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!

bathroom 12

bathroom 17

bathroom 14

bathroom 18

bathroom 13

bathroom 16

bathroom 15

bathroom 06

bathroom 05

bathroom 04

bathroom 03

bathroom 01

bathroom 10

bathroom 11

bathroom 09

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 3

Three weeks into the Spring 2018 One Room Challenge, and fortunately we’ve been able to make consistent progress at a comfortable pace, and get things steadily crossed off the list!

So let me show you what’s been happening around here since the last post. The powder room finally got a door, which we purchased at Lowe’s.

DOOR 01

Random but pertinent disclaimer: Please ignore the atrocious quality of some/most of these WIP shots, as Brian and I usually work on our home renovation projects at night (hence the horrific lighting) in our downtime. Haphazardly strung task lighting doesn’t exactly make for professional quality visuals…haha!

Where were we?

Oh, then the floor threshold went down and door trims were installed.

DOOR 02

As you can see, there’s some patching, sanding, and painting going on at this stage.

I was so incredibly lucky to score two vital elements for the powder room – the mirror and a dresser to be customized into the sink vanity – that were EXACTLY what I had in mind for this space, on Craigslist. For nearly next to nothing, too; the mirror was $30 dollars and the dresser a mere $20. Seriously unbelievable…some finds are truly fortuitous!

The mirror I had long envisioned for this little half-bath had to be opulent and statement-making, with a nod to the antiquities. I had come across this particular image of a mirror which perfectly illustrated what I had in mind, being sold for an exorbitant amount on 1stdibs, and used it as a reference in my mood board for this room:

ornate mirror

And after some exhaustive online searching, this is what I was able to miraculously locate on my local Craigslist:

MIRROR

Totally worth the two hour drive to the seller’s house! I am SO absolutely in love with it! It’s crafted of hand-carved wood with a beautifully aged gilt finish, and is in amazing condition given that it’s nearly seventy years old. The only thing that it needed was a bit of gluing and reinforcing on one corner, and it was ready to go!

I deeply wanted an art deco, waterfall style dresser to customize into the vanity for the sink, and Craigslist came to the rescue, again! Unfortunately, in my zeal for getting things done, I completely forgot to photograph the original piece before we started modifying it for our needs (you’ll see what I mean in a bit). But it is extremely similar to the dresser in this reference photo (taken from another Craigslist listing) that I used in my mood board:

art deco waterfall dresser vanity

So the dresser obviously has drawers, but our plan for converting it into a vanity for the sink involved repurposing said drawers into two large cabinet doors (so as to access the plumbing and increase interior storage), as well as removing the wooden top to eventually receive a marble top and vessel sink. And here’s how we did it:

SINK VANITY 07

Drawers removed. Time to cut away and remove the wooden top, using a cordless circular saw:

SINK VANITY 08

SINK VANITY 09

Here, you can see that the top is now off, and we’re reinforcing the “floor” of the dresser for stability.

Next, the drawers were completely dismantled and broken down into individual panels so that we could use the faces for the cabinet door fronts. The back part of the new cabinet doors required some additional sheathing, so we just used the sides of the old drawers. Like so:

SINK VANITY 06

SINK VANITY 02

Then, we installed the dresser/vanity in situ, in the powder room:

SINK VANITY 10

And these are the new cabinet doors, which we have not yet installed as we are waiting for special hinges to be delivered. Hopefully tomorrow! We will be (re)using the old drawer pulls on the new cabinet doors, but haven’t installed those yet either.

SINK VANITY 04

We also dry fitted a cultured marble counter top (ordered from Home Depot) and it was a perfect fit!

SINK VANITY 03

SINK VANITY 01

And currently that’s where we’re at! Check in next week to see more of our progress as we start tackling the wall treatment in here!

 

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ONE ROOM CHALLENGE – WEEK 2

So we’re onto the second week of the Spring 2018 One Room Challenge and things are solidly underway around here!

The first order of business involved priming and painting the walls of the powder room a flat white (we used Valspar Ultra-White as a base because these walls will be receiving a painted “treatment” of sorts in the coming weeks), and installing the cement board on the floor. Like so:

TILING CEMENT BOARD

And with the cement board installed, we were ready for tiling. As I had mentioned in the previous post, we had bought black and white marble tile from Home Depot and decided to configure them in a traditional, harlequin pattern. We initially made a rendering of the tile layout to give us some visual orientation before we started, to ensure that we sourced enough material and to serve as reference during the application if needed. With the mortar mixed, we were ready to go and the installation went fairly quickly and smoothly, given the small scale of the room. Nothing like immediate and gratifying results, right?

