Tuesday, August 16, 2016

A Nautical Nursery


Something about designing a nursery just makes me fall in love with design all over again. We take so much more risks with color, and allow ourselves to keep the focus on being playful, and fun, which is always a recipe for good design.
This nursery is now home to two little boys, brothers Ethan and Tyler. If you recall, our client Samantha was pregnant with baby Tyler when we tackled an ambitious renovation at the family's home last year. You can see the full reveal of that project here
This is no easy feat for anyone to handle and kudos to Samantha for staying sane throughout the dust and overall renovation chaos, and delivering a healthy baby.

The goal: The boys are a year apart so the space needed to meet the needs of two. Samantha and hubby Risson wanted a nautical theme. Theme rooms can be tricky as you need to find a balance between highlighting the theme without going overboard. Pun intended! 

Our initial plan was to have the cribs side by side. But since there were two windows in the bedroom, it made sense to place a crib under each window for symmetry. The cribs can also be transformed into toddler beds and having this layout will maximize that option and give the boys their own little zone.

Once Samantha settled on the cribs, we moved ahead with the other design elements: Subtle striping detail on one wall, this knotted rug, a porthole mirror.

These rope shelves played off the ropes in the rug and added some texture to what would have been just ordinary white shelves. 

It's the perfect spot for baby Ethan's signed sonogram and the cutest little sail boats ever, that Samantha hopes will encourage the boys to set sail on many adventures.
We nestled a very comfortable glider in the corner for Samantha or Risson to rock baby Tyler to sleep, or to read to Ethan. This dresser served double duty as a space for much needed storage (two little boys equals lots of clothing!) and as a changing table.

And quite possibly my favorite item, these custom oars with the boys names, helped declare this as their very own chill zone to create some special brotherly memories.
Huge thanks again to Samantha and Risson for allowing us to transform this final space in their home to cap off our renovation project.

~ Get The Look ~

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Transforming a Home Through Sorrow To Joy

Last summer, I got a call from a potential client, Samantha, who wanted to revamp her family's home. They'd been through some trying times as a family with the loss of her mom to cancer, but from sorrow had risen some joy. She was pregnant with her second child, so needed to get the renovation completed before his arrival. Here's where we started:

A very cramped kitchen, thanks to the eat in breakfast table and a need for more storage.

And poor lighting from the dropped ceiling and a layout that needed some revision.

Several made the following changes :
  • Relocated the refrigerator to the old pantry area so it wouldn't be the first thing you see when you walked through the front door.
  • Removed the wall that divided the living and dining room to create a large peninsula with seating for up to six, eliminating the need for an eat-in table
  • Removed the drop ceiling and installed recessed lights and under cabinet lights on multiple switches so the family could use lighting as needed.
  • This project also included the removal of all existing tile for new porcelain wood-look tile, a very dusty affair which meant the family left for a few days.
The peninsula has cabinets on both sides for additional storage. 
The refrigerator is now tucked away in the former pantry area. 
And the family now has a microwave above the range instead of the previous microwave that sat atop the countertop.

We paid special attention to the sink zone that offered clear proof that a double sink isn't always best!

We traded the double sink for a single, deep farmhouse sink that be better equipped to hide those dishes. We also relocated the dishwasher to the other side of the sink so we could fit a cabinet for garbage and accommodate a corner cabinet with a lazy suzanne.

To tie it all together, we added a simple gray glass tile, to connect with the new grey color used throughout the house.

 We were supposed to only work on the kitchen and guest bathroom so sadly, I never took before photos of the rest of the home. But in true form, and of course once we removed the walls separating the living and dining rooms, the design project expanded to those rooms  as well.

You can see a glimpse of the dining room in this photo.

We replaced the large china buffet to create room for a more modern table that seats six with a smaller buffet nearby.

 A new light fixture also defined the area.

Here's a full view of the completely revamped space.

This entryway was once a drop zone for diaper boxes and random bulk purchases. We created a true entryway, with a console for keys and storage on top and below, and words for this family, who'd endured so much, to remember each day. 
Huge thanks to Samantha and her family for allowing us to transform their home. It was quite an ordeal to tackle such a monster renovation with a family of six living through it, but we sprinkled in some design therapy on occasion to restore calm to some often frayed nerves
Up next, we'll reveal the nursery. Yes, that was added to our to-do list as well.

