Friday, July 26, 2013

The Golly Ranch bathroom remodel: the big reveal!

I'm back for what you've really been waiting for on the remodeling front, to see the final bathroom.

If you missed it, here is yesterday's before and during renovation post. Sorry I split them up (I know that made some of you crazy!), but there was just too much to share. :)

As you know, I only had two weeks to plan out nearly every single detail of our bathroom renovation, though the work itself took considerably longer of course. There were many emails and phone calls exchanged with my dad before he got here, since he was in New Mexico and I was in Chicago. And crappy drawings like this, where I tried to cram in as much info for my dad as possible.

Now you must know that I really, really fretted about the final bathroom. I knew in my head that I wanted it to maintain somewhat of a retro 1950s feel, but with modern touches as well. I knew it wouldn't be a full-on retro renovation, but definitely a very retro-inspired renovation. I wanted a bathroom that was appropriate in our modest mid-century house, felt retro enough to suit our tastes, was cheerful, bright and appealing, and had at least a couple of great visual elements. All while not changing the layout much since it's a pretty small room. Tall order, huh?

My original mood board changed somewhat since I first posted it on my blog in May, but you'll see that even though we made some tweaks, we really stuck with this general design!

What did we keep? The color scheme (though opting for a bright blue for the walls instead of a light aqua), the towel ring, bar and hook, and chrome inset toilet paper holder.

What did we change? All the tile, the vanity, the faucet and sink (though mostly tweaks to my original ideas).

The main reason I haven't posted about this sooner is that photographing this room is HARD. I literally had to try every single combination of natural light and bounced flash at every time of the day and night that I could come up with. Because of all the glass and the big glass block window, it's damn near impossible to photograph some of the angles of this bathroom. So please forgive any lighting discrepancies and reflections in mirrors. I've tried to capture it as accurately as possible and these photos were taken many different days.

And here we go, this is the new Golly Ranch bathroom!

Let's have a refresher from my renovation post to see the before and after views!

Remember the soffits that took up 15" of the majority of the ceiling? No more! We now have an 8' bathroom ceiling! Complete with a properly vented fan (there was no ventilation before, period), a shower light, and two vanity lights.

Just look at the difference in that ceiling!

Here's a look at the vanity lights and recessed medicine cabinets. Seriously, I had no idea how excited I'd be to have my own recessed medicine cabinet!

(Careful inspection of the photo below will reveal I took it prior to the shower glass installation or hanging the chalkware on the wall.)

The vanity lights are Saber bath bars that we bought locally from Lightology, although you can order from them online.

I initially really liked the IKEA Savern double light and the Rejuvenation Hardware Gemini (the Savern is a much thriftier and stripped-down cousin of the Gemini, at $29 each vs. $240 each). Both had more of the mid-century feel that I wanted. First, we wouldn't have had enough time for the Gemini to arrive during the time frame of the reno. Second, with both the Gemini and the Savern, I really worried about the diffuse light output and wattage, even with two of them. I didn't want to end up with great-looking lights that I cursed whenever I couldn't clearly see what I was doing. So we went with the Saber bath bars.

And the light output is great! Nice and bright, but not harsh or too strong. They're perfect.

I have to say that I love having the two medicine cabinets instead of one huge mirror, it really fits the space so nicely and doesn't overwhelm the room. The medicine cabinets are Kohler, and are 20" x 26". They're similar (though more plain) to the ones featured in this Retro Renovation post. The quality is great! And with mirrors on the inside of the doors too, I can open them both up and once again see the back of my head when I set my hair. Ha ha!

By the way, the ends of the vanity lights are open, so when they're on (and even when they're off in bright daylight, like below), they cast cool round spots on the wall.

Here's our vanity, sink, and chrome faucets, all from IKEA's Godmorgon line. I fell in love with the simple, modern vanity online. On a fact finding mission to IKEA, we were pleased with the quality and decided on which combination to get. We ended up preferring the look and quality of the porcelain sink compared to the cultured marble sink that we initially were leaning towards, until we saw it in person. We just didn't think it would wear well over time, and we liked the softer and more classic lines of the porcelain sink better.