TILING 01

Because the bathroom is so tiny and only one person could comfortably spread out in it to do the job properly, Brian did the laying while I assisted from the outside, bringing him the tile, making sure the mortar stayed wet as well as keeping the wet tile saw “hydrated”, and, of course, documenting the process.

TILING 02

(My husband is going to absolutely hate me for using these photos because his underwear is showing in tragically cliche, contractor fashion, but these are the only shots I have…haha!)

TILING 04

Masonry, in any of its forms, is clearly not a clean affair…haha! Also, here you can see the printout of the layout we created and used for reference. As well as one of the multiple cans of La Croix that was consumed while finishing the job. Keeping it classy, guys…

TILING 03

Lots of measuring and cutting involved on the border tiles. But overall, it went quickly and we have now crossed wall prep and floor tiling off the list! And voila!

TILING 05

I chose black marble tiles that were heavily veined because I find them infinitely more beautiful and dramatic than the more uniform variety. They look more organic to me, and especially in this arrangement, they make the floors look classic and elegant as opposed to diner-y. No disrespect to the latter visual, of course, it just wasn’t the look I was going for in this space!

We also just ordered the toilet online from Lowe’s, which should be delivered soon as well. Because the powder room is rather diminutive, we opted for one of the smaller models out there, with a rounded seat, and ended up having to pay a bit more than what one would pay for a standard toilet, but such is life. A standard-size toilet with a larger footprint would simply take up too much space and overwhelm the room. We went with the Kohler San Souci 1-piece 1.28 GPF Single Flush Round Toilet and here it is:

TOILET

So that’s the status quo around here so far! I’ve just found THE absolute perfect mirror and art deco dresser to be customized into the bathroom vanity – both on Craigslist for a steal – and will be showing you those next time!

Stay tuned for more next week!

 

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ONE ROOM CHALLENGE – WEEK 1

So I’ve recently decided to join up as a guest participant in the Spring 2018 One Room Challenge, hosted by Lisa of Calling it Home and House Beautiful as their media partner! I’ve always watched from the virtual periphery as legions of talented designers (including both the featured and guest participants) embarked on this six week-long adventure, twice a year, working their unique magic in a single room of their choice. Since my husband, Brian, and I are in the midst of an endless remodel of our property – having initially renovated both the interior and exterior of our A-frame ourselves, and subsequently adding on a rather substantial addition which we are currently in the throes of doing the finish work on – I figured it would be fun to enlist in this collective design challenge and document the transformation, from beginning to end, of one of the rooms in the addition. We’re currently working on several areas in the downstairs, simultaneously, but for the One Room Challenge, we will be focusing on the teeny tiny powder room on that level.

At a whopping five by five feet in dimension, this little half-bathroom truly deserves to be bold and beautiful! Personally, I adore striking, statement-making bathrooms and have always envisioned this powder bath to be a jewel-box of sorts, fusing elements of the traditional and global with an eclectic and glamorous touch. Sounds slightly insane, perhaps, but that’s how I like my interiors. To be a bit unconventional and surprising in terms of their aesthetic overlaps.

So here is the space in question, in all of its crude and basic glory, with absolutely nothing to boast of other than unpainted drywall, sub-flooring, and its electrical and plumbing rough-ins:

powder room before 1

powder room before 2

powder room before 4

This is what needs to happen in here over the course of the next several weeks:

  • install cement board and marble floor tiles
  • prime and paint walls, as well as decide upon and execute finished wall treatment
  • source and install customized cabinet as vanity
  • install baseboard, trim, door and marble threshold
  • install cultured marble slab atop vanity
  • install sink, faucet, toilet and tie up any and all plumbing issues
  • source and install mirror
  • source and install two wall sconces and flush mount ceiling light
  • source and install towel rod and toilet paper holder/rod

I’m sure I’m missing something, and it’s possible that other considerations will arise as the project progresses, but that is the gist of the work involved. Admittedly, this is such a tiny room that I don’t foresee any serious and/or unexpectedly difficult issues emerging, and am just really looking forward to seeing this space unravel into something special!

