Saturday, January 19, 2013

Progress photos - painting prep

The painters are back to work on the interior paint.  They've spent the last few days prepping the entire house.

We had a bit of a "situation" with our cabinet maker, and ended up hiring our finish carpenter to finish up some trim work.  Things like: applying kick plates to cover up the rabbit holes in the base of the cabinets, installing crown molding, trimming out the built in filing cabinets in the office, fabrication of sheet metal to properly extend the heating ducts through a few of our cabinet bases.  Obviously when preparing to paint the interior of a house, the more you are towards completion with cutting wood and applying trim, the better.  We still have just a few more things for our finish carpenter to work on, but hopefully those are items that can be touched up during our final walk through with the painter.

Lots of taping

So glad they wrapped all of our beautiful quartz countertops!

Looking all the way up into the foyer

I'll be back early next week with an update on our driveway and front walkway.  If everything goes well, we should have most of our concrete work done this week, and then we can start thinking about our landscaping plan.

Progress photos - bathroom tile and grout

The tile guys were back to finish up the master bath.  One of the challenges with the tile that we selected is the lack of availability with the bullnose on the 12 inch side.  This posed a problem when trying to figure out how to trim the horizontal surface of tile at the top of the backsplash.

We started looking into decorative trim tiles, which become pretty pricey in large quantities.  In the end, we ended up using a PVC Schluter strip by Pental to finish the edges of our tub backsplash.  Our tile guys mitered the Schluter strip at a 45 degree angle and I think it looks great.  My husband, the mechanical engineer, didn't even realize that it was a product made of PVC!
The corner where the enclosed shower meets the tub backsplash

Pental's PVC Schluter strip on both the horizontal and vertical edges

This shot gives you an idea of the finished look

Shower bench with grout

Spectralock grout after installation - while this is the "Bright White" color, I think it will look much brighter after our final cleaning

Progress photos - basement

Our basement is starting to come to life and it's actually a place where I don't think I'll mind hanging out.  Our finish carpenter has been hard at work installing the stair railings, while the flooring crew installed both the vinyl and the cork flooring.  The rest of the basement flooring (including the stairs) will be carpet.
basement stairs

Close up of the vinyl flooring - Mannington Naturals  "Alloy" 17382

Mannington Naturals "Alloy" 17382 vinyl flooring through the storage area
 Our basement workshop is the space where my husband has made it his own.  It's been really fun to see his vision for this room come together.  The slate gray blue that he chose for the walls looks beautiful with some lighting, and the cork floors that he selected are the same color as the paper overlay that you'll see in the picture below.  It's a nice blend of rich blue gray and warm honey tones.  The large window gives quite a bit of natural light and an egress in the event of an emergency (required by code).
Basement work shop with Benjamin Moore's HC-159 Phillipsburg Blue 

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Design Inspiration - foyer lighting

In coming up with a list of light fixtures for our house, we were both stumped on a foyer light.  You might remember that we have a very high foyer, on a vaulted ceiling.  Both the height and the slope of the ceiling created a challenge in picking a fixture. 

Enter: Rejuvenation Seattle (again!).  My first trip to Rejuvenation Seattle left me inspired and excited about creating a unique look for our foyer.  This time, with the family in tow, we revisited the options for our space. 

We initially thought that the Hood fixture might be really cool.  The Hood fixture is available in both clear and opaque glass, with or without netting.  While I do like the look of the net, and it's sort of reminiscent of the Japanese glass floats that are popping up everywhere, I wasn't totally sold that the metal netting was right for our house.

Rejuvenation Globe pendant with clear glass
 After checking out the Globe pendant, we noticed two drawbacks:

  1. The top of the globe is left open for the light to insert into the glass - also a prime entrance for dust and dead flies.
  2. This fixture does not come with the fitting for a vaulted ceiling.

Rejuvenation Globe pendant with opaque glass and wire mesh netting
After realizing that the Globe fixture wouldn't be the right fit for our foyer, we began looking around at other options.  Enter the Rejuvenation 14 inch Opal Acorn Shade, mounted on the Imperial Neoclassical Pendant. If you've ever been to the Rejuvenation Seattle store, you'll see that they have several of these beautiful fixtures hanging in the showroom.

Admittedly I wasn't initially drawn to the Opal Acorn Shade, because I didn't feel like it fit with the decor of our home.  But after a bit more consideration, I realized that it had just enough of that special something to light up our foyer without being too busy or intricate.

