Master Suite

I wish I could say our master bedroom and on-suite bath were finished. I feel it’s going to be awhile yet. Still have to do the crown molding and a few other trim pieces before we will call it done. We moved into the master bedroom a couple of days before Christmas and were able to start using the bath a week or so before that. My husband put the tile up without issue in the shower. I’m so proud of him as it was his first tile job. It’s marble subway tiles and we had to purchase a wet saw suitable for cutting stone. I found a brand new one on Craigslist for half the retail price. The box hadn’t even been opened. My husband also installed the wood butcherblock counter (that I stained and finished). He also installed the flooring, beadboard, sinks, faucets, glass shower enclosure and shower hardware. He replumbed the vanity sinks and installed the light fixtures. I did the hardware and cabinet knobs. We replaced the GFCI outlet together. (My one wish is that I could have added another outlet near the vanity table but that was not in the budget.) Thank goodness for YouTube with videos that showed how to do everything we couldn’t figure out on our own!

We both contributed to all the painting as well as my youngest son who did the green paint in the bedroom and all of the inside of our walk-in closet. I really don’t want to look at a paint roller for awhile. I’m so thankful for Mico’s help!

While the almost-finished project is a far stretch from what my expectations would be of a professional craftsman, I am happy with our results. I am very proud and appreciative of my husband’s hard work –especially since he usually only gets one day a week off from his regular labor-intensive job! Gracias me amor! (Now if I could just get him up on the ladder to install the crown molding!)

Here are some “before” pics of the bathroom as a reminder of what the bath looked like before:

Before 1

 

Before 3

Before 4

Before 5

 

Here are some renderings I did of the remodel design:

Opt 6 View 3

 

Opt 6 View 2

Opt 6 View 1

Opt 6 View 4

Here are the “after” pics of the bath:

Master 1

 

After 1

After 2

After 3

After 4

After 5

These are renderings I did of the master bedroom:

Master Bedroom Suite ~ view 1

Master Bedroom Suite ~ view 1

 

Master Bedroom Suite ~ view 2

Master Bedroom Suite ~ view 2

This is what it looks like now:

Master 3

 

Master 5

 

Master 2

 

Master 4

The over-all cost of this remodel was about $6,000. This included all the materials and the little bit of labor we hired which included moving the plumbing for the shower, installing the shower pan and installing the plush carpet in the bedroom. The brass bed (straight out of the ’80s and same genre as the the mobile home), came with the house. I want to try to refinish the cheap shiny brass finish to look like the antique brass of the beside wall lamps. Eventually, I’ll replace the door knobs to something that a little less ‘bright’ as well. I hear brass is back so I might be able to find something a little more updated.

The dressing table was a Craigslist find –it has a really heavy marble top that inspired the use of the marble subway tile for the shower. I think it must have come out of an old hotel. I am happy with most everything but the shower enclosure that we ordered online. It was manufactured in Canada and came via a New York distributor and was shipped to our home near the California Central Coast. Even though we saved a ton of money (I’m guessing about two-thirds the price of a custom glass shower), it was fraught with problems. The initial order included only the doors and was missing the side panel It was out of stock at the time this mistake was discovered. The base came in broken and they had to send another (also out of stock at the time)…  Over all, it took about four months to get this issue rectified. Even so there are small scratches on the stationary glass door and the frame was bent in one corner and a tiny divot in the replacement shower pan. These were discovered when we went to install them. Fortunately the divot is on the outside and can be repaired. No way were we going to wait another four months for replacements that may or may not come in perfect. I’d have to say the shower issues were the worst I’ve had to deal with regarding on-line product purchasing I’ve had to date. Everything else –counter tops, sinks, mirrors, hardware, flooring, tile (even the beadboard and trim) had no issues at all! Everything else was purchased from our local Home Depot.

Side Yard Design

This is my design for our side yard of the home we purchased a year ago August. I can hardly believe we’ve been here for over a year already! Perhaps it’s because we’ve been working away at remodeling it bit by bit (on the inside) since we moved here. We’re about 3/4 done with the master bath and the Home Depot crew is coming to measure the floor for carpet for the master bedroom on Halloween. (I picked that day because I wouldn’t forget and the measure was free and would be good for up to a year.) I promise when we get the master bath done, I’ll post the before and after pics!