Here’s a quickly thrown-together mood board which illustrates a bit of the “look and feel” I’ve long envisioned for this powder room. I actually don’t ever create concept boards when designing rooms in my own home (the ideas have usually been marinating for eternity in my decor-obsessed brain…haha!), but for the sake of documenting this process properly, I’ll show you what I have in mind:

moodboard 2

So let me break this down a bit…

  1. Gray and White Cultured Marble Slab from Home Depot. For the vanity top. Already ordered, not yet delivered.
  2.  I’m looking for two, dramatic wall sconces which incorporate both metal and chunky wooden beads. And I intend to customize these elusive and impossible to find lights with additional beading in striking hues to add a bit of global intrigue.
  3. (see 2. above)
  4.  The floor will be tiled in classic black and white marble, in a traditional harlequin pattern. Tile from Home Depot has already been ordered, delivered and is ready to go.
  5. Seeking an ornate, gilded mirror of baroque or neoclassical persuasion. This particular example came from 1stdibs and is apparently worth more than the GDP of several countries on this planet.
  6. The Queen of Spain wallpaper from Schumacher has long been a favorite of mine because I absolutely adore its graphic, high-contrast motif. My plan is to actually paint or block-print a bold pattern myself on the walls, so I am merely including this beloved wallpaper as a source of visual inspiration.
  7. Been scouring my local Craigslist (where I found this beauty) for an art deco, waterfall style cabinet to customize into the vanity for the sink. Fingers crossed it’ll be the one!

 

And the projected basic layout of the 5′ x 5′ room:

bathroom floor layout

 

As for the particular sink (it’s a black vessel sink featuring concentric tribal etchings around the circumference…it’s really unique!) and faucet (gilded and bamboo-like) that we’ll be using, both were sourced YEARS ago for this very purpose. And are currently packed away, somewhere deep in the recesses of the twenty foot shipping container/eyesore which is parked in our driveway as we finish all of the construction work on our property. But we’ll be unearthing them soon enough! And also, we have to source a toilet with a small footprint, as well as a flush mount ceiling fixture. Preferably sooner than later.

That’s pretty much the lowdown of what the plan is for this space…stay tuned for more next week! And be sure to check out the other participants on the official One Room Challenge page!

 

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GLOBAL EMBELLISHMENTS – THE BEAD CHEST

In my eyes, there is no better way to beautify than to layer on a bit of worldly charm – whether it be in interiors or fashion. (They’re interchangeable in so many ways, after all!) A well-placed touch of the exotic always infuses an element of global appeal, the kind which inspires wanderlust, intrigue and fascination. I’ve long been an aficionado of using artisanal wares of all types from far-flung corners of the world both in my home and my wardrobe, so whenever I come across an amazing source for beautiful product, I want to share it with those who also appreciate the same aesthetic!

The Bead Chest boasts the world’s largest selection of ethnic beads … and that is no exaggeration! Their incredible inventory is absolutely endless, from glass beads, to pottery beads, to bone beads and more – all carefully sourced and with the company mission being dedicated to supporting developing communities through ethical trading.

Here are a few strands of mixed beads, of miscellaneous material and origin (ranging from bone to pottery), which I cannot wait to wear as necklaces once the weather begins to cooperate around here and actually warm up!

BEAD CHEST 05

BEAD CHEST 04

Until then, I’ll be draping them in every pocket of our home. They’re such a gorgeous addition to any interior vignette, and truly add so much visual interest and textural beauty!

BEAD CHEST 03

BEAD CHEST 06

In partnership with The Bead Chest, they will be offering my readers 15% off all orders within the next twenty-four hours! (Just use the discount code ASTRID15 at checkout.) They are perfect to wear as is, to incorporate as a decorative home accent, or for any myriad of creative projects. Their selections are already so very affordable, so this is a deal you certainly want to check out and take advantage of! Have a look and be prepared to be blown away with what you find!

Happy Spring … and happy embellishing!

