Author Archives: costarosa

Houzz Tour Feature

I am thrilled to share some extremely exciting news.

Our home has been featured on the awesome online home remodeling and design platform…Houzz!

Below is the feature, I hope you enjoy it as much as we do.

Thanks again to the wonderful Houzz team for providing us with this amazing opportunity. Also special thanks to our families, Bill, Costa for helping making this house into a home and Tanya List for supplying the gorgeous flowers http://www.tanyalist.ca/


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Checklist ✔ Bathroom complete

After a few more hiccups, the bathroom is finally ready for use.

We had one final issue with the marble tiles. The tile guy sold us the wrong sealer to apply to the marble floor. Instead of a clear sealer which needs to be used on light marble, he gave us a yellow sealer which immediately turned our tiles yellow.

Of course, panic set in.

We immediately did some research online and called a reputable stone restoration shop.  The staff at Stone Aid was incredibly professional and were able to come in and rectify the problem quickly.  Not only did they fix the floor, they re-grouted and sealed both the floor and bathroom tiles. They advised that the yellow sealer was only to be used on dark stone, such as limestone, not on marble. So thankful they were able to come and save our floor!

Love. That’s my silver lining to the story.

Now to the good part.  Reveal the updated and (finally) ready to use “Salle de Bain”.

Drum roll please…actually make that a Hot Chip tune.

BEFORE

AFTER

BEFORE

AFTER

BEFORE

AFTER

The only remaining piece of the old bathroom is the vintage door handle that I kept. It is quite beautiful and provides that old world glamour to the rest of the room.

I love how all the various components tie in together to provide a modern feel to a traditional look.  I wanted to achieve a “new” old New York hotel sensibility and I feel that it works for the space.

Time for that long awaited bath.

Or not. The Deck is coming up next…looking forward to keeping you all posted.

 

 


The Final Countdown

It’s been a while since I have updated the blog. An important reason being a new arrival for my brother and his fiancée which kept us busy and travelling!

Ahhh the bathroom.

Since we last chatted, the drywall has been placed, ventilation secured and the heated floor mat is ready to go.

Tiles.

I searched long and hard and came full circle to probably what were the most obvious choices.

It came down to subway tiles vs. a wood grain reproduction in porcelain. I loved the wood grain and the warmth it could potentially bring to the room. The only difficulty I had was persuading my significant other to see the vision.

Subway tiles are nice, but I wanted something a little more 3 dimensional. That was up until I saw them in a beveled version. We finally came to an agreement that we could both sign off on.

Although, I felt that just a subway tile would not be enough for the bathtub surround… I wanted to create an interesting focal point. So I decided to add a mosaic of high gloss tile in black and white to frame the shower kit.

The only problem is that we didn’t realize what was in store for us with our choices. Should be easy to slap the tiles on right?

Wrong.

Because the subway tile is beveled there are many challenges with corner cuts. You are basically left with a wave effect vs. a perfectly flat angle. You need to ensure that each corner tile needs to be flat against the same cut  then pushed tight to each other, and add a thick coat of  white (non-clear) silicone. This must be done with extreme skill or you are toast. Seriously.

Umm and I forgot about the edges.  Back we went looking for a finishing tile that was close to the same white but also needed to be at least . Which is pretty much impossible.

Since I had the luxury of entering every single tile shop in the GTA, I had a pretty good idea of where I could find a good finishing tile.

Mosaic complete with shower fixtures

How about the tile for the floor, you ask?

We wanted marble. You can pretty much find a ton of different marble variations everywhere.  Except the variation we loved was the 2″ Polished Hexagon Carrara marble, which I came to realize quickly little to no retailer carried.

Why not be content with the 1 inch that every retailer has? Because we love to be tormented. You can’t take the fun out of the chase, when you’re addicted to the chase.

I knew just the person to help with the chase.  I made a few phone calls and the tiles magically appeared!

Let’s seal these babies up!

We also found a toilet that fits perfectly within the space. It was an issue trying to find one that was small, comfortable and has the right design sensibilities.

Look no further than a Toto…jackpot!

Now we just need to install pretty much everything, slap on a few coats of paints and we are ready to reveal the final product.

Almost there….I can feel it.  A bientôt!

 

 


Design Concepts …Take Two

Since the demo will take some time,  this is the perfect opportunity to start purchasing the remaining fixtures for the bathroom.

The bathroom reno has been a little more challenging than the kitchen. Even though it’s a smaller space, there are more components to the room that need to work together….and I’m starting to get design decision fatigue.

