Mid-century buildings possess a myriad of design conundrums when it comes to making upgrades or just dealing with preservation.
We added new mahogany window sills due to some drywall & plaster damage that occurred when the new windows were installed last year. We were happy about the new windows but were sad about the loss of the original ceramic tile sill feature.
This is what started the process. We were left with this exposed area on the wall face that the tile had been glued to. We decided the mahogany matched up with our other woods & would patina appropriately. I did not want a large apron or really an apron of any kind on the window, but we had to cover up the damaged area. So we used 3/4” thick boards & then carved out the underside, but left a 1/4” x 3/4” edge so the piece would fit down over the damaged area. This was precision work done by my handyman. The sills look amazing & you wouldn’t even know they weren’t original to the building. They just belong here.
MT. BAKER BATHROOM REMODEL
Goals: maximize the window size, natural light, & air flow
Needs: a shower, lighting, storage
Design style: rustic, industrial, modern
Materials: reclaimed wood, concrete counters, ceramic & porcelain tiles
First, let me start out by giving my best piece of advise… hire a designer to manage the build process. Sure, a designer will assist with finish & material selections, that’s the “fun” part and often times homeowners want to do that part, which is fine. But what folks really need is a consultant to help them bring their ideas and choices together to create the space they envision. A designer has knowledge of installation processes, products, layouts and design, and technical aspects. A designer is your friend and can save you from making costly mistakes as well as help you design the most functional, aesthetically pleasing space - all based on your needs, goals, and budget. A designer will partner with your builder or contractor and manage the construction and installations, ensuring your plan is executed efficiently and properly.
Now, you’re in for a long post this time because this was a super fun project! Working in such a small footprint (only 9’x5’) was part of the challenge here. We commandeered part of the attic space to add a small cabinet for additional storage. I also suggested a hall cabinet for linens etc. By installing ceiling can lights as well as slender pendents, there’s more than enough light for make-up applications. The large scaled white tile and blue walls help light bounce around, assisting with the brightness aspect too. The pendent selection was challenging as they needed to be extremely slender as to not interfere with the other details, such as the custom mirrors.
The bathroom design concept started with maintaining a huge window for the view and air flow. What resulted was a wall that was mostly window and shower. A small area remained between the window and shower, to the left of the sink. For this tiny area, I custom designed two mirrors. One would be stationary and the second, would be a sliding mirror that could be used as needed, mostly living over the top of the stationary mirror (to maximize that view and natural light.) For consistency the same rail system was used in the hall way for the custom reclaimed wood barn door. The client was very interested in having the largest door opening as possible, so the rustic barn door idea was a perfect solution for the 40” wide opening. Vaulting the ceiling and installing a sky light was a huge upgrade and was something we decided during the build process. I can’t imagine it any other way now!
When it came to materials, the client started with some great basics, matte black hex mosaic tile for the floor and white 3”x5” brick. I really liked the black floor, especially in the matte finish. It’s a subtle nod to the 1920s home. However, I kicked it up a notch by suggesting the oversized 8”x20” tiles for the shower surround. And I chose to have it installed in a straight lay as this is visually a cleaner look. Integrating the storage cubbies on the shower head wall also reduces clutter as they are not visible from the hallway. Like many craftsman homes the original base molding was tall. Since the base molding was remaining in the hallway, I wanted the bathroom base to match this height. Using the 8x20 tiles allowed me to design the shower layout such that the first row of tiles continued around the perimeter of the bathroom and door opening - perfectly matching up to the hallway base molding.
A small detail, but an important one nonetheless were the outlets and light switches. Since the bathroom was so small, again, the less visual clutter the better. I insisted on an outlet inside the cabinet for the electric toothbrush satiation. And the other outlet was lowered next to the cabinet so it’s out of your line of sight. The light switches were placed in a natural position, to the right of the door opening as you enter the space. However arriving at this location, although simple as it may seem, took some serious number crunching. How big can I make the door opening and still have room for the switch box, as well as towel hooks? And that opening effected the size of the barn door, so decisions had to be made early! With barely 24” from the opening to the shower, hooks were our only solution for the bath towels. For a bit of luxury, the client had radiant heated floors installed, which will be so nice this winter. Another small detail was the decision to drywall wrap the new window and door opening. This allowed us to maximize the size of those areas, as well as provide the most wall space possible for the towel hooks and mirror design & placement. Refraining from window & door moldings emphasized the modern edge the client was looking for as well.
Despite the mere 9’x5’ space, this, now full bathroom, feels twice the size! It offers abundant light, ample storage, and luxurious features. And I just have to give a shout out to the builder who worked closely with me, who followed and installed all my design details. The project would not have had the same outcome if it weren’t for his partnership. Many thanks to you Kwaku!
THE TAKE AWAY: Hire a designer for your next project!
Adding a bit of personality to a clients bathroom. I worked in a small collection of stones & earthy elements from her favorite hiking trips. The botanical art pieces bring an additional pattern layer to the vignette. The live edge shelves were cut from a single plank of reclaimed hemlock, sourced from Second Use.
Which “white” grout would you choose for this glossy white tile? The trick is to squint your eyes a bit while viewing the samples with your tile. Generally, you choose the one that melts into the tile itself. “White” can have blue, pink, yellow or green tints causing “white” grouts to range from warm to cool. Of course just because you like a crisp white tile doesn’t mean you can’t use a contrasting grout color - it all depends on the look & feel you want for your space!
For some great examples of tile & grout combos check out my ideabook here: http://www.houzz.com/ideabooks/30685167/thumbs/tile-and-grout-contrasts
Throw back Thursday, home-style! The concepts might be the same still today but the execution is so vastly different. My faves are Preppy, Shabby Chic, American Gigolo, & Zen because I tend to gravitate to these styles to some degree or another. I know what you’re thinking, “American Gigolo?” But look closely, the boxy architectural fireplace, dark floors, large spances of windows & high ceilings… It’s the modern day downtown loft! Change out that cranberry velour sofa for a structured Roche Bobois piece & you’re sure to win over the ladies. (http://m.roche-bobois.com/en_us/product/detail/81743/3/0)
PLACES THAT TRANSPORT:
The London Plane
A posting on places that transport is long over due. So here’s a fab establishment in the heart of Pioneer Square that begs your attention. The original brick promenade of Occidental Park practically escorts you to the tall lean doors painted with a soft, almost colonial grey-blue. It’s quite subtle & it becomes a lovely counterpoint to the wood tones & white shelving. Unifying the space with the outdoors are huge windows, which allow you to linger & watch the world pass by. Pick up fresh flowers or a jar of canned goods before departing though.
Then head south, to the end of the block, for a slight change of scenery at The Little London Plane where you can peruse cookbooks (that are more like an art collection of carefully curated rare finds) while enjoying a glass of wine at the communal farmers tables.
Matt Dillon, owner & chef, shares his thoughts on the design concept, “We’re kind of like Scandinavia. The reason why their design is so amazing is because they’re in the dark all of the time so they want their spaces to feel bright and open. So I like having the London Plane be this huge space where people can come in all the time and feel enlightened by the openness of it. And hopefully that adds to their day and they’re going to walk out feeling good.”
And that’s what good design is all about. Cheers!
Leave it to Porche to design a stunning showroom to accent their product, creating a lux lounge & showroom that feels more like an art gallery than a dealership. Why not rent this space for your next event?!
Southwest Style Staples: Inspirations for dusty day trips and home decor.