THE EYE WANTS TO TRAVEL – MASTER BATHROOM REVEAL

And so we have FINALLY completed our master bathroom, after a ridiculously protracted build with so many interruptions and delays, as is always the case with DIY operations! Without any further ado, let’s just get to the visuals showcasing the before, during and after, with as brief of an explanation of the process as is necessary to make sense of this rather convoluted project…haha!

So here is a “before” picture of the space where we decided to create our master bathroom. It’s essentially a 5 x 12 foot sliver of awkward real estate that runs parallel to our (unfinished) master bedroom and which meets the angled roofline of the A-frame. Confusing, I know. Because it was even more confusing to carve a functioning room out of this bizarrely configured area…haha! The other intrinsic challenge presented by this space is that it’s windowless, and as such, has a predisposition to feeling a bit cavernous. But as we’ve been renovating our modified A-frame for a few years now, we are more than used to confronting unusual architectural situations and figuring out a way to maximize each potential square foot.

This is the space in a rather early phase, down to the studs. At this stage, we had already inserted the tub and tiled the surround though, as well as completed the electrical installation and plumbing rough ins.

In the above photo, you can see the steeply angled roofline of the A-frame on the left, and how this space is contiguous. We decided to plumb out the walls and take advantage of the unused cavity by creating some recessed wall niches as well as an inset storage cabinet.

And so the real construction begins! Walls are sheathed and up goes the cement board as the plan is to tile the entire bathroom, from floor to ceiling.

Building out the recessed niches and inset cabinet between the A-frame roof and the bathroom walls in what is possibly one of the most unforgiving work spaces…haha! Honestly, I can’t even begin to describe the extent of the construction weirdness we encounter here on the daily.

Making some headway…

Here, things have started to take some shape, as the cement board has been fully installed and the tiling has commenced. Ah the joys of endless tiling…

Because the bathroom has no natural light source, I opted for white subway tile and marble panels throughout (with the occasional black trim detail) so as to keep the space from feeling too much like a dungeon. I ultimately wanted this bathroom to feel elegant and airy despite its obvious limitations, but with a deliberate injection of drama because that’s just how I like my interiors. And I truly believe that small spaces, bathrooms especially, benefit from a well administered dose of the dramatic!

Oh, and if you’re curious as to how and where we have our tools set up while we work, let us please have a collective moment of silence for the sad, sad state of our (future) master bedroom. Which continues to serve us well as a makeshift construction yard…haha!

The entry to the master bathroom from our bedroom will feature a sliding door, and the bathroom will eventually lead to our dressing room/closets in the future. I know, more architectural confusion, but that’s par for the course when dealing with a modified A-frame. All this to say that we had to add a pocket door to the back end of the bathroom in order to eventually access other parts of the house. In the foreground, you can see where the framework has been added to accommodate the pocket door.

This is the view from the bathroom into the adjoining space which will eventually lead to our closet areas, right before we installed the pocket door.

So moving on from the mundanity of walls and thresholds…haha! We decided to customize a standard pine cabinet from Lowe’s to create a vanity of our own design…

Which evolved into this…

And the flooring was where I wanted the room to show its personality, or should I say, evoke my heritage in a visually symbolic way. Being Portuguese, I have always been enamored with the artisanal beauty of our beloved tile tradition. And despite now living in the woods of New Hampshire, I wanted to be reminded daily of my first home, with its cacophony of colorful tiles, which despite their roots in history, still present beautifully in modern settings. So we used a variety of cement tile patterns, from the riotously chromatic to bold black and white, to create an abstract floor mosaic which would bring life to the space. I wanted this weird, little bathroom to be a sort of glamorous and exotic, old world meets new world refuge because, as we all know, the eye wants to travel…at least mine does!

So here is our master bathroom, after all was said and done! I plan on having it professionally photographed in the future, but for purposes of this reveal, my less than optimal cell phone shots will have to do!