From Rejuvenation
This large, glass acorn shade is decorated with a number of architectural "Revival" elements - all motifs that complement our historical reproductions.
From the modified egg-and-dart detail (also called "bead-and-reel") across the top to its scalloped sides, this shade brings bold, classical style to large spaces which won't be overwhelmed by its girth: spacious entries with vaulted ceilings, and commercial spaces including our Seattle retail store, where it's paired with the Imperial.
Though a bit smaller than its 14” papa, 12” Opal is still massive. Both sizes are best suited to the open spaces in large public and private buildings, although this 12” Acorn Shade might make good entry lighting for large, two-story Colonial Revival houses with open foyers

 Paired with the Imperial Pendant, a chunky Neoclassical chain in polished chrome:

From Rejuvenation:
By 1900, Victorian picturesque and asymmetrical designs were being replaced by Greek and Roman columns, capitals, coffers, and pediments as interest in Neoclassical design surged. After about 1910, substantial fixtures like the Imperial were common in large homes, businesses, courthouses, and other large public buildings.
Classic Revival design was meant to mimic the ideals of ancient Greek and Roman architecture. Rather than heaping detail upon detail, these fixtures pick an element - be it the curve of an elegant shade holder or an acanthus leaf motif - and emphasize it with a simplicity of design. This focus makes them adaptable to many spaces and contexts

Suffice to say, I cannot wait to see this gorgeous light hanging in our foyer!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Design Inspiration - faucets and bath fixtures

I've been wanting to do a post on our faucets and bath fixtures for quite sometime now, so here it goes!

In thinking about how we wanted our house to look, a few terms kept coming to mind: coastal, crisp, clean, old world, bungalow, turn of the century.  When it came to executing this sort of feel, I felt overwhelmed.  First I visited my local big box stores, where I realized that there are just a small amount of faucets and fixtures available in the flesh, many of which are specifically made for said big box store.  Then I started browsing the high end places - the stores where you're immediately offered sparkling water and a fresh baked cookie upon arrival (yes, please!). 

Here's what I learned:
  1. The big box stores aren't great for finding the faucet that you're going to love.  If you're doing a quick remodel and need a run of the mill faucet, that's your place!  But if you're looking to find something special, something that suits a certain look (see my description above), then you probably won't find it at the big box stores.
  2. The fancy stores are great for things like a bottle of Pellegrino and a cookie, but more importantly, this is where you'll get to touch the faucets and see how they function.  Fancy showrooms are a great place to see whether or not you like the feel of a particular faucet, whether or not it extends far enough over the sink (a huge pet peeve of mine, when it doesn't), how the handles turn, what the sidespray feels like when you pull it out and retract it.  Don't be surprised it the staff at the fancy showrooms try to up sell you into the latest and greatest model of kitchen faucet - but remember: in the end, it's your house, and you have to love the way that it looks, feels and functions.
  3. After visiting the big box stores and the swanky showrooms, start to cruise around online and compare prices.  Does one store have a slightly higher price, but offer free shipping?  That may indeed be a better deal.  Remember to consider your plumber's discount as well.  It's also important to remember that if your plumber purchase the fixture, it may carry a higher level of warranty than if you went and purchased it yourself.  In the end, we had our plumber buy all of our fixtures, because he was able to secure a better price. 
So let's take a look at each fixture that we selected, and I'll tell you a bit about why I love them.  If you're wondering, all of the fixtures in our house are polished chrome.


I think I've said it before, but I'll say it again: I'm obsessed with this faucet.  I stumbled across this one at one of the local swanky showrooms and almost dropped my fresh baked cookie.  This faucet embodied what I wanted in our kitchen: crisp, clean, old world.  It also met my requirements of having a high arc, putting the water into the center of the sink, and it included a sidespray.  This beauty didn't come cheap, with an approximate retail value of $1,100.  Before you drop your own cookie and spill your Pellegrino, let me talk you down from the ledge.  How many times a day do you use your kitchen faucet?  How long do you plan to live in your home with your current kitchen faucet?  Is it worth it to spend the money on something you'll use every single day, knowing that you'll absolutely love it every time you wash that dirty dish or wash your hands...?  Obviously you know how I answered that question. 
Rohl Bridge Faucet U.4719L from the Perrin & Rowe series


Since we were able to afford the installation of a prep sink in the island, I had to get creative on picking a fixture after spending such a huge wad of cash on the kitchen faucet.  My husband and I both love to cook, and there were many moments in our old home where we were fighting for access to the kitchen sink. Putting in a prep sink allows us both to be in the kitchen, preparing food at the same time. As corny as it sounds, I envisioned myself washing off fresh produce for a salad, or rinsing berries in a small colander while he clogged the main sink with dirty dishes from a pork roast or mashed potatoes.

