Thursday, May 3, 2012

The Bathroom Re-Do & How-To

Several of you have asked me to post photos of the bathroom that we just finished remodeling last week.  So here it is.  The bathroom is pretty small 7 x 8 so it is hard to photograph.

The other problem I have with the photos is getting true photographed colors because there is a big window and it always reflects a lot of the green from outside onto the paint. So some of them I have 'antiqued' to give you a better idea of the real colors. The color on the walls is Restoration Hardware's Latte.  It is a light coffee with cream shade not yellow or green in anyway.

One of the  things we have been striving to do in the house is to carry through on colors and flooring and in some cases theme (Italian) to make the flow of the rooms better.  When you have a small house the more flow to it the bigger and more spacious it appears.  Because our house is cottage style and I am not a shabby chic enthusiast, or terribly country, the Italian theme works well with that somewhat old world, vintage look that can be achieved.  I also like the French Country decor, but the colors of the Mediterranean and Tuscany clinched it for me.

They seem to have worked very well for us in the kitchen and the two main bathrooms.  I really like the eclectic look best and I think we are there.  A little of this and that but because of the genre and age of our house I keep it to the vintage side.

Tuscan Hillside
The art piece I selected.
It is framed with a chocolate brown inner mat
 and a creamy top mat.  It was kind of scary ordering over
 the Internet because of the color variation 
that can occur online, but it worked out fine. 

 The design plan went something like this:  We knew we were going to use the Latte paint as we have used in several rooms in our house and really like the warmth of it and the versatility.  It is hard to select a good beige or tan color, they are usually either too yellow or two pink.  They can either tend to look like a dirty yellow or as one designer I know calls the pink shades...swine.  I have done a lot of paint consultations in my day and I have never had a client that did not love Latte by Restoration Hardware.  It quite simply works, so why mess with success?

Selecting the art by theme, color, content and size, affordability and framing was an involved process.  I looked at lots and lots of art on and decided on this one because it works with everything else I was trying to achieve with one inspiration piece.

The other aspect of the room that was a given was the floor, it is exactly what we have in our main bath.  Because the room is small and all the wall space is taken up with the shower, the closet, the window and the mirror I knew there was only one piece of art going in the room.  So that is where I began.

The floor

  I also had to consider the room off of this bath, our family room and the colors and textures in that room.  Again, that is all part of the flow.  Your eye will move in one direction through a room and whenever there is an abrupt change it stops the eye.  The desire is to keep the eye moving. People either sweep the room from left to right or right to left consistently. Which way do you do it?

The Family Room

We bought our mirror from Restoration Hardware so that was a splurge and we tightened the budget with less expensive towel bars and hooks and accessories and matched them up with the chrome and the porcelain.  We also selected a plain glass shower door with no etchings that cost more.  We bought a Toto toilet and a Groehe faucet both high end and great quality.  So we saved money on our shower head and kept our same light fixture that still looked great after a little elbow grease and polishing and bought a very nicely priced pedestal sink on sale to replace the old cabinet.

As it turned out I liked the sink better than the Toto anyway because of its shape, allowing a place to set down your make up kit or your hair dryer.  There is nice sized closet for storage which helps!

I didn't want to put any other pictures in the room so I tried to use other textures like marble and glass and stones and plants and candles and the great Italian sign our daughter, Laura, made for us that has a fine dusting of glitter on it for a little bedazzlement.  I found a little sparkly theme developing and so I just went with it.

Love these fun, embellished, tiny bottles
 for a little more sparkle and glam.

One thing I really love to do after we get the basics of the remodel in place, is shopping the house.  When you have similar colors throughout your home you can find all kind of fun thing to put in your new room that you already love.  Most people have a thread running through their favorite things.  They tend to look nice together.  This is the principle of redesign that I have always used in my decorating.  All the room in the house know that which ever one we are currently working on gets priority.  So robbing other rooms is totally OK.  All the accessories in the room I already had so don't be surprised if they look familiar.   More importantly several of them were gifts from family and friends so they have sentimental value. 

You may recognize our little angel with the glass eyes from the main bathroom we remodeled two years ago.**  When this happens everything is in motion until all the empty places are filled in.  It is fun, it really is and then you change things up just a little too.  When you have lived in a house for 34 years this just has to be done.  So the only things we bought were the towels.  We came in just over budget, I think it was around $36.00.  Not bad.

This is how I always advised my clients and the results were pretty good.  Give up a little here and there and then you can get what you really want on the items you really want.  And another thing you can do is buy down on things like a towel bar which you can replace easily later as opposed to a toilet that is more expensive if you get a cheap one and need to replace it because of problems.  The same is true with a shower head, or window coverings which, incidentally are coming soon...don't worry.

I only mention this budgeting thing to allow you to see that you can get the quality on a few of the important things by scaling back on other things.  This is how you can get what you want and stay within your budget.  On smaller project like this it may not be as important to stick with a budget but when you get into the bigger building  and remodeling you absolutely have to do it or you will run out of money on the project.  Without careful planning remodeling can cost double what you plan for and take twice as long.

Also on projects like this one if you are replacing wallboard and plumbing etc, all that stuff can nickle and dime you to death.  The other thing is painting.  A gallon of paint may be only $40.00 but I bet you won't get out the paint store without another $40.00 in tape and primer and rollers and trays, etc.   Well maybe this a mute point if you are one of the 1% of the rich folks in the country.  But if you are one of the 99% that actually plans to "occupy" your own home and maintain it and pay for it yourself, you might want to budget. I know it is the nasty B word, but just do it.

So you have seen the icing on the cake, the decor, the fun stuff.  But the real work was done by Jim.  He did so much work on this room, new everything down to the studs in some places.  Plus he built the room originally.  This is the 6th time it has been redecorated over the years to update and maintain it.  He worked tirelessly in here and I love and appreciate his efforts so much.  The architectural elements he added this time that I really love are the molding around the window and the 3 1/2 inch baseboards.

 Again the wall is not this color but
 it works well to highlight the molding

Perfection!  I cannot tell you how many hours he worked on this...many, many. The best part is he loves doing it.  You can see why I am so excited he is building his shop next.  He deserves a great work space and he has waited too many decades already!

Moving the plumbing for the new sink.

He always says we did it together but I can guarantee you he did the lion's share.  So the wallboard dust is finally captured and out of that is a wrap on the remodel over here.  Yay!

Looking at this one will help you see what I was talking about for theme and flow throughout the house for continuity in design.