Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Reno Project Reveal | The Main Bathroom


Here we go, a look through the the main (kid) bathroom before & after for you today! This was a small and (extremely) budget friendly fix to a room we really added to our list at the last moment during the renovation of our home this year. The truth is, I wasn't going to touch this room at first for fear of a snowball effect in terms of cost. But now that we 'bit the bullet' and finished it off, I couldn't be happier.

So really this had to meet 3 criteria: (1) be kid friendly and *mostly* indestructible, (2) have traditional and classic finishes that can grow up with the little when he's not so little any more. I wanted to be able to switch out the mirror, accessories etc. to accomplish a more adult look later in the future, (3) be as tight on budget as POSSIBLE.

You know where we always have to begin - the befores!! Here's a wide-angle realtor shot of this 1989 wallpaper-clad gem:


We were dealing with linoleum, honey oak cabinetry, pink wallpaper, and a few flowery tiles bordering the top of the shower. From our first walk through the house, I remembered thinking, 'oh, that's not so terrible to live with, the shower is simple and all-white!' Wrong. Upon second inspection I realized there are flowers bordering the top (funny the details you miss during a first walk-through, hey?):


There was one other thing I wanted to make sure to get rid of if I was tackling this project, the bulkhead above the shower (there was no piping hiding in there to be moved, so it turned out to be an easy fix!):


There was no choice but to start from (almost) scratch:


Phew, that was a relief to see all of that go!


We actually got rid of the builder-basic mirror, toilet, counter, and replaced the tub in the above photo as well. I really wanted a flat 'apron' with a modern appearance for the tub front, and this one was very budget friendly. Really the only thing to stay was the box of the cabinet; we opted to replace only the doors with new ones and paint the unit out ourselves, which literally ended up feeling like a new cabinet for under $200. And, with the drywall ceiling drop removed within the shower, the new tile could go all the way to the ceiling.

Here is the mood board I mapped out with the design direction I was taking:


Minted artwork (Gentle Embrace and Leader of the pack) | CB2 Acacia round mirror | Delta Faucet Linden Monitor 17 series shower | Delta Faucet Cassidy widespread lavatory | Creekside beveled subway tile and Carrara marble chair rail | Rejuvenation Kanota drawer pull | C&S  Hydraulic tile | Delta faucet Cassidy robe hooks

A little reminder of the full-effect before:


Compared to the after (all the lovely after photos by Tracey Ayton Photography):


And a progress shot:


With the same angle after:


A decent difference from our starting point! This space now feels fresh, and fun for a kid too. Seeing as Marcus is half Egyptian from my side of the family, the camel art from Minted seemed totally logical :) I also picked out an abstract piece with a brass frame to complement the plumbing fixtures. I really love how easy it is to choose and visualize different frames on their website. 


I adore the champagne bronze finish of the Delta Faucet the fixtures, it adds such warmth! And maybe even more importantly this finish has proven to be amazing against finger prints/dirt. Let's be honest, I love polished nickel but with the way it shows every mark I am glad I didn't select it for a room with little fingers!! The Cassidy collection I selected from has the traditional vibe (especially with the cross handles on the faucet) that I was going for and is in keeping with the rest of the house. For that reason I feel like this is a "kid" bathroom that a child can truly grow with. 



And as pretty as it is, this is a hard-working shower head you can pull down and hose the kiddos down with:


We've taken the beveled subway tile and Carrara marble chair rail all the way around the room at a 42" height. We finished off the edge of the shower tile with a matching Carrara marble pencil trim. Though some might say I'll be a goner with the white grout, I purposefully chose a tight grout line, and I think it would be fairly easy to re-grout over top after years of wear & tear. 


I know this may sound silly, but honestly even changing out the tank lever made a huge difference in creating a polished and cohesive look. When this was the basic 'chrome' plastic handle that came with the toilet, my eye was sooo drawn to it, in a bad way! It's those little details that make the design.



