master suite (relocating closet space and bathroom space). It was extremely frustrating for the crew and I’m pretty sure the GC is still upset with me, but honestly, these are the details we need to make sure are done with 100% accuracy so that when move in date comes and the client is using the space, they are moving through it with complete ease.

Good design of a space isn’t just fitting it all in. It is making sure there is good function and flow… making sure that the end user can function well and thrive in their new environment. I truly believe that is key to any successful design project.

So, the changes were made. The space is really beginning to take shape and the home is opening up beautifully. (The last picture in the lower grouping is of the kitchen space opened up now into the dining room area… I can’t wait to see how the light and space feels when framing is complete!)

I will share more progress as we move through and make more progress. All of the photos here are obviously rough and in the works as the construction team has been working through all the rough work. Hopefully I can give you an update next month that is a little more resembling of a place you would actually enjoy spending time.

What do you think so far of this project? Would you be brave enough to buy a 100+ year old home and take on it’s restoration? I have been sharing a lot of in process images from this space over on my Instagram and you can follow along with the hashtag #dbkproject1893 to see some updates and selections along the way.

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Simplifying a Bathroom

This project is the type of project that is so fun! No major plumbing or electrical changes are taking place, but the transformation is so HUGE! The work is in progress now, hopefully will be done soon so that I can share a reveal with you but on the phone last night she said to me that already the bathroom is “one hundred and fifty seven thousand times better!”
I love that, and I have to agree. The old space was outdated with burgundy 4″ tiles everywhere with the exception of a one piece tub surround unit that felt cheap and dingy in the space, a vanity that was dis-proportioned to the space and visually felt bulky with the details and finish, and an overall yellow tone in the space that didn’t feel right.


The goals for this space were to maximize the functionality and the storage while making the space feel clean and bright and more open.


Here’s what we are doing:

First things first, the vanity that is existing is 42″x 21″ and with a long narrow bathroom like this one, we want to make sure the vanity protrudes into the space too much. We decided to order the vanity to be 60″ wide with a reduced depth of 18″ to allow more storage in the length, while running the cabinetry more flush against the wall.

Due to the position of the door, we can’t run the vanity all the way to the door, so we positioned it as close to the commode as we could according to the code regulations, leaving a 20″ space between the entry wall and the vanity unit… perfect spacing to accommodate a decorative hamper or waste-basket, or just leave it open, either way, the space is left feeling elongated and open.

We changed the vanity finish from dark wood to a painted white finish and from a dark granite top to a gray and white top.

The other main thing that we changed that will make a huge impact is the tile. On the floors we removed the old dated mini burgundy tiles from the floor and replaced them with a large 10″ gray hexagon, and on the walls, we used a large white tile, staggered just like a standard subway tile would be, but in the large scale, it makes the space feel so open and the white is so refreshing compared to the old dark tile that was there before. Instead of using a standard bull-nose tile to finish the ends, we capped it all off with a sleek chrome trim. (Some in progress shots below.)

Basically the re-design is a simple change in the scale and tone of the details to really simplify and freshen up the space. Hopefully I will have more details to share soon… be sure to follow along on Instagram to see any updates that may come along.

What do you think? Are there any little things you can do to simplify your bathroom? (Or any room in your home?)

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Updating to a Classic Look | Farmhouse Bathroom Renovation In Process

TGIF y’all!! I wanted to celebrate that we made it through the week by sharing a bit about one of my current projects!

I started working with this client on their space several months ago (back when there was still snow on the ground). We sorted through all of the details of their space, worked out a plan, and started selecting our materials.

Farmhouse Bath Floor Plans

Orders were placed around March or April and then we waited. This is not that uncommon in the world of renovations. You have to wait for your contractor to fit you into their schedule, the town to approve your permits, and the materials to all arrive. All that said, we were ready to go in June, but couldn’t start until a few weeks ago due to many variables.

You can take a look at the planning process in this post (the first image shows me working through this space planning). And the plan above is the one that we ultimately went with. The idea was to bring in some more classic farmhouse elements to be true to the home’s character while not creating something that would easily feel dated.

We decided to choose materials that represented that classic farmhouse feeling with the wood look tile on the main floor, white subway on the walls (in an updated scale and finish), and accents of Carrera marble in the counters, shower floor and saddle pieces.

We went with a claw-foot tub centered in the bathroom space with a beautiful and classic tub filler to finish it off. This detail was the one sticking point for this client, we had to find a way to make a claw-foot fit in the space in addition to the shower, and ideally make it stand out as a centerpiece.

