The Tale of “The Lady Of The Lake Goes Condo” Chapter 3, “The Grand Dragon Bath, A Clever Master Ensuite Design, for A Small Space”

Our Lady’s story continues from the Grace of the Water to the Power of the Dragon’s Breath………………Summoned again, the Magic of the Design Fairy Godmother!

In honor of the Lady’s grandfather, the Grand Dragon, the Lady of the Lake wished to satiate her Dragon nature in a space that would calm the mighty beast in earth, air and smoke.

Her Zen Dragon inspired Master Lair already completed by you know who’s Design Magic, must now be complemented by a Master Ensuite to sooth the Flying Dragon’s Fiery Breath and also house a bevy of mighty hot toiletries and sexy French perfumes, all in one very small room. OOH LA LAaaaaaaaaarrrrrrrggggghchhhrrrrrrrrrR!

The Lady’s Condo Ensuite or Privy Chamber wish list included—lots of storage space- PLEASE! Create a low maintenance space with: a larger vanity that actually functions, a deep soaker tub, a new chamber pot, new medicine cabinet, a place to put towels, soothing colors, no muss-no fuss tile, new plumbing & electrical and overhead light, new lighting fixtures, new floor, a bit of a masculine edge, and an atmosphere of serenity to move the fire of the day into gentle smoke and……oh yes…….can you make it look bigger?!!!.” Hmmmmmmm, another miracle”, said the Design Fairy Godmother, not ever wanting to scorch the Lady’s dreams, nor the dreams of others, pray tell.

With little “Wing Space” here, (for Dragons or Design Fairy Godmothers), out came the faithful Magic Wand—uh— very carefully and with extremely directed movements not needing too much elbowroom!

First, the wand brought forth the Design Fairy Godmother’s team of Merry Men of Mirth & Reno Magic. Arriving in a puff of smoke, in pure Draco style, they crowded into this small space- the contractor, plumber and electrician- and soon began to demolish the old and rebuild the new, following the magical design plan, and trying hard not to bump into one another -not unlike the Three Stooges.

Then the Design Fairy Godmother conjured a most enchanting design for a beautiful new custom vanity (with TONS of storage!!!), matching mirror by ECLECTIC GALLERY, and matching combination medicine cabinet/towel closet/storage unit that would hang above the new chamber pot (uh….toilet). These pieces were stained a deep espresso brown as in the Master Bedroom furniture, and they featured beautiful art glass cutouts with a warm gray smoky texture right from the Dragon’s mouth, as well as sharp masculine lines.  A beautiful taupe colored countertop in CEASARSTONE from ARISTON MARBLE adorned our vanity, as did a square shaped under mount Mirabelle sink, and the AQUABRASS faucet in chrome, both from TAPS. The Square handles from LOWES and the square knobs from LEE VALLEY TOOLS in chrome gave it a sparkle!

For the Lady’s fiery French perfumes and sensual body butters, we created yet another storage space right by the sink, a Niche in the wall with crystal glass shelves from CANADA GLASS & MIRROR CO. Not an inch of space in this Grand Dragon bath was wasted on the Pixies!

A gorgeous three light chrome vanity fixture placed above the custom mirror, and a square chrome flush mount light fixture overhead, both from UNION, added even more radiance!

Using a feature edge tile, from OLYMPIA TILE, horizontally around the room, we created an optical illusion of breath and width—more space. This tile reminiscent of Dragon scales, was made of greenish/gray smoky colored glass with small square inserts of brown/beige marble, A medium taupe 6X6 square ceramic tile brought an earthy feel to the walls below our edge tile and around the room, creating high color contrast, with a little “Dragon cave quality”. The wall paint color from Sir BENJAMIN MOORE, in Hazy Skies#OC-48, a warm gray, gave us the air and dragon smoke above the tile to complete the optical illusion.

An American Standard soaker tub from TAPS was installed, with luscious square designed AQUABRASS chrome faucets, spout and shower head, from DUPONT PLUMBING. A feature wall of 2X6 greenish/gray smoky glass tiles from CENTURA, were placed vertically to create a feeling of a smoky underground waterfall.  Another Niche was built inside the shower area complete with a crystal glass shelf for all the Lady’s bath and beauty supplies. We also added a rounded Hotel style shower curtain rod and curtain, request of our precious Lady.

