Before After

After: E-Design Bathroom Project Part 2

One of the most exciting parts about E-Design projects is when I receive those long awaited 'after' photos from clients.  Handing a project off to someone else to takeover fills you with lots of anticipation (and anxiety!).  A couple of months ago I received one of those Christmas like emails from an e-design client who had just completed her newly renovated bathroom.  It was soo exciting to hear from her as I knew she had proceeded full-on with the renovations following my design plans so I couldn't wait to see the results.  To check out a few of her 'after' photos along with some of the before pics and my design plans for the space, you can go here.

When I saw the first after photos of the space, I was speechless,,,you really had to see the befores, this transformation was dramatic but the fact that she implemented the entire renovation so successfully from my E-Design plans was such a thrill for me.  She and her family had lived in the house for 25 years and had never taken on any renovations or upgrades,  until now they had only dreamed about them she was brought to tears when she saw the finished bathroom for the first time.  Since the house was located in Toronto I couldn't resist the opportunity to visit in person and take some of my own photos, so a couple of weeks ago I arranged to meet this client face to face and see her home in person for the first time.  Camera and flowers in hand of course!

Its hard to describe what it felt like to walk into this space, because its like I had already been there - its surreal to see what had been a very vivid image in my head for so long, now right there in front of me, yet I hadn't been part of the physical transformation process.   I hadn't seen it evolve so this visit was a role reversal, it was the designer experiencing the 'reveal' not the homeowner.  The fact that someone else who I'd never met had so literally brought the vision that was in my head to reality was overwhelming.  And as corny as it sounds, the space itself,,,really was breathtaking, I actually gasped, the photos truly don't do it justice.  If I could only capture that 'feeling' on camera or find the words to convey it.....

The house is a heritage home so the goal was to give the space some classic traditional character but with a contemporary edge.  But it was most important that the space wasn't done in cool greys or blues or too white.  There were splurges, saves, and great buys. The floor was the definitely one of the splurges.  A basketweave mosaic marble, simply laid with no borders or inlays.  Classic and timeless.  I loved the varying shades of warm greys.

The old brick chimney wall was clad in drywall and surface applied panel moulding was added to create a wainscotting effect around the entire bathroom.  Simple crown moulding and baseboards complete the trimwork.

Another splurge, a custom designed vanity with plenty of deep drawers provides tons of room for each family member to conveniently stash all their products.  The sink was offset to maximize the counterspace.

The biggest objective for the redesign was to create a separate tub and shower.  It was intentional that all the plumbing fixtures have simple clean lines and be contemporary.  I think this works well in an otherwise traditional space and keeps it from looking dated.  You can see the plumbing fixtures have rectilinear lines.  One decision the homeowner made was opting for an undermount sink as opposed to a sink that had a 3" lip around it the same as the tub....but I think this option works just as well especially because of the shape.  I normally provide 2 options when making selections for a client and either one is meant to work equally well.

I think its important to point out that aside from the fresh hydrangeas on the vanity (its all I could find - why is there no selection of fresh flowers in June???) and the potted orchid on the tub deck (my gift),,,,this is exactly the way the bathroom looked when I arrived that day.  I was impressed how well her artwork fit in.

This moravian star fixture from Home Depot was a great 'save' and one of her favorite things in the bathroom.  You'll also notice in some of the shots the ceiling is painted a soft pale blue.  A beautiful detail that I often do in bathrooms.

One of the key finds was this sleek soaker tub by Duravit, and surpisingly it was a great buy too at less than $700.  Because the existing window was so low to the floor this tub with its low profile fit perfectly without having to make any alterations to the window.  Its clean lines are gorgeous looking and the homeowners all rave how comfortable it is, even the men!

The front of the tub was paneled with the same moulding detail as the walls and finished off with a simple shoemould at the bottom.  The marble tub deck and vanity counter were finished with a rectilinear profile to maintain that contemporary edge.