Farmhouse Bathroom Storage Cabinet Linen Tower Custom Amish Dining Room Hutch

For the cabinetry, we went with a simple style and a classic valance base that nods towards an Amish farm style cabinetry detail. The plan is to carry this theme through with custom corner cabinets to flank the tub and add storage in the space (we had to knock out the linen closet in the hallway to make everything fit in the space that we wanted). The corner cabinets would be a painted white finish with a valance base that would match that of the vanity cabinet, but for now they won’t be added due to budgeting restrictions (also very common in renovations), however they are all planned and ready to go whenever we are ready to add them. The vanity cabinet itself is a really pretty chestnut brown finish, which is a nice rich tone without the reddish undertones.

I can’t wait to see how this whole space comes together! Hopefully I can share more soon! Are you working on any projects at home? What renovations are on your list currently and what types of renovations do you want to see me share more of here?

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Tour Of A Sweet Master Suite

This project all started out with a little leak. The homeowner was experiencing a drip in their shower, which developed into mold, which spread through to their closet, and before you know it, their insurance was coming out to take a look at the problem.
Master Suite-Bathroom Overview1

This project started as something done out of necessity, but soon became something that both husband and wife wanted to never have to worry about changing as long as they were in the home. So we worked through a more functional design for the space, shifting the walls slightly to accommodate a wider closet, swapping the tub location to accommodate the make-up area and more cabinetry. We shifted windows, added a laundry room, etc., When it was all said and done, it was so worth it.

The only thing we did outside of the on-suite portion of their master was pick out new paint colors to help the spaces flow together better — hence the random photo of the fireplace. This is their sitting room that leads directly into the bathroom from their master bedroom.

I could live in this master suite. All that is missing is a beverage center for coffee in the morning and wine at night, and a mini fridge and microwave for snacks. Maybe we can tack that on to their next home improvement project.

A Master Bath That Masters Aging in Place

You might be asking yourself right now, “what is aging in place?” It is a big topic right now that is especially hitting home with many baby boomers, but is also relevant with anyone doing a renovation and considering how long the plan to be in any given place.

Master Bath AIP 1

As we get older, our bodies unfortunately begin to deteriorate. We find that it may not be as easy to get around and do the day to daily tasks we are accustomed to doing on our own. That is why this is such an important topic, because it isn’t something that only affects a select few individuals, it is something that will affect us all.

The things you need can range from a bench in your shower because it’s easier to shave your legs, you’ve had a recent surgery and need to be careful about where the water is going, and how much standing you are doing, or that you are older and may need help bathing at some point — to adding grab bars.

Although many of us don’t like to think about these things — because they are scary and we just aren’t there yet in our lives —  they are a reality. People are living longer, and with that longer life come challenges. Instead of letting these things creep up and surprise us, why not plan for them in your renovation process?

In a bathroom renovation, especially a first-floor master bath as is the case in this project, it’s a nice idea to offer some elements that will help give the space longevity and work with us as we age. These details can still be appealing and never have to look clinical with all of the pieces available in the world today. If you think you are going to be spending 20 years in your home, it is definitely worth weighing the options.

Some elements to consider are converting from a tub/shower combo to a shower only so you aren’t stepping over a large barrier while you are climbing in and out. If you are getting rid of that tub to make room for a larger shower, why not add a bench, you may be surprised at how much you like to have it, even before you need to use it!

Master Bath AIP 3

Grab bars are another thing that people don’t like to think about. When you see grab bars, they just feel old and clinical, but I’m telling you there are so many more attractive options out there these days that finding something that both looks nice, and serves a great purpose as well, is relatively easy. Consider getting a small (12″) grab bar and positioning it vertically inside the shower door to hold onto as you climb in and out (this works well if you keep the tub too); and a medium grab bar (18″+/-) placed horizontally along the back wall to stabilize yourself as you are showering, or to hold onto as you maneuver yourself to the bench.

Consider adding a handheld-shower to your shower. If you have a bench, consider placing the handheld-shower near the bench, you can use it while you are young to shave your legs, and when you get older it will be positioned right were you need it. Hand showers also come in handy for cleaning the shower so that you don’t have to bucket the walls. (I could actually do a whole blog post on the conveniences of adding a handheld shower.) This particular unit is made by Hansgrohe called the “Select,” and it offers a button to help change the settings without having to rotate the whole face of the unit, making it much more user friendly for all ages.

Finally, when you are selecting the controls in your shower, remember to touch and feel different styles. See what is easy to hold and turn now, and consider if something is more difficult now, how it may be come even more challenging as you age. Everyone is a little bit different in what they prefer, but typically speaking, lever handles are easier to adjust quickly without having to really grip, where as a knob can become slippery and a cross handle can become challenging to really grab hold of.