Lastly, to finish this “spacious” look, square floor tiles in greenish/gray porcelain with brown speckled texture also from OLYMPIA TILE, were laid diagonally.

No Flying Dragon in their right mind would pass up the chance to soak their scales and sooth their fiery breath with a luxurious bath in this sensuous lair!

The ravishing Lady of the Lake was pleased again and each time she relaxed in her new Ensuite, she was reminded of the Grand Dragon, her royal blood grandfather, her mother’s Dragon breath with her freshly fired childhood S’mores, and a particularly very cute Parisian of Dragon blood ancestry, who was responsible for many of her delicious and enticing perfumes……………..but that is another Tale…a Fairytale…………..although one I shan’t tell……….Shhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh, my dear Children!

THE END

© 2013 Andrea Carini

© 2013 Andrea Carini

AFTER Photos by Claire Louise Foster

INTERIOR DESIGN by Andrea Carini for Your Sacred Space Interiors

A Condo’s Master Ensuite to Sooth Any Beasty Dragon’s Fire!

BEFORE:

A crowded sink , tiny vanity with no storage space, a minimalist’s medicine cabinet, multiple light switches & plugs placed “willy nilly “wasting space, a huge mirror above the sink extends to toilet- wasting more precious space, and tons of things crowd the wrap around counter!  HELP!!!!

A crowded sink , tiny vanity with no storage space, a minimalist’s medicine cabinet, multiple light switches & plugs placed “willy nilly “wasting space, a huge mirror above the sink extends to toilet- wasting more precious space, and tons of things crowd the wrap around counter! HELP!!!!

This vanity couldn’t be more basic –actually substandard. There are no shelves or drawers inside, just a cramped open space. Not for an organized individual!

This vanity couldn’t be more basic –actually substandard. There are no shelves or drawers inside, just a cramped open space. Not for an organized individual!

A wrap around synthetic counter inviting tons of clutter, and a very short wide toilet (that leaked too) fit for a plump little gnome instead of a Grand Dragon! The first thing you see when the Ensuite door opens is……a towel rod. No tiles with the exception of the tub area and a dated contractor gray tile floor.

A wrap around synthetic counter inviting tons of clutter, and a very short wide toilet (that leaked too) fit for a plump little gnome instead of a Grand Dragon! The first thing you see when the Ensuite door opens is……a towel rod. No tiles with the exception of the tub area and a dated contractor gray tile floor.

Ah here are the contractor gray tiles! The shower area is crowded with hanging racks of beauty supplies and toiletries. There is a false bulkhead which does absolutely nothing but trap the moisture inside and create scum and mold! Additionally the ceiling inside the shower is not tiled and there is some water damage! This bulkhead has got to go!

Ah here are the contractor gray tiles! The shower area is crowded with hanging racks of beauty supplies and toiletries. There is a false bulkhead which does absolutely nothing but trap the moisture inside and create scum and mold! Additionally the ceiling inside the shower is not tiled and there is some water damage! This bulkhead has got to go!

A small shallow tub with rusted jets sits surrounded by equally tired faucets, downspout and showerhead. Hey! Next, the tile stops here! And abruptly! Notice the tiled wall above the tub, a space with no storage function but soon there will be a fabulous storage Niche!

A small shallow tub with rusted jets sits surrounded by equally tired faucets, downspout and showerhead. Hey! Next, the tile stops here! And abruptly! Notice the tiled wall above the tub, a space with no storage function but soon there will be a fabulous storage Niche!

DURING:

Yea!! Demolition! Remove those dastardly tiles, badly done electrical & plumbing and unsightly walls!!! Send back the old tub, toilet & sink to the Gob Trolls (who adore a good used toilet!)!!

Yea!! Demolition! Remove those dastardly tiles, badly done electrical & plumbing and unsightly walls!!! Send back the old tub, toilet & sink to the Gob Trolls (who adore a good used toilet!)!!