Meantime, I have been dreaming of what to do about our tiny outdoor space. I want it to be as low maintenance as possible. I’ve posted my ideas for the front and have “tried on” many paint colors. We’ve finally decided on a warm medium brown color. I think we could live with it for a long time and we really don’t like it’s current sad gray color.

Now to give you an idea of what the side yard is now:  There is a long metal awning that spans the whole side of the house. An item of contention between my husband and I. He wants to keep it but I think it’s a worthless eye sore. It’s a typical “mobile home” type. (You know the type– with the scrolling cheap metal support posts.) It is also on the northeast side of the house so really does nothing to protect the house from summer heat. It keeps the sun out on the side that could really use it. In the past year we’ve had rain approximately four days, so that’s not a great reason to keep it either. Most of all, it blocks the views of the great old pepper tree that is always home to a variety of birds and provides lovely filtered light. It also blocks the view of the gorgeous liquid amber that is turning multiple shades of gold and red this time of year.

In addition there is a very large shabby looking sad storage shed that takes up much of the space. It’s so bad that the last owners left lots of stuff in there because they simply didn’t want to go in there after it. I don’t want to either. So (one thing hubby and I agree on) it needs to go.

My plan? Replace them both with a great big deck that we would actually use. So here you go.

Print Image

Side Yard 2

Side Yard 3

Print Image

Side Yard 5

Side Yard 6

Side Yard 7

Here are my most recent proposed ideas for the front view that faces south:

Print Image

Print Image

Notice there is no grass. We do not want to water or cut grass. (Overwatering is now considered a criminal offense here in CA so I’m sure this ‘zero scape’ would go over very well with the city if not our park managers.)

American Dream Disaster

Just watched the final episode of American Dream Builders and I am now very satisfied that I have retired. If design trends are to be lead by the likes of Nate Berkus’ posturing and ego maniacal ramblings, I’m glad to be out of it! He clearly ran the show and made me wonder why they even had the other judges who seemed there just to back up his opinions. I was disappointed in Monica Pederson and  frankly confounded by the very presence of Eddie George as a design judge at all. I’m not a football fan, so up until this show never heard of him before.  His lack of design knowledge and expertise was obvious as he acquiesced time and time again to Nate’s and Monica’s comments and opinions.American Dream Builders - Season 1 Design competition shows (like any other reality TV competition shows) are fraught with tension and drama. If they were just about design, the only people who would likely watch them would be other designers which is certainly not the direction a major network wants to go and it would probably only air at 6 a.m. on PBS. So, following the pattern as expected, this show was definitely high drama.. but not original by any means. The only thing different besides this show and HGTV’s Design Star was the lack of the “White Room Competition” and the network. I guess I should not overlook the infusion of  character borrowed from the Extreme Makeover Home Edition Show with the “Neighborhood Counsels” Blah, blah, blah… (Kept wondering when they were gonna yell at somebody to move a bus!)

 

Like many design shows that are on HGTV that I watch, I find myself watching the opening set up for the episode (first five or so minutes) and then fast forwarding to the end to see the results. However, the final episode for this show was the exception. I did skip through a lot of the process stuff in the middle which I found just obnoxious. I felt the approaches to the projects of the two very different finalists, Jay and Lukas, were worth taking in because they were so different. Jay is a builder and his approach was clearly ‘team’ based as would be expected by a home builder working with a team of talented people on a large, high-end project. It made sense to me that he would take advantage of the individual talents of his team and direct them.  I imagined it must have been a bit like herding cats at worst and conducting a orchestra at best. These are the attributes that one would expect of a design-build contractor. In the end, I felt the project reflected a culmination of many talented creative minds orchestrated in a single direction, but you could see the individual efforts on the team shine through. I felt this was intended, not by accident. This is what I would expect of a Dream Builder. American Dream Builders Based on the comments of Nate and Monica, Lukas should be considered a phenom in the world of design. His approach was to maintain total control of the project in a dictatorial fashion so that he could maintain a strict sense of continuity and project a single design aesthetic throughout the entirety of his project from the smallest detail to the ‘big picture’ idea. His design aesthetic appealed most to Nate and that is what won the competition for him… (Never mind that Eddie just kept his trap shut and Monica nearly collapsed when she saw the black painted box.) Not that it reflected anything to do with the family that owned the place or what they would want nor even the building vernacular of the location. This building would fit right in Chicago, Copenhagen or Milan. Not Ventura, CA, or in any other tropical or subtropical beach location in the US. A beach house it was not. Forward thinking? Not so much.  Wow factor? Certainly.  There were elements of the project I liked, but overall, I’m glad I didn’t own it, have to pay taxes on it and perhaps have to try to sell it in today’s marketplace in that location. American Dream Builders Ultimately, Nate Berkus lead the show in a direction that betrayed it’s title: American Dream Builder. It had little to do with building and everything to do with decorating and design. They are not one in the same. Just because you work on a whole bunch of building projects as a designer, that does not make you a builder. The three judges were not builders and one of them was a football player (HUH?????).   Nate commented that he didn’t think Jay should win because he didn’t think he was capable of doing the entire design of his project as it was on his own. To me that was the beauty of his project, that as a builder he was able to orchestrate the talents of a group of highly diverse designers which resulted in a project that superseded the abilities of any single team member.

