Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Stained Glass Design

One of the things that I love best about old houses is that they often come with neat stained glass windows.  Our house had sadly been stripped of anything cool like that when we bought it, but we were pretty sure that our front door at one time had stained glass.  A few years after we moved into our house, the hubby surprised me by contacting a local stained glass artist to make a custom window for us.  That artist is the talented and very sweet Pat Vloebergh. If you are in the Atlanta area and looking for stained glass, beveled glass, etc. I highly recommend you check out her website and give her a call.  I promise she will design something gorgeous just for you.  So the hubby told her all about me (how I love Autumn and Halloween) and Pat worked up several designs. This is the one I chose:

This pic does not do it justice, the colors are brighter and more vibrant in real life.

I went with the autumnal tree/owl/spiderweb design because I felt like it spoke to Fall/Halloween without being too over the top.  I have loved that window every day since we had it installed and have always hoped that maybe someday we could incorporate more stained glass into our house.

When we were first sitting down to design the renovation, I spent a lot of time online looking at pictures of old houses. When I came across this picture of a bathroom in the beautiful King-Keith Bed and Breakfast in Inman Park, I knew I wanted to do the same thing in our master bath:

I've never stayed at the King-Keith, cause you know, I live here, but it's got some pretty high ratings online so you might want to check it out if you're ever in Atlanta.

After much thought and deliberation, we decided to go ahead and splurge and have Pat design some beautiful windows for our master bath as well as a transom that will be at the end of the hallway.

We met with Pat and got to choose from several different designs:

  On the left is several different choices for the two master bath windows, and on the right is several different designs for the transoms.

We decided in for a penny, in for a pound, so we are going to go for the two most elaborate of the designs for the master bath:

Remember that most of our bathroom will be white subway tile, so these windows will provide a much needed pop of color in the room.   This is our top three choices for the transom:

The H is for Howard of course, but I thought it was just a little too egotistical.  The owl is very cute and matches the front door, but we ultimately decided to go for the cobweb.  It also matched the front door and spoke to my love of Halloween...and it would be very unique.  Sometimes I wonder if, many years from now, people will think an arachnologist owned this house because of all of the stained glass spider webs.

So here is what we are thinking of for the colors:

That large beautiful piece of striated blue and white glass will be the sky background on the master bath windows.  The little orange, brown, green and yellow samples underneath it will be the different colors of the falling leaves on the tree.  The yellow round piece of glass on the paper is what we've decided to go with in the cabochons of the transom design.  And this opaque brown will be the tree bark:

Just holding it up to the light to confirm it's opaque so no one will see my naked wet tushie in the shower.

We decided to add a little color around the spider's web in the transom, so we are going with the same striated green glass that frames the owl/tree on our front door (it's the large chunk in this picture):

We know that this is definitely one aspect of our design that we will never see a return on when we sell the house, but we don't care.  This beautiful stained glass will make our house special and unique, and we will love it every single day that we get to live here.  Sometimes, you gotta live a little, ya know?

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Impeded Progress, Or The Bane Of Our Existence

So, we got our first stop work order this week folks.  Sigh...  Let me start by talking about the bane of our existence, the Protected Georgia Waterway that runs along the back edge of our property.  This Protected Georgia Waterway has caused a lot of problems for us and our other neighbors whose properties have the bad fortune to be adjacent to it.  Because it is a Protected Waterway, you cannot build within 100 feet of the stupid thing (even though it's YOUR property) because, I don't know, it will hurt the environment or something.  The hubby and I were fortunate in that we had enough space in our backyard to get done what we needed to do with the renovation, but we've had neighbors that were not so lucky.  They've had to curtail their own expansion plans, or they've gone through absolute hell trying to tear down and rebuild a house that was built in the 50's that was falling apart (we all banded together as a neighborhood and finally got the permission for it, but it was a long, hard fight).  I'm all for the environment and everything, but let me show you this precious ecosystem that the government is giving us all crap for:

 It's a kudzu choked drainage ditch.

Basically it's a drainage ditch that fills up with water when it rains.  It's dry the rest of the time.  I don't hate it or want to destroy it, but I don't think it's worth giving us all grief over.

This week the city sent by a Code Enforcement Officer, I'm guessing because maybe a curmudgeonly neighbor complained (not thinking of you D's or you W's, we know you guys are awesome).  This Officer was clearly there just to try and find things wrong, and believe me if they want to try to find something wrong, they will.  So here were our violations:  our dumpster didn't have lights on it, the porta potty was in the street, and we took down the silt fence in the backyard that was (supposedly) protecting the waterway.