This is the long view, taken from behind the pocket door. This perspective gives an idea of the long, narrow shape of this space with the angled wall area where we incorporated the tub and shower.
There are no words for how much I absolutely ADORE this blue Moroccan urn which I purchased from my friend Meg, purveyor of global goods extraordinaire at Tierra del Lagarto … I have to give this amazing shop a shout out for being the most impressively vast resource for decorative wares sourced from all around the world!
The long view from the other side of the bathroom, taken while crouched in the bathtub…haha! Here you can see the fully installed pocket door. The generously sized mirror was a fortuitous salvage find which we framed out and mounted on the wall, and which also helps to bounce light around in this tight space.
We had a thin, marble slab cut for our bathroom vanity, which we topped with a deep, rectangular vessel sink. The mirror was an upcycled, thrifted find from many years ago which has previously lived in other parts of the house, but has now found its permanent home here. Love the ornate detailing and its juxtaposition against the sea of marble and subway tile.
This is the view as you enter from the master bedroom. Currently working out the sliding door situation which will provide privacy!
Some shower details. For decorative effect, we created a chevron-patterned panel to highlight the shower fixture.
Another perspective of the entry. You can see reflections in the vanity mirror of the beam work we’ve working on in the master bedroom. Always juggling a million and one projects around here!
More details. The geometric, wooden accent table (yet another lucky, thrifted find!) is perfect for stacking towels and clothing while soaking in the tub.
We installed a rounded, glass shower door in our tub enclosure. I’ve never been a big fan of shower curtains, and in this case, the bathroom feels infinitely more open with the advantage of the material’s transparency.
Visual moments are all in the details, right? The marble-clad niches make me so incredibly happy, as they provide additional storage and dimension to the walls!
Another layout view, this time from where the toilet is positioned…haha! Here you can see the traditional shower fixture and how we highlighted its placement with the decorative tile panel.
We created a dynamic floor pattern using a variety of bold cement tiles from Villa Lagoon. (Not sponsored, but thought I would disclose the source in case someone was curious!) Great company, with beautiful and well-priced inventory!
I sheathed the orb pendant lights with silk chain covers in a wine color. I absolutely love the tactile and romantic quality it lends to what is an otherwise modern light fixture!
Here is our inset wall cabinet, which has deep storage for stashing towels, toiletries, etc. We also mounted a pair of hooks on the adjacent wall for hanging robes and/or towels.
Partial view of the interior of the inset wall cabinet and niche.
The back (and most practical) end of the bathroom, where we placed a hamper (and trash can, which is essentially obscured in the photo by the toilet).
Customized vanity close-up. We designed it to be a functional but whimsical statement piece in the space, with a nod to art deco design.
Mirror reflections. And that gorgeous blue urn, which was THE perfect treasure to animate and anchor this corner!

And there you have it! Thanks so much for stopping by and accompanying our journey as Brian and I continue to tackle the final spaces in our home. Up ahead…three bedrooms…wish us luck as we try to keep our sanity intact amidst the renovation chaos…haha!

*Images and text by Astrid Insieme

COZYING UP TO THE HOLIDAYS WITH MAGICLINEN

It’s that time of year again, with the holidays fast approaching and the anticipatory desire to add some special touches to our homes as we open our doors to family and friends in celebration of this special season! As I am always keen to incorporate elements that bring comfort, quality and elegance to our spaces during these festive months, I was ecstatic when the opportunity arose to partner with the amazing team at MagicLinen … they are a company that I have long admired for their superb offerings and sound production methods, so it is an absolute delight to share some of their gorgeous goods with you!

But first, let me share a little bit of backstory for those unfamiliar with the brand. MagicLinen is a small, family-run operation based in Lithuania which specializes in handmade linen textiles for the home, with an accompanying clothing line as well. Each beautiful piece is expertly handcrafted in their studio by artisans using only high-quality, European OEKO-Tex certified linen. One of the distinctive features of their organic linen is that it is stonewashed, a technique employed to soften the fabric without resorting to the use of any toxic chemicals, which ultimately lends THE most incredibly soft feel to the fabric. With a most exquisite array of colorways, ranging from muted, dusty pastels to a deliciously inky aubergine, they have produced such a stunning collection of fine fabrics used in bedding, tablecloths, napkins, aprons, curtains, garments, etc. which are readily shipped to customers worldwide. What I particularly adore about their textiles is how their linens manage to look and feel both casual and luxe at once, which is a quality I appreciate as it just amplifies the decorating possibilities!

‘Tis the season, of course, so I couldn’t help but choose a set of their festive table runner and napkins to create a holiday tablescape in our dining room, juxtaposing natural and refined elements…

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This very merry set is comprised of the Limited Edition Red Pom Pom Trim Linen Table Runner and the accompanying Limited Edition Red Pom Pom Trim Linen Napkin Set.

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This set is so perfectly simple and striking in its appeal!