Demolition of the tub/shower and the perfect wall for our tub Niche and shelves! The Niche is framed, dry-walled and ready for tile by our Merry Men!

Demolition of the tub/shower and the perfect wall for our tub Niche and shelves! The Niche is framed, dry-walled and ready for tile by our Merry Men!

And what a difference a tile makes! Our smoky “waterfall” glass tile is installed in the tub/shower area, while the taupe ceramic tile completes the shower wall. The “Dragon Scales” glass edge decorative tile and taupe ceramic tile are placed around the rest of the space giving it the appearance of a much wider room.

And what a difference a tile makes! Our smoky “waterfall” glass tile is installed in the tub/shower area, while the taupe ceramic tile completes the shower wall. The “Dragon Scales” glass edge decorative tile and taupe ceramic tile are placed around the rest of the space giving it the appearance of a much wider room.

To create a Niche storage space by the sink, we first removed the small medicine cabinet ( more Gob Troll fodder!), enlarged the cavity, reframed it and then finished with drywall, The sloppy electrical display was reconfigured for a clean and tidy usage of space.

To create a Niche storage space by the sink, we first removed the small medicine cabinet ( more Gob Troll fodder!), enlarged the cavity, reframed it and then finished with drywall, The sloppy electrical display was reconfigured for a clean and tidy usage of space.

Ahhh! And now the finishing touches! Toilet paper roll, towel rack, hand towel holder and away we go!

Ahhh! And now the finishing touches! Toilet paper roll, towel rack, hand towel holder and away we go!

THE PLAN:

The Elevation drawing for The Grand Dragon Ensuite.

The Elevation drawing for The Grand Dragon Ensuite.

The Designer Fairy Godmother’s rough sketch for Vanity & Cabinet.

The Designer Fairy Godmother’s rough sketch for Vanity & Cabinet.

AFTER:

The Grand Dragon Ensuite Transformation!

The Grand Dragon Ensuite Transformation!

The tub/shower magical makeover reveals a Niche storage area with crystal glass shelves, a Hotel Style curved curtain rod, a deep Spa soaker tub, and sparkling chrome faucet, spout and showerhead in a contemporary square design!

The tub/shower magical makeover reveals a Niche storage area with crystal glass shelves, a Hotel Style curved curtain rod, a deep Spa soaker tub, and sparkling chrome faucet, spout and showerhead in a contemporary square design!

The allure of a harmonious and interesting tile combination! Our “Dragon Scales” decorative edge tile combines curved glass with natural taupe & brown marble stone, and accents the taupe ceramic tile beautifully. The floor tile, a color combination of the smoky greenish gray with brown speckles compliments all of the different tiles used. The wall tiles gracefully transition into the shower’s feature wall, an “underground Dragon Waterfall” glass vertical tile.

The allure of a harmonious and interesting tile combination! Our “Dragon Scales” decorative edge tile combines curved glass with natural taupe & brown marble stone, and accents the taupe ceramic tile beautifully. The floor tile, a color combination of the smoky greenish gray with brown speckles compliments all of the different tiles used. The wall tiles gracefully transition into the shower’s feature wall, an “underground Dragon Waterfall” glass vertical tile.

The Niche storage area by the sink, complete with crystal shelves, is gently reflected in the custom mirror.

The Niche storage area by the sink, complete with crystal shelves, is gently reflected in the custom mirror.

A contemporary chrome lighting fixture for the vanity placed above the mirror, and a square design overhead light fixture on the ceiling brings the right light ambiance into the space!

A contemporary chrome lighting fixture for the vanity placed above the mirror, and a square design overhead light fixture on the ceiling brings the right light ambiance into the space!

A square under-mount sink is paired with a taupe Ceasarstone counter top and accented with a shimmering chrome square design faucet!

A square under-mount sink is paired with a taupe Ceasarstone counter top and accented with a shimmering chrome square design faucet!

A Custom vanity, stained an espresso brown, designed to hold many items, has a huge amount of space. Inside is a large drawer with a chrome pull, and a shelf for maximum organization. The doors have an art glass geometric insert in a smoky gray, and it is highlighted with chrome square knobs.

