Before and After: Thirteenth Avenue Residence

 
 

I knew the first time I spoke with these homeowners that this was going to be a special project. Looking through my notes from that first conversation, I have a big note on the side of the page, "She is WONDERFUL!" I couldn't have been more right. I enjoy them more with every visit.  

The couple is newly retired and is ready to reward their years of hard work by surrounding themselves with beauty and luxury. We started with the master bath because it was in the direst need of improvement. The vinyl floor and dated materials were ready to go.  Once the master bath was completed, we moved on to the "hall bath", powder bath then finished with the kitchen.

I love a project like this, where the project is aching for improvement. It gives me a wonderful feeling of "saving" a space.  I started working with this client in 2014, and the final project (the kitchen) was finished in 2017, so it was a long, laid-back process. These two became family. Because this project began shortly after beginning my business, my processes for saving and documenting work have changed substantially, and I do not have all the process work at my fingertips, but I will try to show you the decision making and development of the project as much as possible. 


Master Bath:

The original bath was in MUCH need for updating. The floor was peeling up, the shower was small and cramped, the tub was... well you see it.

The fuschia tile throughout the bath was heavy and the large pieces that it covered were no help. This bathtub creaked and gave the homeowners the impression that it was about to fall out from under them... and they weren't far off!

I may have to do some digging to find the original process work on this one, but in the meantime, I'll give you a bit of my thought process. I cringe when I see vinyl floors. So many people put them in for their durability, but they scratch, peel, show scuff marks, and bubble, not to mention the environmental impact. The material contains dioxins and often VOC's, harmful toxins with a broad spread. If the material itself isn't an issue of health and danger to the environment, the next issue is the adhesives that must be used to install it. The life cycle is 10-20 years, which is longer than carpet, but frankly, I don't advise either. Structures used to be built to last 100 years, let's aim for that goal again! Furthermore, vinyl is not biodegradable and is nearly impossible to recycle most of it. I cannot be more opposed to vinyl.

What the space had going for it, was its size and natural daylight. I worked to emphasize both of these features in the new design and create a connection to the outdoors that was previously missing in the original space.

Of course, the vinyl had to go, and while I'd love to say that I'm opposed to fuschia tile, there's a place for every color... but maybe not with this level of domination! 

I get so many inquiries about the new, beautiful tub, and it is beautiful indeed. Three-hundred gorgeous pounds of tub, that required the stair rail to be removed and additional joists to be added to the floor for proper support. But, the matte warm finish and elegant line were so worth all the effort, at least that is the impression I get from the contractor who was such a gem to work with and so thorough! 

I love to create a separation when possible with double sink vanities. A central tower can do the trick sometimes, but usually I find a simple subtle height or depth difference creates the perception of so much individual space.

This particular vanity worked well with the bump out in depth. One thing we did throughout this home was to use the same wood and stain on all the cabinets, but change up the door styles 

The shower was enlarged, allowing space for up to two to shower, shave, and sit. The design was developed with consideration for aging in place so that the couple could easily maneuver the space and have comfortable spaces to sit while getting ready for the day. While it can't be seen, the walls are prepped for assisting bars if and when necessary.

 
 A celebratory photo upon completion of this gorgeous bath was definitely in order!

A celebratory photo upon completion of this gorgeous bath was definitely in order!


Hall Bath and Powder Bath

The hall bath was the next on our list and with its unique shape and general feeling of heaviness, the goal was to lighten it up!

 Once the work was done, the space felt substantially lighter, the storage was more functional, and we have an easier to clean space wtih no fuss!

Once the work was done, the space felt substantially lighter, the storage was more functional, and we have an easier to clean space wtih no fuss!

These two bathrooms were much smaller in size, but it was important to me that all the spaces in the home maintained the same character, despite the design work taking a few years. The home should look consistent throughout. That doesn't mean that we couldn't play with changing things up in subtle ways from one room to the next, but each should look as though they "go" together.

Again, some digging will have to happen to locate the powder room photos before and any of that process work, but the after photos speak for themselves. This room felt small, dark, and cramped. Doors opened into each other, lights flickered, and the fan was terrifying. 

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Kitchen

The original kitchen had a dining/breakfast nook that could easily expand (seen in foreground) and was a decent size, but not particularly functional. Note the glass door in the corner.

 Initially, there was a formal dining room, in addition to the breakfast nook, which were nearly the same size. The formal dining room was an unnecessary waste of space.

Initially, there was a formal dining room, in addition to the breakfast nook, which were nearly the same size. The formal dining room was an unnecessary waste of space.

We finally made it to the kitchen! And, for this space I actually have a bit of the documentation handy, so let's dive right into the process of this project. The great thing about phasing out projects and saving the biggest project for the end is that we are able to program as we gain importance in design. Gathering more and more information, and learning more about the client's lifestyle is the best way to really create a space that functions and suits their needs. By the time we hit the schematic design phase, I was brimming with ideas!

We knew that the formal dining room was to become a part of the kitchen space and that a long island was desired. The question was how to use the space around this island, and multiple methods were approached.

Once the concept was established and materials were loosely developed, we moved on to design development and refined those selections and began detailing out the drawings to focus on the chosen concept (3).  An important part of this stage is revising and working to be as clear as possible in the drawings.

Once these drawings have been perfected and all the technical information is provided, we have a beautiful full set to provide to the contractor to use in building. I think the biggest lesson I had from this project is that project observation is always needed, even if the contractor has an amazing handle and knows me well and what I would want, sometimes stopping in to see the process for the client's sake of showing involvement is needed.

 
 Great project, great contractor, great clients. I couldn't have asked for more!

Great project, great contractor, great clients. I couldn't have asked for more!