Archive for Interior Design

Owen’s Imagination Nursery

In light of our special family news, I have invited the stylish and artful Michelle, who you may remember from her house tour last year to do a special guest post today. 

Even before my sweet baby boy Owen was born, I knew how I wanted to design his room. You see, I’ve always been a fan of bold pops of black and white. I’d say it was my guilty pleasure, except it’s so wonderful, there’ nothing to feel guilty about. It’s clean and classic, but never goes out of style. Plus, because it’s gender neutral, I knew it would be perfect whether we had a girl or a boy.

And so Owen’s room has a beautiful black-and-white theme with mixing-and-matching patterns, with a single pop of yellow to add a bit of quirkiness, which fits really spectacularly with the modern, clean-lined furniture. Some prefer colored walls for their new bundle of joy, but I chose to keep the walls white. It has a maturing feel; one that is perfect for him as a newborn but can grow with him as he gets older, and his baby room becomes a big boy room.

Also the bare walls really make the colors of his new toys and books pop! So much fun!

As he enters the world of discovering the joys of patterns, Owen loves looking at the black raindrop decals and homemade hot air balloon mobile that hangs above and beside his crib. It creates lots of those baby smiles that melt my heart all day long! The hot air balloon is a self-made custom version of an art project I teach in my classes. The kids love it, and so do I.

One thing I’ve come to realize – I never knew how much time I would spend on the floor before becoming a new mommy. Owen and I play on the floor a lot and do tummy time on the black and white striped rug and black and grey FLOR carpet tiles. They not only add to the color theme, but provide a soft place for us to play.

The artwork in Owen’s room is special because it’s all original pieces by me, his mommy! That includes the paintings and the hot air balloon mobile. Starting in college, I focused my art to be ideal for children. This is where I began my themed watercolor illustrations of animal family-themes. Each piece has a family of animals doing an act of bonding whether it be peacocks learning how to ride a bike or sea monkeys learning how to scuba dive.

The painting above the changing table was a gift to my hubby before we got pregnant of what I envisioned our home would look like when we had a family. The colors are gentle, and the theme really adds great warmth and a sense of family to the room.

Creating children’s art has always been my creative outlet. It was so fun to design and even more satisfying seeing it all displayed in my son’s space. It tells a story. I want my son to discover his creativity and find himself. I wanted to create this space, where he use his imagination and dream big.

This gives me an opportunity to not only lay a good foundation of color and pattern discovery, but also pass the torch, so that what inspired mommy may also inspire Owen.

Thank you, Michelle~ for sharing your story and inspiring us and for all the maternity guidance along the way…stay tuned for a peak at our family news this Friday! 

 

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Renovation: Bathroom Design

Today, I am looking forward to showing you how we installed 2 new bathrooms in our Renovation story. To begin with, I wanted to share with you a picture of how the bathroom looked before, so that you could see how far we have come! When we purchased the house, it was a 3 bedroom 1 bath home with a huge long wide hallway…that was essentially being used as a dining room.

You may see the floor plans here. We decided to expand the kitchen into the existing bathroom and to move this bathroom into the long underused hallway.

As you can see the small bathroom had vinyl peeling up from the floors and the window in the shower had completely rotted out from the years of use.

This bathroom would become the Guest Bathroom of the property. I felt the home would function better as a 3 bedroom, 2 bath property. I knew adding 2 brand new bathrooms could get pricey and I just wanted to ensure that we did it very cost effectively.

Since the guest bathroom needed to be a bit smaller than the Master, I opted for a Neo-angle shower and a pedestal sink. You can see the original inspiration here. You may remember the Archer pedestal sink that I used at our Bayly Ave. property. It has a classic shape and good price!

I really hunted for a cost effective standing shower that had all the elegance of a frameless shower but half the price point! It turned out, I found this piece by Maax at a hardware store just outside of Owensboro, KY. Thanks to my handyman for driving all the way out there to snag it for me!

After asking the input of a few close friends…I agreed that the mint colored penny tile was the most appealing. Here is a close-up of how it looked at the beginning of the installation with white grout in between.

From what I have read online, installing frameless doors can be tricky. According to many, the key is to set them correctly and evenly to guard against leaks or flooding.

For the flooring we used a large, modern, neutral colored porcelain tile with a high PEI rating.

We used the same tile in the Master Bath as it was a big savings to order this tile in a bulk quantity.

The sconce was a left over from the Master Bathroom, which I am going to show you next!

