Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Restoration and "rethinking spaces"

I get quite a few emails from people asking about how to 'find' more space in their older home. Many homes were built "pre plumbing" and for others built in the late 1800's or 1900's a bathroom was a "necessity" and not the relaxing spa like place we would all like to go at the end of a long day.

While I love period bathrooms, they do little to enhance the value or the livability of a home. However you can have modern convenience with a historic flair. Today I thought I'd talk about one bath redo and how we took a small hall bath and a bedroom and created a suite, fit for any bed and breakfast. This home was built in 1915 and the hall bath was the only bath when we started the restore. We took a small third bedroom and created a master suite for the front bedroom and took this hall bath and combined it with the rear bedroom to create this guest suite.

We did this by 'rethinking' the space, working with things we couldn't change due to the budget, such as the toilet location and creative use of materials. As you can see in the before drawing this space was a hodgepodge of walls, halls and doors. The after is more thought out and as you can see in the photos a once small bedroom now looks much larger than it is and makes a perfect guest suite. We used a white down comforter on the bed, Wood blinds and the "headboard" is a old pump organ salvage piece that was made into a shelf. Some throw pillows complete the headboard.

Essentially we moved the bath entrance to the side, added a separate corner shower and found space for a sink AND a Whirlpool tub. YES that is a flat screen TV in the bathroom! We were looking to create an elegant masculine bathroom and used richer darker colors like the "copper slate" tile and dark green walls that tie to the green in the stained glass. The overall look is like you would find in an upscale boutique hotel or B&B.
Whirlpool tubs, as long as you have space for a separate shower, are a great investment typically 350-600.00 in cost they are just slightly more expensive that a good regular tub. Other than adding a source of electrical for the pump unit they will fit in most standard tub openings and are a simple trade out. Several manufacturers now make a clawfoot version and some companies now can convert originals to whirlpool tubs.

We also made the narrow hallway a part of the bedroom by moving the door to the front of the old hall and creating an entrance space. We used stock stained glass panels to create a "partition' between the hall entrance and the bathroom but this also allow light to be shared by the two spaces.
We also put down a new engineered Oak floor in a light color which visually expands the room. We also borrowed some unused space between wall studs and made a built in bookcase.
We also made a small criss cross beam ceiling in the new entryway to the bedroom and this houses a small canister light that helps illuminate the space in an unobtrusive way. Because this is a small room we kept furniture to a minimum. The walls are finished in a Ralph Lauren 'suede' finish in a dark green on the accent wall and a lighter pale clay pebble green on the other walls. A light color was used on the trim in the room.


Dan said...

Love the stained glass piece and the woodwork. A great combination of the modern and the old.

Paul Wilham said...

Thanks Dan I like to use stained glass in 'non traditional' ways. I did an industrial "loft" redo for some clients. It was a cold and rather steril looking loft. I bought some salvaged church windows and we built a divider wall between the living room and what was now a formal dining room with these 9 foot stained glass windows. We replaced the track lighting with some Gothic church lights (also salvage) and with some oriental rugs and new cherry floors and some more traditional furniture and textiles and we "warmed" the place up and created a much more elegant "old world , almost European" space than the norm for that building. I will have to pull those photos and post them sometime.