Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The Ending Writes Itself

Once in a while, a story writes its own ending, as in the case of a bathroom renovation we recently featured. We followed the demolition and construction, up until the final details were posed to fall into place. There were a few further delays due to backordered product, but now the bathroom is complete, and already being enjoyed by the owner.

Let's look at some of the before photos, to refresh your memory.

An over sized shower that took up about half of the bathroom's floor space, a narrow, dark vanity area, a floor plan that didn't take advantage of the space and, at best, contractor-grade finishes.

The final bathroom was a very long time in the planning stages, and a long time in construction, but the final product was oh-so-worth-it! As I had promised, surprises are in store. The homeowner is an artist in her own rite, and she made sure that the finished bathroom would reflect her personality and display some of her own work. Interior Spaces designed the new bathroom layout, the cabinet design and placement, and then we turned the reins over to the client. From there, we were available to help with product procurement, technical questions and an occasional opinion when the choices seemed overwhelming. This interaction assured that things progressed fairly smoothly, and when the first bath was drawn in the new jetted tub, the homeowner could enjoy what is truly her very own space!

By comparison, the new space is almost like walking onto a dance floor!

This "appliance garage" stores curling iron, hot rollers and lots of other beauty aids safely out of sight.

The curio cabinet is an elegant treatment to display some of the artist's own work, as well as some personal treasures from travels.

This custom chandelier was created by Matt Dean of MD Glass Designs. Each color was hand selected to pick up other colors in the bath elements, and the client actually got to learn the technique by working with the artist during the creation process! It is really stunning as it glows on the Venetian plaster finished ceiling.

The client chose a beautiful new finish from Kohler (Antique French Gold) for her faucets. The soft gold was a great complement to the other bath elements, however, it did complicate any other metal choices that might be made in the bathroom, such as drawer pulls. Solution: why, create your own pottery pulls, of course!

A bright, elegant, delightful space that makes the client smile every time she walks in. And that makes me happy! Rumor has it, her husband has to use another bathroom in the house. My money says he sneaks in when she's not looking. Who could resist?!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Architectural Tricks

In design, there are many ways of making something look different than it actually is. This can be an interesting way to cover up flaws, make a design element appear more significant...or just make a room look all-around better!

Here are a couple of tips we've shared with readers of our Expert Advice column.

A detail on a cabinet door can elevate it from ordinary to extraordinary in seconds! A piece of metal grill (as pictured) can be framed and inserted into the door, or applied to the door surface. Also consider a beautiful ceramic tile framed, or a wonderful small piece of leaded glass, or...

You can cover a normal sized, off-the-shelf medicine cabinet shell with a large frame and mirror. This is a great marriage of beauty and function.

A false-transom can be framed out above a door opening that has enough height above it, which will actually accentuate a rooms ceiling height. This transom "window" frame could be filled with perforated metal or a frosted glass to enhance the illusion.

Mirrors on a kitchen back splash can help bring the outdoors in, and at the same time enlarge the feeling of your kitchen. They are also a great way to add sparkle and reflect more light back into the room!

Some pretty simple tricks to help you fall back in love with your house!

Friday, October 1, 2010

We Love Pergolas

A pergola--or arbor, depending on the definition you use--is a great way to define a space in your yard or garden. It can also transform a deck into a semi-covered porch or pavilion.

It seems that the official definition of a pergola describes it as a frame structure consisting of colonnades or posts with a latticework roof, designed to support climbing plants. The pergola has taken on many forms and variations, but the idea is simple. Here are a couple that we have designed for past projects, that show different uses for a pergola structure.

This one is attached to the side of a detached garage, and it leads you from one area of the garden to another, by offering a paved pathway, and a semi-sheltered covering.

This one is attached to the rear of a home, and partially covers a solid-surface deck area. It actually extends the home by creating an exterior room, without the expense of constructing a hard roof. (This photo was taken when the project was about 90% complete, and before landscaping went in.) I love the use of large pieces of slate on the floor, surrounded by brick!

Here is another pergola that covers a wood deck on the rear of the house. This one leads down to the pool and pool deck area.

The next one is a completely free-standing pergola structure. It was built over a brick patio, and actually creates a destination...a separate outdoor room that actually requires leaving the house, and a walk (albeit short!) to enjoy the outdoor area. The vine covering, lighting and ceiling fans in this pergola greatly extend the seasonal enjoyment of the area.

In all cases, the size of the columns and "roof" beams are important. If the pieces are too small, your pergola might take on a spindly look. And be sure that you consider proper lighting and electric outlets during construction. This can make the pergola so much more useful when complete!

Look around and see where a pergola could make a difference in your yard!

Vacation next week! Back with more design ideas in a couple of weeks.