Renovation

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 4: Before and After

If you've been reading the blog for a while now, then you know that I (Susie) was featured on a reality show on FOX that filmed outside of Atlanta this summer.  

Each week, a team of hundreds of carpenters, laborers, designers, and experts in many other renovation related fields descended onto a home somewhere outside of Atlanta to begin a major renovation that would be completed in just five days along with the help of two teams of contestants competing to win a home! 

Week four was our last week on set, and though I know we could have gone much further and that we have the talent and drive to have continued for many weeks, we were dismayed to be eliminated. Victor and I are both extremely competitive, and me being a designer, and Victor being an engineer, I am very confident we had much more to offer! I was so proud of Victor who proved himself to be a creative and talented guy with leadership skills that inspired great teamwork. Thankfully, in the real world no one else can end one's journey.  We decide our own fate through hard work and a drive for success.  This is just what Victor and I will continue to do as we grow in our careers and show what we’re made of.

Many reality shows leave eliminated contestants heartbroken and viewers feeling sorry for them. On Home Free, things are different. Whenever contestants are eliminated, they are given the home they just completed. I can tell you it is the most confusing feeling to be so shocked and confused to have been eliminated and then be handed the keys to a newly renovated home. Talk about an emotional roller coaster! 

Here are the photos of the before and after of the house we won. It is in Stockbridge, GA, which is about an hour and a half from Atlanta. 

Exterior BEFORE

Exterior BEFORE

Exterior AFTER

Exterior AFTER

This house was supposedly a hoarder or squatter situation when we arrived, FILLED with junk outside and inside, smelly, and just filthy. During our drill down challenge this week, I could barely breathe! With allergies and asthma, inhaling dust and animal urine scent was ROUGH. Look at the transformation! Would you have ever guessed looking at this house that it started out in such a condition? The design and build teams, along with the landscape team did an outstanding job making this house into a Victorian beauty. 

Kitchen BEFORE

Kitchen BEFORE

Kitchen AFTER

Kitchen AFTER

This kitchen was a total disaster before but is really beautiful now! I'm not really a Victorian style fan at all. I prefer clean lines and modern architecture, but the design team did a great job of making their spaces Victorian-inspired while still maintaining a modern twist that makes sense for a family in this day and age. 

Living Room BEFORE

Living Room BEFORE

Living Room AFTER

Living Room AFTER

I LOVE this light fixture and the media console! Very sleek and modern and a great contrast to the deep teal walls. This room is just off the kitchen and the deep tones are a great contrast to the pale wallpaper throughout the kitchen. 

Dining Room BEFORE

Dining Room BEFORE

Dining Room AFTER

Dining Room AFTER

I love the bar cart and the light fixtures in here! Another room that is a good mix of modern and ornate and lots of houseplants which I always appreciate! Also, the color of this dining room reminds me of the gorgeous blue green that I loved in episode three.

Master Bedroom BEFORE

Master Bedroom BEFORE

Master Bedroom AFTER

Master Bedroom AFTER

Master Bedroom Sitting Area

Master Bedroom Sitting Area

Our competition, the green team, was responsible for converting the master bedroom/bathroom/closet into a master suite. The design plan included removing the closet and absorbing one of the small bedrooms into the room to create a GIANT bathroom! Seriously, the bathroom is giganitc! The green team stuck with a much more traditional Victorian style in the bedroom. 

Master Bathroom AFTER

Master Bathroom AFTER

Didn't I tell you it was huge?! And what you can't see here is there is a glass shower and water closet, too! 

Kids Retreat BEFORE

Kids Retreat BEFORE

Kids Retreat AFTER

Kids Retreat AFTER

Kids Retreat AFTER

Kids Retreat AFTER

The kids retreat was our team's responsibility this week. In addition to designing this room and making a bed or fort, we each had to repurpose an item. Victor and I had books and we did two different projects. Unfortunately, only one of them made it to TV. We created a custom wall paper out of story books for the art area of the room and out of encyclopedia pages for the reading nook. In addition to that, I used a jig saw to cut books into letter shapes to create little sculptures spelling out words and put them on the bookshelves. 

This structure in the room was designed by Victor and me and built by our entire team. We wanted to create something ambitious that was Victorian in style. It's a bit of a challenge to make a space kid-friendly and also true to Victorian aesthetics which are ornate and decorative. So, we designed a little Victorian house/bed/fort! It has a queen sized bed on top with all sorts of fun, soft pillows and underneath is a FORT! A trunk door (Ben and Kasey's repurposed item were trunks) leads into a hidden fort with a chalkboard wall, a TV, bean bags, and even a little octagonal window with tiny curtains I made to match the fabric on our pillows and stool cover. 

Custom storybook wallpaper 

Custom storybook wallpaper 

Book sculpture made with a jigsaw

Book sculpture made with a jigsaw

Pretty little octagonal window with kid-sized curtains!

Pretty little octagonal window with kid-sized curtains!

