Thursday, November 29, 2012

A Dramatic Bathroom Renovation

This is one of the most dramatic before and afters I've ever worked on. When the new owners went to contract on this large house, they knew they'd want to immediately do some updating. The original owners had built the house during the nineties, and while they had fastidiously maintained it, it was beginning to look dated. Working for Design Elite architects and Bergeron Builders, I came up with a plan to renovate the kitchen and master suite.

The "before" shot reveals plenty of space, but not much in way of style. The wood trim, dated wallpaper, and inefficient layout made the huge bath feel dark and gloomy.

Yes, that is a live palm tree. A small sunken bathtub was surrounded by a planter filled with greenery. More dark wood made the vaulted ceiling an eyesore rather than a feature.
And here is the "after". Double vanities were added, specially built to be the perfect height for each of the owners. Their wish for large sinks was satisfied by deep apron-front ones specifically tailored for use in bathrooms. The clean lines and dark finish of the cabinetry contrast against the silvery blue walls. The woodwork was painted a bright white, making the space clean and bright, and a dramatic pendant lets light dance across the space.
Where the palm tree once grew, now stands a huge shower with multiple shower heads, including one cleverly located in a thin stainless steel rail across the top of the thick side walls. Bands of polished and honed tiles provide visual interest and a multi-colored accent tile gives a punch of pattern. The glass wall that separates the shower from the freestanding contemporary tub ("Soiree" by Toto), is lit from below by miniature LED lights, allowing the glass to glow dramatically at night.
We painted the wood ceiling, opting to leave the planks in place for texture, and the original bricks were left, complimented by thin brown pinstripes in the 12 x 24 rectangular tiles.
These open-backed shelves were custom designed and built to provide a graphic statement against the brick walls and a spot for stowing towels and bath products.
Stay tuned for the before and after of the kitchen in this house!
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Tuesday, November 6, 2012

A Little Election Day Eye Candy

I am so looking forward to the end of the election season. The Facebook political posts, the incessant ads, the campaign sign litter. It seems that not only does everyone have an opinion, but they feel the need to share it and stubbornly defend it...often stepping way past the boundaries of civility in the process. Naturally, the best way I could think of to escape it was to take a look at some political houses. Care to join me?

Former President Bill and Secretary of State Hilary Clinton call this classic home in the Kalorama neighborhood of Washington, DC, home. The timeless "five over four and a door" house is one of my favorite styles. 

Former Vice President Gore calls this Nashville mansion home. The columned portico and white clapboards are pure southern.

The first President Bush calls this seaside charmer home. In Kennebunkport, Maine, the house enjoys panoramic water views. 

Hickory Hill, in McLean, Virginia, was briefly home to JFK. He sold it to his brother Robert, and he and Mrs. Ethel Kennedy raised their family there. Restrained and elegant, the symmetrical core has been added to several times over the years.

 Finally, we get to the homes of the two candidates currently vying for the White House. This brick house is the Chicago home of Barack and Michelle Obama. The heavy cast stone window heads and door surround make the house feel a bit like an old school to me. Presidential types must love symmetry!

The home that Mitt and Ann Romney shared for many years is somewhat reminiscent of Hickory Hill--a classically proportioned center flanked by wings added later on. I love how the garage addition has barn-like detailing. 

Lastly, another former Romney house. This one is in Utah, no doubt used when Mitt was running the winter Olympics there. Massive and rambling, I adore how the house steps down the hillside. Had to be quite a challenge to design and build!

So there you have it...that's as political as we're going to get at Southgate. Do you have a favorite political house? We'd love to hear about it in the comments!

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Thursday, November 1, 2012

Going Up

I've got three similar projects on the boards right now, second floor additions to one story homes. The wish lists for all three are similar: create a proper master suite on the first floor, and add two bedrooms and a rec room on the new second floor.

The first house is a simple ranch, about 1,600 square feet. The current owners renovated when they first bought the house, and weren't keen on tearing out all of their work to make the renovations happen. So other than expanding one of the original bedrooms for use as a dining room, the original interior was left untouched. A new master suite, large outdoor living area, and garage are added out back, and a large front porch will be a great place to watch the neighbors go by. In the new second floor, two bedroom suites are on either side of a large playroom, and there's even room for some future expansion over the new garage.(For "After" Pictures of this house, CLICK HERE)

The second house is a similar unassuming ranch house. The existing interior was in need of updates, but since there was a little more square footage, we were able to keep the existing footprint. Two of the original bedrooms and the original master bath were gutted on the main floor--combined into a modern suite with a proper master bath and walk in closets. A few walls were felled in the rear of the house, allowing a large redesigned kitchen to open up to the family room. Upstairs, the kids will enjoy large bedrooms, walk in closets, and share a large compartmented bath. From the street, the steeper roof and dormers give the old ranch a cottage appearance.

The final house is the oldest of the three...a cute shingled cottage on the edge of a fine neighborhood of classic old homes. Tired and somewhat neglected, the old gal is in need of more space and some TLC. The interior will be gutted, the rabbit warren of small rooms giving way to an open floor plan that will feel much larger than it is. A new master suite and laundry room will be added at the rear, and upstairs two bedrooms will share a hall bath, and a large media room will overlook the back yard. The swooping roofline keeps the cottage character of the neighborhood and creates a larger front porch.

Do you have a favorite? Weigh in here! And stay tuned for more photos as work gets underway.