Remodel

Sleek Modern Bathroom by Susie Mae Design

When we bought our 1960s house in January of 2017, we knew we had a lot of work to do. There were a lot of things that took priority like a new roof, HVAC system, insulation, and water mitigation. Naturally we wanted to renovate the kitchen and bathrooms immediately, but that just wasn't in the cards. Now, a year and a half later, the kitchen and both bathrooms have been renovated and IT IS SO GREAT! 

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Before we started any work the to the house, this was the view in the dining room, looking at the front door and the closet that was once in the dining room. 

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Next, we painted the walls white, Sherwin Williams Alabaster to be exact. The door and windows were replaced and that closet had to go! The closet backs up to the end of the master bathroom. If you were to knock on the back wall of the closet, you'd be knocking on the end wall of the bathroom/shower. We didn't want a closet in the dining room and we really did want some room to move around in our bathroom, so we decided to close up that closet and take it for the shower. We made plans to move the plumbing down so that the shower could take over that closet space. 

Dining room, looking through the demo'd closet and into the master bathroom. You can see the master bedroom drapes just beyond the bathroom doorway. 

Dining room, looking through the demo'd closet and into the master bathroom. You can see the master bedroom drapes just beyond the bathroom doorway. 

The wall gets framed and then drywall goes up. 

The wall gets framed and then drywall goes up. 

Sanded and painted to look like a regular wall.

Sanded and painted to look like a regular wall.

Here are the BEFORE photos. The bathroom was small and cramped and had haphazard storage "solutions" that were not really working for us. The toilets in our house also had tanks about 2xs the size of the bowl. Wasting water is not something we're into, so we opted for a dual flush water saving option instead along with other more green solutions. 

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It's unclear if the bathroom had ever been updated, but from what we could tell, the only real change since the house was built was adding new layers of floral wallpaper, and then painting over that in recent years. Frankly, I'd have preferred the wallpaper to the paint job in there. Paint all over the tiles, toilet, and ceiling...what a mess. There was nothing we wanted to salvage about this bathroom, so the sledgehammer and Victor got to work smashing and trashing. I had to be at a baby shower that morning, so I got to skip some of the demo labor. But really, demo can be fun so I would have liked to help more.

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A cast iron tub doesn't move easily. The best choice is often to break it up with a sledgehammer. It's messy and LOUD work, but it's effective. 

A cast iron tub doesn't move easily. The best choice is often to break it up with a sledgehammer. It's messy and LOUD work, but it's effective. 

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As with the other bathroom in our house, there had been a slow, continuous leak for who knows how long in the pipes between the bathrooms. Some patching had been done, but nobody had actually fixed the issue in years past. We don't want to do any project half-assed so to speak, so we made sure to replace all of the pipes that needed replacing, and replaced joists and sub flooring. This was the subfloor when the tile flooring came up. Shocking that we didn't just fall through to the crawl space--it was paper thin and crumbly with some areas of no sub flooring at all. 

Now that everything is out, let's look at the design plan. 

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This was the original plan which did change a little, but it started here. We knew we wanted a wall hung vanity in a warm wood tone, a dual flush/modern toilet, round black frame mirror with black sconces, herringbone stone tiles, black ceiling, white walls, and large white body tiles on the sides of the shower, black faucet, chrome shower fixture and towel bars. 

Here's a look at how things would lay out once we took over that closet and where the different tiles and colors will go. 

The Sketup plan. 

The Sketup plan. 

The first step after demo was pocket door installation. Even after we expanded into the closet, the bathroom was still only 10ft long x 5ft wide, we needed to save as much space as we possibly could. When Victor and I are both brushing our teeth or getting ready at the sink, the door being in the way just doesn't work. So, this in-swing door gets the boot. 

We went to an outlet for building supplies in our area and found this solid wood, unfinished pretty 5-light door with ribbed glass. Most bathrooms would not benefit from a glass panel door, but this bathroom in our master bedroom, and you can't see through the ribbed glass so it's still very private for us and that extra light coming in makes the bathroom feel larger, too. 

I sanded, stained, and finished the door with Sherwin Williams English Chestnut and a clear satin varnish. It's so nice to have the extra space this door gives us! In the 1960s houses, pocket doors were everywhere. I'm not sure why they fell out of favor, but I'm a fan and love to use them in tight spaces in particular. They're a great solution for small spaces and are often a much better choice than the super popular barn door, depending on the location and architectural style.  

Next up: the plumbing gets moved. I was working in my office as the plumber was sawing into the new subfloor to relocate the shower drain and pulling the new pipes to the correct heights for the new fixtures. All of a sudden I see Weezy out of the corner of my eye. 

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I guess she thought the new subfloor smelled good so she sneaked in behind the plumber and got this disc of wood to play with. It was so cute! I let her play with it for a little bit but eventually it started to splinter so I had to take it away from her :( This is not design related, but it is incredibly cute so I figure everyone should see it. I love it when she acts like a puppy still, even in her gray-faced years. 