Art section

Art section

Here is a view of the art section of the room. Kasey made an easel from a trunk and we recovered a piano stool with the same fabric used on the pillows and the fort curtains! I love the bright colors of this room and the twist on Victorian style that we achieved by mixing fun elements together and building a fort that looks like an ornate house but is appealing and safe for kids!

 

Reading nook

Reading nook

Here is a view of the reading nook, slightly rearranged. When we came back to look at the house a few weeks after our elimination, we met Dave Bohler, the lead of the build team, along with his wife and kids at the house. The kids LOVED our space and did a little rearranging and playing. They did not want to leave and had to be practically peeled out of the room. I consider that a SUCCESS! 

The reading nook features encyclopedia pages in the custom wallpaper. We sorted through many pages and made sure to use the most illustrated pages with specifically Victorian elements' descriptions. We even used a page featuring fish scale tiles like those we used on the playhouse!

Guest Room 1 BEFORE

Guest Room 1 BEFORE

Guest Room 1 AFTER

Guest Room 1 AFTER

Guest Room 2 BEFORE

Guest Room 2 BEFORE

Guest Room 2 AFTER

Guest Room 2 AFTER

Dreamy Tea Room

Dreamy Tea Room

Victor and I are so thankful for this opportunity to be on Home Free. We met so many wonderful people and made great friends. It's so much fun to design within the challenging constraints of the limited time and resources that we had and see that, espeically when we combine our talents and skills, we create beautiful work we can be proud of.  Being eliminated was very upsetting because I knew we were not done and could go further. I was not ready to stop and did not want to stop making these homes more beautiful along with our new friends. Even after we discovered that we had won a home, I still wanted to get back on that truck so that I could make the homes of each of our friends better and better and be a part of the transformations. 

Being on this show gave Victor and me the opportunity to test our relationship in a situation that hardly any couple gets to experience and see that we did not fight ONCE the entire time we were on the show. And lastly, walking away from this experience with the keys to a house is an asset that will put us in a great position to build our lives together and eventually renovate or build a modern style home in the city. And now we know we can do it without breaking the relationship! 

We are so thankful to the generous network and to the production company, to the design team and to the build team! I hope we will have an opportunity to work together again in the future. 

 

If you are interested in having interior design work done, contact Susie here!

Home Free Episode 3: Before and After

As a contestant on Home Free, I was able to design some spaces I am really proud of! We have limited time, limited instruction, limited resources, and limited sleep. Add all that together, and you could get a mess, but what you get instead is a beautiful home that goes to a deserving family each week. 

We got the first hand view, and while we were not able to take our own photos (we had no cameras or phones for the entirety of filming), the Home Free team took a couple photos of our spaces. Some of the spaces I included here were not included in the "before and after" photos of the house, so I had to take screenshots of the show. I apologize for the poor quality of those photos.

Outside BEFORE

Outside BEFORE

Outside AFTER

Outside AFTER

This house was the best of the three so far. Nothing seemed to truly be in terrible condition, it just looked like someone had run out of funds and chose to abandon a project. But honestly, I think we all thought "alright! it's all in once piece!" and we really did see a lot of potential in this property. Not only is the shape of the house attractive, but this house sits on two acres of land surrounded by horse farms. If you're going to live in way outside the city, this is the place to live!

Living Room BEFORE

Living Room BEFORE

Living Room AFTER

Living Room AFTER

Living Room AFTER

Living Room AFTER

This space was done by the design team, The Design Hunters. They designed all of the spaces the contestants did not work on, as well as the exterior of the house on episodes when that was not included in the project list. Originally, this room had a wainscoting treatment at a different height than what we using for the dining room, and the design team worked with us, removing the wainscoting in the living room so that the two did not compete. They were great about working with us and understanding that our designs felt crucial to us!

Dining Room BEFORE

Dining Room BEFORE

Dining Room AFTER

Dining Room AFTER

Dining Room AFTER (apologies for the poor quality screenshot)

Dining Room AFTER (apologies for the poor quality screenshot)

This room turned out to be so much of what we envisioned! Victor and I had the idea to use corrugated metal to create a wainscoting treatment. We used reclaimed boards for the chair rail and cut a rebate along the length of each chair rail and baseboard so that the metal would sit down into both pieces being "sandwiched" into place. In addition to that, we used construction adhesive and pressed the pieces against the wall, paying special attention to the seams to be sure they were totally flat and would not pose any risk of cuts. I think it turned out really beautifully and looks much more upscale and smooth this way. If we had used screws to attach the metal as it is traditionally attached in more utilitarian settings, it would have ruined the smooth aesthetic, essential for keeping the balance of industrial and upscale in this dining room. 

Originally, we planned to make a built-in bench with storage for below the windows. I was going to upholster it, and Victor was going to build it. However, due to some codes, we were not able to make that happen in the amount of time we had since the two of us were busy getting the room put together and finishing the water feature, and everyone else was tied up with their projects. We could feel the pressure on week three of being one team short again!

