Powder Room renovation in dark gray with brass fixtures
First off – Happy New Year! The first week of the new year has significance for me, because it was during this week 5 years ago that I said to myself, “why shouldn’t I write a blog?” Thank you each and everyone of you for reading, commenting, emailing and showing your support all these years, even when I veer way off topic. As I say every year, I'm humbled and touched beyond words that you find inspiration here. I am bursting at the seams in anticipation for all the wonderousness that this new year will bring and look forward to sharing it all with you. I wish you all a new year filled with heaps of joy, abundant good health, never ending peace and overflowing, heart pounding love!
As you may remember if you've been following the blog for awhile, the original house did not have a powder room. When I was designing the new space, I took out the existing bar area (which was HUGE by the way) and replaced it with a pantry (click here to see it) on one side and a powder room on the other. Here is how the powder room turned out.
The vanity is made of soapstone which I don't treat with any oils. I prefer the ashy natural gray to the darker shiny. The base is made of two metal legs.
Instead of leaving the edges open, I added this curved piece to finish it on both ends.
All the other bathrooms have brushed chrome fixtures and white walls. In the powder room I walked on the wild side and went with dark charcoal walls and brass/gold fixtures and accents.
I found this antique candy dish at an estate sale and think it's the perfect recepticle for these multi-colored soaps.
This antique French mirror is one of my favorite pieces. It's constructed with fragments dating back to the 17th Century. The flash has distorted the colors a little, but there are touches of gold to the worn wood.
That's it, hope you liked the tour. Please feel free to add your questions to the comments below!
Over the past year, most of my work focus has been spent on some very exciting interior design projects. I haven’t mentioned much about work for awhile, so here is a little update…
After three wonderful years, I closed my storefront and design studio over the summer and moved my studio into the lower level of my house. It is awesome! I can’t wait to show you photos of how it turned out! One of the reasons I decided to do this is because many of my projects are long term and in wine country, so I was not in the office enough to justify the rent. Another reason is because I still sell beautiful, rustic chic items for the home on my online shop – www.shopFarmHouseUrban.com. All kinds of exciting fun new products, ideas and inspiration are coming to you in the New Year through the shop site so stay tuned!
This past week I had a photo shoot of a large project I just finished. My favorite and the best interiors photographer in the Bay Area did the shoot. Thank you Sean Dagen! I am so excited to show you how it turned out below!
But first some background. The 4,000+ sq. foot house was purchased last Spring by a recently divorced dad of three young boys. Masculine space to put it mildly. When I started on the project, demolition to the interior had just started and there was no architect. With a total of 15 spaces (4 bedrooms, 4 bathrooms, kitchen, family room, dining, living, office, laundry and sitting room) this was a huge project. All cabinetry, fireplaces, bathrooms and kitchen were down to the studs and needed every detail to be designed, specified and construction overseen. I am most proud of this project because it challenged me to go deeper into an area of design that I love, but haven't done to this level before. The majority of the scope was about cabinetry, built-ins and architectural details and less about furnishings.
Cabinets are shaker style with modern pulls on both uppers and lowers. White walls, and cabinetry are contrasted with dark lighting fixtures and my favorite industrial barstools. A huge island serves many purposes from dining table to entertainment station.
In the living room, built-in cabinets and alcoves flank the fireplace which is made of concrete. The street signs are custom and include all the places the client has lived as well as significant places in his life. Wood panelling was placed on focal walls throughout the house. In here, the tv is hidden behind flush doors.
A perfectly worn leather sofa that belonged to the client was the starting point for the living room. A distressed denim and burlap wingback chair by Ralph Lauren Home added a bit of color.
The dining room has panelling on two walls and a small wet bar and wine refrigerator. A cluster of beeswax pillar candles when lit will add a dramatic visual affect.
The table and bench are from the Big Sur Collection from Crate and Barrel. The Parson's style table is a slam dunk in any room and even makes a great desk. I threw the sheepskin over the bench instead of a cushion and to soften all the right angles. Tolix chairs are fantastic anywhere. The centerpiece is a resin bowl made by a local artist.
