A Better Home: Room by Room

A series of projects in this home live up to our fundamental purpose: to make a good home better. In this case its done room by room. See what’s happening inside the home with those double duty porches.

Bringing Life to a Living Room

Before we transformed the fireplace area in this living room nobody EVER spent time here. That all changed once we helped create this functional and attractive focal point for the room. We stripped away the dated “builder’s” Mantle, provided a contemporary copper slate wall for a new flat screen, and flanked it with deep shelving and a sloped and lit display surface for all those coffee table books nobody ever gets to enjoy. Add useful lighting and new furniture placed appropriately and it is now a treasured place to relax together and LIVE!

Powder Rooms Should Surprise & Delight

I like powder rooms. They are cozy sanctuaries. And because they are the bathroom that is offered to a guest, they are like little treats – places that can surprise and delight with unexpected materials and design gestures. This is one of those, a powder room that people comment on and admire. The floating and glowing medicine cabinet is a feature we’ve repeated in many bathrooms. Here the effect is accentuated by the framed tile niche it sets in. A thick concrete sink counter with bamboo base adds balance and texture. The deep leather like walls heighten the cozy feel of the intimate space. Mmmm!

Nice Niche

Walls are hollow. Why not tuck a little display niche into that zone. This simple idea, with concrete shelf, provides the perfect setting for a treasured memento from a vacation to South America. This feature is appropriated from the Japanese, who use spaces like this masterfully. You’ll also find niches like this in the adobe walls of the southwest.

Master Bath Modernism

These days just because a home wears a colonial form doesn’t mean its interior can’t express its own style. This master bath is designed with the open aesthetic and clean lines that define what I like to call “warm modern”. The colors are slightly aquatic and the smallish space is kept feeling open by keeping the bamboo cabinets on legs and the floor flowing right through the shower.

This Vanity Does a Clever Trick

This vanity cleverly uses its structure to create the bench seat in the shower. The simple square drawers provide plenty of storage (the top drawers make room for the sink bowl and drain). The bamboo is used again to create a box shelf that fits into the medicine cabinet, helping to keep the counter clear.

Curves Track the Ceiling

This delightful master bath is not very big. To make it feel larger we let the tile floor flow right into the shower (yes it is sloped to drain!). It’s surprising how just seeing the full floor convinces our brains that the space runs the width and depth of the room. To do this we used the track system that hospitals rely on to partition space – but as a shower curtain. The beauty is that you can easily form curves with the curtain. We picked up on this with the track for the lighting, adding a dimension of motion up at the ceiling that makes the room more dynamic.

Material Mix Creates the Shower

Most showers are cubes of space to contain water and splash. This shower uses a mix of materials to contain the spray and flow. Two walls are tiled – with a nice little break of glass tiles running vertically up the corner. The cantilevered seat supports a translucent panel (3-form) that contains the spray. The open side uses that curving track to slide a shower curtain behind the floating panel. It all works to keep the shower functional and the room feeling open – even playful!

A Tub with a View

In rearranging the layout for this shared bathroom we moved the tub next to an existing window. We used 3-form panels with a linen texture on the walls and provided two shower curtain tracks, with one to protect the window when used for showering. The arced face of the tub keeps the ground profile tighter – and thus the room feeling bigger. By only using a half wall at the head of the tub the room stays open and generously sized.

Bamboo Trim Bounds the Edges

Trim is what we call the material that is used to finish edges, typically around doors and windows and at the floor with baseboard. Here we applied bamboo that is made with a core that appears checkered on its edge. We continued the trim at the top of the door and windows around the room to link these elements and finish off the top of the shower wall panels. Its a very effective technique, made even more so by this special material.

Bamboo Forms Tie Vanity Together

This vanity is really a piece of furniture, with its upper and lower segments working together to form a whole. The medicine cabinet floats (and is backlit) in a deep rectangular frame that contains lighting and outlets and switches, while providing a raised shelf to get things up off the counter to reduce clutter there. It works really nicely.

And it’s a Laundry!

One end of this bathroom space is devoted to a laundry with ample storage and a folding counter. To the right is a hall linen cabinet that is boxed in with bamboo to become part of the laundry cabinet assembly. The sliding doors on the wall cabinets above the laundry are made from the same material that finishes the shower walls.

Nicer Than Another Door

In most upstairs halls you will find a linen closet with a door like the four others – a hall of doors and not much else. Here we turned that closet into a cherry cabinet, added a light, and created a much more attractive feature at the top of the stairs with drawers that make the space even more useful and accessible.

Upstairs “Apartment”

The third floor of this traditional colonial has two bedrooms that are just perfect for visiting family. By adding a couple skylights and this long counter to the hall at the top of the stairs we made the whole floor feel like a small apartment (less a kitchen).

Obscuring the Glass

A previous owner had actually created a “hot tub spa” room here at the top of the stairs. The sliding door helped contain the moisture. We applied vinyl material to the doors to create privacy while allowing light into the hallway. The room is now an inviting bedroom.

Dormered Bedroom

At the other end of the connecting hall is this second bedroom that fits into a dormer added in an earlier remodel. Originally this was one large open space, with no bathroom.

Nestling a Bathroom into the Roof Slope

Third floor space created by steep roofs is deceiving. Unfinished, it looks like a lot of space. But walk toward the slope and you find out pretty quickly that, while there may be ample floor area, at head height there is not the space there appears to be. By keeping the fixtures to the tall side of this bath space, and adding a skylight over the tub (secret headroom!) we made the tight space work. A french door helps let natural light in from the hall and feels less constrained.

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