The faucets are kind of fun and different, so I think they're a unique touch in the room. I love that they swivel, which is great for washing your face or cleaning up! I thought with the extra height of the faucets and relatively shallow sink basins that it would be really splashy, but I don't find it more problematic than our original sink (which was pretty shallow, too).

I really liked the idea of having two sinks, and I thought the Godmorgon integrated porcelain countertop was rather charming, compared to some of the ultra contemporary versions I saw that felt kind of harsh. The only downside is having less actual counter space to put things on, but for me personally, if I have more surface space I'll just crap it up. Eventually, we'll find a neat vintage tray to go on the back between the basins to hold a few items, but finding one narrow enough has been tough.

While the space could have fit the next size up vanity (it comes in 4 sizes I believe), we decided we wanted something a little smaller, so this one is 47 1/4" wide. We didn't want it to be as imposing as our last vanity, which felt like it took up half the room... because it kind of did. The new vanity has a little breathing room, which fits the scale of the room better.

Since the original vanity was not in good enough condition to re-use in the room, we really are quite pleased with the alternative we picked. (And I'm so glad, because I really stressed out about replacing the original one. But the photos of it really didn't show the water damage and poor condition of the wood, especially inside.)

So the vanity and sink serve as my modern homage to the 1959 American Standard integrated sink and countertop plus vanity halfway down this Retro Renovation post and this pink one, which I adore. No, our version isn't retro per se, but it really works in our retro-inspired bathroom, I think!

It's floated on the wall, too. Hello, easy cleaning! You can get right under there. Love that.

Now enough about the vanity. One thing we didn't change is our toilet. It's a Gerber Ultra Flush that we bought last year, after seeing an old post where it was recommended by Pam on Retro Renovation.

It has a nice 50s look to it and looked decent in the old bathroom, but looks downright spiffy in the new bathroom!

While our toilet wasn't made here, Gerber is a local Chicago brand that goes way back. In fact, lots of their products are named after Chicago neighborhoods. (Um no, you won't find an Ultra Flush neighborhood on the map.)

The toilet area accessories are new and also from IKEA, the Lillholmen trash can and toilet brush. I think they're adorable and add another 50s touch, especially with the scallops. How cute is that! The trash can has a neat little ring inside to hold a bag without you seeing it on the outside (which is one of my trash can pet peeves). Genius.

The window is one of my favorite touches. When my dad gutted the bathroom, he knew that we wouldn't be able to reuse the original Colonial style wood casing on the bathroom and closet doors because the level of the floor was going to change a bit (plus some of it was in bad condition). But he had the idea to trim the window with it, and then buy modern Colonial casing for the doors. Modern casing is 1/4" different in size than our original 1950s casing, but you'd never notice it since the modern and original are on opposite sides of the room.

I love that the original casing lives on in a new way in the bathroom! I also think the window looks amazing trimmed with wood. We really trusted my dad's judgment on this because neither of us could envision it, and are we ever glad we did!

Here's another before and after. It's also a dramatic difference since the soffit was at the upper edge of the window prior to the renovation, so the whole look is completely transformed.

My dad touched up the grout between the glass blocks too, so it looks good as new. Before it was a weird mix of dirty grout and caulk, and some of it falling apart. I absolutely love how the window looks now!

You'll see we already have several vintage items in the bathroom, including a ceramic fish planter, a pink McCoy planter with a bamboo print (with an actual plant in it), and two sets of vintage chalkware. All were items we already had! Now we're on the hunt for mermaid chalkware, though vintage ones are kind of rare and often pricey.

By the way, the treasure chest and matching fish are above the toilet, but that will eventually be replaced with a custom sliding glass door wood cabinet my dad is going to build in the future, modeled after a 1963 steel bathroom shelf I was obsessing over. So that chalkware will just get relocated elsewhere in the bathroom.

