Details for the Ultimate Bath Experience

How can you be excited about designing a bathroom? I know it seems like it is a just bathroom, but let me tell you, there are some exciting and sexy bathroom options to consider!

 Beyond beautiful stone and tile, look past the custom vanity, disregard the plush bathrobes and pretty soaps that we put in all of the pictures, let's talk about form and function coming together to make a truly spectacular  bathroom.

Let's start with the toilet. It is a running joke here at my office how passionate I am about toilet details. I have 2 boys you see, so I know the value of a good toilet. What makes a good toilet, besides the style that compliments your bathroom:

  • 1 piece (no break/transition from tank to seat) - this is both a function and beauty issue

  • Smooth apron to the floor - this is a cleanability detail that you will appreciate

  • Elongated seat design - this is a preference, but is a nice detail

  • Comfort height (unless someone in your home is short) - as we get older this becomes more important, and is nice if everyone in the home is over 5'5"

  • Dual flush - a little water conservation goes a long way!

The bathtub...there are 2 main options to consider -Freestanding or Built in?

Freestanding tubs have beautiful shapes and size options, and typically if you do free standing it is the "wow" moment in a bathroom that sets the tone for the bathroom style. They do offer freestanding in jetted, but those tend to be a bit bulky and not as nice looking. Also with a free standing tub, you have some fantastic tub filler options, wall mounted or floor mounted, or if you are really bold you can do ceiling mounted for your tub filler!

Built in style tubs offer a plethora of options, including easy to conceal jets, bubblers, line heaters and some wonderful features. The other big advantage to a built in style is the surround itself allows us to accessorize with towels, candles, bath salts, you get the picture! Not to mention, there's a convenient place for a glass of wine. Also, there is the safety feature of being able to sit your tush down on the side and easily swing your legs in.

Showers have countless options, but the one I want to share today is called a style or infinity drain. This is one of my favorite items. Drains are no longer typical. The tile in options are so great, you barely notice the drain, the water flows around the tiled area, and there is a little tool that allows you to lift the tiled top off if you need to clean the drain. Also, the elongated version is super cool, both tile in or with a grate, it is just fun to do something different! You can install this drain to run along the wall, or under a bench. Just remember we do have to slope the floor slightly to the drain.

We have even done a round version of this type of drain to go with the penny round mosaic tile.

 A splurge item for some, a must in my opinion, is inset medicine cabinet mirrors. No more of the cheesy, little medicine cabinet on the side wall, how about a large 20x30 or 20x40 medicine cabinet that can be 4" or 6" deep, right in front of you as your mirror. Robern makes a fantastic one, Kohler has some, RH has some, you name it, we have lots of options in various shapes and sizes and budgets. On some of them, you can even have power inside (so you no longer need to have your toothbrush or various other counter top clutter items out) You can order them with a locking section for medication and you can get a refrigerated section. Sidenote : I used to think this was for tiny champagne or wine bottles!  but its main function is for expensive face cream or medication that should be kept cool. A nice little feature is the magnetic interior detail that holds tweezers or little scissors. Some even come with interior light and a magnifying make up mirror inside, so when you open that door you have everything you need. For the techies out there you can even get a TV in the mirror if you like to watch the morning news!

Let's talk lighting for your bathroom. First, you need good light in the room, this is typically done with recessed lights placed properly in the room, sometimes even over the sink, tub, toilet area - depending on the bath lay out. Then we want some accent light, sconce lights, pendants (don't be afraid to try something different) or over the mirror/medicine cabinet lights. These can be good task lights, but some fixtures are really more ambiance rather than task (especially with Edison bulbs or heavy shades). For your designer, these lights are the "bling" in the room, they let us define the style to compliment the surfaces and plumbing fixtures. One of my favorite little details is to add LED lighting under the toe kick of the vanity for a night light

Another item to consider if your feet area always cold like mine, is radiant heated flooring. We don't do much of this in California, but I did it for my parents and it is my mom's very favorite detail. Yes, it is a luxury, but how nice to not be walking on cold stone flooring in the early morning. Your feet will thank you!

Want a complete spa experience, how about a towel warmer. Not too expensive, just need power, and a wall that accommodates the size of the towel warmer, now you have warm toasty towels when you step out of the shower. I know most people don't think of this, but if you are remodeling anyway, it is an inexpensive way to add something special that I am sure you will enjoy.

One more fun item to consider (very affordable at that) is a blue tooth speaker/LED light/exhaust fan. That’s right you can have your morning play list, a quiet fan, and LED light all in one!


