Sunday, January 24, 2010

Week 5 - Master Bath & Dressing Room: Gut/Reno

Well, time is ticking by and the reno is, as usual, going slowly. Life has a way of throwing you curve balls. Remember when we were kids and wished we were grown ups cause we thought life was soooo much easier for adults?

As an adult...I wish I could get a do over on the whole kid thing.

Week 4 of the reno was a bust due to a death in the family, health issues, MRI's, Neurologists and Opthamologist appointments. All of that is hard enough to juggle but throw in two kids under 6 with way more energy than I remember ever having and it makes for a very busy week! No way we were getting much done on the reno.

The majority of this week has been spent trying to make last minute arrangements for my elderly ailing parents in an assisted living community with siblings who don't believe communication is a good thing (pounding my head on the key board) at least not with me. Two days of driving to North Eastern Ontario and back, then my throat closed up... stress does it to me, which took me and my doting husband out of the picture for 24 hours...then there are the kids (always) and now another death in the family.

Over the past 2 weeks the rewiring and replumbing is just about all in. We've run 3/4" copper to the bathroom (yay).

I selected the tub spout and handles from different manufacturers to get the look I wanted. The chrome Ritmonio Waterblade spout is sitting here beside me along with the Rubinet H2O handles and diverter also in chrome. I am so HOT to get them in!

The toilet is the best you can buy...Toto of course. You can pay more for a toilet but nothing flushes better than a Toto. 'Nuf said.

This is the Toto Nexus. Reminds me of a cruise ship. I love the base but not so much the pill box top. I picked the Nexus because of the height of the seat I'm sad to say. Now a toilet is a reminder that I am NOT getting younger. This is the first time I've thought about aging in relation to design for myself...other than getting my bed off the floor 4 years ago but I could argue that was only to move in a direction away from 'university chic'. I'd be lying of couse.

Steve listed the old tub, doors, sinks, faucets, lights etc. on and everything sold quickly. We got $280 in total and it had cost us $270 in dump fees and kept all that stuff out of the dump. Happy happy.

We also go a really good laugh when Igor a 'contractor' came to get the old 5' x 5' corner tub. He said he had a work van and knew the dimensions. He showed up with a family van...with the seating taken out. Igor made sure there were no scratches in the used tub. He was putting it in to a 'flip'. He was satisfied it was in good condition, paid and then the fun started.

It didn't fit in to his van of course. But he and his buddy sure tried. I almost peed my pants I was laughing so hard watching through a window. I wonder if they got pulled over for trucking it down the highway on the roof.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Pining For Pendants

Unable to fall asleep I'd been laying in bed thinking about mounting 3 black pendant lights over the bathtub we are installing. So I popped an Imovane and hit the internet in search of black pendants while waiting for the sleeping pill to take effect.

Within minutes I'd found over a dozen and knew I had to share!

First are the Tom Dixon 'Beat' & 'Stout' pendants that where keeping me from sleep:

Others I loved:

David Trubridge - Coral Pendant

Bestlite & Jielde

These Jake Phipps 'Jeeves and Wooster' top hat and bowler hat pendants are fantastic! I wore a bowler back in the day when I was 20. It was so very long ago. Be sure to check out Jake's sculptural ambient 'Fibonacci' lights and his 'Orson' chair.

More Tom Dixon pendants:

Cecilie Manz's Caravaggio pendant with it's shot of red is sublime:

Cecilie has added a large and small pendant to the Caravaggio lighting line:

This fiber-optic pendant from Refer + Staer is so pretty and would practically disappear during the day. Why does it make me think of the movie 'Breakfast at Tiffany's'?

The modern Mikado:

Christian Ræder designed 'The Joker' in 1970 where it won 1st prize at the Scandianavian Lighting fair. It was relaunced in 2008:

The wee boy looks so comfy!

I'll end the blog with a new favorite and one's I know my husband would love. These pendants are fabricated from used transmission parts and available through Nimli:

This is what keeps me awake at night.

Final words:  Lighting must never be a wallflower. - me


Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Client's Dining Room - A Work In Progress...Progressing!

