Project Reveal: Northern VA Master Bath Renovation

Project Reveal:  Northern VA Master Bath Renovation

I guess you could say we've been on a bathroom roll lately!  A shared bathroom can have a large effect on overall satisfaction in a home, and I love nothing more than figuring out how to make a master bath the most functional AND beautiful space possible!

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Curb Appeal

For the first two years in our home, we spent most our time, energy and budget on changes to the interior. We did a lot of reclaiming of yard from the parkland that borders our property, and did some landscaping, but, for the most part, the exterior of the house sat untouched.

 I've made no bones about the fact that this house was not love at first sight - but I've always thought it had potential, and craved some personality, and that describes the exterior as well.  It's nicely situated higher than street level, and sort of begs to have presence.  I always strive to take a house to its best potential, and that has been the driving force in me with this house - the unmet potential.

The style of our home is traditional - a typical colonial revival dating to the 1970s, built with brick and metal siding. The siding was faded, and needed to be cleaned, but otherwise, it was in good condition (i.e. no hailstorm dents, etc)  I can't even tell you how many door-to-door salespeople we've had trying to sell us vinyl siding!  Replacement just didn't seem necessary, and the control freak in me didn't want to be limited in my color selection when it came time to update the exterior.

This is the house as it looked when we bought it

Since the siding was in decent shape, we felt like a fresh paint job would bring out the features, adding some much-needed curb appeal.

So, we hired a local company that specializes in painting siding.  We discussed general color options, noting the benefits of going with a higher-contrast color combo, like medium-to-dark siding, with a darker color for shutters, and true white for the trim.  I knew I wanted to stay out of the true beige arena, but the brick on our house tended to pull me in that direction until I decided to ignore the brick altogether, and go with what I liked!

Additionally, I think there is a pressure among homeowners in Virginia to stay true to historic colors, which I feel is warranted and appropriate with homes with historic lineage.  Since our home is a loose interpretation of the Colonial style, and decidedly not historic (Helllo 1970s!), I put emphasis on color combos that were appealing, but not necessarily historically accurate.  

We ended up choosing Sherwin Williams colors: Functional Gray (as it turns out, a perfect "greige") for the siding, Peppercorn for the shutters and garage door, and Extra White for the trim.

...and here's how it turned out

I can't get over the change.  I keep driving up wondering if it's my house!  

Now, to be fair, we replaced other features as well.  The most dramatic being the front doors.  We were fortunate enough to start off with an opening for double doors, and I really wanted to let in as much light as possible.  We decided to forgo storm doors, and replaced them instead with custom glass paneled doors from Jeld-Wen.  We stained them a rich mahogany to work with the traditional exterior.

We still felt like there was something lacking architecturally, so we added a crossbeam above the pilasters to bring interest, and act as the canvas for fresh, modern house numbers.  

The last bit of change was to switch out the small, brass-plated sconces with larger lantern fixtures in an iron finish.  Similar to these from Lampsplus.  We put flame-style bulbs in the sconces, which add a nice vibe at night that resembles gas flame.

I never ceased to be amazed by the power of paint! I no longer feel like our house has the blahs, but instead is one of the happiest houses on the block!

Master Bath Transformation - Before and After

It's been a long stretch since I stopped in here for an update, so I figured I'd bring you up to speed on our bathroom redo.  When we moved into our house, I had a long list of "I'd like to change that." Our master bathroom, however, fell more under the S.O.S. category.  Still, I think there's benefit to living with a space, no matter how discouraging, for a while to really get a sense of what works, what doesn't, and why.  About six months ago, we decided to lift the quarantine.

Before I jar you with the "before" images, let's cleanse the palate and see what I envisioned for the renovation.

Now, brace yourselves for the "before"

(image from the MLS listing when we bought the house)

I like to call it:  the Mid 70s Builder-grade special.  With a splash of hospital. 