There are two kids' bathrooms that are identical for the most part. All the same materials were used – white penny tile and oversized 6"x18" subway tile are from Ann Sacks. The trough sink is a great way to fit two kids into one bathroom without taking up the vanity space that two seperate sinks would. Fixtures are from the Kohler Purist collection. The cabinet is custom.
I gave the three boys a short questionnaire to not only get a feel for how best to furnish their rooms, but also to have them feel a part of the design process. One of them had a strong desire to have a loft bed. This was really fun to design! I took out the existing closet which went the span of the room and had folding doors. I replaced it with two seperate closet and dresser configurations on each side of a nook-style bed. The ceiling is fairly low, so having a true loft bed was tricky. The big drawer below holds a trundle bed on casters for sleepovers.
The Master bedroom is simple – built-in bed and cantalievered nightstands, Tolomeo reading lights (the best reading light in my opinion!) a bench made from reclaimed wood found on Etsy and a cool leather chair.
Between the Master Bathroom and closet, there was a small closet with folding doors. Since the walk-in closet is enormous, this space seemed unnecessary so I took it out and made this little cozy spot. Again, Tolomeo reading lights in sconce version.
The space I love the most is the Master Bathroom. It's also the one that took the longest to design. We looked at every gray stone and tile on the planet before selecting these gorgeous 12" x 24" porcelain tiles from Walker Zanger. The vanity is about 9' long and is made out of reclaimed Hemlock. Leather pulls are made from an old belt belonging to the client.
The big, deep tub is so beautiful and adds a crisp, modern contrast to the warm wood vanity.
Well, that's it! There are many rooms we didn't take photos of, due to time limitations. It took over 8 hours to shoot the above photos.
If you have questions about products or materials, I am happy to answer them, but ask that you do it by leaving a comment rather than emailing me. More than likely, others will have the same question and I'm much faster at responding that way too!
Another exciting thing happened last week! A kitchen and family room that I designed awhile ago was featured in Better Homes & Gardens – Kitchen + Bath Ideas Magazine which hit the news stands last Tuesday!!! Thank you KBI!!! The photos turned out great and I will share them with you here on the blog in a few weeks when the magazine is no longer on the shelves. In the meantime, the magazine is really worth getting! LOTS of awesome photos and filled with inspiration on storage!
Happy Mother’s Day! Did you have breakfast in bed? I don’t like to eat in bed, but I do love breakfast! I’ve dropped major hints this week that I’ve been craving blueberry pancakes and bacon. My two (plus sleepover friends) are still snoozing, so we’ll see how that goes!
First off, I want to say thank you for all of your comments and emails! I try to respond to each individually, but I’m sure I’ve let some slip by the past couple of weeks. Please accept my apology and if you don’t mind, just resend them! I have a temporary internet connection at the house and at times have no access. Moving + super busy at work has meant almost no time at the computer! So, I am going to attempt to list all the questions I have received and the corresponding answers below.
What is the paint color on the exterior? It’s a custom color that was matched to the window trim.
What are the dimensions of the board and batten siding? 12″ center to center, and 2 1/2″ width for the batten.
Can you share the source for your flooring?Yes, it’s Siberian Floors ask for Lenny. http://www.siberianfloors.com
What is the paint color on the front door?It’s Obsidian by Restoration Hardware, color matched in Ben Moore paint.
Where did you get the tile for the bathroom floor? Unfortunately I don’t know, the tile setter sourced it. It’s 2 1/2″ Carrera hexagon shape.
Here are some recent house photos.
The hood is coming the end of the month.
The pantry door has been stained a walnut color and the wood type is Alder. The door swings which has already proven to be so helpful! I highly recommend it for pantry doors. The countertop inside the pantry was installed on Friday, so the cabinets and shelves need to still be put back in. I’ll post pictures when that happens.
The railing is finished, the paper on the floor finally removed, and front door hardware is on. Entry is done except for lighting. Still TBD on all of that.
This is the inside handle.
And the outside. They are from Rocky Mountain Hardware.
There are still a few boxes still at the rental house, but for the most part all of the furniture is out. It will be a gradual process to fill this house. But that’s how it should be.
*Update – I was about to publish this post when I got a call from Martin. They left last night and should be here in a few hours.
