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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