Thank you again for following along on this journey with me! Xo

Here is a full list of products used in this project:

Minted artwork: Gentle Embrace by Ilana Greeberg 
and Leader of the pack by Heather Marie
Shades of Light Beaker Glass bath light
Creekside beveled subway tile and Carrara marble chair rail and pencil trim
Rejuvenation Kanota drawer pull
Delta faucet Cassidy robe hooks and towel ring
Carrara marble counter top
Home Depot Bath tub, toilet, and curtain rod
Benjamin Moore Wickham Gray on the walls/Coventry Gray on the cabinet
Joss & Main Turkish bath towel
Pottery Barn Shower curtain 
HomeSense Counter accessories 




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Monday, March 20, 2017

Designer Profile | Ashley Whittaker



New York-based Ashley Whittaker's stunning red lacquered window seat truly makes a splash on the cover of this month's House Beautiful. It made me excited and anxious to dive into my copy when it arrived in the mail last week! Funny enough I had just days before completed an installment of Dissecting the Details (on La Dolce Vita blog) highlighting Ashley's work. To say I'm a fan is really an understatement, I love Ashley's use of color and texture and I find her rooms so appealing. Here are a few more images from this month's House Beautiful feature:


The purple lacquer on the walls is pretty amazing (Fine Paints of Europe's G17150), I think I would call it aubergine. And I'm a big fan of the diamond sisal rugs that Ashley often selects for her projects:




Multiple rooms in the home are saturated in deep jewel tones; if that doesn't say cozy and inviting, I don't know what does! (Farrow & Ball Hague Blue):


Soothing grass cloth for the principal bedroom:


After posting on Ashley's living rooms last week, and now seeing her newest project, I decided to include a few more of my favorite Ashley Whittaker rooms in this post. Here are some of my favorites to date, in 'quintessential Ashley' style:








Some of my favorite elements that Ashley utilizes throughout her work include bold color and prints, feminine furnishings and antiques, and a traditional foundation with millwork and the perfect flooring & rugs. I need a diamond sisal rug in my life! :)

To see more from Ashley's HB feature hop here, and her stunning portfolio here.

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Monday, March 13, 2017

House Tour | Marianne Simon Design



One of my favorite things is to discover a new project from a designer I love to follow - it's like opening up a present on Christmas morning! Filled with fresh inspiration and new ideas to love. Seattle-based designer Marianne Simon is one of those all-time favorites of mine, and I feel blessed to say is a dear friend I have had the opportunity to come to know because of this blog. Her latest project added to her stunning portfolio is going to have you coming back again and again to study all of the luxe details. We can start off with the most perfect vignette of artwork and a settee upholstered in the amazing Vanderbilt velvet pictured above. But wait, there's plenty more where that came from:




There are too many lovely things to mention in this home, but the grass cloth in the dining room is high up on the list of my favorite things:



A stunning Hermès scarf framed, an idea I have lusted over for much too long (see here):





Now, can you even imagine being a little girl and having this as your very own room? It's too good.



So many things to take in! What was your favorite part? Be sure to check out even more loveliness over on Marianne's website, and follow her on instagram for an extra dose of inspiration.

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Thursday, March 9, 2017

Reno Project | Trim and Mouldings



I promised a little how-to post regarding our use of trim and millwork in our home, and I hope this will answer many of the questions I received! Disclaimer: I am no expert, I am not trained in design or AutoCAD (though I wish I was!) - so this truly will be a representation of a 'mouldings for dummies!'

One of my favorite brands I have been lucky to work with, and have posted about in the past, is Metrie, the largest supplier and manufacturer of solid wood and composite moulding in North America. They started up in 1926 as a small family-run business in my home town of Vancouver, and are now a leader at the forefront of design savvy interior moulding products. In case you missed it, you can see the full reveal of our entry and kitchen to view how we utilized trim to transform these dated spaces.

Q: Is the foyer picture frame molding or recessed panels?

We chose to go the extra mile and install recessed panels in our entry. We felt that this was the first impression to our home, and it would be worth the extra work and cost. What this meant is that we used flat stock MDF to build out the wall first, and place panel trim within these built-out portions. We have not regretted that decision, the details make the design!