Master Bedroom BEFORE

Master Bedroom BEFORE

Master Bedroom AFTER

Master Bedroom AFTER

Master Bedroom AFTER (poor screenshot)

Master Bedroom AFTER (poor screenshot)

I wish we had drapes for the bay window in the master, but unfortunately, there was a curtain rod mix-up and we did not have the appropriate rod for the bay window upstairs and downstairs. So, we used it downstairs and sacrificed drapes in these windows. I really think this room turned out beautifully. It's calming, serene, and still has that industrial farmhouse edge. On TV, they never mention that when you have "wallpaper in the master" or "art installation in the master" that the team is also responsible for designing and styling the entire room as well. We did, and it was a lot of fun! I think we really came together to make this room look like a cozy master retreat. 

Also, I completely disagree with the decision on who won the art challenge in this episode. I saw both pieces up close, and heard the concept behind both, and I truly believe that Siddiq and Aidah's concept and execution was much better. They planned ahead, hung it beautifully, and it looked finished and thoughtful while still maintaining a rustic charm. 

Master Bathroom BEFORE

Master Bathroom BEFORE

Master Bathroom AFTER

Master Bathroom AFTER

Since we were in charge of the master bedroom and the bathroom was open to the bedroom, we were tasked with designing many features in there as well. This large sink was already chosen, so we selected a mirror, accessories, and the lighting and window coverings to complement the fixtures. We wanted the room to be light, bright, and sort of disappear into the background of the room. Having a master bathroom open to the rest of the room is a bit odd, so by keeping things very neutral and subdued, we made sure the bathroom was pleasant to look at, but did not draw the eye.

Guest Bedroom 1 BEFORE

Guest Bedroom 1 BEFORE

Guest Bedroom 1 AFTER

Guest Bedroom 1 AFTER

This bedroom completed by The Design Hunters.

Guest Bedroom 2 BEFORE

Guest Bedroom 2 BEFORE

Guest Bedroom 2 AFTER

Guest Bedroom 2 AFTER

Another bedroom completed by The Design Hunters.

Kitchen BEFORE

Kitchen BEFORE

Kitchen AFTER

Kitchen AFTER

I love this kitchen! It's a little bit modern, a little bit farmhouse, and a little bit glamorous. This is the room we did our demo in since the dining room did not really require much demo. For some reason, the ceiling was dropped and there was a flourescent light being used there--eek! We removed the ceiling and it was lifted to create more height. That alone made the room feel much bigger. Taking the wall down and opening the kitchen up to the living room made it feel like half of the house is kitchen! It's open and lovely and much more useable now.  

Water Feature

Water Feature

Victor designed this water feature and we built it together. I struggled to get a good screenshot of it as I was playing the show sine none of the photos were included in the before and after shots, so this is the best I have so far. The foutain is made from a clawfoot tub. Victor immediately had a good idea, sketched it out, and then we found some of the main pieces in the reclaimed scrap yard! The idea was to bury about half of the tub as if it had sunk into the ground with the back feet sitting flush with the ground. An old water pump (found) sits on top of a post (also found) and slowly pours water into an old bucket which trickles down into the tub below. The powered water pump is covered with gravel which is pouring out all around the part of the tub that is buried and a hose carrying the water supply was fed up through the post behind the tub, and up into the old water pump. It worked beautifully! We use super-dangerous power tools to grind down the enamel off of the tub to reveal the iron below so that over time, it will rust a little and give the entire feature that rustic old-farmhouse look. We love it and I could not be more proud of Victor! He is an engineer but has worked tirelessly to produce works of art, something that is not in his typical zone. You could say, we are growing by leaps and bounds and while I learned new power tools I'd never used before, he was learning to make art and stretch himself in different ways. 

The barn was also beautiful. I'm proud of both teams for the work we put into this week. However, again, there were no photos of the barn in the before and after photos from FOX, so I don't have any beauties to show of the barn. If you haven't seen this episode, you should check it out for yourself! The work we all put in is intense! It's amazing what we can all accomplish when we work as a team! Watch this episode here

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. 

EXCITING NEWS!!

Guys, guys...GUYS! Tonight at 9pm EST, one half of the Ends In Style team is going to be on NATIONAL TELEVISION! Ahhhhhh!

Susie and her boyfriend Victor are on FOX tonight at 9pm competing to win a dream home on Home Free, hosted by Mike Holmes. The show features 9 couples working hard and competing in design and build challenges to win a dream home. Each week, the home they complete is given to a deserving family. 

Here's a clip of the show!

You already know a little about Susie if you are an Ends In Style reader, but check out their bio to learn more about Victor, the handsome Materials Science Engineer!

Root for Susie and Victor by tweeting to @Homefreefox (CLICK HERE TO TWEET)! While you're visiting Home Free's website, take a second to "like" Susie and Victor's bio, share to your Facebook, etc. Let us know you're rooting for Susie & Victor, TEAM PURPLE!

We appreciate all of the support!