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Sink:here or here
Faucet: here or here
Kitchen Stools: here here or (Sexy Man Cave Version) here
Dinning Chairs: here, here or here
Dining Table: here or here
Dining Rug: here or here
Chandelier: here or here
Art: here or here
Sectional: here or here
Media Console: here or here
End table: here or here
Entry Console: (Mirrored version)here or here
Sideboard: here or here 
Living room rug: here or here

Sunday, June 26, 2016

How to pick the best Mexican/Spanish tile for decorative flooring

If you’re tired of your dull living room, bleak kitchen, uninviting patio, boring bathroom, or drab entryway, consider authentic Mexican tile your ticket to a new and improved way of living. With so many styles, colors, shapes and sizes to choose from, tile is the perfect way to completely refresh the appearance and ambiance of your home.

Authentic Mexican tile is an umbrella term for the wide variety of handcrafted decorative tiles created in Mexico.  Rustico Tile and Stone manufactures the four most popular types of Mexican tile: Saltillo tile, Talavera, Cantera, and Cement tile. Each type brings its own unique beauty and benefits to a space, and many people incorporate several different kinds of tile into their design to achieve the perfect look.

Ready to step up your interior design game? Read on to find out which type of Mexican tile is best for your next design project, as we explore some of their best and most popular uses.

Saltillo Tile
Saltillo Tile is the most popular Mexican tile.  Known as Terra Cotta, it is created from durable clay that is only available in the tile’s place of origin: Saltillo, Coahuila, Mexico. It is commonly used for flooring, as it is lovely, long lasting, and easy to clean. Popular spots to install Saltillo include kitchens, dining rooms, bedrooms, bathrooms, and outdoor patios. Tiles are available in many different shapes and sizes, and no two tiles are alike, adding to their rustic charm. Rustico Tile and Stone manufactures Saltillo tile in three styles: Traditional, Manganese, and Antique. In order to choose the best style of Saltillo tile for your project, consider the character of the space where you plan to install it.

Traditional Saltillo ranges in color from warm reds and oranges to golden yellow, making it an excellent choice for neutral rooms that need a pop of color.  Manganese Saltillo trends towards shades of light to dark brown and Terra Cotta, and its subtle black swirls add a marbled finish. This tile lends itself well to rooms that already have a lot of color or bright design elements. If you’re looking for an Old-World style of décor, consider Antique Saltillo, which comes in neutral, earthy Terra Cotta hues and has the appearance of reclaimed clay tile. This type of tile is particularly effective in outdoor and wet areas, as it is hand-textured for a non-slip surface.

Talavera Tile
TalaveraTile hails from Puebla, Mexico, and has a history dating back to the 16th century, when it was primarily used for pottery. Rustico’s hand painted Talavera ceramic tile is both customizable and versatile. It is frequently installed along countertops or as a backsplash in kitchens, and makes a beautiful statement for bathroom walls, counters, and shower enclosures. Because of its bright coloring, Talavera tile creates a bold contrast when mixed with neutral colors in a room. It looks particularly stunning when arranged in a complex mural pattern on a wall, or installed on stair risers in bright or contrasting hues. For a modern design twist, choose an updated look, such as a geometric pattern, rather than a more traditional motif, such as a floral pattern.  

Cantera Stone
Cantera is the go-to tile for outdoor design. Mined in Mexico, it is the only stone that has properties of volcanic rock, so it is ideally suited to cutting and carving. Its durability makes it a popular choice for architectural elements such as fire places, stone fountains, outdoor water features, hand carved balustrade systems, columns, door and window surrounds, stone hoods, outdoor floor tiles, and much more. It is available in several different colors, and the one that’s best for you depends on your design preference: tan is a beautiful traditional choice, while white adds a more contemporary look.

Cement Tile
Cement tile is an updated alternative to older style encaustic tile. This durable, decorative tile is strong enough to be used both indoors and outdoors, and performs well in high traffic or wet areas, such as patios, pool surrounds, and bathrooms. Like Talavera tile, Cement tile is most frequently used as an accent, thought it also looks striking when installed across an entire floor or wall. It’s easy to maintain and clean with a sealed surface. With over 60 solid colors to choose from, and both ready-made and customizable patterns available, Rustico’s Cement tile is transforming indoor and outdoor spaces in the U.S. and beyond.

We hope these examples have given you some insight into choosing the best tile for your next interior design project. The possibilities are endless, and the results are priceless. Make every space count!