The dumpster was being picked up in five minutes, and the dumpster company didn't provide us one with lights on it.  Guilty as charged on the porta potty.  It was in the street in front of our house because that was the best place for us.  And about the silt fence...  okay the stupid silt fence that was on our property before was actually installed by the hubby and I when we got our wiener puppies.  We knew that we were going to be doing the renovation soon, so we didn't want to install a proper fence only to have it torn down.  The silt fence proved to be enough of a barrier for short little wiener puppies, and we never let them out in the backyard without us.  So our Code Enforcement Officer was pissed that we took down a silt fence that had absolutely nothing to do with the renovation at all because OMG WE MUST PROTECT THE KUDZU CHOKED DRAINAGE DITCH, I mean Georgia Protected Waterway.  The reason why our contractor even took down the silt fence is that there will be no more construction in the backyard, so there will be no soil erosion or anything like that to worry about.  When he nicely suggested this to the Officer (and believe me our contractor is one of the nicest, easy going people you would ever hope to meet), the Officer got nasty and threatened to put our contractor in jail.

We had to tell the plumbers, electricians and HVAC people who were working in the house and NOWHERE NEAR THE BACKYARD that they had to go home.  Then my contractor had to search the Atlanta area for this super duper protective (and expensive) special silt fence and get it put up in the backyard to protect the Georgia Protected Waterway.

Hard to find, stupidly expensive and completely unnecessary.

Once it was up, we had to wait a couple of days for the Code Enforcement Officer to come out and confirm that we were in compliance because apparently they only do that on Mondays, Wednesday, and Fridays.
So we lost several days of work on this project, we had to pay for equipment we didn't need, and we had to mess with the schedules of several different professionals for nothing really.  Your tax dollars at work folks.

We don't know for sure that this was caused by the complaints of a grumpy neighbor, but if it was, I'd just like to say openly and publicly, we are reasonable people.  The hubby, our contractor and I want to complete this project with as little disturbance to the neighborhood as possible.  We are all committed to trying to keep everyone as happy as we possibly can (but I'm sorry, there will be dumpsters and porta potties).  If you have any kind of problems or questions with the construction, please just contact us directly and we will do our best to work it out.  If you involve the city, it's just going to delay the project even further which will prolong your inconvenience.

I will try to have a happier post up soon with some more design...since this week we really didn't get much done in construction.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Master Bath Design

I thought it might be nice to take a break from construction and show a little design this week.  Okay, so the construction at the house right now is not exactly sexy (electrical, plumbing, HVAC) and rather than trying to narrate pictures of wiring in a witty way I thought a design post might go over a little easier.

For those of you that might be new, let me give you the run down on what we want in a master bath.  Well, let me back up a minute and tell you a little bit about myself.  I am a flat out complete bathroom junky.  Ever since I was a wee one I have loved bath time.  I happily played for hours with my tub toys, and Santa always brought me bath salts or fizzy cubes in my stocking.  Fast forward to my moody teenage years and you could find me soaking in a tub for hours, sulking and reading trashy fiction.  In other words, the bathroom has always been my refuge, a place to relax and have fun...and an essential part of my well being.  So, this bathroom-lovin', tub-soakin' girl wound up buying her first house with this for a master bath:

 Behold the wonders of tiny tub!

I know you must be thinking I was crazy for buying a house with such a tiny and craptacular master bath, but I was kinda happy it was that way.  You see, when we were house hunting we looked at many old houses with crappily (and expensively) renovated master baths.  I really didn't want to pay the price for a fancy bathroom that I didn't like/didn't go with the style of the house/looked butt ugly.  So I was happy when we found this house with a perfectly functional master bath that we could feel guilt-free about tearing out.  I knew someday I would replace that bathroom with the one of my dreams-  and that day is NOW!

So, what do we want in a master bath?  I knew I wanted a big, spacious, open shower, but I didn't want it to have those sleek glass enclosures everyone loves:

 Gorgeous, but a HUGE pain in the ass!

 Why?  Because I have friends that just remodeled their bathroom and they put in a huge double shower with those gorgeous glass doors.  They told me those doors are HELL to keep clean.  Apparently you have to treat them with Rain-X and, every time you use the shower, you have to carefully squeegee the glass walls down with one of those squeegee things that folks use to clean windshields at gas stations.  Who wants to do that kind of work when you are all nice and clean and relaxed?  So I knew I wanted the luxury of a large shower, but sans the glass doors, thanks.

I also knew that essential to my happiness would be a huge honkin' bath tub that I could soak in.  My heart went pitter-pat when I saw this tub on True Blood:

Hot Nordic vampire not included.