Let's move on to the single most difficult thing to photograph in the room: the shower! Good gravy, I tried to photograph this so many times in so many different ways using every possible lighting scenario imaginable. This also is the most modern thing in the bathroom, but I love how nicely it fits in with all the retro elements, as I'd hoped it would. (But you never know until you see it!)

Here's another before and after. I can't even tell you how wonderful it is looking back at the photos of the old bathroom and saying good bye to that pinky beige wonderland! And doesn't the new shower look bigger?

Not having a wall all the way to the ceiling between the shower and toilet went a long way in making the shower feel huge and the bathroom feel bigger overall! So the wet wall was changed from the wall by the toilet (that's now glass 3/4 of the way down) to the hall wall.

I started off wanting the shower tile white as well as the wall tile, just having the shower floor tile blue, but along the way I changed my mind and came up with the current color scheme. The tile is 3/4" mosaic glass tile, Brio Blend Cool Pool, from Modwalls. It comes on 13" x 13" sheets. It was half the price of a lot of the "specialty" colored tile at the big box stores, none of which we felt were particularly interesting.

I worried all the while that my design was going to make the shower overwhelm the rest of the room, like a big tile box screaming at you, "Hi! I'm big and blue!". Seriously, this was a huge concern of mine! But in the end, I'm absolutely ecstatic with how it looks with all the white paint, white tile and blue paint.

I seriously can't say enough good things about this tile. The photos don't even do it justice! And Modwalls has great customer service. We were nervous about ordering tile online but it couldn't have been easier.

I think the fact that we tried to match the wall paint to one of the shades of tile really helped tie the shower into the rest of the bathroom. The paint color is Sherwin Williams Candid Blue. I brought in a sample of the tile and just found the closest paint color to the second lightest tile in the mosaic.

In the close up, you can see the slight speckled affect the tile has. And it's not clear but opaque. It's just really cool stuff!

Oh by the way, see the top of the glass walls? That was about where our ceiling ended before. Can you believe how much space we gained?

I requested some way to put my leg up when I shave, so my dad came up with the idea of a fold-away shower seat.

The corner-shaped wall serves as privacy if you're sitting on the shower seat, but it's low enough not to block your view in or out of the shower.

By the way, this is Pia's favorite place to sit in the bathroom!

Mel, who was a dear through this entire design process as I hemmed and hawed and changed my mind every 10 minutes, had literally only one specific request in the entire bathroom: a rainhead for the shower. Now who could say no to that!

No doubt, the Hansgrohe shower system my dad helped up pick (he knows his stuff!) was the one real splurge in the bathroom. Was it worth it? Um, YES. I think it fits in great and honestly, had something like this existed in the 50s, I feel like it might have looked a bit like this (I like to think, anyway). Chrome, clean lines, not fussy. I love this thing.

Around the bend from the shower is the bathroom door and the linen closet. The doors and casing were painted glossy white. My dad replaced the rusty brass hinges with chrome, and used a tulip-shaped bathroom set for the door knobs (where the inside is chrome and the hall side is polished brash, to match the other hall knobs). We could literally not find a tulip-shaped passage set for the linen closet in chrome anywhere, so that had to be brass (which matches the rest of the house, at least). That was kind of a running joke for awhile during the reno!

Remember in my last post I mentioned that the previous bathroom tile extended into the hall and beyond? No longer, obviously. My dad bridged that gap with a piece of oak, which matches the original hardwood floors in our bedrooms and living room. The American Olean black and white mosaic pinwheel tile was purchased at Lowe's. It's a classic look that I love and I think it's part of what really makes this room.

Oh, you know that big glass block window? It makes the neatest light display in the bathroom in late afternoon.

Back to the closet. Here's the inside, with the new adjustable shelving.

And some of my vintage kitchen towels inside...

Now before you say, "What the hell, why is there nothing in your linen closet, how are you that organized and/or why do you have that little stuff?!!"

Because this is what the closet looked like before the remodel. Welcome to our closet of shame.