Source: Rustico Tile and Stone of Leander (near Austin), Texas
Rustico is the largest manufacturer and distributor for authentic, handmade saltillo tile in Mexico.  The company also serves as the leading national distributor for other specialty Mexican tile and stone including: Encaustic Cement Tile, Talavera, and Cantera Stone.  Rustico offers wholesale pricing and ships worldwide.

Thursday, June 9, 2016

A copper-inspired clawfoot tub, meets a sewing machine vanity

Sometimes we take a while to complete a project. And that's just fine. Take this bathroom project, which took us a year to design, revise our design a few times, then plan the construction details, execute and finally install last week.
And we think it was well worth the wait, although we've also given you some sneak peeks here, here and here.
So who is the owner of modern/vintage/eclectic inspired retreat?
Our client Heidi, is a former colleague from my years as a newspaper reporter.
She's followed my renovation chronicles over the years, and messaged me two years ago to consider her bathroom project. It would be a challenge for many reasons:

It's an extremely small bathroom - just 6 ft 10" long x 4 ft 9" wide. To give you some perspective, most bathrooms are at minimum 5 ft wide, the size of a standard tub, so again, this was a tight squeeze. 
While it was loaded with vintage charm, including a cast iron tub (which now sits pretty in the garden as a beautiful planter), it lacked storage. 

Yes, that is design assistant Amanda's handbag cheesing all over the before pics!

Can you tell it was poorly lit? Yes people, good lighting is the key to good design. It'll cost a little, but trust me when I say it'll be worth it.
And since Heidi has four very large furry friends who chill indoors, we would need to navigate this entire project under their watchful and very curious eyes.
This is also an older home, so there was a good chance the plumbing would be shot to pieces once we demolished those walls
Meet Cosmo, one of Heidi's four dogs, inspecting our work.
Here's was the good news. Heidi wanted a clawfoot tub. And not in white. A fun colorful piece to match her chirpy personality. Or copper. Yes, copper would be kinda freaking fab. But here's the thing. Most clawfoot tubs are usually 5 feet at minimum, so sourcing one a tad under that size would be a challenge.
But you know how we roll right? Bring on the challenge. Anywho, enough with the chatter. Here's where Heidi now sips bubbly amidst bubbles these days.

As you can see, and with Heidi's help, we found a copper-inspired tub that was just under 5 ft. Whew. Heidi did not want a separate shower head, so we used a tub filler with an attached handheld shower and added a niche for shampoo bottles etc.

Once the tub was ordered, we needed to source tile options that would stand pretty on their own, but let the tub be the star. We searched and debated many, many options, but eventually settled on a white porcelain tile for the floors and three walls (this would also create the illusion of a much larger bathroom) and pulled the copper as inspiration for a custom tile to serve as a focal wall behind the tub. It was a splurge, but man, oh man, this picture cannot even convey how stunning that tile really is. 

The copper glass in the accent tile also compliments these new faucet lights. A quirky find that we knew Heidi would also fall in love with. We also added recessed lights above for additional lighting which this bathroom so needed

So what do we have here? Oh yes, that is indeed the base of a sewing machine for Heidi's vanity.
Here's the tea: Heidi and I had some sparring moments over this direction for the vanity. True, it is just the kind of piece that speaks to her quirky personality, and I have fond memories of sewing my very first custom bathing suit on a Singer sewing machine! But Heidi needed serious storage in this space and we'd lose that if we went with this base. In the end, design trumped function (and truthfully, Heidi is no push over!). Her mind was set on the sewing machine base and so rather than be sewn to pieces (cheesy pun intended), I threw in my hat. The base was ordered and Heidi even assembled it herself. 

Now, she also wanted a copper vessel sink. And we again sparred about that decision. But I stood firm and pushed for a white vessel and she relented. She also left the countertop decision to us. We fell in love with this stunning Calcutta marble remnant from one of our favorite vendors and a beautiful vanity was born.
We re-used her perfectly fine Toto toilet

For added storage, we created two niche areas for Heidi's toiletry and decorative items, including personal art. There's also storage unit attached to the back of her bathroom door (not pictured) for loads of other items.

I so want to "borrow" those yellow sunglasses. Be warned Heidi. 

And lastly, we scored this sewing machine jewelry box as she shopped for accessories. It was the perfect homage to Heidi's vanity base. And she admits, is one of her favorite touches in this space. And that's all folks. This bathroom has come a LONGGGGGGGGGG way. And we are grateful to Heidi for allowing us to really take our time to finesse every inch of this space. It's definitely now among one of our favorite bathroom projects. 

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