Q: What did you have to do to the walls after removing the wallpaper?

Confession: I am insanely blessed to say that my dad-in-law is a professional dry-waller. After our family effort in picking off all of that wallpaper we (ie. HE) skimmed and patched the drywall with drywall filler to perfection before any trim was applied. It's very important to get that foundation right before moving on to the next steps! I'd say hire a professional to skim your walls if they are in crummy condition underneath of the old wallpaper. 



Q: How did you plan out the moulding (ie selection and spacing)?

This was the most frequently asked question by far. What I think helps make things so easy for non-experts is Metrie's curated collections of coordinating trim and doors already grouped for you. This way you already know that the door casing depth will proportionally fit with the thickness of the baseboards to create a proper reveal, and the styles and profiles of each piece will flow together. The Metrie catalogue became my best friend during our planning period (as you can see tagged & marked below!). I selected coordinating pieces from the French Curves Collection:

[Specifics: we chose this recessed panel mould, this crown, this baseboard, this chair rail, and this door casing). The main products were selected from the French Curves Collection (Scene I)]

After choosing the collection we loved, we began to draw out our vision in the most amateur and non-AutoCAD way (on random notepaper, non-the-less). I looked to places like Pinterest to get a feel for the shapes that would work for my staircase and entry. What then dictated the measurements was the width of our flat stock. Once we new how wide the flat stock would be (in our case 5 1/2") we could plan the size of each 'cut out' shape. We literally then drew this out on the wall itself.


From there, we working with professionals to have our vision carefully installed. We managed to use MDF flatstock on the curved walls because our clever trim-installer Mark was able to notch the pieces so that they could flex and bend (see photo below). If you have a straight staircase you won't run into this problem which created an added step for us!



The one place where we could not use MDF was the baseboard on the curved wall - baseboards are typically thicker than flat stock and likely won't be easy to bend! We purchased a rubber mould instead which you can see in the process of being painted just below. Once it had 3 coats, there was no way you could tell it was rubber any more! Again, if you have a straight wall you won't have this issue, but anyone with this classic 1980's shape will know exactly what I'm referring to :) 


A few tips I can suggest if you are embarking on a trim project:

Tip 1: Measure the amount of product you will need (always measure twice) and then add 10% for waste. This saves you time, and possibly money if you need to have additional product shipped or delivered later. When in doubt hire a professional, they could actually save you money in the long run. 

Tip 2: Make sure you account for the space needed to fit door frames and baseboards into your design layout. For example, if you look at the image directly below, you can see that the vertical pieces of flat stock used for the panels were 5 1/2" wide. Then look at the bottom piece of flat stock running horizontally along the floor - It's much wider so that once the baseboard is nailed on top of it there will still be an overall border of 5 1/2" surrounding the recessed portion. You'll need this extra amount of space for your door casings to overlap with the flat stock as well.


Tip 3: Choose your lengths wisely! Several of Metrie's products come in a few options in terms of lengths; for example our baseboard selection was offered in 8', 12' or 16' lengths. Got an extra long wall? Make sure you have a 16' length for it so that you won't have any unsightly cuts or joints somewhere in the middle of the wall. This kind of attention to detail will help elevate your finished space. 

Tip 4: Go big or go home! I was initially afraid to choose beefy baseboards and crown because we were working with a space that only had 8 foot ceilings. After seeing the 5 1/2" base and 4 1/4" crown, I am so happy I did not go smaller out of fear. As much as it sounds like it should be the opposite, it has made this overall small space seem larger and brighter. 

I can very honestly say I believe that trim is what transformed this dated 1980's home. Whatever you can dream up you can accomplish with trim, and getting creative with it is the fun part. I hope I've helped to break things down a little and take some of the intimidation or mystery out of the trim process. If you have additional questions please leave them in the comments below! 

I'll leave you will a little sneak peek of the living room reveal just to entice you to come back soon and visit for another before & after post ... 


Metrie can help make this process easy with their online tools and suggestions. Here is where you can go for more information:
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