Original mauve tile, with walls painted to match.  Original vanity, which was curiously squat - even for a short stack like me.  Needless to say, there wasn't anything worth salvaging.

I use the word "master" bath loosely because, although it is ensuite, it is tiny.  Yes, it would be lovely to have dual sinks, but we actually don't overlap too much in terms of use.  We also didn't have much option to expand the space without creating a weird jut into our bedroom, or taking up valuable closet space.  So, the footprint had to stay.

The good news was that having a small footprint meant I could go a little more luxe in terms of finishes.  More than anything, I wanted to brighten it up, and try to expand the space visually.

I believe we accomplished that.

The design plan was pretty straight forward - I wanted marble subway tile to the ceiling in the shower, then to wrap around the other walls at a half-wall height.  The floor tile needed to have a higher grout-to-tile ratio to prevent slipping, so I opted for a small marble herringbone mosaic.  I carried the same tile from the vanity area into the shower to continue the visual line - another trick to make the space seem larger.  We designed a small vertical panel of the mosaic in the facing wall, because, hey, I couldn't get enough of it.  We were able to keep the lines all nice and clean by tucking two shampoo niches into the back wall.   So again, not an inch larger, but it feels


much more open!

P.S. - Artwork by my daughter and I (yay for freebies!)

I went with brass fixtures to warm up the color scheme, but mixed in polished nickel for the towel bar and tp holder to keep it from feeling too Liberace.

The other major component to visually enlarging the space was to mirror that baby up!  It was tricky, but I had plate mirrors cut for the dimensions of a mirrored medicine cabinet.  It's a nice, layered finish, and bounces tons of light.

The vanity base ended up giving me a bad case of the willies.  I envisioned converting an antique cabinet into a vanity, and searched for something with the


dimensions (we had no wiggle room), that would still function like a true vanity - to no avail.  Having a custom vanity built was out of budget, so I had to go with a standard vanity base.  Little disclaimer:  Unless you can't tell the difference, I'm not a fan of using Big Box store items for renovations, and I really felt like I was selling out, design-wise to use one, but I held my nose and did it. By topping it with a custom volakas marble top, though, I think I'm at least somewhat redeemed. ;)  It also meant there was room to splurge on the radiant floor heat, which. is. a. game changer.  Toasty toes instead of frozen-stuck-to-the-marble feet is a huge luxury in my boat!

I think it's fair to say the space was completely transformed.  Before, it was painful to see.  Now, it's a  pleasure to use. 


Marble Subway Tile


Marble pencil trim


Herringbone mosaic tile

(similar to)  ~  

Shower fixture

 (similar to) ~  

Basin fixture

 (similar to) ~  

Vanity base

(similar to, but think ours was more, and is nicer)  ~  

Vanity top


Mirrored Medicine Cabinet 

It's Monday - Let's do B&A's

It's a two-cupper kind of Monday for me, so how about some Before and After goodness? 

I've been working with my sister to get her formal living room properly zhushed before an upcoming shower she's hosting.  Can I just say right now how much it KILLS me not to be able to do this fun stuff in person?   Oh well, getting to be a part of putting together a great room is still rock 'n roll.

Wanna peek? (Pardon the iPhone pics)

Wingback Before - Sad stuffing, and almost-coulda-shoulda-been-kinda-cool Missoni-esque fabric....

...and After... Make-a-me-SO-happy coral and purply-pink ikat!
sumbera wingback after

X-benches Before (sorry, no real-life photo) - Now, you know I'm not the kind to turn a side-eye to most anything animal print, but these bargain X-benches needed to look....well....not so bargain-y....

So, they found some love in the form of high-quality velvet, and extra tufting.  Oh, the plushness of it all!
sumbera x benches after
What's pulling this all together, you ask?  Why, a giant, colorful print by Cozamia, of course!
sumbera living art
Yep, Monday's lookin' better, already!