This is a good time to remind myself:

  • The only certainty is there is no certainty
  • Every decision, as a consequence, is a matter of weighing probabilities
  • Despite uncertainty we must decide and must act
  • We need to judge decisions not only on results, but on how they were made

On that note →

I have been researching bathroom inset medicine cabinets and I can’t believe how many different variations and price ranges are available.

I fell in love with the cabinet below until I looked at the 1,500 dollar price tag – and was quickly brought back to reality. Anything I place in this cabinet will never amount to the price of the actual cabinet!!

After much research, I decided on the Restoration Hardware Whitby Inset Medicine Cabinet in the Weathered Oak finish.

Once I read the description “Solid Oak and the gracious curve of a Georgian arch create architecturally inspired bathroom storage” I was sold!

Since we + guests will be spending some time in front of this mirror, I want something that leaves an enduring impression.

Perfect timing as well, Restoration is having a bath sale. Load up the cart!

Since the sale is on, best to check out what type of bathroom lighting is available.

I’m looking for something a bit more industrial to offset the traditional vanity. I don’t want to go chrome, even thought the legs of the console are chrome…matching is so overrated.

The Edison caged sconce in the Polished Nickel and the Turner Flushmount is pretty much bang on in terms of cinching the deal. They both have enough of an industrial look to provide an edge, but doesn’t detract from the curves of the medicine cabinet.

Restoration Hardware you make my heart flutter ♥

Next, Bathing: I love the claw foot tubs, although I would prefer a more modern take on the claw foot.  Like a freestanding bathtub.

The problem with the claw foot/freestanding bathtub is that I need one that is about 58″ X 30″ so that it fits in the space properly and still has enough room to accommodate freestanding exposed plumbing accessories. Since this size isn’t standard, I would be looking at 2K + for a claw foot tub and 6K+ for a modern freestanding bathtub.

We also love the Maax Rubix Tub. It’s a sleek  squared off tub with maximum showering space at 60″ X 32″. It’s also long enough for Chris (who’s 6’2″) to fit in the bath with his legs stretched out.

The Maxx Rubix is looking really good.  Great Look+Price+Functionality = Purchased

Possibly invite Eddie to christen the “Hot Tub”

Time to take a design breather…then back to the grind with the tiles.  À bientôt!


Mission Demolition

 It’s time to get our hands dirty

To be quite frank with you…I’m actually not really looking forward to tearing down walls and pulling out the floor in this old house. I’m pretty sure that there are going to be a few suprises and not all of them will make us ecstatic. B Squared (Bill + Bonnie) are back up from Ottawa do get this job done right.

I’m fully committed (for once) so let’s do this. There is no turning back now.

First thing to go is that awful vanity. Hello, Habitat!

The next removal was the medicine cabinet.  I have to admit… did kinda get attached to the medicine cabinet and apparently it didn’t want to let go either. Wasn’t a simple task taking it out.

In honor of the medicine cabinet and its faithful utility, I decided to purchase an inset cabinet vs. a plain mirror for the new bathroom. Definitely a great use of space that would otherwise be unusable.

We were floored at how thick the tiles were.

How thick, you ask? Marble basketweave tiles with about 2 inches of cement.

It was an intense workout having to drag the tile and cement remnants from the second level of the house and dump them in the backyard.

What boggled our minds is that the cement was poured over and covered the water pipes. How exactly would we be able to get to the pipes if there ever was a leak??

The Big Reveal…our pipes!

If we thought ripping out the floors was bad…get a load of our cast iron tub that needs to be removed. Speaking of pipes, I googled how many people it would take to remove this beast of a tub, and they advised against removal as it would take about 4 – 5 Olympian sized men. Best to break it into tiny pieces with a sledgehammer.

Although, the boys were able to somehow drag it out under the supervision of Bonita. It’s now found a new home on our 2nd floor landing until we can figure out what our next steps are.

Did I forget to mention how insanely messy it was to rip out the plaster on all the walls?  The plaster was about 2 inches thick and had a lovely steel mesh adding to the weight of the plaster. I think we lost approximately 40 pounds combined that day.

Note to self – Renos = Rad Beach Bod

The biggest disappointment was a ventilation pipe smack dab in the most inappropriate spot. It is located exactly where we were planning to place the new throne (toilet), next to the vanity so that when you walk into the bathroom, it was out of the main sightline.

