Friday, February 27, 2015

Bathroom Renovation: Gathering Inspiration

After posting so many ugly pictures of our bathroom this week, I feel like I have to put something pretty up on the blog!

While I have been pinning to my Beautiful Bathrooms board on Pinterest for years, only a few images I've saved really apply to the lower level bathroom.

This first bathroom is a bit more grande then we'll be going. We don't have tall ceilings in the bathroom and we won't be doing custom millwork or a custom vanity (at least, that isn't the plan at this point), but the bathroom is configured the same way as ours and I love all the marble.

Via the Mix and Chic blog

Because we plan on making the room fairly monochromatic, I'm hoping to lay the floor tiles in our bath in a herringbone pattern. I hope to have grout lines that are just a little bit more narrow than in the bathroom below, but the overall look is similar to what I'm hoping for.

The website where I originally found this image is gone! I can't find the source.

As for the walk-in shower, ours won't be quite as wide as the one below, but we're hoping for a similar look - subway tile and a frameless (or nearly frameless) glass enclosure. Marc would love a bench in the shower, but don't think we have quite enough room for that. We'll talk to our contractor about it to see what the options are.

The blog on which I found this is deleted. I can't find a source!

The next step is to start making material and fixture choices. I created a Google Drive doc to track items as we select them. I'll be checking with our local Ferguson and Nolan showrooms on fixtures, but I think buying online might be the most budget-friendly (and easiest...hello, delivery to the door) option.

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Thursday, February 26, 2015

Bathroom Remodeling: First Things First

While we looked at bathroom tile weeks ago, we were being casual about it - we didn't have measurements, we hadn't looked at fixtures, and we didn't have any contractors retained. I abandoned thinking about the bathroom because I got distracted by some other things, but Marc pulled me back to task yesterday with his suggestion that we move forward with the bathroom sooner rather than later.

We aren't going to change the configuration of the room, but we are going to remove the bathtub and put in a walk-in shower. It's an accessible option and it also lets Baxter, the dog who is afraid of bathtubs, get washed without being traumatized.

I found a fantastic article on Houzz about the amount of space needed for each component in a bathroom.

Tubs are typically 30-32" wide, per the Houzz piece. In our bathroom, the tile around the bath and shower areas extends 34" from the back wall. The room is long enough that we can make the shower area a little wider than those standard measurements. .

The Houzz piece recommends 32-36" for the toilet space in the bathroom and anywhere from 30-48" for a vanity with a single sink. The wood board that was attached to the wall to hold a towel bar and towel ring (side-by-side?) served as a great straight edge to measure this space. We have about 77" of space to work with here.

From here, I'm going to look at a few of the larger fixtures - the toilet and vanity. If I can settle on those, I hope to be inspired to set an overall scheme.

While I've been doing this, Marc's been reaching out to contractor friends to see if anyone we already know has room in their calendar for our project.

I love making plans instead of just talking abut making plans! I realize that we are still a long way from starting the work, but it feels good to have a direction.
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Wednesday, February 25, 2015

When One House Project Leads to Others

Yesterday, I talked about how we are conflicted between updating one of our three baths or refinishing the floors on our second level. What I didn't mention is that the second floor has three projects related to the floors that need to be done as well.

The previous owner of our house had an addition built onto the back of the house that added a room to our walk-out basement and to our master bedroom. I never mentioned that the master bedroom addition isn't just an extra room, like I showed on my original floor plan. It includes an exterior door.

My floor plan skills are lacking, but it kind of looks like this:

That door freaks me out. Like I imagine robbers at the door on a regular basis. Marc originally thought it was a safety feature, but after the inspector told us the stairs that lead down to our deck weren't code compliant and he showed us that they aren't supported properly, Marc was ready to rip them off the side of the house.The exterior door has to go before the floors are done so there isn't a big square to patch up and then the room needs drywall.

Marc thinks we should do all of the bathrooms before we do the floors because there will so much heavy work going on (we plan on doing major work upstairs to reconfigure the layout).

I was originally convinced that floors HAD to come first, but I see his point about doing the bathrooms before the floors. We can live with scratched up, old floors and I am going to distract myself from looking at furniture all the time by looking at bathroom fixtures.

Next up: work on the lower level bath, which will be much like the condo bath renovation in that we aren't moving any walls or supply lines. Once that's done, we'll be ready to talk to some professionals about the upper level baths since those won't be as simple as the first bathroom.
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Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Setting Priorities when the To Do List is a Mile Long

I am admitting to myself that I have been horrible about setting priorities when it comes to this house. The sheer number of things that need to be done is overwhelming and it's so much easier to fixate on buying a piece of furniture instead of tackling a major project.

Right now, we have to decide if we want to continue making plans to renovate the lower level bathroom (the first of three bathroom projects) or get the floors on the 2nd level done so we can more forward with our master bedroom. After the upstairs floors are done, I know I'll want to have the main floor done as well. That might push the bathroom project back a year.