Master Bath AIP 8Master Bath AIP 2Master Bath AIP 7Master Bath AIP 10

Some things to consider outside the shower are the vanity area and the toilet. Most toilets these days are “comfort height,” but it’s a good thing to double check when you are ordering, it will make a big difference as you are using the facilities.

For your vanity, consider going with the newer kitchen height cabinets (which finish at 36″ with the top). This height makes it easier on our backs as we lean over the sink to brush our teeth, wash our faces, for men shaving, etc., of course if you are short or tall, these can typically be customized at a small increase that will probably be worth it in the long run. For the faucets, think about the way you turn on the faucet and what type of handle is easy for you to grip and use on a regular basis.

Lastly, consider adding a make-up counter to give yourself a place to sit down as you fix your hair and make-up. This space can feel very glamorous to the younger crowd, but can become very practical as you age.

Master Bath AIP 5Master Bath AIP 4Master Bath AIP 6

Don’t forget about good lighting, which will make all the difference in the world as you use the space daily at any age!

The pictures in this post are for a couple that were renovating their bathroom. They are not old, but they are an older couple and we spent time discussing these things, because as she puts it, she plans to die in this house. We planned a space that takes many of these ideas and makes them a reality. The only thing you don’t see here are grab bars, which we have planned for, purchased and even stabilized the wall in preparation for them, but they don’t need them yet so she wants to wait to install them until the time comes.

Their bathroom came together beautifully. The client had been using the bathroom for about 6 months when I came to take these photos and they couldn’t stop raving about how much they really loved it!

Have you considered how you will age in your home and what things you could do to make your day to day life a bit easier?

Carrera Wonderland {Master Bathroom}

This master bathroom was a real treat to work on. The client was really great, the installer was knowledgeable and skilled and the design came together so beautifully. For me, one of the best days on each job is photography day! I love going out, seeing the finished product and snapping some pictures of all the little details to share.

Carrera Master Bath 1

I took these photos a few weeks back and I have been working my way through them; I am very excited to share this space with you and see what you think.

The space is the culmination of what the husband and wife each wanted, and for the most part, this hubby follows the “happy wife, happy life” philosophy, letting the wife and I bring her dreams to life. However, when the husband saw the shower fixtures available today, he got excited and picked out one of the biggest rain heads around. Just as he fell in love with the shower pieces, she fell in love with the faucets. We mixed manufacturers between the faucets, shower controls and shower heads to give Mr. F what he wanted in the shower, while giving Mrs. F the little bit of bling that she fell in love with and blending these elements together in the space as well.

The focus in this space is really on all of the Carrera marble, which brings the elements of the space together. For all of the stone work in the space, we used Carrera. The walls are all marble subway tiles, with pencil tiles and chair-rail tiles that are all made of the same marble. We used the pencil tiles to frame out the shower fixtures and the chair rail to cap the tile at 48″ up the walls.

The space overall is sophisticated, giving a simple yet elegant canvas for the crystal details to really shine in the space. We carried the crystal through from the faucets to the light fixtures to the door knobs. I’m happy to report that both Mr. and Mrs. F are loving the new space.

For more pictures click over to Houzz here, and be sure to follow us there (and here on the blog too) to see all of our completed design projects! Leave us a note in the comments to let us know what you think of the space!

One Bathroom Becomes Two

The B family recently purchased a new house, and they have two small children. The new house has three bedrooms and one main bath upstairs, and a master bath with full on-suite bathroom downstairs. Because their kiddos are so young, they want to be on the same level as them, but they also wanted to keep their own bathroom if possible.

Since they also live in an area where adding a secondary on-suite bath is a huge re-sell point, and it will benefit them tremendously while they are in the home, they decided to explore the options of dividing the large hall bath into two bathrooms.

The space was easy enough to divide, and we would easily be able to add an entry to the bath from the bedroom adjacent to access the new bathroom. So we drew up the plans and got started picking out materials.

The house is set back on the property and is surrounded by the natural elements, so we brought some of that in our inspiration for the spaces.  Here’s a look at some material selections for the spaces:

Here is a look at the tile work coming together in both of the spaces:

These bathrooms have come a long way from where they started. Not only have they fully taken shape in becoming two spaces, but they are really coming together. Hopefully I can show you the full reveal soon!

Have you ever considered the benefit of dividing a single space in your home to make two spaces that function better for your needs? Or what about taking two spaces and opening them up into one space? I think that the latter is more common these days with the growing love of great rooms that give you one big space to contain your kitchen, dining and living rooms without division.