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Because MagicLinen is especially known and loved for their bedding, I also chose one of their cozy waffle blankets and a pair of their linen pillowcases to use in our tiny guest room. I just love the interplay of the yellow and orange hues (their colorways are so fun to mix and match with!) in this bed I dressed just in time for holiday visitors.

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I am so enamored with the textural beauty that is their Cinnamon Waffle Blanket!

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Their Moss Yellow Linen Pillowcase is such a gorgeous shot of saturated color and so lovely to the touch. There’s nothing better than sleeping on crisp linen!

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And also, the blanket is perfect as a throw to keep warm on these chilly winter nights! It can move from bedside to fireside very easily…

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Now is the perfect time of year to treat yourself or a special someone with an amazing piece of artisanal linen which will certainly be cherished for posterity…check out their full collection of beautiful product at MagicLinen! Happy Holidays, everyone!

  • I have partnered with MagicLinen and received product in exchange for this post. All expressed opinions are 100% my own.
  • *Images and text by Astrid Insieme

VIGNETTE REVAMPING WITH THE BEAD CHEST

With the holidays a recent memory and the new year upon us, I always feel that our interior spaces need a deliberate dose of refreshing. Not an overhaul, just a well-measured injection of new energy to revitalize the vibe in our homes to better align with the freshness of the new season. Organic elements, in particular, provide such a dynamic accent in home décor as they ground an environment and connect the senses to our more elemental core. And oftentimes, the smallest of details are what deliver the most aesthetic impact in a vignette, which ultimately sets the tone in a designated space. With these notions in mind, I was more than delighted to partner with The Bead Chest once again as I set out to add some novelty and interest to certain pockets of my home!

For those of you unfamiliar with The Bead Chest, they are purveyors of the most vastly impressive selection of beads I have ever come across, ranging from glass beads, to seed beads, to pottery beads, to my personal favorite, chunky and exotic bone beads which are as beautiful worn as they are displayed on a coffee table. I especially love this company’s laudable social mission of carefully sourcing their product through ethical trading in support of developing communities. What’s not to love?

Since I have an undying penchant for all things graphic and global in feel, I chose a combination of bone beads and a delicate strand of blue seed beads in the most enchanting turquoise hue. And here are some images of how I’ve styled them around our house!

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The beauty of these is just how effortlessly they can be added to a space, and yet create such a stunning – and interesting – visual effect! Drape them casually in a bowl, pile them on a shelf for added texture and intrigue…the options are truly endless!

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In partnership with The Bead Chest, they will be offering my readers 15% off all orders! (Just use the discount code AST15 at checkout on their site www.thebeadchest.com!) They are absolutely perfect to wear as is, to incorporate as a decorative home accent, or for use in any kind of creative project you can imagine. Their selections are already incredibly affordable, so this is a deal you definitely want to check out and take advantage of!

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  • I have partnered with The Bead Chest and received product in exchange for this post. All expressed opinions are 100% my own.

*Images and text by Astrid Insieme

CREATING A CHILL MEDIA LOUNGE WITH RAYMOUR & FLANIGAN

It’s been quiet around here on the blog, but we’ve admittedly been incredibly busy! In our quest to finalize the remaining spaces in the downstairs of our addition, we have recently been working on a rather oddly-shaped room which essentially acts as a pass-through area between our new living room (which we were also fortunate enough to have decorated in partnership with Raymour & Flanigan!) and the stairs leading to the upper level. It’s a bit of a tricky space not only because of its bizarre L-shaped configuration, but also because of its inherently petite dimensions, unsightly HVAC duct work on one of the recessed walls that needed to be camouflaged somehow, AND the fact that this weird and tiny space is open and visible to the living room. Here’s what I’m talking about:

MEDIA LOUNGE BEFORE 00

The new living room is off to the right, with a double wide passage. Notice the lovely HVAC duct that somehow needed to be concealed within the new design for this little space.

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This is the back wall of the room…

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And a view of the other wall in the room, with the start of the staircase leading to the upper floor.

So the plan for this space was to create a little lounge of sorts where we can chill and listen to music, with drink in hand. And ultimately, it would serve as a bit of an informal extension of the new living room so that people can still interact and flow between the two areas. With its defined purpose as being predominantly a media room though, the two major elements of consideration in the design were to include sufficient and attractive storage for our vinyl collection and all the necessary players and components, as well as cool and comfortable seating scattered throughout.