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New drywall and durarock went up, and then the entire shower got thoroughly waterproofed. This is an essential step! If there is a void in the grout, or a crack ever occurs, water can wreak havoc but with proper waterproofing, it wont be so tragic. 

The other side of the pocket door wall in the bedroom needed some drywall patching at the same time to make it smooth and as if the pocket door had always been there. While we had the wall opened up, Victor moved the electrical so that the TV which hangs on this wall can be plugged in without any dangling, ugly cords. He's good. 

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I wanted the tile to flow from the entry up the back wall, and then up onto the ceiling of the shower with the remaining ceiling area finished with black paint (Sherwin Williams Iron Ore, which you can see on my bedroom walls below). Ideally, we would have had no shower curb and a linear drain so I could have had this herringbone pattern on the shower floor as well, but that is $$$ soooo we selected a different shape tile in the same stone for the shower floor. 

Pattern time!

Pattern time!

Painted ceiling in Sherwin Williams Iron Ore, semi-gloss finish

Painted ceiling in Sherwin Williams Iron Ore, semi-gloss finish

Side walls get large format white body tiles, stack bond pattern. Stack bond is straight up and down, not in a brick pattern.

Side walls get large format white body tiles, stack bond pattern. Stack bond is straight up and down, not in a brick pattern.

The reason we had to go with a pebble style tile for the floor is because of the angle of a shower floor. A 3" x 3" tile is the largest you should go in a traditional shower pan so that the pitch to the drain can be achieved without risk of cracking tiles or sharp corners sticking up. We did use the same tiles from the herringbone pattern on the curb and rounded by sanding to keep the corners from being sharp. This is another important thing to remember in bathroom remodeling. Either use a bullnose trim tile if available, a trim like Schluter systems to cap the end of tiles with no pencil or bullnose option, or, if it is a natural stone, have it rounded by a professional tile installer. 

The sconce boxes shown here. The mirror will go centered between them. 

The sconce boxes shown here. The mirror will go centered between them. 

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I selected Pewter Gray grout so that the pattern would show up, but it would not feel too stark and high contrast. We had enough contrast with the white walls and black ceiling and floors. The same grout was used for all the of the tile. You can see in the above photo that we had 3 niches built into the end wall. I did not want shampoo bottles to show when you look into the bathroom. The showstopper tile wall would be interrupted with bottles and it just wouldn't be right. The bottom niche is perfect for leg propping and shaving. It's really great because it works just like a step without creating a break in the herringbone design.

Vanity is hung, toilet is in, almost all of the shower fixtures are in.

Vanity is hung, toilet is in, almost all of the shower fixtures are in.

Finally, we hung the mirror, lights, and the shower glass is installed. We selected just one piece of frameless glass from floor to ceiling with a comfortable 24in opening. Since we are using a rain shower head, this works really well. I wouldn't recommend this same arrangement for someone using a traditional shower head as the amount of overspray could get out of hand in that situation. 

The finished bathroom feels serene, modern, clean, and super functional. It feels so much more high end and spacious, even though we added only 24 additional inches to the length of the space. 

Someday soon I hope to have Christina Wedge photograph this space to really do it justice. I am so happy with it! We have SO MUCH more space, and the function all around is exactly what we need. It's amazing when storage and function is considered in a design, how easy it is to keep it organized and clean :)

Tell us, what's your favorite part of this renovation? What does your dream bathroom look like?

 

Home Free: Episode Two Before & After

If you've been watching Home Free on Fox, then you know the gold team has been on top for two weeks in a row! We're all on that bus and heading to our third build challenge with a lot of beautiful spaces left for a deserving family behind us.

Each house that gets renovated on Home Free is totally remodeled from top to bottom, any water leaks or other big issues are repaired, and everything cosmetic you can imagine is addressed and well-dressed. 

Here are the images of the BEFORE/AFTER. The before is pretty rough, huh? This week's challenge was to convert this home from its current horrifying state to a beautiful cottage retreat. Since we were sequestered, I didn't have a camera, and therefore, only have images from FOX.com. There are many things I wish I could show you, but these will have to do for now!

House Exterior BEFORE

House Exterior BEFORE

House Exterior AFTER

House Exterior AFTER

Most of the exterior of the house, including the picket fence and walkway was the responsibility of the green team. They used reclaimed bricks on a walkway closer to the house, gravel down the middle walkway, Ricky, Heather, Ben and Kasey installed a picket fence, and Ore and Tiffany built shutters and planter boxes for the windows. 