 

As a trained and experienced designer myself, I have to look seriously at Lukas as a professional designer because he was (as he stated) self-taught. It shows that he does not understand nor respect the processes that professional designers go through to solve design problems.  He is clearly an artist, and when it comes to residential design I would call him a stylist or a decorator –a professional designer is a stretch. One of the key things a designer does is develop a program that includes the desires of the client. The format of the show did not allow for much of this. I would have loved to have been a mouse in the corner when the ‘black box’ beach house was revealed to the family. I’ll bet their jaws hit the ground in unison! Not in awe but in “Oh Hell, what have we got ourselves into!” I wonder how long after the taping of that episode will it be before they have a really big repainting party (if they haven’t already)?   While I can respect that a great deal of design has to do with art and creativity. there is much more involved. Marrying artistic expression and design problem solving is not an easy thing to do. But that is what is at the essence of good design. If the problems don’t get solved then the design is lacking.

 

Next I want to see a show called American Dream Decorator and the judges should be two builders and a tennis player.

The “Final” Final Design

I would have to say this is the design that I’ve ‘redone’ more than any –ever. This is the sixth (and final) rendition of my master bath design renderings. I think I just needed to convince myself it was the best solution for the space, our needs and our budget. In the end we incorporated products and aspects of the project that we could mostly install ourselves (my husband, youngest son and I). Leaving only the plumbing and electrical to the pros. I should also add that I’ve done way more kitchens than bath remodels and found this to be much more intense in terms of design and technical know how.

Opt 6 View 1

 

Opt 6 View 2

Opt 6 View 3

Opt 6 View 4

Much was driven by budget and making choices to get the most bang for the buck in the right places –like finding a prefab glass shower enclosure that was big enough. I think the Fleurco semi-frameless enclosure was the largest I could get for the space and is of excellent quality. We found the marble topped (and very heavy!)  dressing table on Craigslist. This inspired doing the shower walls in a coordinating marble subway tile. The other splurge was choosing the nickel finishes on the hardware throughout. This choice was made based on the shower head which was a gift from my friends at Brizo that I received when I visited their headquarters last July for the Blogger 19 Reunion. Who knew that polished nickel would be way less common than brushed or satin nickel? Not to mention pricey! I didn’t when I was so attracted to the ‘bling’ of the polished nickel so many months ago when I got to select the finish for my gift. So there is a mixture of finish types –most will be brushed nickel.

Brizo shower head

Brizo shower head

Where we saved money:

  • Light fixtures, square vessel sinks and faucets purchased on ebay.
  • Saving the existing cabinets, painting them inside and out, adding new crystal glass knobs (found on ebay and hoping the screws fit), adding toe valances we’ll make ourselves, and adding crown molding.
  • The mirrors over the sinks are basic wood framed plain mirrors that we will paint and add moldings to.
  • The countertop is a wood work bench top from Home Depot that we will finish with marine varnish.
  • We already have the round mirror that is over the vanity (used to be over the fireplace in our old house).
  • The fabric for the curtain and vanity stool cover I will sew from fabric I already have.
  • The flooring is vinyl ‘grip strip’ with the look of wood planks. This is the same stuff that we used in our kitchen but in a different style. It’s great for manufactured homes because it is fairly water proof and easy for homeowners to install. We are purchasing it from Home Depot. (They are getting to know me and Louie -my dog- on a first name basis.)
  • The white beadboard wainscot and moldings are also inexpensive and to be purchased from our friends at Home Depot.
  • The Brizo hand-held shower head was a gift and the toilet is a Delta that was purchased months ago from (you guessed it) The Home Depot.

collection I should add that vessel sinks in the master bath would not normally be my first choice, but we are keeping the existing vanity that is only 31″ tall including the counter top. So adding the vessel sink (shown above) should put the top right at 36″.