Like I mentioned, we had a narrow budget for updating and installing everything on this property, so much so, that my contractor found us a soaker tub on Craigslist! I think he may have “traded” it for something, but I can not be certain. The soaker tub is a standard length, but has a greater width and armrests for soaking in! Since the room width was slightly larger than the tub, we opted to build a shelf/ledge at the end of the tub.

Here you can see the evolution of the Master from the studs to the backer board; the sub floor through tiling.

I felt really excited to see the subway tiling going into the Master Bathroom. The tiling color is called Snow White although it looks a bit creamy against the stark white of the wall primer.

Once the tiling was installed, we waited and waited for the arrival of our new vanity. To our dismay, after 2 attempted deliveries, it arrived cracked with the Carrara marble top split down the center.

After some time and a month of patiently waiting for a replacement top, I decided to order a custom slab from a marble fabricator in town. For the price, I was satisfied with the replacement top, although, if I had been in town I would have probably hand selected a piece with less gray veining.

Here are a couple of extra bonus shots of the Master Bath from my photographer friend, Kristin.

*Please note* our contractor mistakenly installed the kitchen faucet for the farmhouse sink in to the bathroom. Luckily he went back and exchanged it with a smaller bathroom faucet.

I hope you have enjoyed these simple budget friendly bathroom. I am working with a friend on an elegant modern bathroom at the moment.

I’m curious to find out which bathroom appeals to you the most? Do you have any bathroom updates planned?

 

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Renovation: Kitchen Inspiration

I hope you are enjoying this series of Renovation stories. Because something VERY special could be happening tomorrow on the home front, I have opted to share this Monday post one day in advance. While the landscapers are getting started working on the outside of the property. I would like to show you the Kitchen transformation from the inspiration to how it looks now.

I knew that for this house I wanted an open Scandinavian modern type of feeling. I felt that a future dweller might enjoy white cabinets, open shelving and warm wood countertops that accented the floors. I loved the kitchens by other designers below.

You may remember how the kitchen looked before drywall. I also wanted to preserve historic touches, where I could.

One thing that spurred me on from the kitchen before, was the overcrowding. There were just so many cabinets yet, all in good condition made from solid pecan wood. I liked the idea of reusing the cabinets and reconfiguring them in a better way. For this, I would need our carpenter to really help us make that work.

None of the countertops that could be salvaged because they were all mismatched pieces of stone, marble and plywood simply sitting on the cabinets unattached, in fact some of the cabinets were not attached to the walls!

The warm wood tops were a natural choice because of their color and affordability. The flooring is an engineered wood with a wide plank and a hand-scraped texture. I liked how the golden tones of the countertops matched the lighter gold streaks in the floors. You will see in a moment how well they match in the space. The floors actually look much lighter in daylight.

Below you can see a quick sketch by hand, where I rearranged about half of the existing cabinets to be installed by my carpenter.

I found many inspiration photos that I liked which mixed stainless steel appliances set against the white cabinets and warm wood. Since stainless appliances were more costly, we had considered simply sticking with an all white palette. To our fortune, we stumbled upon an appliance sale over Labor Day weekend, which allowed us to afford all stainless for the much the same cost. Cha-ching!

We used a farmhouse pendant as a focal point in the center of the room along with natural light and recessed lighting as a part of the total lighting solution.

The kitchen’s overall size has increased exponentially and we created cleaner, straighter lines when we moved the original bathroom to create the L-shaped kitchen.

Below is the first shot of the kitchen showing things really shaping up! Now it’s time to show off the final photos of the kitchen! I had asked my friend, Kristin Goose to take the final pro photos. She has a really good eye and I think that the final photos came out great!

At right, you will see the original transom window above the doorway, that we reinstated as you walk through to the den/dining space.

There is ample space to place a kitchen island or a dining table. I pictured a large driftwood finish farmhouse dining table with modern chairs in this space!

I have always wanted to have a Farmhouse sink! I guess I will have to live vicariously through this property for now.

One solution that we had to lighten up the upper shelving was to use glass and open shelving. To create this look we cut open the cabinet doors and inserted plexiglas panels. Then, our carpenter John, worked on the custom open shelving adding white shelf supports for installation.

After waiting so long to be able to share these, I hope you are enjoying these final pics. The kitchen was a labor of love. (I am still toying with the idea of a tile backsplash behind the sink at some point. I would love to hear your thoughts on the transformation:)

Next week, I hope to share a little surprise with you and with a little luck the bathroom renovation photos which are in the editing stage.