The first order of business was priming and painting the drywall, then designing a built-in for the recessed wall with the HVAC duct. Since it’s a narrow and recessed space, I thought it would be a perfect spot to store and display all of our vinyl in an artful way which didn’t take up too much space in an already small room.

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My husband is clearly very happy to finally have a designated spot to house his music collection…haha!

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Prepping for staining…

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And voila…

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With the built-in finished, baseboard and trims installed, walls primed and painted, and lighting installed…now the decorating fun could begin!

In partnership with Raymour & Flanigan, I had the pleasure of choosing some absolutely AMAZING chairs to incorporate in this space. I am honestly always floored by the variety and quality of their pieces, and I was ecstatic to have had the opportunity to select an incredibly unique array of accent chairs from their collection that brings so much beauty and function to our little media room. I wanted the space to be modern/graphic/bold given that it is indeed a media room, so I opted for sculptural and iconic shapes for the chairs. And I am so in love with how everything came together!

So here’s a peek from the living room, looking into the media lounge…

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And here is the space in its entirety!

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Despite the room being on the small side, it was important for me to create a few different zones, punctuated by seating and some kind of accompanying table or surface. Along one wall, I placed a vintage bar cart (it was actually an unloved, roadside find but was easily elevated to something rather special with some matte black paint and new brass hardware and casters) and the GORGEOUS Chilton Accent Chair in all of its chocolatey glory. I seriously can’t get over the sumptuous form and comfort of this striking little chair!

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It’s the perfect spot to pour a drink and perch!

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Sumptuous and striking chair number two comes in the form of the stunning Verona Accent Chair. She’s crafted from buttery, ruched leather and is an absolute showstopper! Am seriously enamored with the design of this very special piece.

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The opposite wall is graced by yet another beauty of a chair with unique, sculptural lines. This time, the Omega Accent Chair steals the scene with her bold, blue beauty.

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And the final zone is one which I’ve unofficially dubbed the “man niche” (no “man cave” around here, as I truly can’t stand the sound of that expression…haha!), because I wanted this particular corner to be my husband’s exclusive spot. He has long been an aficionado of mid-century modern design, and I was SO very ecstatic to find an Eames-style lounger and ottoman that was beyond PERFECT in look and feel, and encompasses everything he appreciates in a lounge chair. The Grayson Lounge Chair and Ottoman is masculine, tough, iconic in design and so ridiculously comfortable that it’s virtually impossible to remove yourself from. It is seriously the most perfect chair for chilling!

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And there it is! One more room wrapped up in our ongoing renovation here at Insieme House…just one more space to put the finishing touches on downstairs, then we’re moving on upstairs!

 

  • I have partnered with Raymour & Flanigan and received product in exchange for this post. All expressed opinions are 100% my own.

*Images and text by Astrid Insieme

 

 

 

 

 

ONE ROOM CHALLENGE – WEEK SIX – THE FINAL REVEAL

And so we’ve finally reached the finish line of the Spring 2018 One Room Challenge  … after six weeks of designing and doing, our little powder room is ready for her big debut!

Just to recap, this half-bathroom is a tiny, 5 x 5 ft space which previously found itself in this very crude state:

powder room before 2

My vision was to create a bold and dramatic jewel box of a room, fusing both traditional and global aesthetics in a way which felt fresh, chic and unique. I’ve always had a penchant for statement-making powder rooms, and I truly believe that the smaller the space, the more liberties you can take with your design choices! In essence, make it memorable. This powder room came together thanks to some amazing Craigslist finds, material from Home Depot and Lowe’s, some last-minute Amazon purchases, my amazing husband’s carpentry and masonry skills, and my own personal artistry on the walls. (You can check out previous posts to see the evolution.) And here she is now!

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We are so very happy with how it came together … thanks so much for following along and accompanying our design journey these past several weeks! Don’t forget to check out all of the other participants to see their transformations as well. A huge thanks to the One Room Challenge and House Beautiful for organizing and hosting this incredibly fun event!

 

 

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ONE ROOM CHALLENGE – WEEK 5

We’re in the homestretch of the Spring 2018 One Room Challenge, with only a week left before the final reveal!

So let me quickly catch you up on what we’ve been doing in our little powder room since the last post. Basically, we’ve been tending to the final installations of all the disparate elements to pull the space together. This past Sunday, our plumber took care of installing the following:

Our new Kohler toilet (purchased at Lowe’s), which ended up being a perfect fit in our tiny half-bathroom. She was pricey, but so worth it!