I wanted something that also had a high arc and a pullout spray, but had a similar handle style as the Rohl Perrin & Rowe bridge faucet.    I searched high and low, looking for a Kohler fixture, since that's the brand we stuck with for our other fixtures.  In the end, nothing that Kohler had to offer jumped out at me, and I settled on this Moen beauty instead.  You'll notice that the handle is actually quite similar to the bridge faucet and it has the built in pull out faucet.  I was able to nicely balance out our spending on this one, with an approximate retail value of $180.

Moen Brantford 7815C  prep sink faucet

Mud Room & Laundry Room

Both the mud and laundry rooms are a place where utility trumps beauty.  In order to stay within our faucet/fixture budget, I wanted to pick something simple, functional and of a decent quality that would withstand the next few years of dirty hands and big projects.  Here's the Kohler Coralais fixture that I picked for the mud and laundry rooms, with the approximate retail value at $155.  It's a single controlled with pull out spray faucet - simple, yet perfect!
Kohler Coralais K-15160 mud & laundry room faucet
Powder Room & Master Bath

Remember the fancy showrooms that I was telling you about?  While browsing the endless selection of high end faucets, I stumbled upon this Kohler beauty.  I was a little nervous to take the plunge on this sort of fixture, because most bathroom faucets are typically widespread with a handle on each side of the spout.  I liked that this fixture looked like an old world piece, complete with the "H" and "C" on the ceramic handles, but I just wasn't sure if I was going to love it over the long term.  We happened to attend a wedding where the women's restroom had this very fixture in the bathroom.  Not only did it look magnificent, but it also functioned beautifully - it was then that I committed to using this one in both the powder room and the master vanity.  If you've ever felt the heft of this faucet, you'll agree that it's a steal at $143.
Kohler Bancroft K-10580-4P monoblock faucet with white ceramic handles
Master Bath Tub

The master bath is one of my favorite rooms in the house.  It's all of the things that we had wanted: crisp, clean, coastal, relaxing, light and bright.  Since we decided to go with the Kohler Bancroft monoblock faucet on the dual vanity, we decided to use the coordinating fixture on the master bath.  I think the most common question that I get when telling people about the master bathroom is: "Did you put in a jacuzzi tub?"  The answer: nope. 

When we selected the bells and whistles in our last house, we decided to spring for a jacuzzi tub.  I can honestly say that it wasn't that great, and I'm a little embarrassed to say that I hardly ever used the jets at all (this coming from someone who would take a long soak almost every single night).  Since the space in our old home was somewhat limited, we ended up with a rectangular bathtub in the master.  The jets just happened to be positioned right on the hips, thighs and the bottom of the feet, which never felt like it was the relaxing experience that it was supposed to be. 

This time around, we ended up opting out of a jetted tub and decided to put some money towards a hand held shower.  If you've ever tried to wash your hair under the tub faucet, you'll know that it can often lead to a bumped head.  Enter the hand held shower: the remedy to my hair washing woes.  While the shower itself is about $89, you'll need to budget in a few extra dollars for the coordinating hose and the appropriate pieces that mount the handheld shower on the tub deck.
Kohler Bancroft K-1059 handshower
 The tub faucet looks identical to the Kohler Bancroft widespread lavatory faucet:
Kohler Bancroft K-T10592-4P double handle Roman tub with white ceramic handles
Master Bath Shower

Our master bath shower has not one, but two showerheads.  The first showerhead is a rainshower, by Kohler.  After a business trip to Europe, my husband decided that no shower is complete without a rainshower.  Since we are building this house from the ground up and had the chance to put in the appropriate plumbing, we figured "Why not?"  I'm not sure if I've ever showered under a rainhead fixture, but my husband assures me that I'll love it - and as someone who decompresses after a long day in the bath/shower, I think I probably will like it!  Approximate retail value is: $254.  Remember: you'll need to allow for the extension piece in your plumbing budget, which lets the showerhead drop down from the ceiling.

Kohler 8 inch K-13692 rainhead shower
When we first began the process of building our house, I Googled something along the lines of "building a house best showers" and ended up on A House by the Park.  While I've never met the author of this gem of a blog, I know that he too lives in Seattle and his testimony of the Kohler Flipside totally sold me on this piece.  We'll have this one mounted on a bar on the side of the shower, making our second shower adjustable in height and detachable.  It retails for about $74, plus the cost of the shower hose and shower bar. 

A tip: our plumber installed a diverter valve above the temperature controls.  This allows us to use one or both of the showerheads at the same time.
Kohler Flipside detachable showerhead

Kohler flipside - adjustable with just a finger!

Guest Bath

Following suit with the other Kohler fixtures throughout the house, this one is the widespread version of the monoblock faucet.  This one is slightly more expensive, coming in at $260.  Since we have 2 sinks in the guest bath, it was somewhat of a splurge.
Kohler Bancroft K-10577-4P widespread lavatory faucet with white ceramic handles