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Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Master Bath Remodel Series: Start Thinking!

Remodeling master bathrooms is really hot now!  It seems like I’m working on a lot of bathroom remodels these days.  It makes sense; I mean we do use the bathroom everyday no?  You can’t say that about every room in your house.   Maybe you don’t use the kitchen everyday if you don’t cook, but you certainly shower every day, or brush your teeth…at least I hope you do. 

The master bathroom is where most of us start our day.  Shouldn't it be a relaxing, stress free zone?  I think so!  Unfortunately, it’s one of the last rooms on the remodel list, because “nobody sees it”, but once it’s done you’ll probably be wishing you did it eons ago.  (I know I will…it’s on the list)

There are a lot of things to consider when doing a master bath remodel and the first place to start is with FUNCTION.  What do you do in your master bath? (or what do you wish you could do?) 

Style Hair?
Makeup? Do you sit or stand?
Do you shower more than you take a bath?
Do you ever take a bath?
Do you have storage for all your creams, lotions, towels, etc.?
Do you want your bath to connect your closet?

Literally walk through how your use the bath room every day, from turning on the light to putting lotion on your legs and ask yourself, How could this be improved?  I'd recommend writing it down.  It will probably start with I wish


Then you want to ask yourself some more questions…

Is your bathroom too hot, or too cold?
Is there enough light?
Is there enough ventilation?
Enough counter space?


The list goes on, but you really need to think about how YOU use your bathroom.  Too often I hear clients talking about "resale" and what a future buyer might like or what Suzy down the street did.  Forget about Suzy or a future buyer (if Suzy jumped off a bridge...?).  This is your remodel do what’s best for you!  Some day when you sell there will be a buyer for your bathroom.

After considering the FUNCTIONAL aspect, now you have to consider 2 things: Budget and Style.  I’m just going to touch on Style today and we’ll talk about Budget in the next blog since I have a lot to say about budget.

Most bathrooms are pretty clean since that’s where we get clean.  It’s hard to “clean up” if there are lots of trinkets around.   Like this bathroom...

…It is actually an ad, but seriously?  Do you want a stack of wood planks in your bathroom and what's with the stack of pillows? 

 Everyone likes different styles. Contemporary or traditional are mostly differentiated by lines and detail.  Do you want simple clean lines or do you want lots of detail in the tile and cabinetry? Do you want everything put away and out of sight or do you want some open storage?  I recommend just pulling a few magazines, or looking online to narrow down your style, also your interior designer can help J.  Here are a few styles ideas to get you thinking:

What’s in your dream Master Bath?

Monday, May 20, 2013

Girl on Vacation

So it's been a bit since my last post because I was in Kiawah Island, SC
(I know rough life I have) 

I've never been to South Carolina, and honestly had to Google map Kiawah to see the closest airport.


One of my best college friends, Foster, was getting married.  
So pretty...

Her real name is Jen, but I nicknamed her Foster in college because I thought she looked just like Jodie Foster.  Can you see the resemblance?

I thought so too, hence the nickname.

Now this little chickadee and her super cool husband did what I have been telling brides-to-be to do for YEARS, rent a house somewhere wonderful for a week and invite your closest friend and family.  You get a vacation, you get an extended party, and sure you'll spend the same money (but you could save) and either way you get a week vaca not just a 1 day celebration.  S-M-A-R-T

The whole weekend was so fun.

The house they rented was Capital A - Awesome.  It was remodeled just a few years ago as one of the first LEED-Certified remodels on Kiawah (LEED is designer code for "environmentally conscience").  The architect and designer turned an old Georgian traditional home into a relaxed coastal cottage beach retreat.

Now don't be fooled by the term "cottage".  It's about 7,500 sq. ft., 8 bedrooms and 9 baths.  Of course I  usually critique every home I'm in (it an instinctual thing) but, this house was perfect.  (Maybe the cool ocean breeze or the chili-guava margarita's influenced my decision, but hey I guess I can be bought)

You can decide for yourself.

Photo of 109 Flyway Drive

Photo of 109 Flyway Drive

Photo of 109 Flyway Drive

Photo of 109 Flyway Drive

Photo of 109 Flyway Drive

Photo of 109 Flyway Drive

Photo of 109 Flyway Drive

Do you like?  
Well you could have bought it for a cool $10 million, but someone beat you too it and it is also now off the rental market, but maybe there's another property on Kiawah for you (wink, wink).

The house was inviting and casual, yet it had all the amenities needed to entertain (i.e. large deck, 2 dishwasher, etc.).  Just what every beach house should be.  

Ahh! til next time Kiawah.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Ah...but which wood floor?

Ah, Christina so I'm still not sure which floor to choose???  
I know. Relax.  There's a lot more to think about.