It was like Santa didn’t show. I found out this morning (Wed), as I burst into the house, camera in hand ready for Martin and his entourage to roll in (he has two female assistants – tool belt toting, skill saw savvy and able to lift super heavy things without batting an eyelash! I kid you not.) that they have not left Seattle yet. I’m hoping they arrive late tomorrow (Thurs), but more than likely it’ll be Friday.
At least I do have some new things to share!
The tile in the Master Bathroom is complete.
The area around the bathtub is getting wainscoting trim with a 3″ shelf on each end for shampoo, candles, etc.
Our bathtub is on it’s way. Here’s an actual photo of it getting inspected in Tennessee.
The floors are now completely installed. Here’s the Master Bedroom.
The slate tiles came for the entry. They’re 12″ x 24″. The grout color will be sand. I’m on the fence if they’re too dark? Please let me know what you think!
Thank you for the emails and comments. I try to respond to each, but if I missed any, please resend it. I will also post email questions – I will leave the names off – don’t worry:-) on the blog in case others have the same. For comment questions, I will respond in the comments. There was a question about the photos in the last post and if any had been painted yet. No, not until next week or so. What’s on the walls now is just primer, although I don’t know how different they will look. The doors and trim have not been painted yet either.
Motto for the day: Good things are worth waiting for. I hope yours is filled with goodness.
Hi! Happy halfway to the weekend! So, I never made it to the Alameda Antique Fair on Sunday. Did you? I did get to Stinson beach on Saturday though. Truth be told, I went because there was an estate sale I wanted to check out – vintage surfboards, SUP boards, wetsuits and the like. I was too late because I misread the hours and got there after it was over – bummer! So what's a girl who's driven all the way to the beach to do? I was happy the skies were gray. Perfect weather for walking and deep thinking.
Things are happening at the house faster than I can take photos and share them with you, so here's a quick run down of the latest as of this morning.
The exterior was painted!
The color is custom to match the windows.
The doors on the bottom right side go to the downstairs rec room. A deck will be above off of the living room.
This is the front porch which wraps around the three sides of the entry. A temporary door is up right now. The real front door arrived yesterday, but still needs to be painted – black.
All the interior doors were hung. The hardware throughout the house is oil-rubbed bronze.
The trim around the windows and doors was completed.
The master bathroom tile is almost finished. On the floor is 1.5" hex tile in Carrera marble. In the kids' bathrooms which were done last year, I used the smaller hex tile in Carrera, and wanted to have some continuity between all the bathrooms. Underneath is a warming pad.
Carrera subway tile is in the shower and covered by the paper is 1" x 1" sq. tile also in Carrera.
Saving the best for last… the floors were installed! Actually they are still working on them, but enough was put down that I could finally exhale. I was really nervous that I wouldn't like the color. There was a panicky moment when they were delivered and our contractor opened a few boxes and saw corners and edges 'banged up' and some variation in color from board to board. It turned out they were all fine, he just wasn't expecting the level of distressing and rustic-ness. I love them!
One of the minor changes that had to be made was enlarging a window in the dining room. It took a few weeks to arrive, so it was just installed this week too. This is looking from the kitchen towards the dining room and the new window.
More photos of the wood floors!
The light has affected the color of the floor in all of the photos above. I think this one is closest to the actual.
Thank you for your responses to my last post about vulnerability. I truly appreciate your comments, emails and feedback and am delighted that so many found it inspiring. I believe wholeheartedly in taking emotional risks, as I have learned first hand how magnificent the rewards can be. I am grateful you allowed me a moment to veer off topic, and to the one who gently suggested I stick to my day job — duly noted 🙂
The design decisions regarding cabinetry for the entire house needed to be made just before the holidays. I knew I wanted Shaker-style (more on that below), but besides that, there were mostly question marks. Being a full on type-A, wanting to make well informed decisions I wouldn't regret later, I first went to look at a local cabinet making facility with my contractor Steve to get ideas and see how exactly they are constructed, painted, etc.
This company specializes in a painting technique that is baked on (this is not the technical term) resulting in a very durable and chip-proof product. However to me, it almost had the appearance of Ikea furniure (nothing against Ikea), but kind of synthetic.
What I had in mind were cabinets that have a furniture like quality. Not so perfectly smooth and factory-made looking. I briefly researched local cabinet makers, but with time running out I decided to fly down our former cabinet maker from Seattle – Martin - to weigh in and see if he would be willing to construct all the cabinetry from Washington and drive them here. Luckily he was on board!!
