Tuesday, January 22, 2013

The Stairs Get a Makeover

Things are really progressing on the house and it's the stair's turn this week. Originally, we were going to simply strip and stain the exposed wood and replace the runner's on both staircases; however, we've decided to not do runners in exchange for fully exposed and finished wood treads.  My first choice was to do exposed wood (no runners), but I was concerned about safety - will they be slippery? But, I've gotten over the safety concerns and we both agree that bare stairs will better compliment the overall design we are going for.

The back staircase:
This is the secondary staircase accessed through the Family Room.  


Looking down the secondary staircase after the original stain on the exposed parts has been stripped. 


Following a thorough sanding, now freshly covered with the ebony stain we selected for the floors.  You can see our original floor color to the right; the floors are scheduled to be sanded and re-stained in a couple of weeks.

The front staircase:
The original plan was to put in new wood flooring only on the two landings you see here (and the two landings at the bottom of the secondary staircase), and then have runners on the rest of the stairs.  But once we saw the wood installed on the landings, we decided we would be much happier with the end result by refinishing the stairs and leaving them bare from any carpeting.


The view looking down the front staircase.  A very big change from the original color of wood floors which you can see a small strip of in this photo.


Another view looking down.


The view looking up the front staircase after the treads have been stained.  I love the ebony stain, white trim, and white walls together.  

We had only seen a small sample of the ebony stain on our floors, so the stairs now give us a good indication of how all the wood flooring will look.  

In addition, we are changing from white wooden balusters to iron ones which are being installed next week.  I selected a very simple baluster, something similar to this:

I was determined to have iron hand railings, too, but my eyes bugged out at the cost of adding this to what was already a splurge on iron balusters.  Doing everything iron was going to be my way of getting a little dose of a California/Spanish style into the house.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

It's Not a Dining Room...

This past week has been very busy and VERY messy - prepping, sanding, painting, trim work and more molding installation.  I'm so glad we are into the homestretch and able to see everything coming together.  

One of the changes we made was in the Dining/Living Room, a fairly large space previously separated by two pony walls and a header (with columns).  The design was OK but, given how we really wanted to use the space, it was very restricting in furniture arrangement options.  Plus, last summer we packed up the dining room furniture and brought in other pieces to make the space a seating area.  We sat in that space more in one month than we did in the previous nine years it was 'staged' as a dining room.  I am not a fan of a separate dining room in my own home because we love to use our whole house, and, for us, it's just wasted space. We are fortunate enough that the 'eat-in' space of our kitchen can support a table for eight, and that's where we entertain when having friends for dinner.  It's just so much more relaxed and convenient.

So, back to the painting.  The majority of the spaces throughout the house are a shade of white (or have 'white' in the name - more on one of those in another post and my panic that the guest bath's color was reading pink!)  The photos below are of the revised living space that combines the Dining and Living Rooms.

 This photo looks into the Living Room from the Dining Room.  Color in this space, as well as all 'public' spaces, is Benjamin Moore's Atrium White. I thought for a long time about the right white and I'm very happy with this one.  The wainscoting is new to this space also, but it carries through from the foyer and then around into the dining room.


This photo looks into the Dining Room from the Living Room.  Buh-bye, Dining Room.  Traditionalist's don't read this next part...  there will be a sofa and flat screen in here as we have not had a television anywhere downstairs for nine years.  


 A large expanse of wall now that the pony walls have been removed.  But, it will be broken up by furniture, and we are currently searching for a wow piece of art (we have something in mind, and Paul is on the hunt to find it).


 The tv wall (previously the space for a dining room buffet or something similar).


Looking from the Dining Room and through to the kitchen.


The ceiling of the entire space.  We are also on the hunt for the right lighting...  we need two of the same light fixtures so it helps to tie the whole space together, but I want these to be unique and fairly casual.   We do have something VERY unusual in mind that we both love (something Paul found on a San Francisco trip), but have not decided yet if we will make the plunge or keep looking.


Sunday, January 13, 2013

The Guest Baths get an update, too...

Once we started selecting the tile and fixtures for the Master Bath we quickly decided that the remodeling efforts needed to spill into the other bathrooms as well, because we knew that, in the long run, we would regret not re-doing them, too.

I wanted each bathroom to have it's own personality, so we tried to keep them different from one another while still keeping continuity throughout the whole house aesthetic.

First, a little peek at the upstairs guest bath:

We chose a travertine for the floor.  There was just something about this particular one that we loved, especially the rectangular shape - almost like planks.  The character of this bath is certainly all about the flooring.

The new walk in shower used to be a tub.  There is now more shower space and it will really open up the entire bathroom.  We carried the travertine over the shower curb and selected a basket weave pattern for the shower floor.  The walls are white ceramic subway tile.

A niche for toiletries. The accent tile is the same as the shower floor with the addition of a pencil molding above and below the accent.