TOILET

As well as our glorious new sink and faucet, which I had sourced years ago in preparation for this eventual room:

SINK

I can’t even properly express how much I love this vessel sink! It is absolutely GORGEOUS! As well as this antique brass faucet, with its chic, bamboo design:

FAUCET

I found a matching toilet paper holder and towel rod (on Amazon) with an antique brass finish which is extremely similar to that of the faucet. Thankfully, they just arrived the other day and were installed last night. I really love how minimal and understated they are, while still evoking a bit of a glamorous feel:

TOILET PAPER HOLDER

(These are the stock product photos from Amazon, obviously…haha!) We ended up installing the towel rod on the side of the wooden vanity as opposed to the wall, as you’ll see in the final reveal!

TOWEL BAR

We also installed the mirror, as well as the lighting. For the overhead light, I purchased an art deco-inspired flush mount fixture (Amazon to the rescue, once again!) with antique brass detailing and a low profile:

PENDANT FLUSH MOUNT

And the two wall sconces, which I’ve shown you before, were also finally installed:

wall sconce

But prior to installation, these guys got a bit of a facelift, as I wanted to infuse them with a bit of drama, color, and global flavor. I had a collection of wooden beads from India which I decided would be ideal to embellish the sconces with:

BEAD CRAFTING 02

BEAD CRAFTING 01

And I’m afraid that’s all I can show you at the moment! Check in next week to see the final reveal…I’m so incredibly excited to address the final details and start shooting in there!

 

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ONE ROOM CHALLENGE – WEEK 4

And here we are at week four of the Spring 2018 One Room Challenge where the most recent development has been tackling the wall treatment in our tiny powder room. My vision was always to incorporate a graphic, high-contrast pattern in this space. Reminiscent of, but not exactly like this:

queen of spain wallpaper

You may remember that I previously shared this in my mood board as a reference to the look and feel I was aiming for. It is the Queen of Spain wallpaper by Schumacher, and this beauty has been a longtime favorite of mine. I really wanted the boldness and drama of a striking wallpaper, but ultimately, wanted to create the art myself directly on the walls. There is something incredibly visually appealing about the naivete of hand stamping (former art student here, obviously…haha!), and it was a technique that I thought would work perfectly in this 5×5 ft half bathroom. In keeping with the naivete of the approach, I didn’t want to overthink the materials either…and in fact, they presented themselves most serendipitously. Our place is essentially one massive construction site at the moment, and among the miscellaneous array of debris scattered here and there, there were some leftover rigid foam insulation sheets kicking around. Which we were repeatedly trampling over and which would randomly break off into irregular shards. And it all of a sudden just clicked: they would be the perfect elements for creating a free-form, graphic pattern that would read as primitive and abstract all at once. Perfect!

WALLS 01

See the pile of them on the left hand side of the photo? They naturally broke off in ragged triangles, squares and rectangles, so to balance out the arsenal of geometrical shapes,  I carved out a circular form as well. The texture and materiality of the foam would also mean that I would never get a uniform effect from the stamp, which was also important to me, aesthetically speaking, as I was striving for spontaneity in the overall surface treatment. Sounds intense, but this was SUCH an easy and fun application…I just applied black latex paint (flat in this case) onto my foam stamps and let things roll:

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(Please ignore my frightening appearance…it was cold and I was dressed like a DIYing vagabond as a result…hahah!)

WALLS 02

And one by one, I would hand stamp the wall. I wanted the process to be extemporaneous and instinctive, so I didn’t measure or plan out any specific configuration for the layout…I just made sure to keep adequate spacing and a pleasing composition in mind and just rolled with it, quite literally:

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So that’s just a quick peek, as I can’t give too much away at this point. But you get the idea!

Also, I finally sourced the pair of elusive wall sconces which I will be further embellishing before their final installation. I had to purchase them from two separate shops on Amazon, as each vendor only had one:

wall sconce

 

And lastly, we permanently installed the cultured marble counter on the vanity. It was previously dry fitted, but we took it off when I was working on the walls. We’ve also marked out the holes to be drilled out for the sink drain and faucet installation:

VANITY COUNTERTOP

This weekend we’ll be finalizing the plumbing situation by installing the toilet, sink and faucet. As well as sorting out the lighting fixtures (sconces and overhead). Stay tuned for the penultimate week of the challenge…the final reveal is just around the corner, guys!

 

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