The overall cost of the remodel is expected to be about $6,000 plus any labor that we hire out (like the electrical and plumbing). When I first started this design process, my budget was looking closer to $14,000 plus labor –so I am pretty pleased with the savings and I don’t feel that I’ve sacrificed anything in terms of design. Perhaps one could argue the loss of a tub would ding the resale value.  However, there is plenty of room to add up to a six-foot freestanding tub in place of the dressing table if the need arose. Considering our community is restricted to 55+ residents, I’m banking most would appreciate an accessible large shower more than a flimsy mobile home “garden” tub and closet of a shower. Since I’m now retired, I expect this is a decision my heirs will have to make! =) How long this project will take is anyone’s guess since my husband will only be available to do this on weekends. I’m expecting months. Glad we have another bathroom!

Chief Architect Premier X4: master bath.layout

Family Heirloom Transformed

My husband and I just completed this conversion of my grandparent’s bed. They slept in it for over 60 years –then my husband and I for the last 10 or so. We made it into a bench. My husband did the carpentry and I painted it. The seat cushion is wrapped in a quilt my mom made. I hope this will become an heirloom one of my children will appreciate someday as much as I do.

Used to be a queen size bed.

Used to be a queen size bed.

Kitchen is DONE!

Finally, we are finished –mostly. Have some touching up to do, but these will likely not be apparent in the photos. We will probably change out the light fixture over the eating peninsula (that is a bit too large) for a smaller single light pendant.  The cabinets are cherry with a ‘frost’ finish that is not quite a white wash. I’m told they will darken a bit with age.

Before and After

Before and After

Before and After

Before and After

Plate display cabinet covers the vent above the microhood.

Plate display cabinet covers the vent above the microhood.

Decorative plate rack cabinet covers the hood vent.

Decorative plate rack cabinet covers the hood vent.

Spindle and spoke shelf over the window to display my collection of tea pots.

Spindle and spoke shelf over the window to display my collection of tea pots. The style came from the barn red plate rack that is on the wall next to the pantry door that has a spindle rail on it. The pantry door is also painted the same barn red. Are you sensing a theme here? LOL

Close up of back splash.

Close up of back splash.

Plate rack and spice cubbies. A direct copy from the last kitchen --I liked it so much I did it again.

Plate rack and spice cubbies. A direct copy from the last kitchen –I liked it so much I did it again.

This is clearly a galley kitchen. This is the sink side. There's just the two of us most of the time and we enjoy intimate meals at the peninsula.

This is clearly a galley kitchen. This is the sink side. There’s just the two of us most of the time and we enjoy intimate meals at the peninsula. The dishwasher is a Bosch. It is so quiet you have to try to hear it when it’s running! It has a red light that shows on the floor to let you know. There is a third rack on top for silverware that allows for removal of the silverware rack on the bottom to gain extra space. The sink is Vigo. Just purchased a rack (you can’t see here) for the bottom to drain stuff and keep the bottom from getting scratched so easily. The faucet is Delta Touch 2 O. I’m spoiled now –wouldn’t have any other kind.  The cabinets are cherry with a beadboard door style made by DeWils.

The range side of the galley. Loving the LG gas double oven range. There's nothing I can't cook on this thing. It contains the double ovens and all of the multiple BTU high-powered burners I had in my last kitchen that were in separate appliances and much more costly. This is a real space and money saver. Plus it's easier to clean! The microhood is also wonderful. It has a vent that extends in the bottom to gain more coverage over the burners.

The range side of the galley. Loving the LG gas double oven range. There’s nothing I can’t cook on this thing. It contains the double ovens and all of the multiple BTU high-powered burners I had in my last kitchen that were in separate appliances and much more costly. This is a real space and money saver. Plus it’s easier to clean! The microhood is also wonderful. It has a vent that extends in the bottom to gain more coverage over the burners.