And, the downstairs guest bath...  This one actually serves as both a full bath and guest "powder room", so is the one seen by everyone who visits; plus, it's off of the foyer:

Like the Master Bath, we selected marble tile for the floor.  This bathroom is one of the first things you pass as you enter the house, so we needed something with a bit of a wow factor but without going too trendy or over-the-top.

The shower/tub surround and three of the walls are covered in elongated white ceramic subway tile.  This is where the vanity will be placed... we have a rockin' vanity in store for this spot and I can't wait to see it installed.  

Testing paint colors.  Definitely the one on the left (Benjamin Moore's Graystone)

The shower/tub surround.  I had to have this greek key accent - I actually selected it before I even knew where we might actually use it, and it worked wonderfully in this bathroom.

I'm a little obsessed with the niches for toiletries. Here it is just installed into the wall.

...and being tiled.  Almost there.....

and the finished product.

So the hardest, messiest, and most time consuming work in all of the bathrooms is complete.  YAY!!!  

Tuesday, January 08, 2013

Magic Carpet Ride

We found an incredible rug for our Family Room.  It's colorfully graphic...


It's 10' x 14' which is a lot of color and a lot of pattern and fairly atypical of our style.  However, the room is open to the second level, so I think the space can handle it, and the furniture is very neutral tones.




The space, like the rest of the house is still in 'construction' mode, so we're not able to test it out.  I did, however, take some samples of the leather and other items that will be in the room to see how they played against the colors - that will have to serve as our test run.  The wood floors will be an ebony stain, so how can we go wrong? :)

Sunday, January 06, 2013

Master Bath

A Master Bathroom remodel has been on our wish list for a while now, although I would have preferred to have managed it on our own terms, and not the terms of that nasty pipe in attic over top of the bathroom.  But, the bright side prevails and we are well into getting the bath of our dreams.  The focus has been space and marble tile.

In a post a couple of years ago I did a rough design of what I was thinking when it was originally on our wish list.  It looked like this:


While the general style has not changed, the main change from above is the tile. We've selected carrara marble throughout vs. the subway tile (but you'll see more about subway tile later in the other baths).  Four different marbles cover the bathroom floor, the shower floor, the shower wall accent, and the shower/bathroom walls:

Bathroom floor

 Shower floor and walls

Shower wall and accent trim

Shower and tub surround (note the pipe from the ceiling which will be a rain shower).  

 Alcove for the toilet.  We did proceed with taking out a small linen closet and subsequently the enclosure around the toilet.  There seems to be varying opinions on having a water closet, but in this space it just took up too much room; plus, the toilet is in a small alcove so we just removed the walls and door that previously surrounded it.  Removing both the linen closet and the water closet completely opened up the floor plan giving us the space we wanted.

 This space will hold either a double vanity or two pedestal sinks, with recessed medicine cabinets above each sink.

Obviously we are still in construction phase, so more pictures when there is further progress.  And I will also update on the other two bathrooms soon!


Thursday, January 03, 2013

Time for a remodel

So, during the last weekend of September we fell prey to one angry pipe that fed our hot water heater, which was placed... where else... but the attic.  One, big UGH!!!

After channeling through two floors via walls, ceilings, venting, and any household orifice that was available to it, the water was abruptly stopped when our petsitter was able to turn off the main water supply.  Yes, we were away for the weekend and the water likely ran for around 12 hours.

To cut a long story short, we spent over a week with a recovery/demo team and their friends: 28 (or so) industrial fans, 3 majorly industrial dehumidifiers, and a couple of very painfully loud (we're talking small jet engine) things we called the floor suckers which were set on our wood floors to draw out moisture.  Trixie, our 'sensitive' cat, usually gets scolded if she has an accident outside the litter box; but, when we woke one morning to a pile of poo sitting right on top of on one of those floor suckers she got extra breakfast that morning ;)

Once the kitchen was taken apart we then had 2 days to find a temporary place to live.

Pictures are stories unto themselves, so here a few of the worst areas following the demo work...

Dining Room/Living Room - that pile used to be our wood floors

Dining Room/Living Room cleaned of debris (phew) - oh, and notice the pony walls between the two rooms are gone, too.

The Kitchen has been cleared out - but I'm getting a gas cooktop installed (yay!)

Master bedroom

Master bath

Master bath

We're now three months into this and things are coming along....

Wednesday, January 02, 2013

Let's try again... (again)

Welcome 2013!

With a new year and a break from a career in the Corporate world, I'm going to try, one last time, to remain motivated and make the time to maintain this blog. 2012 was a pretty busy year and came with lots of change... leaving my Corporate job after 20 years, a 20 year anniversary with Paul (apparently 20 is a magic number!), a dream trip to a luxury Bali resort, and while it did not seem like an opportunity at first, a chance to remodel our home...  more on that, which will be my springboard to restarting my blog again (again).

Here's to 2013 and all the change it continues to bring (I do love change).

Jeff