We re-housed some things like out-of-season blankets and such that I didn't want to look at year-round. And it's still a bit of a work-in-progress. :)

I love that I now have an easily-accessible spot for bathroom cleaning supplies and toilet paper. I keep the toilet paper in a black bin on the closet floor (which can easily be carried downstairs to our storage room when we need to refill), and our cleaning supplies in a blue laundry bin. Since there are holes in the side of the bin, I just stuff my cleaning gloves in so that they can hang to dry.

And yes, I did try to color-coordinate the containers in the closet with the rest of the bathroom! The blue bins and laundry basket are from Target. The black bin was just something we had around from an old storage unit.

Here's a before and after of the new chrome hinges and hook on the back of our door, compared to the old brass ones.

 Boy, I love that hook!

A few of the retro elements that I adore in the room are the matching Rejuvenation Hardware chrome starburst double hook on the back of the door, towel ring for a hand towel, and 24" towel bar for our bath towels. In hindsight I'd have bought the 30" towel bar, but I actually bought these items last year when we were going to paint the bathroom and replace hardware... which clearly didn't happen. So we used them in the remodel!

I told you the towels from before the renovation would re-appear. They are cream and blue (and our bath mats are also cream) while the tile is white, but I think it still works. I didn't want to retire perfectly good linens and bath mats that were only a year old, plus I just love the towels so much that the color was part of the inspiration for the room.

The towels are Perpetual Blooms from Anthropologie, but they don't have this color now. Like several items purchased for this remodel (as you've probably noticed by now), I first spotted them on Retro Renovation. I love these towels and they look as good as new a year later! It was definitely worth the splurge. The bath mats are from Sears, and are also holding up nicely in spite of their light color.

So other than designing so quickly, what's the element that I struggled with the most during this remodel?

This may sound funny, but it was the white subway tile. I spent many sleepless nights debating the pros and cons of classic 1950s 4" x 4" tile for the walls versus the more modern subway tile. I worried that selecting subway would feel like too much of a modern touch, but I wasn't in love with the idea of 4" x 4" tile, mid-century appropriate or not. It was a conundrum.

Once we did decide on subway, for awhile I had the notion of capping it with a row of black liner tile, and we even bought the liner tile. But once the subway tile was on the walls, we all agreed it just didn't need the black. In the end, I love the final look. And with it going halfway up the wall, it still retains a bit of that classic 50s bathroom look that would otherwise have been accomplished with 4" x 4" tile. I'm glad we picked the subway tile, because I think it's perfect in this bathroom.

Well my friends, we've come to the end! I'm thrilled that my dad was able to do this bathroom for us. It makes it all the more special. And I'm so happy to share it with you.

With all said and done now, and after time to reflect on our choices and live with the bathroom awhile, I really feel we captured exactly what we were going for in this renovation. A little 1950s, a little modern, and a lot awesome! And I think it fits in great in our modest, mid-century ranch.

It's impossible not to smile when you walk into this cheerful retro-inspired bathroom!

I can't say it enough: I LOVE this bathroom!!

Thursday, July 25, 2013

The Golly Ranch bathroom remodel: before & during renovation

It's time to talk about a major project that sucked up a lot of our time and energy this spring and early summer! As in, even this post and the upcoming reveal post sucked up a lot of time! Needless to say, I am excited to finally be sharing this all with you. This and the reveal post are "sit down with a drink" posts, so I hope you're in a comfy seat.

As you may recall, my dad came to stay with us in May while he renovated our bathroom. I had about two weeks to plan out pretty much every detail. Mel more-or-less gave me carte blanche to plan whatever I wanted (while still retaining veto power of course). My dad is an expert, so it involved bouncing my ideas off him, drawing on his experience, having him help me figure out what would and wouldn't work, and designing it from scratch—top to bottom. Lots of phone calls and emails, research, hair pulling and fretting later, the plan was afoot.

We have a 1955 ranch house. And while we would have loved a 50s bathroom in great condition, ours had been remodeled by the previous owners sometime in the 1990s (best guess). The only original items left were the built-in vanity (in pretty poor condition), the white Kohler sink with hudee ring, the glass block window and the bathroom and linen closet doors. Anything good that we didn't keep went to the ReStore.

