We apologize as we’ve been MIA for a bit. Between moving, visitors checking out the new house, and the holidays we’ve been delinquent in sharing. We are moved in though and thrilled with the new house. The following are a few pics, but the full vision is many projects in the making. We planned the house as a blank slate for our creativity (some might call it crazy) to let loose a bit. But as it is, the space flows well and despite only 8′ ceilings, it feels spacious, bright and open. Beechwood did a great job and really kept on schedule. We moved in just 2 weeks past our ridiculously quick deadline. At times there were a dozen work trucks in our drive and the guys were practically tripping over each other to get the project done in time.
below: The study. Originally deemed the “coffee shop”. Loving our built in bookshelves, a cabinet for guest coats but more importantly vacuums, cleaning and utility type stuff. The corner has a built in banquet with storage under the seats and the counter top continues through from the kitchen. We opted for 3 drawer cabinets here as we’ll be using this end of the counter as a landing spot for mail, recharging gadgets, and all the other stuff that typically piles up in the kitchen. I have dreams of a big espresso machine just to the left of that window (it’s the nether space between the kitchen and study. The table was a craigslist find in Chicago – a little Eames table that matches our conference/dining table that has been in Zach’s family for ages. Above the table is our one splurge light – an Artemide Sphera.
below: We went cheap with our cabinets (Merillat) and, for the most part, let promotions choose our appliances. We were pleasantly surprised by the cabinets, they look good. We used the most minimal profile pulls we could find from Ikea (Grip handle) and are happy with the look. They work well except for the top drawers where the overhang from the counter hinder being able to grab them. Zach bent them down slightly so there was a lip to get under and it both improved the function and aesthetics. The nice thing is that if we choose to upgrade in the future, they leave no screw holes on the exterior of the cabinets. The appliances (Kitchenaid) are fine, but nothing we’d choose if not for a deal. The lights are from CB2 and we plan to replace the bulbs with the Plumen compact fluorescent bulbs when these die. Beechwood Builders loaned us a sink and faucet and made a temporary plywood countertop for our peninsula. We plan to have a big oak tree on our property milled and made in to a butcher block counter as well as a little cookbook shelf on the open end of the peninsula. The rest of the countertop is Silestone Bianco River and I am really loving it. For being light colored, the gray swirls really hide a lot. It seems as durable as everyone says quartz is. Definitely worth the little extra cost.
below: This is a view of the addition. The upper level of the addition houses the family room, guest bedroom and a full bathroom. We defined the space based on what we wanted for the studio workspace which is on the lower level and I wasn’t sure how this room would work as it’s pretty big and a little wide. While we definitely knew we wanted our tv area (hidden by the plants) up here (and planned the higher windows on the left to allow for a sofa against the wall and no glare on the screen) I wasn’t sure how the rest of the room would play out. It won’t always stay this way, but so far is working wonderfully for having a place for the little tots to play.
Our whole house, is a funny mix of old stuff we’ve had for over 10 years, Ikea, and some vintage or new things that eventually replaces the former. This room really embodies that with a Gus Modern sofa we found at a floor sample sale in Chicago, a pair of vintage Bertoia chairs we found at a junk shop in Northern Michigan, Ikea placeholders and my futon from college…seriously.
below: Because we were using much of the floorplan from the original house, we ended up with a smallish “family” bathroom. We felt like we needed at least one tub. I think we said “just in case” and I’m not sure in case of what but with little tykes it is a necessity. We have a very average little tub that was cheap but a step up from plastic at Home Depot. We thought a wall hung toilet might help the bathroom look bigger and definitely be easier to clean. It’s one of those things that you don’t want to change later as the plumbing is in the wall rather than having a hole in the floor. So we went cheap and it’s a bit regrettable. It’s a dual flush Porcher toilet and Gerberit wall unit (tank) and it is terrible. The little flush doesn’t do anything and the big flush is pretty inefficient too. We also found that when the power went out we couldn’t just poor water in and still flush the toilet so that was…unfortunate. Ah well, it’ll work for now, unless the power goes out again.
The cabinet is a basic maple with ladder handles that double as hand towel bars. It’s a dual vanity with square sinks that I’m pretty happy with. We got all our plumbing fixtures from faucetdirect.com who were great to work with and had good prices. I have a pet peeve about the way water pools around the base of faucets and is always gunky so we went with wall mounted faucets and are mostly happy with them. Both the sinks and the faucets look more expensive than their price tag which is always desirable. The medicine cabinets are also recessed to help give the bathroom as much space as possible. We were really happy with our tile which was only $2.50/sq ft and while it’s basic it looks nice. The gray on the floor continues up the wall behind the toilet.
below: We looked for the cheapest green floor we could. We wanted something that wasn’t horribly off gassing as our two kids are so little and spend so much time down low. We found a really well priced, white stained bamboo by Yanchi. It’s a prefinished floor which wasn’t our first choice but saved us a little money. It definitely does the job of looking light and bright and making the rooms look more spacious. We’ll see how they wear. The stairs were going to be painted and I had planned to screenprint them, but they were such a pretty poplar with dark streaks that we just did a clear coat on them.
This is one of the many parts of the house we hadn’t anticipated but really love. The wall box around the stairs is like a little gallery so we did some cheap Ikea lights as a placeholder but plan to make a sculptural light fixture that takes advantage of the white cube around it.
below: Our mudroom looks unassuming but is one of my favorite things we designed. The cubbies are built as two boxes each holding two cubby units and they are both on castors so that you can wheel one out in front of the other to reveal a hidden closet behind them. We plan to use that to store off season paraphernalia. Obviously, this will get a Martha Stewart treatment of organization and classier bins (yes, classier than that cardboard box) and I have schemes of color coding our family one of these days.
below: These are bit out of order, but this if the view if you stand at the kitchen island/peninsula and look towards the dining table. We’ve since hung our beloved Nitsche print and plan to upgrade the digital piano for a real one some day. The table is the fore-mentioned Eames conference table. Zach’s dad found it in the trash when Z was a kid and he painted the top to hide all the damage. It’s a great table and Z and I have moved it to many different homes. We plan to refinish the top somehow (my answer often involves screen printing a pattern) someday.
Now, if you’ve actually read all the way down to here you’re a real champ. I don’t assume that anyone wants to be just like us or strives for our aesthetic but should you desire to know about the source of anything we are more than happy to share. If you’re finding house remodeling fascinating, than stay tuned as the Dwell style overview and photoshoot is yet to come and it’ll look real pretty.