Decorating Ideas

A Small Bathroom Gets A Big Update!

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Our small master bathroom got a big update last year, but I haven't had a chance to show it to you. Actually, we had two of the bathrooms in our sweet house completely renovated over the summer, one right after the other.  A little brave, but we wanted to bite the bullet and then be done.  We learned a couple of things that I'll share with you.  The above picture shows the view from the bedroom of our master bathroom--that's the coffin, I mean, the shower.   Dark and narrow with a lowered ceiling. Here's another view:

 

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The vanity had two sinks--a really important feature in a tiny bathroom.  There's also a toilet, but you don't need that picture.  You know what a toilet looks like.

And now - the "After:"

 

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Same space--can you believe it?  We knocked that coffin down--disco that the shower pan had been leaking underneath for YEARS!  Talk about great timing. Now there's light, glass, white subway tile on the walls, chrome accents and beautiful recycled glass tile on the floor.  The renovation was a journey (as they all are).  

 

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Good lord, look how pretty this is.  I don't mean to brag, but we really do love how this looks and functions now.  White Marble, acrylic pulls, pretty mirrors and that gorgeous Sea Salt interior paint color that Sherwin Williams has blessed the world with.

Home renovations aren't easy for anyone.  Here's my short list of what I learned on this one:

 

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Bathroom Renovation Tip #1 - Pay attention; no detail is too small.  The contractor put white quarter round molding between the floor and the cabinet toe kick. I understand why he did it--he was "matching" the base molding in the rest of the room.  I didn't even think about it until everything was done.  That piece of molding should have been painted to match the cabinet.  I'll get around to it. Someday.  In the meantime, it bugs me.  First world problem.

 

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Bathroom renovation tip #2 - look at the Big Box store's online selection of pulls and knobs.  These came from Home Depot.  They look very similar to ones carried by Restoration Hardware, at half the price,  I love them.

 

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Renovation tip #3 - pay attention to lighting.  Look at the "Before" above of the light fixtures.  The famous clown lights that every builder seems to adore. 

Since it's a small space and we were using LED bulbs in the new fixtures, we were able to remove the light inside the shower.  There's glossy white subway tile in there and a recessed can outside of the shower (you can see it reflected in the mirror) along with 2 lights on each side of the sink.  With all the glass, we could also taking better advantage of natural light coming through the window.  Any more lighting and it would have felt like showering during an interrogation (now that's a weird thought)!  Too much!

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Reno tip #4 (the day is long, I'm obviously conserving my characters). Choose your wall color carefully in a tiny room with light and mirrors.  I LOVE Sherwin Williams Sea Salt on walls and I swear it often feels like  everyone in the U.S. has Sea Salt in some room in their home.  It's a well loved color and rightfully so. So soothing.  But when it first went up, everything suddenly had a greenish blue cast to it.  The floor, the walls, the tile.  I gave it a couple of days and all was well.  Some of the change was because of the LED bulbs.  Incandescent bulbs give off a very warm color, so switching to the LED meant we shifted to a soft white color.  In the end, soft white is a true-er color.  True-er?  Is that a word?

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Tip #5 - don't tile anything all the way to the floor.  When a vacuum cleaner hits that tile, it will crack.  Sigh.  We'll fix that someday.

 

Soon I'll show you the results in the other renovated bathroom, which Grandboy uses.  If you have updated your bathroom in an older home lately, I'd love to hear what you learned!

Ciao,

Anne

A kitchen update that shows personal style and looks great!

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A Kitchen update doesn't have to include tearing out cabinets and replacing appliances.  Let's look at this recent project.

Above is the "Before" of Jody's kitchen.  She wanted to make it feel fresh and a little artsy and she didn't want to rip out the wood cabinets nor take down the coppery mosaic tile backsplash.  Jody does want to replace the white formica countertop with butcher block and she would love to see a piece of stone at the end of the counter.  She saw that idea online and thought it was pretty cool.  Her designer (that would be me) was worried that adding a detail to the end of the counter in a small kitchen would stop the eye and make it appear even smaller.  Jody persisted, won me over and we got it done.

 

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Here's the "After!"  Isn't the Carrera marble at the end of the counter some kind of wonderful?  Jody was right!  It's a cool idea!

We specified White Oak counters with a clear, catalyzed conversion finish.  Signature Custom Woodworking in King, North Carolina made and installed them and they're absolutely gorgeous!  We removed the old formica backsplash, replacing it with very affordable brick tile (64 cents per piece!) and a not-so-affordable copper pencil tile on top to transition nicely with the older mosaic tile.  A very successful transition!