The "before" bathroom was a pale pinky beige wonderland, from the paint to the shower tile. (Seriously... so much pinky beige in this house. Ugh!) The floor tile (tiled over the original 50s tile) was the same tile that continued into the hallway, kitchen and den. The countertop was a marbled-effect laminate (I don't dig marble and I certainly don't dig faux marble laminate). All-in-all, the bathroom colors were awful. Old lady, and not cool old lady at all.

Below was the view from our hall into the old bathroom. If you notice our blue and cream towels, that was from when we were going to paint the bathroom blue, but we hadn't gotten around to it yet. (You'll see them later on in the new bathroom, too.)

Can you see the soffit all around? That's the lowered part of the ceiling, that went throughout the bathroom except the very center. It was 15" deep and make the bathroom feel a bit cave-like, even though it's a perfectly acceptable-sized room.

You can see the glass block window below. The grout between the blocks needed some serious help, and they used the same shower tile in the window sill (although you can't see it in this pic). We liked the window, so we knew from the start it would just need sprucing up.

Here was the shower. A nice size, don't get me wrong, but... ugly.

Here's a close-up of the tile. Even the grout was pinky beige!

Here's the old vanity (original sink, not original faucet or countertop). Note that it's full of crap! There was no medicine cabinet, and while the vanity was large, it was pretty bad inside (and on the outside too, though it doesn't show in photos). So I didn't keep much of my makeup in it. It's too bad because I can really see how this would have been super cool back in the day, except for the big fact that it was imposingly large for the size of the bathroom.

The hardware was updated by the previous owner at some point to satin nickel (along with the towel ring and bar). I know some people love it but I'm not one of them. Give me chrome or even polished brass any day. We were going to swap them out but again, we hadn't gotten around to it yet.

The vanity light was broadway-style and could have baked a chicken when all lit up. I'm all for lots of light in a bathroom but it was bordering on the ridiculous. "Would you like to apply makeup and get a suntan?" That should have been the advertisement for our vanity light. It was above a gigantic mirror (not original) that was apparently just barely being held on, my dad discovered. The mirror is now serving as the most awesome full-length mirror ever in my basement sewing area!

It must be noted that when you sat on the toilet you had to look at yourself in that mirror. Enough said.

The door hardware was updated at some point to brass. I'm pretty certain it wasn't original. That's my guess because the few original door knobs in the house are also tulip-shaped, but just plain, and a slightly different shape. Plus it's not chrome, which I would have expected to see in a bathroom. Somehow the door knobs seemed like 60s or 70s to me. It was probably from the era that brought you the wallpaper under the mirror, which you'll see during the renovation photos below!

There was a linen closet, which was the only thing that wasn't re-framed during the demolition, but the plan included replacing the few fixed shelves with adjustable ones.

You can see the location of the linen closet below. Also, note the hilariously high towel ring. (This was on our list to fix when we painted, of course.)

And here are the only two empty shots I took, just before demolition.

All-in-all, not downright dreadful, and certainly functional. The blah pinky beige wonderland could have been kicked up a notch or two with new hardware, paint and lighting, but my dad had plans for much bigger and better things. And so demo began!

He gutted the entire room except for the frame of the linen closet. Fortunately we didn't discover any hidden water damage or structural issues. This room was pretty sound!

One of the first things my dad broke into was the soffits. He really wanted to know what was in them. He suspected nothing as we don't have overhead ducts and the bathroom is between the kitchen and our bedroom, so no pipes would need to run across. And he was right! They were entirely decorative. For 58 years, the owners of this home enjoyed the cavern-like feeling this caused in such a small room, but no more. A full 8' ceiling was in our future!

The only sad thing for me during demo was watching the original 1950s pink mosaic tile floor get ripped up. I was prepared, since I'd spied a little of it when we replaced our toilet last summer, but still. The way the previous owners laid the new tile on top meant there was absolutely no saving it, so it came up in little bits and pieces. I admit, this was kind of heart-breaking to me, knowing that at some point, our house really did have a pink bathroom, but we never got to see it. I did at least salvage the largest chunk of tile and a smaller one for posterity.