 

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Renovation Story: Exterior Adjustments

I thought it would be fun to start this post with a hidden picture of the house on N Keats Ave. in Summer. It was late July, when we acquired the property, and then September when we returned to begin the ground breaking unceremoniously. As Summer faded into Fall, there was just so much overgrown in the front of the home. The hedge had overtaken the house completely, along with a Crepe Myrtle tree that just wouldn’t stop growing.

After trimming the hedges and mowing the lawns ourselves, one of us ended up with a bad case poison ivy! In due time, we gave a call to a family member who owns a tree service and had the hedges and the trees eliminated completely.

Admittedly, the house looked as barren as the Autumn trees after the removing the greenery. Yet, it seemed that like it might be fun to work with a blank canvas when replanting everything in the Spring!

Today, I plan to reveal the exterior progress that is happening on the property. You can see the initial inspiration photos for the exterior in my first Renovation Story. You may notice the vinyl on the side of the house was warping and not in as good of condition as that on the front of the property. The roof also needed complete therapy a.k.a replacement. Along the side of the home we planned to restore the original street facing side-door (just behind where the ladder is resting).

After the side patio and cinder blocks were removed, we decided to increase the front porch appeal by simply re-pouring the concrete steps leading to the front door.

Incidentally, we had opted to do a larger side patio and back patio in lieu of a more substantial front porch.

Next, the front windows are replaced and trimmed out with a thicker wood trim. Wood trims are something to carefully consider when updating a home. For this property, we made sure to keep with historic guidelines by preserving the original size of the windows and updating to an appropriate trim.

Then, we decided to replace the front of the home with a sturdier more appealing Hardieplank wood siding instead of vinyl. In the spirit of true conservation and green living, we reused the better condition vinyl from the front of the home as a replacement on the sides and back of the house, where the vinyl had aged more noticeably.

Here you can see the facade being prepared with plywood for the Hardie board.

Afterward,we reincorporated the original transom windows above the doors architecturally. It was super rewarding, when I received this photo because the home began to look like the original drawing that I had submitted to the Landmarks and Preservation team in summertime.

Above the flat-lap Hardieboard siding is primed, the sweet side patio is poured and the home was just about ready for painting, that is, until the Winter snow settled in!

The waiting time for snow to melt and temperatures to rise begins. It took months for the roof to thaw and ice to melt.

Lucky for us, with early February came the new Estate Gray roof replacing the former brownish one. The painters came out and painted the windows and door trims in Swiss Coffee. For the front of the home, I chose a shade of grayish beige called Cobblestone that I thought worked well with the slightly warmer vinyl siding.

Final touches included the oil rubbed bronze porch lighting, satin nickel lock-sets, blackish mailbox and modern address numbers.

As a side note, I have never officially seen the home in person since our trip to Kentucky in September, nor do I have any more pictures of the exterior facade.

At the moment, we have spread the seed and straw in hopes that new blades of grass will begin sprouting this May. I look forward to working with a landscape design company to layer in the shrubs and ground coverings. I am hoping the greenery of the landscape may soften the vivid red of front doors and incorporate the surrounding street.

Next week, we will step back inside the home to see the kitchen changing shape from beginning to end!

*Update* since painting these doors, I heard that both neighbors have painted their doors in shades of red. Now, I find myself searching for a different possibility…so please share with me your favorite paint shade for a front door!

 

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Renovation: Window Trims and Flooring

After the drywall went up, I began to work with the finish carpenter on all the beautiful details around the house. Since, the home was built at the turn of the 20th century both Victorian and Craftsman styles influenced the architecture of the period. I knew I wanted to draw on Craftsman construction, while staying true to a more modern vision. The home lacked ornamentation such as intricate carvings or stained glass windows which made transformation to a modern look and feel quite natural.

First, I went hunting for inspiration:

I found this picture of a simple window trim with a bullnose trim in the sill. The following style is what I like best for this house: minimal, modern, slightly craftsman with a little decorative bullnose lip near the sill. Additionally, the door molding was another source of inspiration for the large open doorway between the kitchen and dining rooms.

(photo via Houzz)

Below, these two window encasements also caught my eye for the slight crown molding on the top. I also loved the super tall baseboards in the picture at right. Since, we had 9′-10′ ceilings and above in many rooms of the home, I knew we could add character to the rooms by choosing a taller baseboard.

(photo via Houzz)

After talking to my carpenter and we decided to add a simple decorative crown molding on the larger windows in the main living room. For the rest of the home, we decided to keep the rest of the windows and doors well crafted and refined as in the first photo.

Here are some photos of his amazing work!

The photo at left shows the large and tall doorway from the kitchen the dining room. After finding that the original home had transom windows, we have decided to add a transom to the top of the doorway later in construction to even out the proportions of the frame. Below at right, you can see the large striking living room windows. Here we added a very subtle strip of crown to the top.