Panic quickly set in…

  1. Stage One Denial: ”This can not be happening”
  2. Stage Two Denial: ”Ok I closed my eyes, opened them and it was still there”
  3. Bargaining: ”Can’t we move the toilet flange and drain pipe around the vent? How about if I buy a smaller vanity even though it may cost me a small fortune. Can the toilet float off a wall??”
  4. Stage Three Denial: ”We can move this vent, no problem right? How difficult can it really be to open up the dining room ceiling and re configure this system?”
  5. Acceptance: ”It’s going to be OK. We will figure out another option”

You made it look easy, Bob Vila.

We decided that the toilet can only be placed under the window, as we can’t move the vent and moving the toilet flange/drain pipe will require extensive work. This of course means the original plans for the new bathroom configuration has been completely derailed.

Well, you can’t have it all I guess but who says you can’t try. Back to the drawing board.

At least now we now what we’re up against.


I Dream of Vanities

Now that we have an idea of what the bathroom will look like, the next step is to find a vanity that suits (and fits) the space as it will be the anchor for the overall design.

The existing bathroom is about 6 feet by 5 1/2 feet. Once we tear down the closet, the added space for the bathroom should net out at approximately 6 feet by 7 1/2 feet.

Basically, we’re limited to vanities that are in between 28″ to 34″ wide and less than 20″ deep.

Now I need to narrow down what style of vanity we prefer.

→ Console Vanities. They definitely embrace the period of the home and provide that sophistication we’re looking for. With so many different styles, I think the decision will not be as straightforward as I initially thought it would be.

→ Vanity with cabinets. More contemporary and has the added bonus of extra storage. Granted, we already have a pretty large linen closet just outside the bathroom, how much more stuff do we need to accumulate? Regardless, I decided to check what out the options were.

Since most of the vanities with cabinets I loved were astronomically out of our price range, we opted to Go Console.

Consoles provide a timeless look, are extremely sophisticated and will provide the illusion of making the space feel larger.

And they are the new black.

I prefer a ceramic sink vs. the new resin basins that they are creating with the majority of the modern affordable vanities. Pretty sure that ceramic will last a few years longer, no?

Once the lengthy search was over, I came to the painful realization that consoles are generally more expensive than many of the vanities with cabinets. Finding one that fit my budget and space was going to be a bit more of a challenge than originally anticipated. Time to get a bit more creative…

Finally narrowed it down to two different brands.

Primo – Porcher Lutezia 28″ Console Lavatory

I love the brushed nickel legs of the Porcher console. Beautifully crafted. The only problem is that there is little to no counter space on the sink, which poses a slight issue for placing any hairdryers, brushes etc…I began a hunt for a different options with only the legs and found a retailer who could produce a custom top in any natural stone and under mount sink….for a reasonable-ish (really stressing the ISH) price point dependant on the stone I chose. The drawback is that the counter only provided about 3 inches or so of usable counter space on each side of the sink.

Damn… those legs are so hot though!

Secondo –  St.Thomas Creations Nouveau 34″ Console Lavatory

I found the St.Thomas online after hours of relentlessly surfing the net for a larger console with more counter space. The US bath retail website didn’t indicate where it was sold in Canada. After some process of elimination I figured out that Home Depot carried their toilets, so I called St.Thomas directly and they advised that Home Depot Canada does carry it, but only in the chrome. The counter space was about 8″ on each side of the sink, which was a bonus.  The rep at St.Thomas advised that the Nouveau was being discontinued, so I had to make a decision fast.

St.Thomas… Rhymes with winning! Anyone?

Let’s special order this baby in!

 

 


Refresh, revive and reinvigorate in the New Year!

Almost a full year has passed and we’re starting to get that familiar itch…the reno bug.

The hard work that we put into the kitchen last year absolutely paid off. It’s a totally functional space and a pleasure to create delicious dishes.  Super inspirational and we absolutely love it.

Unlike our bathroom!

So…It’s about time we get our sleeves rolled up and start working again.

Even though it has period features such as original basket weave marble tiles (not in the best shape), subway surround on the walls and cast iron soaker tub… it is super TINY. We can barely sit on the toilet comfortably without hitting the bathtub with our knees.

While we’re on the topic of the bathtub, it has a whole lotta of issues.

Rust soaked bath anyone? I don’t know about you, but that sounds like an amazing option for relaxation.

Rusty Cast Iron Tub

Bathroom fit for a 7 pound dog

Builder vanity and poor lighting

Love the cracked tile look. This can only mean an unlevelled floor.

Who doesn’t enjoy bathing with a disintegrated drywall?