Just a quick before and after of a client's dining room. The drapery you see in the photo are inexpensive ones my client picked up just to cover the windows when they first moved in but they were thin and polyester...and they hated them. The hardware was ikea I think.

We painted the walls in Benji Moore's Baby Seal Black!

Still need artwork and area rug but it is definately on the right path to sophisticated! The photo's just a quick snap shot right after the installer left so no primping this time...just a sneak peak cause I can't keep a secret!

BTW, the drapery hardware I got for them:

Loving crystals for the last year now!



Week - 3 Master Bath & Dressing Room: Gut/Reno

Never judge a book by it's cover and never expect quality workmanship with mass production home builders.

When you undertake a renovation you never know what you will find behind the walls and under the floors. 

I've found some interesting items over the years:

  • Newspapers from the time of the Nuremberg Trials used as underlayment.
  • War time wallpaper with British and German planes (same room as the newspapers)
  • A Queen Victoria Canadian Quarter from the late 1800's
Time capsules are fun but most of what you find during a reno is not nearly as so interesting or pleasant to discover.

I've also discovered:
  • Fire damage that was not repaired but covered.
  • Knob and tube live wires buried in walls.
  • Mold
  • Extension cords buried in walls. 
  • Beer caps.

The renovation of my own house (21 years old so you'd expect it to be built to code right?) is giving us answers to some questions which have come up over the past year we've lived here.
  • Why does the bathroom smell like urine? Remove toilet to find 1/8" crusty cake of urine underneath as well as two (2!) wax rings that had disintegrated...rather than using one extension ring.
  • What is up with the gurgling sound coming from the tub when we drain a sink? The plumbing drain pipe for the sinks is also used as the vent for the bathtub. 
  • Why do all the lights flicker in our bedroom when the refrigerator in the kitchen come on? The kitchen outlets and bedroom were on the same overloaded breaker.
If only everything we are finding was as trivial...unfortunately we've also found:
  • Electrical wire the builders heavied on to get an extra inch in the boxes...which peeled back the plastic exposing live wires (by dragging them across the metal plates meant to prevent nails from piercing the wires).
  • ABS drains glued together (crooked and bearly meeting).
  • Improperly installed shower liner with mold under it.
  • Ground wires not grounded (too many times to count).
I'll stop here as I'm sure you get the picture but I could go on for a while. Don't even get me started on the framing.

I started my career in this industry when I was 20 years old...somewhere around 2 decades ago...there abouts...give or take a few years...yeah.

Ok, not that long ago!

I see the same things, today, I saw way back: young labourers hot boxing on breaks. Improper wire used on jobs. Apprentices left to do the jobs on their own...but there are always issues requiring a licenced professional who know code. Day labourers sent in to the houses to 'install' doors, trim, roofing, cabinets without supervision nor training.

When you buy a house you expect the town inspectors have done their job to ensure everything is up to code. But when you buy a house in a new subdivision the inspectors don't inspect each house...that would be crazy...despite permits being issued for all houses. Inspectors go in to, depending on where you live, 1 out of every 4 houses.


With the warranty that comes with new homes it's not much better than the 'tail light warranty' of the shmoe down the street who works for cash.

We liked that this house was still builder basic. Image what you find when you've had previous owners doing renovations. So many 'renos' simply compound the original issues with their own...'short cuts' or lack of skill/knowledge.

As with anything it is buyer beware. Our bathroom is still opened up as we have to fix the builder's mess of wiring/plumbing and framing but if I'm really lucky the tub will be framed and roughed in soon. I could care less about anything else right now!



P.S. At the very least constructino workers should be easy on the eyes!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Week 2 - Master Bath & Dressing Room: Gut/Reno

When Plans Change - Design Changes

When we bought this house the plan was to stay till the kids completed high school...which is a least 15 years. Therefore any design plans would be what we want with no consideration of resale. We were so excited!

Happy Dance!

Our bedroom was to be dark and mysterious; sensual luxe. This Todd Merrill Antiques print ad was my inspiration:

Then plans were put on hold as I've mentioned in the previous blog Week 1 of the reno. A year later we are ready to reno the Master Bed, Closets and Bath but taking resale in to account.