Remodelling the Mobile Money Pit ~ Renderings

We’ve lived with construction and most of our stuff still in boxes now for a couple of months since moving to Sunny Hills, a 55+ manufactured home community in Santa Maria, California after moving from our somewhat larger stick built home in the same town. It’s a triple-wide manufactured home that’s a little over 1700 square feet with two bedrooms, two baths a large living & dining space, a separate family room and has an attached two-car garage. The lot is small but backs up to a green belt area with many beautiful birch, maple and cypress trees. The ‘coach’ was built in 1987 so is ripe for updating and came with a lot of deferred maintenance from the former owner.  We had the cottage cheese ceiling scraped, retextured and painted throughout. We also removed all of the carpeting and replaced most of it with laminate floating flooring that looks like hand-scraped maple hardwood in a darker finish.  The kitchen and laundry/pantry will have a floating vinyl floor that looks like tile, is resilient and easy to clean. The only room to have carpet will be the master bedroom. We’ve also repainted most of the place and installed new window coverings. (I’m proud to say I installed the blinds myself in the sitting room and family room myself and was surprised at how easy it was!) Most of the house will be rewired during the kitchen remodel and we are still debating replacing the plumbing. (Much will be determined when we get into the kitchen remodel.) We were fortunate that a new roof was added only a year ago and there is a new furnace.

Since we moved in, we also moved and reconfigured a non-load baring wall which entailed expanding the ceiling, adding a light fixture and retexturing and painting the walls. It seemed like an awful lot just to move the wall a foot or so and make it longer, but the result was spectacular! You can no longer see into the guest bath now when entering the front door or sitting in the dining room! We also had to completely rebuild the front stoop outside the front door and the wall and floor inside the front door entry that had dry rot and mold from an old roof leak. The leak was repaired when the roof was replaced, but the damage caused by it was not. So that was our first undertaking when we moved in.

So, I’m biding my time waiting for our new kitchen remodel to begin. I’ve created a few renderings that I think will reflect the after photos pretty closely.  I’ll do a post of the ‘before and after’ photos when the construction is completed. The kitchen should be completed around the end of December. The other spaces in the house might take a bit longer. The exterior might be years from now. We won’t even start with the landscaping until springtime.

Kitchen:

triple-wide kitchen 3

triple-wide kitchen 2

triple-wide kitchen 1

Adjoining laundry room is also the pantry. Comes from Home Depot. Mine is primed for painting and the frame will be painted barn red as shown in the  rendering.

Adjoining laundry room is also the pantry. Comes from Home Depot. Mine is primed for painting and the frame will be painted barn red as shown in the rendering.

Dewils Cherry Cabinets in Frost stain. The door style is Oneida in the Designer Series. The countertop material is LG Himacs -Galaxy pattern in Cosmos colorway.

Dewils Cherry Cabinets in Frost stain. The door style is Oneida in the Designer Series. The countertop material is LG Himacs -Galaxy pattern in Cosmos colorway.

This is the backsplash material. I've not decided whether it will be installed vertically as shown in the renderings or this way. What do you think?

This is the backsplash material. I’ve not decided whether it will be installed vertically as shown in the renderings or this way. What do you think?

Master Bedroom & Bath:

Master Bath View 1

Master Bath View 1

Master Bath View 2

Master Bath View 2

Master Bedroom

Master Bedroom

Sitting Room/Den:

This is the "formal" end of the house. (See front door on left.) It's adjacent to the dining space. Notice the truss work on the ceiling that is the same as that in the dining room rendering.

This is the “formal” end of the house. (See front door on left.) It’s adjacent to the dining space. Notice the truss work on the ceiling that is the same as that in the dining room rendering.

Den, Dining Room and Entry Area:

Entry (Next to fireplace)

Entry (Next to fireplace)

View from Entry & Den into Dining Space

View from Entry & Den into Dining Space

View through Dining Space toward Entry.

View through Dining Space toward Entry.

Exterior/Landscaping:

Entry

Entry

Front View- we won't be watering grass anymore. We're planning to replace the landscaping with mostly succulents with some day lilies and canna . lilies. The rest is river rock and some large boulders and driftwood features.

Front View- we won’t be watering grass anymore. We’re planning to replace the landscaping with mostly succulents with some day lilies and canna . lilies. The rest is river rock and some large boulders and driftwood features.

I’ll add new spaces as I produce the renderings to this post.