The 80's Weren't Kind To This Room

Intense peach, powder blue, linoleum floors....

they all seemed like good ideas at the time.

This is a master bathroom that I was hired to redesign for some dear friends.  Their house was built in the 80′s in a contemporary style--and they knew that the time had come for a big change.

The existing bathroom was long, low-ceilinged, and narrow, with a single tall window at the far end.

 

Knowing that the adjacent space was a walk-in closet featuring the same type of window, and that the room was in the front gable of the house, I knew that we had the opportunity to make some really dramatic changes, gaining vertical and horizontal space, to create a stunning and very functional master bath. YAY!

It is hard to believe that the images below are of the same room....but I know they are. I was there for each step of the transformation.

 

Now with a vaulted ceiling and expanded footprint, the bathroom has a luxurious and relaxing feel.

One of the things I found to be so satisfying and fun with this project was the opportunity to use many interesting and high-quality materials. From the gable end wall highlighted with clear cedar planks (further accenting its vertical lines and feeling so at home in the house's wooded setting)....

to a Mid-Century styled ceiling fixture...to the antique botanical print framed especially for the space, the marriage of traditional and contemporary elements into a funky, eclectic mix, reflects the style of the house and its occupants.

 

Do you have any rooms in your house that are stuck in a past decade? Perhaps a Disco Dining Room or Flashdance Family Room? :) Take heart! Transformation can happen, and what used to be an eyesore can become your favorite place in the house.

The View From Here

This week I thought it would be fun to talk about how the rooms in your house relate to one another. How does your house feel to you?  Does the flow between rooms seem seamless? Or do you feel like there are small, halting spaces that are disjointed and closed off from one another? When creating spaces in your home, it is important to remember that no room ever acts alone, but interacts and converses with the other areas around it. And what kind of dialog they have has a huge impact on how your house feels to you and everybody else.

For example, doorways can act as a kind of picture frame that creates a composition out of the view to an adjacent room...

This is important, since creating little vignettes inside of this "picture frame" makes you want to see what is around the corner.  It  invites you into the next room with its charm and sense of balance.

 

A small house can feel much larger if you create long interior sight lines, especially from the corner of one room to the adjacent room's far corner--a long diagonal line across the interior box of the house. Nothing has changed in the dimensions of the space, but your perception of the amount of space that there is, is very, very different. This is something that can be created by widening doorways, or opening portions of walls for interior "windows." Certainly this is more involved than just moving a few pieces of furniture, but if you are frustrated by what feels like a cramped abode, then this option is far less expensive than adding on. 

In addition, site lines that sweep through rooms and terminate with exterior views enhance the feeling of openness.

Your eye is tricked--with nothing to stop it--into including that outside space as somehow part of the interior.

Finally, having a unified palette of colors pulls things together in visual harmony and space perception. Rooms that relate closely to each other in color (rather than being great in contrast) can feel as though they are borrowing space from one another since they flow so well together.

Creating a cohesive whole out of disjointed rooms can completely change one's perception of a house, and greatly increase your feeling of satisfaction in living there. What could be better than that??

These beautiful interior photos and their sources can be found here: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

A Picture is Worth ...Well, A Lot

I think we all have had the experience of looking at a picture of ourselves and being a little underwhelmed .....

or surprised ....

and we can question some of our choices....

Most often we are being too hard on ourselves & noticing things that nobody else pays attention to anyway. Most of the time....

 

What most people don't realize is how much photographs can help us with our houses. If you are struggling with a room that feels off to you, and you just don't know what to do with it, snapping some pictures of the space can help you to get some distance -- a change in perspective that can help you make decisions, see what is needed, and clearly see what is working and what isn't.  And now that most of us have a handy dandy camera on our person almost all the time, this is a tool that is so easy to use, but one that is often overlooked.  Snap some pictures, take a step back to evaluate, and then use the pictures on your phone as a reference as you work on your project.

You will be amazed how much it helps!

 

Hilarious Bad Paid-For Photos via Ellen :)

"Is That A New Window??"--A Perception Changing Kitchen Re-Do

I love the unexpected things people delight in after a room is completed.  Like the perception that there is a "new" window in this kitchen....although it isn't new at all,  just newly appreciated!

This kitchen, new in 1991, was quite the hang out for family gatherings...but the owners couldn't figure out why no one ever sat at the table --the place in the room with beautiful sunlight & the best view.  Everyone instead always gathered around the peninsula--crowded really--with the view of the door to the garage, of all things. They acted as though that big space behind them didn't exist. I know this to be the truth, having squeezed in there myself on many a Christmas Eve, since this is my step-father's kitchen.

Here was the eating area before....

You can see the old kitchen was dissected by the peninsula....

and seemingly half of the space in the room was never used. Just silly.

My family asked me if I would help them figure out how to make the kitchen work better (my favorite thing to do!) and they had lots of thoughts and questions about what might be the best solutions: Should the cooktop in the peninsula be removed so it wasn't in the way while entertaining? Maybe a high top table would make the eating area more attractive to people?  What elements of the current kitchen could be retained/re-used?

When I sat down to work on the space on paper, I knew I wanted to stretch the room along its length, making it seem bigger, creating a better focus when looking into the room from the adjacent family room, highlighting its architectural features, and, of course, putting the existing space to its best use. I am very happy to say that now the project is done, there are rave reviews, and every inch of the kitchen is well used and loved.  Whenever someone is in the kitchen, they now find themselves sitting, relaxing, and enjoying the view out of that "new" window.

The existing tile floor was in great shape, so it was left in place and we worked the palette for the new room around it. I think the new complimentary wall, cabinet, and countertop colors give the old floor a fresh and updated feel....once again, it is hard to believe it was there all along.

The kitchen sink remains in the same spot, as does the refrigerator....

 but now with the new island, the cook has his or her own space while still being able to visit with those who sit on the other side of the counter.The separate cooktop was switched for a slide in range, creating more counter space and working more efficiently for how the family actually used their kitchen.

I hope that seeing all of these possibilities inspires you to creatively think about rooms in your own house. What features does your house have that aren't currently being enjoyed to their fullest? What  already works well?  What can be given a whole new or new purpose?  Even if you aren't in the market for a big renovation, small changes can bring about big results.