So with all that in mind, our designer came up with this for our bathroom:

You'll open the bathroom door and our old fireplace will still be on the right.  We wanted to clean it out and modify it with a coal-look gas insert, but that's going to be too expensive, so for now it's purely decorative.  Along the left wall you will see my HUGE HONKIN' TUB HELLZ YEAH and on the right wall will be a marble counter top with two under mount sinks.  Straight ahead will be this semi-wall for privacy in the shower/toilet area.  We based it off this inspiration picture from the craftsman style Frederick C. Grable house:

Here's a closer look at first the right, then the left wall:

As you can see, we're going to have lots of neat detail with the tile.  Because we are trying to keep this bathroom as historic looking as possible (yes I know the tub is way too big for back then, but I don't care), we decided to go with the classic look of white subway tiles.

I can feel myself relax just looking at this photo.

And for the shower fixtures, I'd like something that looks a bit old and grungy...like it's been there for 60 years.
This finish has been surprisingly hard to find though, so we'll keep looking.  For the floor, we're going to go with classic hexagonal subway tiles, with some black tiles for accents.   As you recall, our cat Mulder had an opinion about that:

Mulder has very strong feelings about accent tiles.

And finally, to add a punch of color into the space, the windows (one above the tub and one on the wall in the shower/toilet area) will be stained glass.  I don't have a picture to post of that yet, but we're meeting with the stained glass artist this weekend to look at concept sketches. 

I thought I'd wrap up this post by showing you a bit of the construction that is going on in the master bath area right now.  Here you see the workers cutting a big hole in the floor for my tub:

 They are doing that so that the tub can sit at a comfortable, easy-to-get-into height.  This is very important, because if anyone could trip/fall/kill themselves getting into and out of a tub, it's me.  Here you can see they are reinforcing the floor to accept the weight of the tub:
This is to ensure that my fat wet butt does not go through the floor.

Here's the start of the privacy wall that will separate the shower and toilet area from the rest of the bathroom:

 Oh noes! They broke my crappy fan globe!

This is the tub area, with it's surround all built up:

Here is the shower area, with the floor cut out for the shower pan:

 And finally I thought I'd leave you folks with a few funny photos.  My tub got delivered this week, and to keep it safe and out of the way the workers put it in the guest bathroom.  As you can see, the darn thing takes up the WHOLE guest bath:

This is one SERIOUS tub.

 Earlier this week, the hubby and I had to make a decision on shower layout, so we made this mock-up shower simulator in the dining room at our rental house:

 Mulder has serious thoughts about shower seat placement.

Well that's it for this week folks, hope you enjoyed a little taste of master bath design!

Sunday, July 8, 2012

An Unexpected Hiatus and Progress That's Hard To See

Sorry I've been gone for a couple of weeks folks. It was my intention to update this blog at least once a week during the heavy construction phase, but I pulled a muscle in my back. It lead to a super happy fun trip to urgent care on one of the hottest days Atlanta has ever seen, and no typing for me for over a week due to the pain. But I'm (marginally) better now and ready to resume my duties as your blog hostess with the mostess.

So, what's been going on for these two weeks? Lots of stuff, but it's not the easiest stuff to visualize. First of all we had a lot of things roughed in, including the guest bath, stairwell down to the basement, and the laundry/pantry room.

Recognize that light from my dining room table?

On the above picture, the guest bath is on the left, the stairs down to the basement will be on the right, and if you look through them both to the window on the far wall, that's where the laundry/pantry room will be. Here's another view of the laundry/pantry room:

The workers have also been busy little bees on the outside of the house, and we have almost all of our siding up:

I know it's going to be one of the last things that we do, but I can't WAIT to paint the outside of the house. It's going to look really cool! Anyhoo, there was lots of interior guts type stuff going on in the house too, like plumbing:


Oh my god! Someone built a robot in my attic!!!

hey baby, wanna kill all humans?

Just kidding! That's actually our HVAC unit...our sexy, sexy HVAC. You can't blame me for getting excited about air conditioning when we're suffering through 100 plus degree days here in Hotlanta.

We also uncovered a few historic things about the house. When the workers were doing stuff on the front porch, they uncovered this old beam:

It's a little hard to tell in that photo, but it looks like at one point our porch ceiling was painted white, then light blue, then teal green. Interesting.

We also found some of the original ceiling in the hallway:

That's beadboard baby!!! Now I know you guys are wondering, why the heck is she so excited about beadboard? Well, ever since we started this project, I have been adamantly insisting that we put beadboard ceilings throughout the house, because that is what most middle class houses would have had in that era. Beadboard is actually more expensive for us to do nowadays so I kinda had to roll up my sleeves and fight for it, and now I'm so glad I did cause I was right!!!

That's about it for the last two weeks. Hopefully I won't suffer any more back injuries and will be able to post more regularly. I want to leave you guys on the happiest of notes this week- big congratulations to our next door neighbor's the W.'s for the arrival of their newest family member!

Welcome to the world little fella! We promise to get the construction done ASAP so you can rest easy.

Tune in next time for an update on the master bathroom design, including inspiration photos.