 

We decided that our bathroom renovation plan needs to look like this:

1. Complete Gut

2. Remove a very small closet that is adjacent to the bathroom, so that we can gain at least 2 feet of space. We can push back the vanity and toilet which would allow at least 2 people in the bathroom at one time.

3. Find a vanity and tub that actually fits the space

4. Keep the linen closet which is already outside of the bathroom to maximize the space in the bathroom

5. Bring back the period details in a modern way

Obviously this only means one thing. Time to roll up our sleeves and seriously hit the mortar again.

I am a little worried about tearing down the walls.  I like surprises, but not at the expense of  depleting my bank account.

I began researching the look for the bathroom and there are so many choices that we could go with.

→ Provence inspired with period details

→ Love the warm industrial feel of these bathrooms

→ The Clockwork Orange look below is cool but it may be a little far fetched and bordering on Scarface.

Come on, who doesn’t want lighted floors in their bathroom? Incredible.

 

We decided to blend Provence with period details and infuse industrial wherever possible. Re-create a luxury hotel feel with our limited budget.

On to the next step…finding the right vanity which will drive the foundation of the storyboard for the design.

Shouldn’t be that complicated, right? 

 


The Curtain Is Drawn

I’m about a week late in posting the final reveal, as we did have a few other items that we had to complete.

It was a long ride; worth every bump, turn and hill. I can honestly say I would want to do this again in a heartbeat.

Without further ado… I present you Before and After.

BEFORE

CONCEPT

AFTER

BEFORE

CONCEPT

AFTER

BEFORE

CONCEPT

AFTER

BEFORE

AFTER

Our wonderful Hutch that we found and distressed to add the perfect finishing touch to the kitchen.

The marble subway backsplash. I almost walked away from this backsplash as I felt the sample pieces were too white. I am so glad I decided to go this route. It compliments the kitchen and ties everything together beautifully.

Best choice hands down goes to the hidden dishwasher next to the sink. Less visible appliances, the better. The dishwasher was an awesome choice, it  shoots out a red light onto the floor to showcase that it’s running – no fuss and simplicity at its best.

Thank you for following me through this awesome chapter of my home, I can’t wait to do it again soon.

Bathroom or Deck next?

I’ll keep you posted! xo


Slab Heaven

Since we finally narrowed down the type of countertop, it was time to take a trip down to the local slab yard.

Thanks to our neighbours reco, we headed over to Toronto Granite in Mississauga.

The office space is small and filled with some great samples of granite, quartz and marble. Immediately, I saw Bianca. It was love at first sight. I was hoping Bianca was part of the quartzite family. And she was.

The thing I did find out from the owner, was that quartzite in fact did need to be sealed…as it is similar to granite. I was slightly disappointed as most of the posts I read about quartzite advised that it didn’t need to be sealed. The other thing was that the price tag was pretty hefty for this particular stone (2,700 installed).

Of course, I had to reason with myself…Some people drop that on a handbag per season, right?

Disclosure: This is definitely not the right way to talk yourself into purchasing a countertop.

The owner advised us to go to the building around the corner where they have the slabs and to pick out the one we like. If we were lucky, we would find an off cut slab and it would be cheaper for us. Like half the price. The chances would be slim for the Bianca as it’s an exclusive stone…we went over and rolled the dice.

Quartzite Bianca (Luce di Luna)

Quartzite Bianca Calcutta

We asked the warehouse manager if they possibly had an off cut slab of the Bianca and he said they rarely do… BUT he had one off cut slab of the Bianca Calcutta and brought us to the back.

And that’s when the magic happened.

WINNER…GAGNANT!

It took 2 weeks from the date of purchase to installation…It was well worth the wait. Oh, and Mother V has also been installed.

I never realized all the prep work involved to ensure that the countertop is a seamless fit. 2 and half hours to be exact.

The installers were really pleased with the way the cabinets were installed as they were perfectly level, which enabled them to avoid having to level the countertop themselves. Kudoos to Bill!

The gorgeous new (sealed) Quartzite Bianca Calcutta countertop

Chris and I decided to try and install (not fully) the faucet that we recently purchased at Lowe’s to get an idea of how it looks like and if it would fit with the overall design.

Rewind a few months ago…My mom just recently renovated her kitchen and she sent me a photo of her industrial faucet – which we immediately loved. We set out to find a similar faucet that would work for our space.  Who says the faucet should be boring? Let’s use something daring!

I think it looks pretty SWEET. Love when things fall into place!!!