Entry BEFORE

Entry BEFORE

Entry AFTER

Entry AFTER

Kitchen BEFORE

Kitchen BEFORE

Kitchen AFTER

Kitchen AFTER

The living room and kitchen were also the duty of the green team. They chose a sort of Carolina Blue for the walls, Andi and Kate designed and installed a wallpaper based on a rubbing of a metal backsplash tile in their design kit, Ben and Kasey, built a coffee table with storage (top lifts up as pictured), Ricky and Heather installed a tile backsplash, and the whole green team furnished the space and styled it.

Master Bedroom BEFORE

Master Bedroom BEFORE

Master Bedroom AFTER

Master Bedroom AFTER

Our team (gold team) was also tasked with designing and hanging a wallpaper for one of our spaces. Lauren and Josh did a BEAUTIFUL job! The judges said the wallpaper is too modern but I think it's just right. The metallic detail on the quilt-inspired octagonal shapes is a nod to traditional cottage, but with a more updated, urban feel. The house is somewhat near Atlanta, after all, so urban inspiration is perfect. We picked out the furniture as a team, and Victor suggested we pick a deep blue trim to match the velvet chair and bench we selected. I picked a color that I thought most closely matched the image of the chair we had and I LOVE IT! The color is a great compliment to the deeper blue hues in the room and really amps up the drama of this cool and calming cottage master bedroom. 

Lauren and Josh styled this room while I was busy downstairs styling the media room. It's a really great thing to be on a team that trusts one another. We knew that even with our team divided into three spaces during the final stages, that we would come away with designs we were extremely proud of and that we could all stand behind.

Master Bath BEFORE

Master Bath BEFORE

Master Bath AFTER

Master Bath AFTER

Just look at that wallpaper and that velvet chair! LOVE!

Unfinished Basement BEFORE

Unfinished Basement BEFORE

Unfinished Basement AFTER

Unfinished Basement AFTER

The basement of this house had so much unused space! However, it was very damp and gross. A problem with a crack in the foundation meant a pretty big undertaking for the average homeowner. Thankfully, the Home Free Team brought in the experts and after Victor and I ground down the paint off of the cinder blocks, they showed us how to apply strips of carbon fiber supports that act like steel beams. The wall was reinforced with the carbon fiber, and a weeping system was installed to prevent any future water damage. The basement is now comfortable and dry! 

After we got the big problems resolved, we got to work on creating a media room. This room was a labor of love. Victor and I painted the mural of the trees you see in the background (would love a closer picture of that!). It's multi-layered. Victor loves science and fractal patterns. I love fractal patterns as well--but really just because of aesthetics. Together, we made this mural with layers of colors from lightest/least detailed in the background (think how the mist makes the woods look lighter in the distance), mid tones and medium detail in the middle, and darkest and most detailed colors in the foreground. I am in love with this mural. It took us a long time because the entire thing was freehanded, but it was totally worth it! 

I would love to have an image of the other side of this room, but I don't have that yet. What's just to the right in this shot is a 70 inch TV! It's absolutely massive and perfect for watching a movie. We chose a nice medium blue/gray for the walls and a slightly lighter shade of blue for the ceiling. In a media room, you want the walls to not bounce off too much light so that the movie watching experience is more like a theater. We didn't want to go too dark on the walls, however, since the space has no windows and would be very dark and feel smaller with darker walls. 

To the left of this image is a set of beautiful sconces with a mirrored back that reflected Edison bulbs really nicely and added to the movie theater feeling.  We selected a comfy sectional and brought in plenty of comfy pillows in grays, blues, and golden rod yellow to add a complimenting pop of color (which is also in the mural!). 

We wanted to use reclaimed and cottage materials as often as possible in our spaces. Josh had a great idea to make a handrail out of the discarded pieces of wood siding from the outside of the house. Victor and I sanded them down to be smooth to the touch and applied plenty of coats of furniture wax to bring out all of the beautiful, natural wood tones. I love how they turned out! 

Josh and Lauren made a game table out of an electrical spool and a light fixture out of reclaimed metal tubing (I think from duct work?) and rope. They used Edison bulbs here to compliment the ones on the wall sconces, and there were touches of rope throughout the room that the light fixture picked up on as well. My only regret about this area is that there were no rugs that fit the space--I recommend that Heather and Ricky find a nice 6 foot round rug for that area! :)

Garage BEFORE (I think they meant to post a photo of the other side of the basement, but this is clearly the garage--but you get the idea. It looked bad and wet and there were lots of cinder blocks and poles and electrical wires hanging down)

Garage BEFORE (I think they meant to post a photo of the other side of the basement, but this is clearly the garage--but you get the idea. It looked bad and wet and there were lots of cinder blocks and poles and electrical wires hanging down)

Finished Basement AFTER

Finished Basement AFTER

The basement had two large areas that were not being used before, so we utilized both. We actually found a discarded toilet and sink in good condition we wanted to use to add a bathroom to the other side of the stairs, but that wasn't possible in the timeframe, unfortunately. What we were able to do was make a huge gym!

