Friday, April 16, 2010

Powder Room Project.......Countertop Conumdrum

What material do we want to use for our charming custom vanity? How do we decide what will set off our lovely orchid sink (see photo in previous post)? It is one thing to have an idea in my head but another to find what I am looking for. When your counter top is for a small area it is best to find a remnant of marble, granite, quartz or whatever kind of stone you like because these materials usually come in large slabs. If you want to use corian or another surface that is manufactured to size then it does not matter.

For this project we wanted something beautiful, a natural stone product and something that would not only compliment our scheme but also cost efficient. We need a remnant. So how do we find that? First call our fabricator. This is the person who actually cuts the countertop, finishes the edges and installs it. Frequently they have usable pieces of larger slabs left over from other installations. He said there were several options that sounded like they might work for us so off I went.

He was right. He gave me samples of 4 slabs. I was looking for basically a pure white but that does not exist in what did I find? There was white quartz, white quartz with dots of green and beige, green granite, and, if you can believe it, fuchsia quartz! The fuchsia quartz was very close to the color of the orchids in our sink and flowers in our wallpaper. That color on the countertop would make a powerful statement for sure. The white quartz had a yellow cast and that would not work, the green granite was a bit muted while the other colors in our palette are more vibrant so that did not work. Hmmmm

As luck would have it I got an email from another supplier about a new product and a follow up phone call. During this call I asked about remnants. Yes, they did have a few and they would email me photos. There were good possibilities. Hopeful, I drove to their showroom and there I spotted a display with a fabulous granite that I had seen in the photo. It looks like stones cut in half. It is mostly whites but also has a bit of gray and a bit of golden brown. How pretty it looks with the wallpaper and faucet! After showing all the samples to our client this last one was it!

When the vanity base is installed the fabricator will measure or make a template for the top. He will fabricate the top and backsplash and finish the exposed edges in the style we select. Some styles are standard and others are an upgrade....which is code for ...more expensive. So when planning for countertops there is alot to take into consideration. Future posts will have more tips and info on granite/marble selecting.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Cabana Bath.....Asian garden inspired

Inspired by a bowl of goldfish? This delightful cabana bath was a collaboration between myself and my client. In this project we found the wallpaper first. Since the bathroom leads out to the pool we wanted a it to have a touch of whimsy but also sophistication. This is also a guest bathroom so it must be totally functional as well as beautiful.

The first thing that draws your attention is the fabulous coral paper. If you look carefully you will see glass jars with goldfish. We were debating between this paper and another but when we walked into a showroom and spied the glass goldfish vessel sink....we were charmed.

The custom vanity has a simple Asian design. We removed a corner linen closet and had a linen cabinet made to compliment the vanity. A white corian top is lovely and practical too.

When you use vessel sinks there are a few things to keep in mind. Your vanity top needs to be a bit lower and the faucet a bit taller or as we have done....wall mounted. When we found the river rock tile we new it would be a terrific back splash. By wall mounting the faucet it seems like the water is flowing out of the rocks. The floor tile was another great find. The 24 x24 tiles look like grass cloth and we installed them like in an alternating basket weave a grass mat. Fun! Speaking of grass cloth, look at the ceiling. Yes, it is grass cloth but a printed grass cloth rather than real woven grass in a vibrant green. Don't forget the ceilings, even in bathrooms.

The tile in the shower is another Asian inspired touch. We found narrow rectangular white tiles, stacked them to look like a shojii screen and accented the walls with green glass tile bordered by a wonderful tile that resembled bamboo. To complete the feel we used the river rock on the shower floor, which we found out when the guests were showering, feels like a foot massage!

One of our goals was to make the shower bigger, so we took down the wall next to the vanity and built a new "knee" wall a few inches further out. This made the shower door larger and with the wall down it opened up the shower tremendously. Our plumber moved the plumbing to the adjacent wall. It was also cost efficient to use an all inclusive shower panel that opens to reveal body sprays! More fun.

Since the back splash was high, we needed mirrors that tilted down. We discovered these, after scouring the Internet, at a local store and took them home with us. The pendant lights resembling coolie hats, the simple hardware and bamboo towel ring and accessories added more detail to enhance our Asian garden theme. My client found a wonderful table/bench to place in front of the white wainscoting that we designed to balance the large vanity. It is so pretty when guests walk in to the room and look right out to the pool through the French door.

Yes it was alot of work and quite a messy job. Don't let anyone tell you that renovation is all laughs. However it does help to keep a sense of humor, too. It was fun to work so closely with my client. We were always on the same creative page resulting in a delightful, beautiful and, if I do say so myself, stunning cabana bath, or as my client would say, "ab fab" (absolutely fabulous)!

What kind of fun have you had renovating or redesigning a guest bath?

Powder Room Project.....The perfect papers

Wallpaper can set the design theme and color scheme. It is a great design element to use on walls, ceilings and in other creative ways. Do you like to use wallpaper when you decorate?...or for your clients' projects?

We decorators are relentless sometimes or should I say obsessed? Not being satisfied with the wallpapers we found at first, I went to a local showroom that carries many lines. There were several great options. We chose this whimsical but sophisticated botanical that has a nod towards tropical. There are orchids somewhere in there.

The brown background gives it alot of drama. The whites will tie in with the sink and toilet. The beiges will work with the marble floor. The fuscia will blend with the color of the orchids on the sink. This is exciting.

Even in this small room I don't want to ignor the ceiling. We picked a little green fretwork design. Since it is on a white back ground it will not lower the ceiling which is important in this room since the ceiling height is only 7 feet.

The original "bamboo" faucet set will work perfectly except for the chrome finish we saw when we first discovered it. So back to the showroom we go to see what other finishes it comes it.

I suggested we design a vanity in a Chippendale or Chinese Chippendale style. Our client loved the idea. So now I have to figure out how to accomplish this. There is also a closet in this room with large bifold doors and we will tie in the Chippendale look on the doors as well.

There is so much to do and decisions to make. Let's see, lighting, mirror, hardware, countertop, towel bar, accessories. When working with a client all this has to be approved and priced. We bettter get back to work.

I would love to hear from anyone who is doing or has done a project like this. Stay tuned.