A Custom vanity, stained an espresso brown, designed to hold many items, has a huge amount of space. Inside is a large drawer with a chrome pull, and a shelf for maximum organization. The doors have an art glass geometric insert in a smoky gray, and it is highlighted with chrome square knobs.

Vanity Detail, art glass insert and lovely chrome square knobs!

Vanity Detail, art glass insert and lovely chrome square knobs!

The custom designed Medicine Cabinet/Towel Closet & Shelf piece is hung over the toilet with the matching mirror hung above the sink, all stained in espresso brown, to match the Master Bedroom furniture. Lucky Dragon!

The custom designed Medicine Cabinet/Towel Closet & Shelf piece is hung over the toilet with the matching mirror hung above the sink, all stained in espresso brown, to match the Master Bedroom furniture. Lucky Dragon!

The Cabinet has the same art glass insert detail and chrome knob as in the vanity. Inside the deep cabinet, there are two shelves for storage of towels and room for other items. In fact there’s so much space, you could throw in a Gnome or two!

The Cabinet has the same art glass insert detail and chrome knob as in the vanity. Inside the deep cabinet, there are two shelves for storage of towels and room for other items. In fact there’s so much space, you could throw in a Gnome or two!

ANDREA’S DESIGN PEARLS of WISDOM:

  • When Designing/Renovating your Condo Bathroom, first review your Condo Rules & By Laws. There may be restrictions on changes to plumbing, electrical wiring, roof and exterior of your Condo, and be aware that these rules vary from place to place. This info will impact on your creativity, so get your facts straight from the King of Condo Rules and a Great Bathroom Design will follow!
  •  New King & Queen Bathrooms in your Condo, magically increase the value of your real estate! So while you are luxuriating in your new soaker tub, know that your investment is getting richer!
  • Make your space feel LARGER by creating Optical Illusions with your bathroom design! Be clever with your paint choices and tile colors!  Run a horizontal tile edge around a narrow space to make it look wider as in our Mermaid Bath. Use a darker tile on the bottom and a light paint color on top to “lift” your ceilings. Lay tiles diagonally to create breath in the space as in our Grand Dragon Ensuite.
  • You do not have to paint a small space white to make it look larger! COLOR has a dramatic effect on every space. Whatever feeling you wish to achieve, be it bold or serene- make a statement with your Color Design! Whatever visual effect you wish to create- be it cozy, cave- like, expansive, can also be achieved with your strategic Color Plan!
  •  Your Condo Bathroom needs every bit of space utilized cleverly for storage! NICHES are NICE: Build Niches in your shower area or by your sink, as in our Mermaid & Dragon Bathroom Designs. Display your beauty regime! OVERSIZED MEDICINE CABINETS: Purchase or Custom Design an oversized Medicine Cabinet, like one that is fully mirrored as in our Mermaid Bath, or our Custom Cabinet with multi-functions designed for our Grand Dragon Bath. Great Ideas for tons of storage space!
  • CUSTOM VANITY:  A Must! A good vanity is already an expensive investment so why not get one custom designed to not only fit your space but also include features for the ultimate in organization and storage! While you’re at it—mix in your personality for that extra Pizazz- as we did in our Condo Mermaid & Grand Dragon Bathroom Designs! Interesting handles and knobs can also add sparkle & charm!
  • Replace a shallow tub with a lovely deep soaker with or without jets. It’s a Spa like feeling and there’s always room for one more! Add a glass “half wall” for the shower or a hotel style curved rod with a very chic curtain of your choice!
  • A Custom Frameless Glass Shower is a great choice for small Condo Bath spaces! Thick glass panels and hinges, gives your bathroom a wide open feeling. The glass comes in many different textures as well as clear AND you can design your own sandblasted pattern should you wish. No little pixies please!
  • Don’t be predictable in your Bathroom Design! Here’s an opportunity to reflect your personality and style! Knight? Court Jester? Wood Nymph? Mythical Creature? Elfin Queen?!!!
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The Tale of “The Emperor’s New Home, a Manly Palace”

Long Ago there lived a very Kind and Successful Emperor who ruled his kingdom of real estate and medical practices with the sharpest of wisdoms, the strongest of convictions and the biggest of hearts. His astute business mind was surpassed by none — as well, no one could top the Emperor’s own secret recipe for the world’s best seafood chowder!