On one hand, having one finished bathroom would be nice for us and make me less embarrassed to have guests. I hate sending someone into an old bathroom. It would mean having one room DONE. That would be such a treat after living in this place for a year and a half.

This is the bathroom we'd do first. So far, we had the ceilings scraped and refinished, the toilet seat was switched out (the weekend after we closed!), and the rest has just been scrubbed a whole lot. 

On the other hand, the floors are a huge project and it'd be great to knock them off the list sooner rather than later. The bathrooms function, they're just retro. We barely use the 2nd floor because the rooms don't really function for us yet.

There's where we have been with the master since last year. I painted it when we moved in and bought our gorgeous Vanguard bed during a sale at the Artful Lodger. I haven't put anything else in there because we'll have to clear all all the furniture to have the floors done.

What would you do? The lower level bathroom or the second level floors?

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Monday, February 23, 2015


How many times have you not been able to stop thinking about something you passed up while shopping? I doesn't happen all that often for me, but for the last few days, I've been thinking about something in this picture:

The chair is great and the desk is awesome, but I have been thinking about that coat rack with the horse heads. Shopping for something like this is so far down the line that I didn't even bother looking at the price tag when I saw this at Green Front Furniture in Manassas a few weeks ago. I mean, this is still a house where there are paint swatches everywhere. There isn't a single room that I consider "done" right now.

Imagine my surprise when I bought myself Erin Gate's Elements of Style book a few days ago and started reading the first section on entry ways and saw this:

Erin's entry / Photo by Sarah Winchest

I am almost certain that they are the exact same items. Doesn't the rack look great on the wall?

By the way, I've been so busy in recent years that I haven't kept up with many bloggers. I read the blogs of the people I consider my "blog friends," but haven't been reading the bigger bloggers just for lack of time. Picking up Erin Gates' book was a nice reminder of what I liked about her blog. The writing was personal and the tone felt sincere.

There is some repetition in the book, but I have to imagine it's because Erin's clients sometimes see her blog and say "I want that!" Someone in the Amazon reviews was irritated by it, but I saw it as a hint that the owner of the space was a blog reader.
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Friday, February 20, 2015

Shop Tour: Green Front Furniture in Manassas

I saved my favorite shop tour (which is more like a warehouse tour) for the last post of the week.

Green Front Furniture is synonymous with Farmville, a small town about an hour south of Charlottesville here in Central Virginia. Did you know that Green Front has a Northern Virginia outpost? I can't believe that it took me ten years of business travel in NOVA to realize that there was a massive warehouse full of gorgeous furniture right in Manassas. I recently made my first visit and I was completely blown away by the quality and prices of what I saw.

The warehouse is in an industrial area of Manassas that has started to develop more in recent years. The road where Green Front is located doesn't have much on it, but the asphalt has turn-offs already created for future roads (if you have seen some of the new development in Loudoun and Prince William counties, you know those little turn-offs that go into grass. There is a "am I really in NOVA" quality to this place because it is so quiet!

Just past that power line pole (no idea what they are called when they are that big!) was a crew building the next segment of the line.

The front of the warehouse is where employees park and enter. The public entrance is on the back side of the building and is marked by a large, black awning.

There isn't much information online about this place. Some of the reviews are really bad. There are people complaining about "old" furniture that is "overpriced." I think those people must shop for furniture at Ikea because this place is incredible. The brands are some of the ones you might see in top shelter magazines. I saw a lot of Hickory Chair, Henredon, Maitland-Smith, Hancock & Moore, Harden, Century, get the point. Some items are tagged "from market" and some are definitely recognizable from ads. 

Some reviews also complain about the service, but I found everyone to be so incredibly nice here. I had car trouble and a woman at the front desk quickly looked up the nearest gas station for me. One woman gave me her card and showed me how to read the price tags. Another man checked in with me after I had been browsing for a while. I really enjoyed my visit.

I'll let the pictures speak for themselves. This first set is mostly Hickory Chair furniture.

In that corner is a chest I considered for the front hall. Retail on it is about $5,600. It was $2,600 here.

Of course I had to take a close up..

This huge bed, which had to be 8-10 feet tall, was about $5,500.

I thought my search for a hall chest was over. I loved this! It had some chipping on the leg, though. Pretty lamp, too!

I loved this chest as well! The price was unbelievable.

Lots of Chiang Mai Dragon.

The pair of chairs in the photo below almost came home with me.

Just a pile of furniture!

This vignette was so cool...not right for my house, but someone could have an instant living room if they wanted it!

This demi-lune was so interesting. The top was beautiful.

All of these queen headboards were about $520. Beautifully  made, nice tufts, lots of nailhead trim. 

Instant wine cellar!

Navy blue...and the knobs and drawer liners were so pretty!

I love puzzle tables!

There's a second section of the building for more "casual" furniture. There were some cool bar cabinets in there. Funny that I just took pictures of the pretty things. 

10154 Harry J Parrish Boulevard
Manassas, VA 20109
 M-Sat 10 AM - 6 PM
Sunday 1 PM - 5 PM

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