NEXT:  Finalizing the Crown Moulding, Fridge cabinets (we finally received the replacement cabinets!), Dishwasher Cabinet, Hood fan, Backsplash, Hardware, Door Frame and Corner Cabinet.

I’m hoping to get the remaining hit list done by the weekend. Wishful thinking, I know.

A bientôt!


The Trials and Tribulations of Installations

The cabinets are here are ready to be placed. The question is – Are they really ready for installation? After inspecting each cabinet thoroughly, some were in better shape than others. The 8 foot cabinet that needed to placed next to the fridge had major issues. The cabinet frame had cracked where the doors hinges were placed. We weren’t sure if this happened at the workshop in the States or during shipment as all cabinets arrived pre-assembled.

Also, the glass door frames were warped and didn’t close properly.

This means waiting another 2 weeks for the new replacement cabinets to arrive…which of course will prelong the completion of the kitchen.

We didn’t let this discourage us (ok well maybe we were discouraged for a couple of hours) and Bill and Chris went ahead with installing the remaining cabinets.  They are definitely white! We are waiting for the electrician to come in so we can add the doorframe to the front of the dishwasher, as it will be hidden.

Photos of the 8 foot cabinets that encase the fridge to come shortly.

.

We have no sink, it’s been like that for over a week now. For now it will remain an intepretation of tubular art with a bucket.

Let’s move on to lighting, shall we?

 

LIGHTING

Mother V – My obsession

http://www.hudsonfurnitureinc.com/2007/

I happened upon this amazing lighting fixture a few years ago and I have obsessively been searching for a cheaper version. It’s called Mother V and it was designed by Barlas Bayler. It  has the perfect amount of rock n’ roll that the kitchen needs…I love a good contradiction that makes sense.

The Atlantis Chandelier version goes for approximately $29,880. I wasn’t anticipating purchasing the original anytime soon.

I went to the interior design show earlier this year and made a bee-line to the Living Lighting booth as I all I could see was the replica of the Mother V Chandelier from down the hall. The sales lady must have thought I was crazy and so did Chris, as the version they had was massive…probably the same height of our kitchen. I had to have it. I told the sales associate all about the background of the light…and I’m sure she thought I was insane.

I went to Living Lighting on King to see if they had a smaller version in stock.

And…there it was. In all its glory, on sale and waiting for me to pick it up. I’m pretty sure I saw my initials on the tag.

Good things definitely come to those who wait

HARDWARE

Chris and I also went shopping for hardware and decided to stop in at Anthropologie.  They  have a great eclectic selection of hardware for cabinets, and we found one that we absolutely loved. It has the right amount of character and it’s not too fussy. They didn’t have enough in stock in any location in Toronto, so I had to call a few locations and found the remaining knobs in stock in Calgary.

SINK

After debating with the Home Depot rep that an Apron Sink would be the best solution for our space, as our window frame would be tricky and may not allow the proper space to add an average size sink as well as the faucet.

Ah the faucet….Smooth curves or angular moody lines? Totally Off Topic.

Thankfully, the lead designer was on hand and agreed with us that the apron sink would be best suited. We went through a number of catalogues to find the size that would fit. I never realized how tricky this would be, as the size we need isn’t standard and there is definetly not a large selection of stainless steel apron sinks. Cue the cash register.

COUNTERTOP

After much research on what countertop what right for us, we agreed that we wanted quartz. We loved the fact that it is the most durable and resistant and doesn’t need to be sealed. The only problem with quartz is that it doesn’t provide the movement that a natural stone like marble has.

Quartz mostly has a replica of a pattern which seems manufactured (mainly because it is), and marble has motion that is fluid and unexpected. Marble is not practical as it is soft and porous and will stain easily.

My favorite looks are Calcutta and Carrera, which are both Marble. I needed to find a middle ground.

So I searched for what seemed like forever and didn’t really gain any traction…until I stumbled upon “Quartzite”

Quartzite is part of the quartz family, I believe it is made up of 90% quartz. For whatever reason, it’s really hard to find info on quartzite…but of the images and posts I read it seems to have a bit more options in terms of the design – some even have a marble like look to them. The benefit is that quartzite is almost as durable as quartz, which is the feature I love the most.

We went over to see our next door neighbour’s place and they had just installed a quartzite countertop. I was so excited! (Clearly it doesn’t take much…although, I’m a big mineral geek) The countertop was gorgeous and exactly what I was looking for….they just helped my job of finding the right slabyard easier.

Till next time!