His generous ways were known throughout the land and beyond, for he shared his wealth among those he loved and cared for, and as well was a sincere patron of the arts.

This kindly Emperor decided to leave his old palace and build a new one! He had no need for a moat or drawbridge, as he did not wish to keep his welcomed guests from entering his new home with ease, nor becoming an alligator’s lunch!

Searching far and wide, the Emperor found the Perfect downtown location and what he thought was the Perfect Builder to work on his architectural masterpiece. It was to be an exquisite creation to rival any wizard’s magic including Merlin! It was too be as strong and sturdy as the three little pig’s handy work, just in case a big bad wolf decided to huff and puff a little too close for comfort! It was to be…. well, it started out to be……..but then, went from bad to worse.

Now let us remember dear children, palaces are big budget, and the client, our kindly Emperor, should be respectfully regarded. The Builder didn’t think so. Deadlines were dismissed, information was skewed, missing, not the truth or became riddles to rival Rumplestilskin’s!

Our Emperor, unlike the one in the story who wore invisible clothes (very naked) down a public street so many years ago (no relation by the way!), was not about to have the invisible wool pulled over his eyes! Instead, he said the three magic words “help! Help! HELP!!!! And with a flash of blinding light, the Design Fairy Godmother appeared waving her magic wand, Ninja style. She was a friend and admirer of the kindly Emperor, and came swiftly upon his frantic call, ………………….to kick ass…….…up against the palace wall!

Now the Design Fairy Godmother loves a challenge—but this Builder reminded her of a peddler she once encountered in a marketplace in the tiny town of Sheisterville, who, a few hundred years ago, tried to sell her a monkey that would clean her garderobe (toilet), shine her fairy shoes, while at the same time entertain her by grinding an organ (um……the musical kind). She of course, dismissed him and his demon monkey, with a wave of her wand and choice words from her lovely fairy lips.

And back to our story – the palace foundation was finished, structure built, walls up, and then … the rest. Three stories of home plus finish basement, to design, including four washrooms, and a kitchen.

All the fixed design elements were to be found, designed, and chosen first. Flooring, tiles (many from CENTURA), cabinetry, lighting design, baseboards and trim, doors, windows, carpentry, stairway, etc. etc. A luscious Color Design for all four floors was prepared and executed brilliantly, using Benjamin Moore paints.

Frustration would have been the operative word for a mere mortal designer, where even the smallest of elements were difficult with this Builder – kind of like dealing with a trickster troll from the depths of Impossi-ville. But for our Design Fairy Godmother, armed with her powerful wand, design expertise, brilliant e-mails and sheer hutzpah, she was able to achieve with her dear kindly Emperor, his manly new home.

Without a tear shed, they finally bid the Builder adieu, The Design Fairy Godmother then began the magical interior design transformation of the Emperor’s new palace!

Blending the Emperors, collection of 1960’s teak furniture, vintage art deco furniture, and an amazing art collection, with new purchases, decorative pieces and fabulous new lighting, the palace became an extraordinary place filled with his personality, and fit for his lifestyle!

Vintage 1960’s teak bookshelves found at a cool Queen Street antique store, to hold some of his vast collection of 1960’s German pottery; vintage style lighting from Sescolite graced the ceilings; designer blinds from Dodds Interiors, dressed the windows; and many other earthly and fairylike details were purchased or conjured with delight.

The palace now complete, the kindly Emperor was thrilled to enjoy and share his new beautiful home.

He happily gave a celebration inviting all his dear family, friends, the goodly neighbors, of course his Design Fairy Godmother, the magical realm including the unicorns and other fair creatures (no monkeys–sorry.) and served among other delectable dishes………….you guessed it! ……his world’s best seafood chowder! Mmmmmmmm. Mmmmmmmm. Good!

