Monday, February 24, 2014

E-Design Bathroom: Before & After Plan

When Janice contacted me regarding her bathroom reno a couple of years ago, she was in the same predicament as most who reach out with inquiries to me.  Her and her husband, who live in a century old victorian in downtown Toronto, had been planning on renovating their main bathroom for quite some time.  She had the budget in mind and a contractor lined up but they didn’t have any plans or specifics to share with him.  They had some ideas in their head about what they wanted but ideas that they just weren’t sure about. That’s were I came in. Or should I say, that’s when Janice’s bathroom arrived in my in-box and we began the e-design process.

Here’s a look at the floor plan before the reno.  This main family bathroom and laundry room are located on the second floor, in the middle section of the house.  Typical of Victorian row houses of this period, the house is long and narrow.

Bathroom Floor Plan - Before

I imagine at one time this used to be a smaller bathroom and a bedroom and then sometime in the 80's somebody converted a bedroom and moved the laundry upstairs.   In any case, both the laundry and bathroom were in dire need of updating and improvement.  The main objective Janice wanted to achieve was a larger bathroom to accommodate 2 sinks and a separate tub and shower.  Her initial idea/request for the re-design was to remove the wall between the rooms and combine everything into one large shared space. 

There's too many reasons to list here why I didn't think combing the two rooms into one was the best option; for practicality - the noise and smell of laundry, soaking, hang drying etc...not to mention the enormous square footage of the space would make it too costly to finish to the level she wanted to achieve in her bathroom.  Also in my opinion deleting the separate laundry room for a shared bathroom would be a downgrade to the home not an upgrade.  So I worked up a few different layout options for her with the intent of keeping the two individual rooms.  Here's a look at the final plan.

Bathroom Floor Plan - After

After several back and forths this was unanimously declared the winning layout.  A new larger bathroom with double vanity, separate tub and walk-in shower and a separate laundry room which they agreed would be so much more practical and appropriate for the house than having it combined with the bathroom.  The window locations worked best for each room by flipping the laundry room and bathroom locations (and also means the laundry room no longer backs on to the baby's room).  But even in flipping the rooms the new layout was able to utilize a lot of the existing plumbing locations.  In addition to this layout I also created a budget for them based on the new plan which confirmed their initial budget just wasn’t going to be enough to achieve their goals. This was an enormous help in making sure they were properly prepared for the costs involved before moving ahead with the project or making any purchases. 

Vanity Elevation Options

I provided Janice with three different vanity wall mirror and lighting options. She had her own source for custom cabinets so I was able to design the vanity to fit the space.

Wall Panelling Elevation
The design plans included two different wall treatment options and Janice opted for this one which is a wainscot treatment created from panel moulding.  The elevations provide her with all the dimensions needed for installing the moulding (the moulding specs and sizes were included but have been omitted from this copy).

Janice and her husband are experienced DIY'ers who have completed many projects around their house which Janice blogs about on her popular blog Life Begins at Thirty Right?.  Due to the extensive nature of this reno she was nervous about making mistakes and wanted the reassurance of expert advice.  She does enjoy being hands-on thru the process, she's really savvy when it comes to sourcing products and co-ordinating a project so an E-Design solution was a perfect fit for her.  Within the package there are enough options presented that she still gets to have design input in the decision making. This project is from a couple of  years ago but Janice kept me updated along the way and last summer I had the opportunity to visit and take some 'after' photos of my own - which I'll share next week!!!  I was so impressed by what an amazing job they did turning these plans into reality the room literally blew me away when I saw it in person.  

The above drawings are just a portion of the e-design package I completed for Janice, she also received finish and fixture selections, a lighting plan, a source list, and a budget breakdown.  (note that specs have been removed from the drawings shown in this post).  You can check out more of Janice's bathroom project on theDesignshop website where you'll see some before pictures and some progress photos. 

All plans and drawings:  Carol Reed

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Winter Blues

My desk with a few of my favorite things.

I know I'm not the only one who's feeling the side effects of this extreme winter.  This winter is the first one I've spent fully on the East Coast and its been a harsh one, or as the elders here call it "an old time winter".  Anyone I talk to here says its been decades if ever, they can remember a winter like this.  I was born, raised and lived in Toronto all my life I can honestly say I've never suffered from the winter blues, until now.  The thought of another 2 months (or more!?) of this gets me down.  I'm well overdue to be back in TO and right now I miss my family, I miss my friends, I miss the sunshine.  Last week I found myself in such need of a pick me up I got up from my desk and drove into town solely for the purpose of finding some flowers.

I was excited to find a dozen long stem creamy white roses at Loblaws amongst the standard mixed bouquets. They'd just been marked down 50% because they'd reached their peak but did I care, ummm no, in fact they appealed to me even more because I felt like I was saving them from dying right there in the produce aisle without they're beauty ever being enjoyed.

The roses went immediately on my desk where I could enjoy them the most right along with some of my other favorite things.  Little things can make a big difference.  These flowers brought a cheery vibe to my office and gave me joy to look at (and smell) all day every day this week.  They really were a pick me up.  I need more!  I'll be searching for more flowers this week and maybe some spring bulbs.  I need to force a little spring to happen around here.  

The photo of the roses also captured some of my favorite things that live on my desk.  I keep them here because I love looking at them and/or they remind of some one or something beautiful that makes me smile.  At the back of the tray you can see a glimpse of a special gift from my friend Michelle, a rendering of my house in an antique gold frame.  The antique glass bottle was found in the dirt crawl space of our stone cellar during the renos last winter.  There's a quartz rock from our beach that I use as a paper weight (I have many sizes of these!).  Next to the flowers is a piece of vintage studio pottery I picked up at an antique market in Ontario, I keep paper clips and a few cards in there, the one visible is from a beautiful home accessories shop in Lunenburg that I discovered last winter. The card reminds me I need to go back for a visit.

The PENTPER General Shop, Lunenburg, NS.

The faux animal print wallet was a Christmas gift from my cats : ) I have a terrible habit of carrying my wallet only into stores and have often caught my cards falling out the end.  This zip up one has been so handy and I looove a leopard print, but what makes me smile every time I open it is there's a quote in gold lettering printed on the inside lining:

"If you want to feel rich, just count the things you have that money can't buy."

Definitely something worth reminding ourselves of everyday.  Its the little unexpected things isn't it!  (Leopard print wallet from Chapters Indigo.)

Later on in the week, despite another snow storm, working at my desk remained cheery with these mini mandarines - probably the cutest thing I have ever seen at the grocery store!  It was another effective pick-me-up shared with a few more favourites.  I treasure this japanese tea pot from a best friend and the next best thing to having a cup a tea with her.

On this ground hog day Punxsutawney Phil has predicted 6 more weeks of winter but Nova Scotia's own Schubenacadie Sam has predicted an early Spring.  Which probably mean the same thing.  I think only six more weeks of winter is equivalent to an early spring in Nova Scotia.  I'm running out of ways to beat these winter blues so, seriously Sam, I'm counting on you now. 

All Photos:  Carol Reed

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