Now ....throw in some plush towels and a nice bathrobe and Voila! Your own custom spa bath

What new feature is your favorite for a new bathroom - Let us know !

 

Making an Entrance !

Do you ever feel that something is missing from your home's entry ? Maybe it's hard to see the front door ? or your entry way is just plain lacking style ? .... here are some tips to help your home - Make an entrance !!

 

Photo courtesy of Pinterest

# 1 Make the most of your front door - Your front door is one of the first impressions guests have of your home and sets the stage for what they may see next.  Make sure your front door is visible - add additional lighting on the sides of the door and above to give a full view at night. Add color to your door to make it stand out - That being said you can take the color more subtle or highly saturated - its up to you but a good rule of thumb is to make sure it fits into the color palette of your home. And last but not least - add details ! In the above picture you see two large planters that compliment the style of the home and add symmetry to the door.

Photo courtesy of Pinterest

#2 Think about the interior door - Painting the backside of your front door in a pop of color to compliment the entry way is an unexpected way to add style! The above picture shows just how much impact this can give to your entry way - Bonus - tying the color into an area rug really makes this work !

Photo courtesy of Pinterest

# 3 Adding Texture - In an entry way texture can be introduced in many ways - above the textured grass wallpaper sets the mood for this home. You can also add texture with woven baskets - high pile area rugs and much more. Texture is a great way to make introduction to your home - especially for those who prefer a more monochromatic palette.

Photo courtesy of Pinterest

# 4 Let there be light - Don’t skimp on your foyer lighting. Select a fixture that makes a statement and defines the area, as does this handsome lantern.

 

In closing , your entryway is the first introduction your guest have to your beautiful home ! Why not make the most of it ? Design Your Life!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Source: MakinganEntrance

Let There be Light !

Lighting. Lighting. Lighting. It’s one of the most overlooked and under addressed elements in the design of interior and exterior spaces. And, it’s also one of the most crucial to the overall design plan and concept. Without a clear and well thought out lighting plan, the rest of the design, well… gets lost in the dark.

Light is the most powerful tool we have. Our vision is a product of light. It produces an emotional response and experience. It can change space, scale, color and volume. The proper use of light beautifies, helps us relax and play, creates mood, provides comfort, convenience, safety and drama. It is truly a ‘guiding light’.

So, it’s important to hire an Interior Design firm that understands and studies ‘the architecture of light’. It’s not just about great fixture selection, we all love a gorgeous chandelier…

I’m a bling girl for sure. Lighting design is a true discipline based on a set of concepts, techniques and practices that enhance and augment architecture and design.

It’s all about the ‘layering’ of light. There are five main principles that provide a framework for understanding and achieving composition and aesthetics in lighting design. Shall I high ‘light’?

1.      To choreograph an experience:

Direct movement, flow and way finding in a space

Humans are phototropic… we are instinctively drawn to bright surfaces and objects. The power of light can subconsciously convince people to move through a space.  Don’t you literally feel like you are being pulled to that door?   

Humans are phototropic… we are instinctively drawn to bright surfaces and objects. The power of light can subconsciously convince people to move through a space.

Don’t you literally feel like you are being pulled to that door?

 

2.)     To define mood/ambiance:

What is the mood we want to create in the space? Calm, active, colorful…

Our approach to interior design is on a room-by-room basis and to determine the mood and emotional effect we desire for each of these spaces.  This room could be placed in the mountains with 3 feet of snow or a blistering desert climate, but it still delivers the intended mood.

Our approach to interior design is on a room-by-room basis and to determine the mood and emotional effect we desire for each of these spaces.

This room could be placed in the mountains with 3 feet of snow or a blistering desert climate, but it still delivers the intended mood.

3.)      To accentuate:

Highlight or diffuse textures, interesting objects, art, plants…

By adding light to already-interesting objects, we can dictate how a viewer’s eye travels over the landscape of the design. The niche lighting acts as a cue to invite you into the living space. As simple as subtle as the lighting is, imagine how dramatically this scene would change if the niches had no lighting.

By adding light to already-interesting objects, we can dictate how a viewer’s eye travels over the landscape of the design. The niche lighting acts as a cue to invite you into the living space. As simple as subtle as the lighting is, imagine how dramatically this scene would change if the niches had no lighting.

4.)      To reveal architecture:

Define spatial character such as height, set architectural boundaries,

accent architectural details

 Up lighting makes this narrow space feel tall and expansive as well as accentuating the architectural features of the stone and entry fixtures – which are super awesome!