THE END

© 2012 Andrea Carini

© 2013 Andrea Carini

AFTER photos by Claire Louise Foster
INTERIOR DESIGN by Andrea Carini for Your Sacred Space Interiors

HALLWAY/STAIRCASE

BEFORE: In construction

BEFORE: In construction

AFTER: Luxurious walnut, stained floors and staircase stained to match, with a color palette of complex neutrals in taupes & grays for a warm welcome and the perfect canvas for art display. Here featured, an art collection of vintage black and white portraits.

AFTER: Luxurious walnut, stained floors and staircase stained to match, with a color palette of complex neutrals in taupes & grays for a warm welcome and the perfect canvas for art display. Here featured, an art collection of vintage black and white portraits.

LIVING ROOM

BEFORE: This short wall makes no sense trying desperately to divide the front foyer from the living room space. Hard to believe that this will become a cool living room space fit for an Emperor!!!

BEFORE: This short wall makes no sense trying desperately to divide the front foyer from the living room space. Hard to believe that this will become a cool living room space fit for an Emperor!!!

AFTER: 1960’s Teak Furniture collection, more fabulous art and a clever custom wood shelf unit atop our short wall, holds a German Pottery collection, while now defining and harmonizing two spaces.

AFTER: 1960’s Teak Furniture collection, more fabulous art and a clever custom wood shelf unit atop our short wall, holds a German Pottery collection, while now defining and harmonizing two spaces.

AFTER: No matter what angle you perceive this space, it is inviting!  1960’s Teak Furniture, black leather vintage couch, vintage lamps and accessories, custom shades and of course art! Sexy, manly, delicious!

AFTER: No matter what angle you perceive this space, it is inviting! 1960’s Teak Furniture, black leather vintage couch, vintage lamps and accessories, custom shades and of course art! Sexy, manly, delicious!

KITCHEN/DINING ROOM

BEFORE: In construction…Kitchen and Dining Room…Oh my stars!!

BEFORE: In construction…Kitchen and Dining Room…Oh my stars!!

AFTER: A blend of Art Deco meets 1960’s meets contemporary kitchen! Eclectic & Enticing!

AFTER: A blend of Art Deco meets 1960’s meets contemporary kitchen! Eclectic & Enticing!

AFTER: Handsome & Elegant, like our Emperor (!), this kitchen is a marvel for any fine chef!

AFTER: Handsome & Elegant, like our Emperor (!), this kitchen is a marvel for any fine chef!

MAIN FLOOR WASHROOM

BEFORE: Um….Small enough for one of my Pixies! How to fit it all in!

BEFORE: Um….Small enough for one of my Pixies! How to fit it all in!

AFTER: Ahh now……fit for any royal guest! And a gorgeous vessel sink!

AFTER: Ahh now……fit for any royal guest! And a gorgeous vessel sink!

STAIRS/HALL, 2ND FLOOR

BEFORE: ConstructionLand through the eyes of spindles, balusters and dust – not the fairy kind…

BEFORE: ConstructionLand through the eyes of spindles, balusters and dust – not the fairy kind…

AFTER: Stairways and Halls …the veins of our home’s body! Here we have a strong yet graceful walnut stained staircase, where vintage art leads us from the main to the second floor. This serene hall space directs us to a home office, as well as bedrooms and a 4 piece bath. Art & 1960’s distinctive collectibles invite any guest to wander and explore.

AFTER: Stairways and Halls …the veins of our home’s body! Here we have a strong yet graceful walnut stained staircase, where vintage art leads us from the main to the second floor. This serene hall space directs us to a home office, as well as bedrooms and a 4 piece bath. Art & 1960’s distinctive collectibles invite any guest to wander and explore.

MASTER BATHROOM

BEFORE: Yes, Virginia……this will be a spa!!!

BEFORE: Yes, Virginia……this will be a spa!!!

AFTER: An incredible Master Ensuite space to Relax, Rejuvenate, and Reward!!!

AFTER: An incredible Master Ensuite space to Relax, Rejuvenate, and Reward!!!