I wish I had photos to show you of the kitchen Martin did for us in Seattle, but it was back in the day of non-digital cameras, so the photos are, for now, packed and stored. Martin doesn't have a website, but luckily I found a photo of a kitchen he did that was published in a magazine.
Martin and I collaborated on the design by first looking at images I have bookmarked over the years. Since Martin mainly does Shaker cabinets, that was where we began. Here's a good description of that style taken from HGTV.com
"The unadorned cabinet style was first produced by the Shakers around the 1790s. The Shakers were a religious group that valued simplicity and solid craftsmanship. One of the hallmarks of Shaker cabinetry is dovetailed wood joints. No glue or nails are used in corners, so that the wood swells and contracts uniformly, resulting in an extraordinarily sturdy joint.
The Shakers valued neatness and orderliness. Furniture is well-suited to its task, with multiple drawers, shelves, etc., so that there is a place for everything. Built-in furniture was popular with Shakers because it fit the space exactly and had a specific function
Ornamentation for Shaker furniture was considered unnecessary. Once the piece had reached a point of exact functioning, it was finished. Plain fronts, limited trim and simple hardware were all that was required.
With its simple, clean lines, Shaker style furniture is suited to any decor. It can be modernized with high-tech finishes and ornate hardware, or fit comfortably in a traditional home using warm woods and old-fashioned pulls."
There are many decisions that go into cabinetry design. Here is a short cheat sheet of a few of them:
1. Exposed hinges vs. invisible.
As you can see from the image below, Shaker cabinet doors can be flush mounted, meaning they are not inset in the boxes and thus have hidden hinges.
Also, notice the use of mixed metals. I love it. Often clients will ask me about whether it's ok to mix finishes and get nervous about the idea of not having all the metals be the same. I prefer a non-matchy look here (although in many cases I do!) and like combining silver and gold jewelry, so in my opinion it looks great and there are no rules!
Here is an example of inset with exposed hinges. Ours will be very similar to these.
2. How do the cabinets meet the ceiling and floor?
I really like the simple base on these cabinets for the kitchen. The contrast of the dark hardware against the light cabinets is really pretty too. It looks like the knobs are painted the same color as the doors. Since there are so many and would have looked too busy in a darker finish, I think this was really smart.
We have beams similar to these below going in the kitchen, so how to deal with how they meet with the tops of the cabinets took some attention. This image provided great inspiration.
3. Storage and practicality vs. design.
The biggest tip I can pass along to those designing a kitchen is the benefit of drawers instead of doors in the lower cabinets. Other than under the sink, cabinets are not necessary and are actually a big pain. Think of how hard it is to find an item that has been pushed to the back.
We decided not have any cabinet doors in our kitchen including in the island. We are even putting our dishes in a drawer! The only exceptions are doors that when open, reveal a drawer for spices, cookie sheets, oils and recylcling.
There are many details in this kitchen that are similar to ours. The layout with windows on each side of the range, black trim and drawers.
Another design vs. practicality decision was open shelving. I've thought about this quite a bit. I really like the look and many of the images I've saved have open shelves. In the end, I decided I'm not cut out to pull this off, nor are the habits of my family. I cook often, and despite the assurance of open shelf owners that they do not get dirty, I don't think that would be the case in our house. I had an open metro shelf in our house that was on the opposite side of the kitchen and found that I had to take everything off and clean it every few months.
The other reality is that not every plate and mug and bowl match in our house. Being a full on type A, appreciating a clean look, seeing the mismatched items would drive me nuts.
In the end we decided to have only two upper cabinets and they go from the countertop to the ceiling (no counter space between).
Once Martin and I decided on the above, the next step was to plan where everything was going to go. I compiled a list of kitchen items and wrote notes on the drawings to map out where everything would be stored.
Here are the finished drawings (hand done- Martin is old school!)
Kitchen floor plan
Desk Wall Elevation There are still a few more kitchen decisions to be made – paint color, countertop and tile selection and island wood finish (I'm leaning towards unpainted Walnut). So stayed tuned for future posts. In the meantime, if you would like to see more images I've collected, please go to my Pinterest page – here.