 

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Another photo of the "After." Jody had the painter give the white cabinets a fresh coat after everything was in.  Now this kitchen reflects her personal style which is warm, interesting and fun.

 

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We wanted to use a farmhouse sink in this project, but they weigh A LOT more than other sinks and would have required adding serious support in the existing base cabinet.  Jody didn't want to lose that much storage space, so we switched gears and chose this fabulous Blanco Granit sink.  It's a great choice.  It doesn't have a shiny white finish like porcelain.  It's faintly speckled.  

 

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We took down the heavy woven woods valance over the kitchen sink and replaced the dated track light with a pretty multi-colored glass pendant that adds some nice sparkle. A new oil rubbed bronze faucet and soap dispenser add more warm tones.  And isn't that sweet pig painting by local artist Ana Peralta an awesome addition to this kitchen?  I'm calling him Wilbur (not very original, but it fits).

 

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Sean, our super duper handyman did the demolition work on the old counter and sink.  It was his idea to router out the space for the marble piece so it could sit level with the counter.  Genius!  We were all very excited by that idea.

 

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Wanting to keep the artsy vibe going with splashes of color, we added this sassy little rug by Company C at the sink.  Isn't this kitchen SO pretty now?  Nice update, right?

 

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The kitchen table is right next to the new counters and in a lovely bay window, overlooking a spectacular back yard (think trees, flowers, fire pit, eating and grilling space).  All we needed to do here was to replace the light fixture.  

 

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The new fixture is by Dailey and blends oil rubbed bronze with mercury glass lamps brilliantly.  Sparkle and texture baby!

 

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THEN, we moved into the next space, adding two wood beams to the ceiling and updating the ceiling fan.  The world is filled with bulky old ceiling fans and I'm making it my personal duty to draw attention to them and replace them with new ones that are more modern and visually lighter!

 

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The way these rustic beams from AZ Faux Beams work with Jody's woven wood blinds is simply awesome.  I didn't get a very clear picture of the beams.  Let's try another one:

 

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The beams are stained Fall Leaf Brown.  They add so much character to a room and you would never know that they're made out of high density polystyrene!  Sean has installed beams on several projects now and he says they cut like butter.  He always does a fantastic job.  Attention to detail makes all the difference.

 

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Not every project has a huge budget - this one probably cost less than $10,000, with the biggest chunk going to the wood counters (and worth every penny).  However, every project has a homeowner with a personality and a desire to create a beautiful home that makes walking in the door at the end of the day a pleasure.  Jody didn't want a space like everyone else has.  She wanted to update her kitchen and end up with a space that looks like Jody lives there. 

Now we're moving on to the front of the house to make some changes there.  I'll show you what we do when it's done!

Ciao,

Anne

6 Design Details That Make A Difference!

 Blue and white never goes out of style.

Details make the difference.

They say the devil is in the details, and nowhere is that more true than in decorating.  Paying attention to  details, big and small, makes an enormous difference!  I wrote an article about it for the Raleigh News & Observer that was published this weekend.  Discover my 6 tips by clicking here

The room above was a 2017 project that completely transformed the client's home.  It's packed with details that make a diff.  I wrote about another room in this project here.  

The art on the walls are design details.

One detail that really serves this room well is the stunning artwork by Michelle Woolley Sauter of One Coast Design--it's the piece right above the wingback chair in the left corner.  Isn't it gorgeous?  I'm crazy about how an abstract shakes up a traditional room in the best possible way.

The fabrics and trim are design details.

Using a contrasting fabric on the welt of upholstered seating is my favorite favorite design detail.  I'm the (self proclaimed) Queen of Contrast Welt! Look at the before and after photo of two club chairs in the room below--I'm so pleased with the way they turned out, thanks to an incredibly talented upholsterer.

 

 

Now there was nothing wrong with this Ethan Allen chair when it was purchased many years ago.  Good bones, quality construction and very comfortable.  The fabric just needed an update.  This new blue paisley is a showstopper from Kravet and the contrast welt outlines the chair in a pretty khaki/gold shade.  And you can't see it here, but we also took off the skirt to show off pretty legs.  That's another design detail worth it's weight in gold!

 

Getting design details right is what we do.

Do you find it difficult to add interesting details when decorating your home?  If so, call an interior designer to learn how to do it.  You might only need a two hour consultation to hear ideas that could change the way you decorate every room in your house!

Ciao,

Anne