AFTER: Glass tile inserts and trim in smoke, taupe and aquamarine accent the sand/gray tile for shower and bath.

AFTER: Glass tile inserts and trim in smoke, taupe and aquamarine accent the sand/gray tile for shower and bath.

3RD FLOOR HALLWAY/LANDING

BEFORE: A space in need of royal importance as it leads to a lovely private exterior deck and the Master Suite.

BEFORE: A space in need of royal importance as it leads to a lovely private exterior deck and the Master Suite.

AFTER: Vintage photographs from a private collection beckons us to the third floor landing of the Master Suite. A 1960’s teak bookshelf holds a collection of vintage German pottery, while the art on the wall from a distinguished downtown gallery, creates a playful yet chic ambiance.

AFTER: Vintage photographs from a private collection beckons us to the third floor landing of the Master Suite. A 1960’s teak bookshelf holds a collection of vintage German pottery, while the art on the wall from a distinguished downtown gallery, creates a playful yet chic ambiance.

AFTER: A happy Design Fairy Godmother, Andrea, takes a short rest after a job well done!!! Until the next Magical Tale!!!

AFTER: A happy Design Fairy Godmother, Andrea, takes a short rest after a job well done!!! Until the next Magical Tale!!!

ANDREA’S DESIGN PEARLS OF WISDOM

• Building a New Home is a PARTNERSHIP! Check out the Builder before signing any contract. Research his/her work, and reputation. Make sure he/she is a good communicator. Seek references. Does this Builder belong to a local Home Builder’s Association? You don’t want a trickster troll for a partner!
• What warranty does your Builder offer? Does he/she belong to a New Home warranty program?
• Make sure the Builder is completely familiar with the building site as well as your house plans, and plan changes, BEFORE the final price is quoted.
• Retain an attorney experienced in reviewing building contracts to thoroughly review your contract before you sign.
• Try to make selections as far in advance as possible to avoid unwanted delays. Give enough time for custom orders.
• Be clear about what you want and your expectations with your Builder.
• Any changes during construction can add to your cost. However, don’t be afraid to make them now, as you won’t want to be living in a construction site changing things again later.
• VISIT the SITE!! Check the progress frequently to catch any mistakes and quickly solve these issues in writing for your builder. Additionally, you may also be needed on site to answer any questions for the builder or his/hers subcontractors.
• Hire your own Interior Designer or Design Fairy Godmother to make your life easier, and act on your behalf with your Builder.
• Put all changes and corrections in WRITING! Include full details and costs when applicable. Do this even if you discuss changes with your nice Builder and he says agreeably, “No problem”. People forget.
• Make sure after the project is complete, you provide written notice of items requiring repair or corrections. And make sure it is taken care of before you pay your final bill.
• It’s a lot of work but GET EXCITED! This is YOUR NEW CUSTOM PALACE!!!

The Tale of “Contractor, Contractor, Where Art Thou?”

This is not a story for the faint of heart. Listen well and learn my children.

Once upon a time there was a goodly homeowner who wished for a beautiful new bathroom. One that would never leak into his living room ceiling, damage his floors and put him out of his home for many a moon, as the current old washroom had.

Now, my dears, this is a story known to many unfortunate folk and told again and again until the cows come home. Moo!

Some folks call a friend to discuss the problem and seek advice. Some call their reliable contractor with whom they have an established working relationship. And some call their favorite Design Fairy Godmother (Me!!!) who comes armed with her magic wand, her happy binder for project management, a great contractor and band of merry men (tradesmen and tradeswomen, that is).

Our goodly homeowner, having gotten advice from friends, decided to be his own contractor. Now this could work for those at home weaving flaxen cloth, with time to spare for trades scheduling, and project management. However, most  have fulltime jobs answering to a sometimes grumpy Duke or Duchess who won’t allow the time off.

After many moons, and truly heroic and exhausting attempts at trying to work fulltime and organize this domestic disaster, our goodly homeowner, brought in his Design Fairy Godmother (ME!), as he could no longer stand the plaster dust, the inactivity, or the black Troll Gob he blew into his tissue at night. YUK!