 Up lighting makes this narrow space feel tall and expansive as well as accentuating the architectural features of the stone and entry fixtures – which are super awesome!

5.)    To assists tasks:

Add light for reading, cooking, navigating, functionality

This layer comes last, as it augments the other layers by adding fixtures strictly for performing specific tasks.  Task lighting should NEVER be the only layer or type of light considered for a space. If the first 4 layers are neglected, it’s unlikely that you’ll ever recapture the ethereal aspects of choreography and mood working in reverse.

This layer comes last, as it augments the other layers by adding fixtures strictly for performing specific tasks.  Task lighting should NEVER be the only layer or type of light considered for a space. If the first 4 layers are neglected, it’s unlikely that you’ll ever recapture the ethereal aspects of choreography and mood working in reverse.

Take this kitchen, which is a great example of the 5 layers of light.

1.      Notice how the under-cabinet base lighting directs movement and flow through the space.

2.      I would call the mood of this space active. It’s warm, but bright and colorful, the illuminated island encourages socialization. I’d have a glass of wine and appetizer there hanging with friends.

3.      I love how the lighting at the floating shelves accentuates the backsplash and colorful accessories.

4.      The lighting at the upper cabinets creates height, volume and interest.

 

Imagine if you ‘flipped the switch, off’ on the first four layers of light in this kitchen – it would be underwhelming and that would break my heart!


A proper lighting plan adds value to the overall project investment.

 

So, you say, “I hired my architect or general contractor for lighting”? Normally an architect or GC draws a lighting plan to make plan submissions. In most cases, these are quick designs that are generic in content and lack any thought out plan.

 

Is your architect or GC thinking about:

-          Space plans and furniture layout?

-          Interior finishes and paint colors?

-          Ceiling heights, slope changes, soffits?

-          Architectural details?

-          Art and accessories and placement?

-          The diverse activities to take place in the space?

-          Specific room light ‘scenes’?

-          The age of the people who live there?

-          Window coverings and locations?

-          Site orientation?

-          Where to put the light and for what purpose?

-          The placement, quantity and ‘color’ of light needed?

-          What elements in the space need to be dramatized or downplayed?

-          How the light story will play throughout the space to create a cohesive design?

-          How the light source is controlled?

A good design firm will think of all of this and plenty more.

 

Did I mention… that lighting is REALLY important?

 

When we implement a lighting design that addresses each layer of light, we will have a rich, dynamic emotional experience.

 

Shine on my friends, shine on!

 

Welcome 2016 !

Happy New Year! We are ready to say goodbye to 2015, a year filled with promise and change, and are looking forward to 2016, a year filled with hope and inspiration. In my quest to "design your life" I am hopeful that I can share some tips and information, sources and ideas, create a space that is beautiful and above all - purposeful. Whether you need to hire a designer, or are a DIY"er", I am excited to share what I know, learn more as we go, and continue the journey together.

New Years Resolution:  How about this year we make them for your house:

 #1. De clutter! Whether it's one small space, a drawer or a desk top, the dreaded closet clean out, or a whole room. Nothing feels better than starting with a clean slate, not to mention it's easier to dust! And...don't forget to donate what you can!

Goodbye Stuff .. Hello , beautiful space!  credit : Pinterest

Goodbye Stuff .. Hello , beautiful space!

credit : Pinterest

#2. Organize! Add baskets or bins, magazine holders and shelves and label, label, label. Save only those things that are worth saving well, by eliminating junk & organizing important items we free our space up for beautiful things to come!

Storage can be beautiful !  credit - Popsugar

Storage can be beautiful !

credit - Popsugar

#3. Maintenance! Every house needs a little maintenance, fix what needs fixing. If it's broken, fix it or get rid of it. Replace batteries, check smoke detectors, carbon monoxide detectors and alarms. Check windows and doors for drafts, caulk or seal as needed. Check faucets and fixtures and make sure nothing is leaking, including outdoors. Clean out the fireplace, have the chimney swept, vacuum and dust AC vents and registers. Check the dryer vent, and check all plugs and outlets. A dead plug can be a fire hazard behind the wall, go to your local hardware supply and get a plug tester, or use a desk lamp that you know works, turn it on, and plug it in to every socket to check them. You can also hire a local handyman to take care of these items if needed, let us know if you need a recommendation.

A great handyman is worth his weight in gold!  credit - Pinterest

A great handyman is worth his weight in gold!

credit - Pinterest


What are your best De-cluttering techniques ? Do you have a fail proof storage method! Please share with us !