On the inside of the shower, on the back of the half wall is a built-in soap niche which contains all the products and keeps them out of view.  Hooks are a must in any bathroom that's used by men or children, they simply won't use towels bars!

When I design showerstalls I always specify solid slab thresholds and jambs.  One of the reasons I often use carrerra marble in bathrooms is because you can find ready-made marble jambs instock at any building centre in one of two materials, carrerra and jura beige.  If you go with one of these it means you save the expense and time of having to get jambs custom fabricated from some other material.  I prefer classic carrarra so I'll chose counters and tiles that will work with that.  Then, splurge on a frameless glass shower enclosure.

The rectangular lines continue in the shower fittings, and the classic white subway tile (another 'save') was installed with a light grey grout to add more character.  In general the minimal use of tile in the room is a big cost savings.  I love the sparkle of polished chrome fixtures, and they'll also cost you a lot less than polished nickel.

A luxurious rainshower head.

The rectangular shape is continued on the vanity drawer fronts and hardware.

This is the view standing in the doorway....

I hope you can see why I was so excited to share these after photos.  I'm thrilled that my client is happy, in fact she tells me "its the most beautiful bathroom I've ever been in" and its been such a joy to use.  How amazing is it that its had such a positive and uplifting effect on her and her family's everday living!  

Next she's going to tackle her 25 year old kitchen which she plans to overhaul next summer.  I'm about halfway thru the design planning for it and I can tell you its going to be as dramatic of a change as the bathroom was.....  

If you have a space that your planning on renovating but don't have any design plans, check out the E-Design services available on my e-design site thedesignshop where you can also see more of this bathroom redesign project in the Gallery.

All Photos:  Carol Reed

Before & After: Little Girl's Room

You may remember a few of my earlier posts this year about the

70's sidesplit

I furnished for a single mom and her young daughter.  I was tasked with furnishing this newly renovated (but not by me) home with 3 bedrooms, Living room, dining room, kitchen, family room, mud room and front entry, complete with accessories, window coverings and light fixtures - all to be completed within a 3 month time period and a very modest budget.  To say this was a challenge would be an understatement,,,,in fact I did all of this while simultaneously, also furnishing

Brian's condo

from top to bottom.  Yes I admit I went a little bit cuckoo there for a couple of  months while sourcing with a split personality,,,,,all girly and curvy and traditional and french for one place,,,,,,,,all masculine and modern and simple for the other.

So today I thought I'd share some of the after photos of the 70's sidesplit by starting with the little girl's room.  The little girls room and the guest bedroom were the smallest rooms in the house and also had the smallest amount of the budget allocated to them.  The little girl's requirements were pretty simple,,,she wanted pink, ruffles, and sparkle.  Her mother insisted nothing trendy and nothing too modern, it had to be classic and preferably with some french style.   Aside from the budget challenges the timeline meant that there was little if any time to order custom pieces or special order items, and forget about time consuming treasure hunts for antiques or vintage pieces, we needed things instock or quick ship! 

Here's an After photo of the girl's bedroom.......

Here's what it looked like Before

The room had new floors and newly painted walls when I came on board, neither of which were to be changed, so new paint or wallpaper wasn't an option.  I had to learn to love ICI's 'Bavarian Cream'.

This was the second edition of the concept plan, and a loose one at that,,,,,originally I had planned a series of low dressers with knee space for a desk to go along the window wall but that plan changed early in the buying stage and they're no longer shown here.  Instead you see an antique vanity : ).

One of the first decision made in the planning stage was to splurge on a custom upholstered headboard, ruffle bedskirt and roman shade.  So the first task was to select some fabric and then sketch up a design for a headboard to get the order in production asap.  I designed the headboard to have an exagerrated height and a contrast biased cut piping detail. I chose a solid colour fabric that would give her more flexibility in pairing patterns with it in the future.

