One room at a time
Now, this is a unique one. Have you ever known anyone that grew up in an area, went off to college and moved back to the area yet to buy the home they grew up in? That is what this family did. Little by little, they are now making this house their own home with the details and touches that that take it from the child home they grew up in, to the home where they are now raising their own children.
As we all know, change can be hard, but in many cases, change is good. Say that again, all you home bodies: change is good! It makes you see things with a new perspective. It helps you appreciate the little details in life. It helps to rid you of things that you didn’t know were weighing you down.
There are so many personal touches in this home, from the family photos of their beautiful girls, to the couches that the grandmother had perfectly designed for the front room. The homeowners were skeptical of these things that they have lived with for a while now but with me coming in with a fresh eye, it has helped them see their things in a whole new light.
The front room is transforming into the “music lounge” and I will share that once that room is finished ;). Overall, I have been encouraging them to keep the things that are classic that give the house soul yet support it all with touches of “collected freshness”.
What the heck does that mean, Melissa?! LOL! Well…I kind of made it up. But, if anything would define my design style it is “collected freshness”. I love a home that has pieces from all stages of one’s life. A gallery wall of collected art with personal meaning, shelves filled with books you have read, found objects from your travels, or the tea set your grandmother had on her side table and used every afternoon at 3 o’clock. Yes, you can have new new NEW things everywhere, but the things from your past are what tells your story, tells the history of the people living in that house, the true treasures that make it a Home. “Collected freshness” is a balance of the old and the new and the stories that go with them.
We are fine-tuning a few rooms in this home that was built 20+ years ago. The first room we completed is the main floor bathroom. It is unique in that it is not just a powder room, it has a full, walk-in shower! There is no bedroom on the main floor, and the shower was only used a handful of times over the life of the home but it is the main bathroom that guests will use when visiting this home. We are going to make it gorgeous!
First to go is the bright orange walls and the garish brass. I love brass! And I love color! But both the brass and the bright walls of this particular room needed to go in-order to give it a fresh start.
We started with an inspiration photo of an oversized herringbone marble shower, accented with an aged brass. Simply gorgeous. That was our starting point for the design of the space. I then did some research on lighting, art, mirror, and the accessories to tie everything together, mocked up these inspiration layouts, and shared them with my clients. They were overjoyed and we immediately got started scheduling the contractors!
My favorite projects are when it is a collaboration from beginning to end. The homeowners have great taste and love to shop! I also love that they are not afraid to purchase, try it, and return it if it doesn’t work for the space. I’ll get to a “sculpture” story in a future post. 😉
With some research (and praying that the finish was going to work) the homeowner found this prefabricated bathroom hutch that came with the solid quartz countertop and sink built in. And guess what? It was from Lowes! It has all the feels of Restoration Hardware but for a fraction of the price. We changed out the hardware to coordinate with the shower and faucet finish and I think it turned out absolutely amazing.
What? We didn’t want to work that lacquered brass tulip light fixture into the new design plan? LOL! With the high ceilings in a narrow room, we wanted to emphasize the unutilized space. We found this beautiful, oversized mirror from William-Sonoma Home that had the perfect proportions. The long sillouette of the sconces accented the long oversized mirror perfectly. I originally found them online at Shades of Light but they only had ONE and the other was on back-order! Fiddlesticks! With a little research, my client found the exact same ones on another site and they might have even been less expensive! (Don’t quote me on that…it’s been a few months…) But hey, if it was, win win for determined internet searching!!!
To also elevate the space, we added a teardrop pendant. Not only did it bring more light into the shower area of the space, it also added an elegance to this first-floor bathroom.
Artwork in a bathroom can be challenging. For one, there is likely to be moisture in a bathroom from the shower use. This bathroom isn’t attached to a bedroom so the likelihood of it being used is very low. And history doesn’t lie. Since this house was built, this bathroom shower was used maybe 3 or 4 times when they hosted a wedding at the home. Other than that, no one uses this shower.
Another challenge in a bathroom is there are lots of walls to hang things but where do you decide to hang art in such a small space? Do you put something over the toilet? Do you put it on the open wall across from everything? Will it get too busy? If you do hang it on the big wall, do you center it on the wall? Do you center it on the toilet? Do you buy two coordinating art piece and hang them together to fill the wall? It can be really tricky!
Since this was a main floor bathroom, I knew I wanted to go big and elegant with the artwork. There is so much going on with the vanity wall: sconces, an oversized mirror, the toilet, etc. I wanted the opposite wall to balance all of that out. The original mock-up was of an amazing, framed print from Anthropologie. The size was great, but the orientation was landscape and I wanted portrait. (Landscape is when the image is wider than it is tall, and portrait is when it is taller than it is wide.) What also didn’t work for me is the price. You could purchase a nice side chair for the same amount as the framed print from Anthropologie.
One of my favorite places to pop into regularly is HomeGoods. While my son was at baseball practice, I had an hour or so to kill so I checked out the local HG and saw this beautiful piece sitting on an easel. I circled it like a lion going after its prey. The natural wood edge, the antique brass frame, the creamy gray abstract design…I loved it! But as a designer, you never know if the piece is going to resonate with your clients! So, I took a photo and sent it to my client. She was out of town but had her mom go pick it up and sure enough, it really finishes off the room perfectly. (Note: her mom was shopping in some boutique town and saw a very similar piece for THOUSANDS more than what we paid! Makes me so happy—and REALLY makes my client happy!)
This was truly the easy part. When you have an inspiration photo that you love, it makes it easy to research product. I shared the photo with my sales representative at Contract Furnishings Mart and she found me a couple of options for oversized herringbone tile. We could have gone with real marble (cha-ching!) or she found us a replica to marble that is a fraction of the cost. The design plan was to install the tile floor to ceiling, wall to wall tile in the shower. Plus, because of the specialized pattern, we had to order 15% more to account for waste. It was already going to be a pretty penny. In the end, we were very pleased with this product and the overall look.
The last piece of the puzzle that we were waiting for was the frameless shower door. If you can splurge, THIS is worth every penny. A frameless shower truly lets the artwork of the tile install stand out without interruption of a metal bar on the top, bottom and anywhere else you need to have support. Shower door? What shower door? 😉
On to the Next Project
I am happy to say that we are all pleased with how this tiny but mighty room turned out! Next, I want to finish their music lounge so we can actually sit, toast and enjoy the work we created together! The three of us did gather in the bathroom together but there was no popping champagne, sitting on the “thrown” and sharing a moment. No. That would be weird. Way weird.
- Hutch: Lowes
- Sconces: Shades Of Light
- Teardrop Pendant: Shades Of Light
- Tile: CFM
- Faucet Hardware: Home Depot
- Mirror: William-Sonoma Home
- Art: Homegoods
- Rug: Anthropologie (similar one here)
Do you have some overwhelming design decisions to make? Maybe tile selection or just a color consult? I’d love to help! Shoot me a message and we can get you started on a design plan that will fit your budget and ease your mind. Email: Melissa@melissamanos.com