But on the funny side, we discovered some crazy late 60s or early 70s wallpaper underneath the mirror! Shades of an earlier remodel! It also gave us a clue that there must have been a smaller mirror or medicine cabinet in the original bathroom.

Due to a comment by Maranda of Persnickety Vintage on Instagram, who said she saved swatches of the various wallpaper she's uncovered in her house, we saved a big piece of that gold, silver and brown floral wallpaper and now have it hanging in our basement!

Demo went right down to the sub-floor, as you can see.

Watching my dad transform the space was kind of amazing. Soon there were spots for our recessed medicine cabinets. I was thrilled when he busted through the wall and discovered we could recess them, because you never know what you may find inside the wall. We just had to raise them a little higher than normal because of the location of our original Blo-Fan switch in the kitchen (which couldn't easily be moved due to the location of plumbing).

Here's the radiant electric heating under the tile floor going in. This wasn't a request per se, but something my dad basically said he was installing whether we liked it or not, because we would thank him in winter. And I know we will! It extends across the floor and up over the shower threshold into the shower floor, too.

Lots of tile went in. My poor dad... so much tile! He can totally blame me for that one! You can see our main floor tile choice was kind of an homage to the original pink tile, a nice black and white pinwheel mosaic with a classic retro feel. I'll talk more about all the supplies in the reveal post.

And there was laser leveling of tile. You can see how the level was setup on the closet door for my dad working in the shower. You can also see what the closet looked like once the shelves were pulled out. The walls were patched and my dad added in adjustable shelving and a fresh coat of paint.

And here's yet more tile. We chose the pinwheel tile for the floor, subway tile for the lower half of the walls and outside of the shower walls (not up yet in the below photo), and blue mosaic for the entire shower.You'll hear more about my tile selection process in the reveal post.

The short wall you see to the right of the below photo is half of the corner wall for the shower. In the old bathroom, you may have noticed there was a wall to the ceiling between the shower and toilet, which both divided the room up and made it feel smaller. In the new design, we went for two short walls (for a little privacy) with glass above. The gap where you see the threshold into the shower is where a pivot-hinged shower door later went.

In case you're wondering about the jog in the wall by the shower below (to the left of my dad), it's because of the soil stack, which causes the wall behind the toilet to be a few inches further out than the rest of the wall. Since it's a small room, that extra space in the shower is welcome!

The one row of vertical subway tile at the edge of that jog is where the u-channel for the frameless shower glass went. Even though I designed it and opted to have the subway tile follow up the wall instead of it being a continuation of the shower tile, I was worried this might look funky. But once the glass was installed, I loved it! I was trying to keep the blue mosaic inside the shower, with subway tile on the outside and horizontal surfaces of the shower. You'll see how nice this worked out in the reveal post.

There's also a few WTF pictures. Surely there was a reason I took this photo, but I have no idea why! It must have meant something at the time.

Take a look at what our backyard looked like all of May during the remodel. It kind of sums up how living with a renovation project goes!

It was a little odd experiencing my first demolition and renovation, but really special that it was my dad. As a kid I visited many of his job sites, and I've seen lots of his exceptional work in my time, but never had the opportunity to experience such a big chunk of it in my own home! It was pretty great. Okay... crazy messy, stressful, and lots of other things, but getting to see my dad work in our own house? Really great.

He actually stayed and finished up the bathroom while we were off on vacation at the end of May and early June, so we didn't even get to see the bathroom completed until we got home. (And then we had to wait awhile to use the shower until our shower glass was finished and installed by a local company.) So it was a long project, but so, so worth it in the end.

You'll get to see the completed project on Friday, so check back tomorrow for the final bathroom reveal! I'll be sharing lots of finished photos, along with talking more about the design and some of the items that went into the finished room.

I can't wait to show you!!

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