Ok now that you know the type of wood floor you need (probably engineered), now it’s’ the fun part – selecting the “look” for the floor.  Really here I’m talking about the species of wood, the finish or “stain” and the treatment, i.e. hand scraped, etc.

First, let’s talk durability.  There is a test called the Janka Hardness Test that rates the hardness of wood, blah, blah, blah...

 Seriously, it’s wood.  
 And all these floors have a thousand coats of various sealers and finishes that really make them a million times more durable than the plain wood so just pick the wood you like don’t worry about the species.

There are several floor finishes, but the 2 main finishes I’m going to recommend are:

Polyurethane (or “lacquered”) or Hard-wax oiled finished wood.

My favorite is the Hard-Wax Oiled.

There are some really amazing wood floors on the market with this finish and oiled wood floors have lots of benefits:
  • Hard wax oil penetrates wood fibers and protects from within
  • Environmentally friendly, natural ingredients
  • Hard-wax oil integrates with the wood instead of sitting on top of it
  • Scratches and spots can be minimized with buffing and application of more hard-wax oil.
What I L-O-V-E about hard-waxed oiled floors is that they look amazing!  They have a more matte natural look instead of a glossy shiny finish because the oil “soaks” into the wood.  I’m in love with hard-wax oiled wood from this company Duchateau. They have some beautiful "white washed" finishes and natural finishes, check it out.

Do you want them in your house?

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

What's In a Wood Floor?

I get a lot of questions about wood floors.  People are really unsure about what type, species and style to choose.  Honestly there are a lot of options out there and it can be confusing.  Everyone seems to have a preconceived notion about wood floors. 

Hard to clean
Easy to clean
Show dirt
Hard to install
Easy to install
A lot of maintenance
Low maintenance

You get my point. 

But what do we really like about wood floors?  The LOOK!!  the aesthetic…They look pretty, they look rich and they have been in style FOREVER (except bamboo, yikes sorry that’s O-U-T).  Otherwise, light, dark, knotted, smooth, gray, white you name it; almost every kind of wood flooring is fashionable now.

I’m going to try to decode the basics of choosing a wood floor (everyone’s situation will be different, so as always I would recommend consulting a design professional.)  I’m just touching on the type of wood floor.  I’ll talk about style or species of woods in another post.

Before I get into which type of wood floor I want to touch upon laminate wood flooring.

I hate it.
Laminate flooring is a sub layer of compressed fiberboard with a photographic image of wood grain over the fiberboard.  So it’s a photo of wood.  Laminate photos are getting better and better, but still come on people!  They never look completely real, they usually don’t wear well, and they aren't always cheaper!!!  Unless you are looking for a really temporary floor, like a kid’s playroom or have another special circumstance, I don’t recommend laminate flooring.

Choose your own wood floor adventure...

Two more things to note:
  1.  Engineered wood floors can be nailed down or glued down.
  2. Solid wood floors must be nailed down.  So that means you must have something to nail into.  If you don’t have a wood subfloor, you can’t nail into it. (this is a general rule, as with most rules there are a few exceptions)

I usually recommend engineered 90% of the time.  In a later post I’ll talk about the style or species of wood and all the cool trends in wood flooring.

Do you have wood floors?  What do you think of them?

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Favorite Places: Villagio Tile

I love tile.
Maybe it’s because of my Italian roots or, maybe it’s because my first internship out of school was with a Tile Design Specialist and I learned all the amazing things that can be done with tile and stone.    Either way it is probably my second favorite material next to wallpaper. 

Tile can really transform a space, especially with all the amazing tiles out there.  Tile companies are always coming out with new and interesting tiles.

In Favorite Places (see the title) I'll be featuring a local vendor I love and use.  Listen, it’s not like I’m giving away my secrets, I'm happy to share my awesome vendors.  I’m a designer, therefore I design.  If you can design –select the proper materials, be certain they all “go together”, draw up a plan your installer can follow, be sure you have the right trim pieces, estimate and order the quantity needed, etc.- then you don’t need me.  But if you can’t do all that then I’d recommend a designer (wink, wink)

Anyway back to the local vendor…  I love everyone at Villagio Tile.

Christina, Christine and Lisa

  They are SO nice, so helpful and they carry a large variety of tiles in a variety of price ranges.  From traditional to contemporary, they have the whole gamut and their showroom is really touchy feel-y so you can move things around and see how different tiles work together.

This week, I’m working on a kitchen backsplash/fireplace project and I've pulled tiles from Status Ceramics.

So PRETTY!!  Status is a pretty cool company too. All their tiles are handcrafted here in America.  Yup America!  They are a little pricier than there China wannabes, but the glazes and finishes are B-E-A-U-T-I-F-U-L

What do you think about glazed tiles like these from Status?