I was ok with that...the house is still a 5 bedroom executive so I could still make it sensual luxe...just without the dark and mysterious since it is in suburbia.

Fast forward to yesterday. I've worked out the design and materials/finishes. Polished carrera 2" hexagon tile for the floor with moonstone border, shower done in Carrera slabs and 1/4" square get the idea.

source unknown :(

So yesterday I wanted to see what I could find in the moonstone for the boarder. Wanting to spend time with my DH sans kids I brought Steve.

This may be where I made my first mistake. Steve and I have similar taste. It runs on the dramatic side...and the moment he saw the 1" hex polished blue stone I knew I was in trouble.

My second mistake was indulging him by putting the hex blue stone next to the porceline distressed steel look tile he really wanted to use. It was dark and mysterious just as I'd planned...originally.

I think I've traced back to where I messed up. I didn't share with Steve the design. I assumed he knew what I'd planned. Perhaps through osmosis at night sleeping beside me?

So it's decision time.

  • Should I be flexible and incorporate both plans in to the design? (But there is so much contrast!!)
  • Stick with the 'resale' plan? (Which involves convincing Steve to let go of our dream bath for at least a few more years?)
  • Or stay true to our likes and go back to the original design and to hell with resale?

Friday, January 1, 2010

Week 1 - Master Bath & Dressing Room: Gut/Reno

We have big plans:

We bought our current house because we were going crazy in our previous 1180sf home. Only one could fit in the kitchen or main bathroom at any one time. Cramped quarters when you have 2 small kids (both under 4 at the time), 2 adults and 2 large dogs always at your side (since past :( ).

Our 'new to us' house is just over 3000sf of finished space. We loved the fact that nothing had ever been upgraded in it's 22 years. Builder basic and just waiting for us to save it from it's dreary self. The bedrooms were all large, especially the Master Bedroom with it's 2 walk-in closets, small 'kitchen' area and fair sized bathroom. In fact the whole back of the house was the Master bedroom!

The kitchen was the other buying feature for us. It had to be big and we'd found it with this house. After a total would be fabulous!  

Needless to say we were very anxious to get started on renoing when we took possession.

As life will have it...we've been in the house for almost 1.5 years and not one major reno has taken place. Life...illness (Vasculitis & Post Traumatic Stress Disorder...both me) and therefore lack of fund$ prevented us from undertaking any of the renos that would enhance our life & home.

Our new kitchen, hardwood flooring throughout, new powder room, laundry room and first and formost our bedroom and bathroom were put on hold indefinitely.

Until this week!

We ordered the air-jet tub 3 weeks ago and this week and *finally* began taking out walls in preparation for the tubs delivery on January 5th.
The bedroom reno is being done in two phases:

  1. Dressing room and bathroom
  • The 2 walk-in closets will become 1 large dressing room.
  • The small kitchen area and hallway will be removed to make room for the tub and to open up the bathroom in to the bedroom hall which is currently dividing the closets and bathroom.
  • The bathroom will be enlarged to include the hallway allowing the tub to be a feature upon entering the bedroom.
  • The bathroom will be reconfigured to suit our needs (read HUGE shower and private toilet).
    2.   The bedroom itself:  hardwood, contemporary fireplace and furniture will be done at a later date.

Week 1

So this week we are working on the walk-in conversion to a single large dressing room. It was so exciting to see the wall between come down. It was at that point that I realized just how big the dressing room will be! Bigger than our kids bedrooms in our last house...nice!

The hideous befores showing the hallway (and bathroom wall) which will become part of the bathroom and the wall seperating the closets gone. The second doorway to closet is now closed off and the remaining widened to standard width (the doorways where only 24" wide?!)

To save some money on the flooring in the dressing room (at least until we do the hardwood on the 2nd floor) I'll be painting the subfloor.

Photos: Kelly Hoppen & Miles Redd's Kitchen

As of December 31st the electrical has been completed for the dressing room, chandi over tub and for the air-jet motor as well as for the general lighting in the bathroom.

At some point today I'll be removing the popcorn ceiling in the dressing room so the drywall patching can be completed in at least that room!

I will post progress of the demo as we go along...only 4 more days till the tub is delivered!