While I was in a consignment shop looking for other things for the house, I spotted this vintage vanity table.  It has french style legs and the paint finish on it looked as if it was custom made for the girls' room, it was in great condition and a great price. It was perfect and I bought it on the spot. Except this meant I had to change the plan, we'd no longer have room for the combined low long desk/dresser combo under the window wall



Unfortunately the vanity table didn't come with a chair and I was having a really hard time finding something that would work with it and that was a affordable.  Just when I was losing hope, I walked into HomeSense one day and spotted this perfect painted Louis style chair with cane back for a steal. Twice lucky with this one room!  We took some of the wall paint from the room and drybrushed the chair frame with it so it would blend in more with the vanity.  Then we took a minwax stain marker and applied it to the carved details to give it more of an aged look.  

Because of the change in plan due to the vanity purchase, I decided to use 3 drawer dressers on either side of the bed that would also be night tables.  In total, this gave her 6 drawers which is what had originally been planned for along the window wall.  I chose the


dresser from Ikea because it had simple lines that wouldn't clash with the antique vanity and because they’re solid pieces at a great price.  I replaced the knobs with crystal ones and had the drawer fronts painted a shade of pink found in the striped fabric.

Here's a glimpse of the dresser with the new paint colour and knobs.  This was taken on move-in day, we still had some art prints to hang and accent pillows to buy for the bed. 

I found a series of six botanical prints at the Sherway antique show in January then took them to my framers where we selected matts and a simple antique looking frame using the Bavarian Cream paint sample for reference.

We added a simple french line around the matts,,,, in pink of course!

The prints were ready to hang and here you can see the deep pile shag area carpet I placed under her bed, its one of the softest plushest shag carpets I've ever felt, velvety soft.

The homeowner's mother had these antique lamps in her basement storage room and I was crazy for them when she asked me if I thought they could work on the vanity.  They were purchased in Paris in the 1940's or 50's by her aunt.  The shades are hand painted silk and the bases are solid brass.  Gorgeous!  Still to come for this corner is a fabric and ribbon memo board.

Beautiful detail......

I opted for a bookcase on the wall at the foot of the bed, its another Ikea unit called the


 chosen for its traditional styling.  I had the beadboard backpanel painted the same pink as the dresser drawer fronts.  There are only 3 Ikea items in the entire house,,,,,2 of them happen to be in this room!  This was taken just a few weeks after they had moved in and they hadn't yet filled up the shelves. 

The botanicals finally got hung.....

I contemplated whether to hang two bontanicals on either side of the bed or just one,,,,I decided just one at the time but I think I'll add 2 more in the coming months.  You can see a bit of the painted chandelier in this photo,,it has clear beads with pink drops.

I’m partial to swing arm lamps beside a bed, in this room I thought that these ones added a bit of contemporary freshness to the vintage vanity lamps and traditional chandelier.  For the summer the duvet cover was removed, normally its folded at the foot of the bed but I took this photo about 2 weeks ago and I like the lighter look of just the matalese coverlet at this time of year.

Since move-in at the end of February, we've added the botanical prints, a new euro sham and a vintage look floral accent pillow.

The eyelit lace trim pillows were from Pottery Barn.  You can see the biased cut contrast piping detail of the headboard,,,like a candy stripe.

The pink bordered eurosham is from Pottery Barn and the feather filled floral pillow is from HomeSense.

It’s such a small room I wasn't able to capture an overall view in one image.  The other side of the room has the bookcase unit which still needs some filling up.

I think the key to this room is that we avoided themey type bedding or accessories, the pieces we chose are all classic and can grow with her into her teen years and beyond.  The solid fabric headboard and multi toned striped skirt can be mixed with other solids and textures as well as florals, geometrics or checks so there's lots of potential to easily layer and change things up.  There's lots of room for her to display her personal things on the bookcase and on her vanity top and room on the bed and her dressers for more stuffed toys or dolls.  I was able to give her pink and flowers and sparkles and even some ruffles without it looking too granny or too babyish .........I have to say I don't even mind the Bavarian Cream so much anymore.   

All Photos:   Carol Reed