We Interrupt this program...for pink velvet and thrift goodness

I didn't think you'd mind me popping in (and bumping the H spot feature 'til tomorrow) for a little update on my sister's dining room - my project numero uno while I'm Stateside.

She snagged these Chippendale chairs a month or so ago, but clearly the pastel plaid fabric wasn't working with our overall theme of I'm not Laura Ashley.

Meet pink velvet goodness.

Over that slightly-rugged kilim chevron. Tell me about it, Stud!

Then there's her bathroom vanity stool.
Before: Disney called. They want their Beauty and the Beast dog back.

After: I'm trying to figure out a way to steal it from her without her noticing...

THEN: Saturday's Thrifting Session took us to the Habitat store where she scored this wingback for forty clams.
It has a bright future.

As for me, I snagged this pair of mondo lamps. Hard to tell here, but they're actually mercury glass - a bronze color. Not sure where I'll use them just yet, but I thought they were different, and I couldn't pass up the ten dollar price tag.
*SupportyourHabitatStore, Peeps!*

**Disclaimer: Wish we could take credit for the reupholstering, but we left it to the pros.**

Lots more Little H Spot guest posts still to come. We're enjoying plenty of family and friend time in (crazy sweltering) Texas, but I'll check in periodically with project updates.

Dallas Client's Jump Start to Transformation

First off, thank you to everyone who sent me sincere feedback in terms of what you like about MLHP.
My takeaway was:
1) You're cool with design boards, so long as they are part of a story (i.e. my casa, client's home, etc)
2) If I'm going to slap up an image from a glossy that everyone and there sister is blogging about, then you'd like me to break it down, and talk about how to achieve a similar look. Great - I'd love to do this!
3) You love the He Said, She Said series - Awesome! I'll try to do more!
4) ...and, of course, you all love a good B&A - instant gratification mongers! :)

On that note....
I've been working with an e-client, Linds, who lives in Dallas. She and her hubster just moved from a darling, first-home in Big City Central to The Burbs of Big D. They had hoped to stay in Dallas proper, but the space they craved for their growing family sent them to the sprawls of suburbia. They found a large, charming home, but Linds wasn't taken with some of the builder-grade design, and wanted to get a jump-start on turning it into a stylish place that implemented at least some custom aspects.
So far, my job has been very easy. Linds has a keen idea of what she wants, and has great taste. I've merely offered a bit of consultation, sourcing, and an objective voice when needed.

Long distance design services can be somewhat unfulfilling if the client doesn't send "after" pics - you just have to assume they implemented your suggestions. But, nothing's more fun than getting the updates on spaces, so I was stoked to get some "in progress" pics in my inbox this weekend.

Linds' living room has double-height windows. This is the MLS listing pic of the room.
Encinias living windows before

I suggested making an investment in double-high, double-width curtains. Something to immediately add impact - like this:
HB double height curtains
house beautiful

Having curtains custom made can get dumb-expensive, but luckily, Linds already has a wonderful seamstress who put together her custom baby bedding. Even better is the seamstress doesn't charge a limb, and said she could handle the curtains - sans problème.

Linds wants to go with a blue/rich yellow/cream color palette to coordinate with her existing furniture, and I thought this fabric was pretty great with its slightly Indian pattern. It was on sale for $5.99 a yard, and we cleared them out!

Here's how they turned out (pardon the glare). Aren't they incredible? Me and amazing curtains - we be good friends!

Linds is making more drastic changes in the kitchen. She didn't dig the faux-Tuscan cabinetry, but struggled over the decision to paint them the white she so badly wants. I think she probably received a lot of unsolicited advice about how she just, "can't paint those wood cabinets!"
My opinion is this: Wood is nice, but wood is not sacred. If it's a white kitchen you want to live with, then by all means, paint the damn things and LOVE it!
Fullscreen capture 2282011 84503 PM.bmp

...So, she did.

Bought new hardware and lantern pendants, too. Good girl.

Encinias kitchen new hardware
We still have some details to decide on, but this is shaping up very nicely!