The Design Fairy Godmother (Me!), blew the plaster dust off her wand, designed a lovely new washroom, called in her Contractor Chieftains, and organized all other tradespeople to demolish, reconfigure, renovate and custom build “The Most Beautiful Bathroom in the Land”…….or at least on the street.

Custom cabinets and vanity were designed and custom built, with chrome knobs and handles from Restoration Hardware, granite countertop from ARISTON Marble & Granite LTD; Coach and spa lights from Union Lighting highlighted all features; tub and shower faucets, spout and shower heads from Dupont Plumbing, were lovely sculptural details; gorgeous glass, marble, and granite wall and floor tiles from OLYMPIA Tiles warmed the space; and a custom mirror and framing of original art from Eclectic Gallery decorated the space with sparkle.

The goodly homeowner, moved back into his Sacred Castle. His first shower, in his spectacular new bathroom was an experience like Nirvana, that satiated his wishes and was his dream come true—and there was still a little fairy dust left behind………….

THE END

© 2012 Andrea Carini

AFTER photos by Claire Louise Foster
INTERIOR DESIGN by Andrea Carini for Your Sacred Space Interiors

The Goodly Home Owner’s Bathroom Reno, A Transformation into a Princely Space.

BEFORE: A Tiny Space, where the door opened into the tub and grazed the sink counter. Okay for Rumplestilskin! Time to re-think, design & reconfigure.

DURING:…And they came with their trusty Hammers, Crowbars, and all other Weapons of Destruction to tear down what was and to  build what will be…

AFTER: A soaker tub with “step for bath supplies and storage niche above with glass shelves.

AFTER: Left; A feature wall, with glass tiles, half shower glass and gorgeous contemporary faucets and shower pieces. Right; Custom Vanity & mirror, Original Art Photography, & tile detail.

AFTER: Left; The original small window removed, transformed into a longer, larger light source created with glass block. Steel Blue glass tile combined with a “frame” of handpainted glass feature tile, harmonize with a black granite (used in floor), lining on the inside of the window.
Right; Granite & marble Floor in diagonal pattern creates an optical illusion of more space. Custom cabinetry utilizes all “dead space” into practical space that fully functions.Design of all cabinetry inspired by  original cabinetry in this 1920’s home.

ANDREA’S DESIGN PEARLS OF WISDOM:

  • VERY IMPORTANT! If you can’t take the time to be there ALL the time, DON’T try to do it yourself—HIRE SOMEONE competent.
  • IF you have a favorite Interior Designer, she/he would most likely have their own professional Goodly Contractor, and tradespeople, and  he/she will also project manage. If you don’t have one, call or e-mail me …or say my name 3 times and I’ll appear.
  • Make sure your Goodly Contractor has insurance and a license. If he comes highly recommended through someone you know, who has actually had work done by him, then you can pretty well be assured of the contractor’s skill, experience and integrity. Ask to see the work.
  • A really good contractor is usually someone you have to wait for. So be patient and get in line. It will so be worth it!
  • Always get references (at least 3), testimonials and see a portfolio of the Goodly Contractor’s work. His reputation is a valuable asset.
  • A Goodly Contractor will give you a proper written estimate, a complete proposal, broken down with a list of all work he will provide you. Should there be additions or changes, the price will also change. Be aware of what you ask for and be very clear of the scope of your job.
  • A professional contractor will never ask you for 50% of the money up front. Initially it’s about 10-15% for materials up front, depending on the job, so he  can get started.
  • Should you be interviewing Goodly Contractors, meet several and get their estimates. DO NOT take the cheapest deal!!! A Goodly Contractor will not budge on his price as it is based on facts and professional experience. Choose SKILL OVER PRICE…..you will be relieved you did.
  • A most important asset for your Goodly Contractor is his ability to clearly communicate with you, the Goodly Homeowner, and his understanding of the value of this. With this in place, few if any misunderstandings will occur, and constant feedback will help to produce a successful renovation and a good working relationship!
  • Now that you have found your Dream Contractor or Designer, stay with him/her as you already know they are great! Get ready for your next Magical Reno!!