Kathy used to be a fitness instructor so this was definitely in her wheelhouse. We deferred to her on what equipment we should get, how we should lay everything out, and if we needed ceiling fans (and duh, we did!). The ceiling was tricky in this space because of codes in Georgia that require ductwork to be fully accessible from the basement. We had to change our approach and as a group, we decided on a board and batten ceiling to make it look more cottage style (as cottage as a gym can look, anyway), and cut around the duct work. Kathy and Brian did a great job and even handled the styling on their own! I came by and moved like two things around, per Kathy's request--but she didn't need me, she had already done an amazing job! 

I would love to have an image of this room from the other angle as well. As a group, we all worked on a ladder from a reclaimed pile that holds gym towels, painted the darker blue of the theater room walls, and just slightly roughed up to look a little more weather-worn. We also built a table out of kitchen cabinet doors and reclaimed wood. MJ and the design team couldn't even believe it was built with found pieces! That was truly a piece of team work--everyone touched it at one point or the other to make a great stand for storage and to hold a mini-fridge for smoothies, bottled water, and protein shakes for post-workout refreshment. 

Guest Bath BEFORE

Guest Bath BEFORE

Guest Bath AFTER

Guest Bath AFTER

The spaces not designed by the contestants were designed by the amazing design team, The Design Hunters. They also supported all of us contestants, giving us design packets with all of our furniture choices, took orders for things we needed, and shopped for all of the styling pieces after getting an idea for what we needed in our spaces. I'm in awe of their composure! They worked many, many long hours with pure grace. Truly and incredible and talented team!

Office/Guest Bedroom BEFORE

Office/Guest Bedroom BEFORE

Office/Guest Bedroom AFTER

Office/Guest Bedroom AFTER

Guest Bedroom BEFORE

Guest Bedroom BEFORE

Guest Bedroom AFTER

Guest Bedroom AFTER

Deck BEFORE

Deck BEFORE

Deck AFTER

Deck AFTER

I think this house turned out beautifully! What do you think?

Be sure to tune in to Home Free on Fox, tomorrow night at 9/8c!

Home Free Episode 1: Before and After

I've announced this once before, but this summer, I took a little leave of absence from life and took advantage of a wonderful opportunity to be on FOX's new show, "Home Free" hosted by Mike Holmes.  Home Free is a competition renovation show featuring nine couples in the Atlanta area who don't currently own a home, but really want to!

Victor and I entered the casting process and were selected to be on the show, so with much thought and planning, we took the chance and joined the cast. You can read more about the competitors, watch clips, and see the schedule of programming on FOX.com

The competitors were broken into two teams and tackled different areas, and the amazing design and build teams took over the rest of the areas of the home, inside and out. 

My team on week one tackled the backyard area. The challenge was to create an "entertainer's yard", including fixing the pool, building and designing a structure, planning and executing some landscaping, and building projects out of reclaimed and found objects, and of course, all styling. The other team was tasked with the kitchen and living room area (open concept), redesigning the fireplace, and making projects out of reclaimed materials. 

Here are the photos of house 1, inside and out. 

Before: Exterior Front

Before: Exterior Front

After: Exterior Front

After: Exterior Front

Before: Living Room

Before: Living Room

After: Living Room

After: Living Room

Before: Kitchen

Before: Kitchen

After: Kitchen

After: Kitchen

Before: Kitchen Area

Before: Kitchen Area

After: Kitchen Area

After: Kitchen Area

Before: Bathroom

Before: Bathroom

After: Bathroom

After: Bathroom

Before: Enclosed Garage (turned to Master Bedroom)

Before: Enclosed Garage (turned to Master Bedroom)

After: Master Bedroom

After: Master Bedroom

Before: Guest Bedroom

Before: Guest Bedroom

After: Guest Bedroom

After: Guest Bedroom

Before: Backyard

Before: Backyard

After: Backyard

After: Backyard

Before: Pool Area

Before: Pool Area

After: Pool Area

After: Pool Area

Apologies for the poor quality - had to take a photo from the TV.

Apologies for the poor quality - had to take a photo from the TV.

Apologies for the poor quality - had to take a photo from the TV.

Apologies for the poor quality - had to take a photo from the TV.

Apologies for the poor quality - had to take a photo from the TV.

Apologies for the poor quality - had to take a photo from the TV.

Apologies for the poor quality - had to take a photo from the TV.

Apologies for the poor quality - had to take a photo from the TV.

Apologies for the poor quality - had to take a photo from the TV.

Apologies for the poor quality - had to take a photo from the TV.

We hope you've been watching Home Free on Wednesday night, FOX at 9pm/8c. Episode two aired last night. You can catch a rerun on Friday night or watch online at FOX.Com  or on Hulu on FOXNOW.