BEAD CHEST 01

 

  • 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

 

 

 

YOU’RE INVITED – DINING ROOM REVEAL WITH RAYMOUR & FLANIGAN

When we were deciding how to configure the new spaces in our addition, we knew we didn’t want to expand our kitchen in any way, despite it being miniscule. Some people find a big kitchen indispensable, but what we really lacked in our a-frame was more ample room for living, in general, and entertaining. I absolutely adore cooking and gathering around a table sharing food and wine with loved ones, so it was a priority to squeeze a dining space into the floor plan however we could! The downstairs level of our addition is essentially a large, open space, with a half-bathroom, guest/laundry room and media room off of the “grand room”. I’ve already shown you the living room portion of the open space, and today I’ll be sharing the dining area, which is contiguous to the kitchen. Admittedly, it is a bit of an unusual space because it is where the addition meets the original structure, so there was a rather awkward, angled wall to contend with. Let me show you what I  mean:

DINING ROOM BEFORE 01

The wooden paneling you see in the background is actually the roof of the a-frame, stripped of its shingles. Also, we had a new HVAC system installed to service both the old and new structure, and as a result, unsightly duct work was also something else we had to contend with in that already odd space.  Because the dining room is actually a bit on the small side, we decided to construct huge built-ins (using builder grade bi-fold doors) to plumb out the wall, which would ultimately be super functional for housing all of our dishware and related dining accoutrements. So this is how the process went:

DINING ROOM BUILT-IN 02

First, we framed out the built-ins. The opening between the a-frame and the dining room is on the left; we were only able to demolish the wall after the photo shoot for this post, but for purposes of understanding the layout of the space, that is actually the passageway into the kitchen.

DINING ROOM BUILT-IN 00

So much geometry involved in framing these out! But it allows for so much shelving and storage space for the embarrassing amount of glasses, transferware and tabletop accessories I’ve collected/horded over the years…haha! Oh, and the duct work was enclosed in a cabinet, out of sight but accessible if the need arises.

DINING ROOM BUILT-IN 03

Bi-fold doors in place. Now, time to customize with our own design! Lots of trim work at play here, especially because we didn’t want to incorporate hardware for opening the doors.

 

DINING ROOM BUILT-IN 04

And then, lots of patching, sanding, priming and painting ensued.

DINING ROOM BEFORE 04

An ornate ceiling medallion was installed as well. I wanted the space to feel both eclectic and elegant with a few special touches via the lighting choices, and ultimately let the furniture make its impact and serve its function. Personally, I prefer dining rooms which breathe a bit given that there is always so much animation and energy contributed by the people who gather in it!

DINING ROOM BEFORE 03

Fully painted and ready for illumination!

DINING ROOM BEFORE 05

And then the real fun began! As I had mentioned, I wanted to create a chic and airy dining room that wasn’t cluttered with the unnecessary. I chose a bold, Moroccan tribal rug from my collection to provide a bit of visual interest and comfort underfoot, and found the PERFECT assemblage of chairs, table and sideboard from my friends at Raymour & Flanigan to pull our little dining room together. There are SO many things I seriously love about this company, one of them being the sheer magnitude of variety they offer in terms of furniture styles. It’s truly such an asset to their brand! I’m the kind of person who generally appreciates a mix and match approach when it comes to decorating, and this is especially the case in a dining room setting. Meaning, I tend to steer clear of “sets” of any kind. I find that it always feels more unique, personalized and surprising to design a room with a looser and more imaginative approach…because I’m a believer that beauty is always found in the unexpected!

DINING ROOM 00

Like I said, I chose pieces which were essentially from four different sets. I wanted a robust, wooden table with unfussy lines and the option of a leaf (for when I’m entertaining bigger groups) and the Sutton Place Dining Table was exactly what I had in mind. It’s seriously perfect, with such a gorgeous patina!

I really wanted to mix up the seating not only in terms of their design, but also material. The masculine solidity of the Prato Dining Armchair, with its striking curvature and incredible craftsmanship, juxtaposed against the wiry, mid-century lines of the brass Penelope Chair provide the perfect contrast I was seeking for this grouping.

DINING ROOM 02

DINING ROOM 03

I fell in love with the Echo Park Buffet because of its incredibly handsome carvings and felt that its Brutalist style meshed beautifully with the rest of the chosen pieces. It’s a rather substantial sideboard/buffet offering lots of interior storage and was from an entirely different set, of course, but all of the elements interact so well with each other.

SIDEBOARD AND CHAIR

I had painted a canvas specifically to hang over it, which I then flanked with some vintage table lamps from my stash.

SIDEBOARD 04

SIDEBOARD 07

And there you have it…the makings of our little dining room which I cannot wait to put to good use and make endless memories in!

DINING ROOM 04

DINING ROOM 01

 

  • 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