One of the challenges of designing and managing a project remotely is that I rely on so many people to take photos for me. Please understand that work is being documented while the home is a total mess and construction zone! To complicate things, I am also not local to help clean up:)

The kitchen window below was reframed about 5′ to the left from the original plan. The window was located inside the guest bath shower and had rotted out completely. We had to the apply for special permission from the Landmarks to move it a few feet into the kitchen. It was totally worth it because now both sides of the kitchen receive ample natural lighting!

Here is a kitchen window over the sink that I truly love.

These are 2 of the 4 large windows that run down the South side of the property.

You will see more dramatically, how the trim work transforms the interior design once we begin painting the walls and trims.

Next week, I plan to catch up on the exterior progress that is happening on the property. To see what the home looked like in the beginning read Renovation Story: Part 1.

Soon to come you will see the gorgeous Scandinavian inspired hand-scraped hardwood flooring in action with the tall 7″ baseboards!

Here is a sneak peak of the coloring. This one is a value for money.

Well, I hope you are all getting ready to see the next phase of renovations complete.

Please follow me here for the latest posts on Restoration and Design.

Have a fantastic week!

 

 

 

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Renovation Story: Drywall

I can’t even describe how exciting it was to see the drywall going up, once the demolition, framing, and repair were complete.

I promise to make this post extra special by including more before and after photos so that you can see the transformation of the space. If you are new to my blog, you can catch up on the rest of the Renovation Story here.

This is a view of the first room of the home, the living room, as it opens up to the kitchen. For the large entryways on either side, I was inspired by a local area homes and the intention to insert a see thru-direct vent gas fireplace in the future.

At the moment, plans to install the gas fireplace are undecided because we were not sure if a future buyer may prefer to use the wall space for a television or artwork.

For us, the transformation from demo through drywall was a real turning point in the design process.

Remember the crowded kitchen corner? Here it is after reframing and drywall. You can see how we actually expanded the space to include the former bathroom and shifted a window over a few feet to provide some natural lighting on the north side of the kitchen.

Later, you will notice the farmhouse sink will be centered on this window.

A large doorway leads from the right hand side of the kitchen to the sitting room.

This additional side room ended up being the largest in the home based on the square footage. I feel that this room could be used in many ways: a home office, dining room, sitting room, den or even additional bedroom.

As you can see we made the decision to line up all the doors on the right hand side of the home. This is consistent with the layout that would be found in a shot gun home of any era.

Drywall installation meant that the real fun as a designer: Floors, Trims, and Material finishes were soon to come.

Also, you may have noticed the beginnings of a lighting plan emerging in the drywall ceiling photos.  Next, I will begin to share the recessed lighting schedule along with the material and trim selections for the home.

If it seems like everything was happening at once, it really was! Just wait until you see the exterior changes that were happening at this time.

 

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Renovation Story: Demolition Part 4

You may be wondering…how all the construction work began and what was left of the house after the demolition?

First of all, we needed to strip everything down to the studs in order to preserve the original historic footprint of the home. We preserved framing and structural supports when the wood was in good condition. We removed everything from drywall to ceilings to sub-flooring.

You may remember that this hallway would be one of the largest changes within the floor plan.

We prepared to move the original bathroom into the hallway to enlarge the kitchen and serve as a guest bath.

Then, we would include a Master Bathroom within the remaining hallway space. Below you can see the new framing for the Master Bathroom and the Guest Bathroom  is framed out directly behind it.

Below is a segment of the original spacious hallway that I shared pictures of last week. The original floor tiles pictured which were in not able to be reused.

Next, a small transitional space leads from the Master Bathroom to the Master Bedroom.

All other areas of the home needed equal reconstruction through demolition. Some were in a state of disrepair!  As I am writing this, I am really appreciating the amount of work my contractor took on! In the front of the house the living room had been used as a bedroom and needed considerable demolition.

The crumbling chimney and fireplace in the living room was a major concern to our HVAC installer. We decided to remove it completely and leave open the option of installing a see-thru direct vent gas fireplace down the road.

Below you can see how the living room walls, chimney and closet have been completely removed and the new framing is in place. I chose to create 6′ wide doorways through to the kitchen on either side of the fireplace wall for an open concept look and feel.

The 2 upstairs bedrooms and the stairway leading to them were stripped down in a similar way.

Next Monday, I will show you where all this demolition leads! With the drywall in place, we can begin to visualize the overall look and design plan.

Have a great week!

Hilary

 

 

 

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