Monthly Archives: November 2009

1950s bathroom [and fireplace] updated

That dim ’50s bathroom in pale yellow and brick-red tile?  Not so tired anymore – refreshed with a modern look but keeping close to the midcentury lines of the house that first attracted its owners.

A wall of glass mosaic tiles gives energy to the small room while the simple arrangement of components keeps a sense of order.  Given the new vanity’s storage capacity (plus a new wall-hung cabinet above the toilet) we decided to forego the traditional recessed medicine cabinet.  The shower stall ceiling was raised to full height, and the entire width opened to the room with a frameless glass door from Empire Shower Doors.  We decided to use the mosaic tile again in the shampoo niche.

The opening of the cramped shower makes the room appear larger.  The new glass door, glass 3×6 tile on the walls, 12×12 porcelain tiles on the floor and chrome fixtures mix together to create a soothing feel.

City Cabinetmakers made the flat-front, clean and simple vanity in makore veneer.  The warm cabinetry color picks up the reddish-brown random tiles that appear in the mosaic backsplash.   The sparkly countertop slab that contains bits of mirror glass is ‘quartz reflections‘ from Caesarstone, which is from their recycled product line.  Chrome hardware ties the piece back in to room.

In the living room, here is the fireplace with new stone tile, slab hearth and mantel.

Ann Sacks “luxor grey” limestone tile and “topo azul” slab and a wood mantel painted in a similar grey give the fireplace a subtle presence in the room, toned down from the stark white it was previously.

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pacific heights studs exposed

Motoring ahead with this project, we’ve gotten much of the walls, ceilings, floors opened up as needed.  The new concrete foundation has been poured.  This photo below shows framing that we think may be from 2 windows – and possibly the original front wall of the house.  Now there is a living room on the other side of it.  See the rectangles framed toward the sides of the image.  plaster lathe

You never know what’s behind the walls. . as seen below.  On the left is an old exterior door that was simply closed, boarded over and became part of the exterior wall for who knows how many years.  There’s even an electrical outlet and a duct carved through it!  On the right is the inside of a closet that was probably part of a hallway or room; why would a closet interior have wainscoting, picture rail and a door crown?

walls

The view up the stairs, now that construction has started: stair

Old San Francisco houses with their deep, dark redwood framing:  when the finished plaster is peeled away, they remind me of barns.  There’s also a spooky appeal in seeing the nooks that haven’t been exposed or inhabited – in close to 100 years.

barnrafters

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pacific heights

Here’s a house in Pacific Heights.  I’m collaborating with a designer friend Ian Stallings on this project.  It looks ok from the street, but a thorough study shows that it needs a new foundation, floor plan reworking, and upgraded interiors.  The blank area above the garage door could use something too.

exterior

The back of the house has a wall of ’70s sliding doors which is a great to capture light, but at the low standard 80″ height, the blank wall/gable above gives a top-heavy feeling.

rear

The rooms seemed to be carefully set up – but much of this funky look won’t last through the remodel.  The dropped ceiling, the (smoke and) mirrors, applied wall brick…

orangelvg rmkitchen2

Mustard yellow and dark brown 70s kitchen scheme – making a comeback?  Maybe, but this one didn’t hold up enough to stick around.

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1950s bathroom and fireplace progress

Moving along!  The glass tile in the shower is a 3×12 pale green we are orienting vertically.  A shampoo niche is carved in to the wall opposite the showerhead, to be lined with rectangular glass mosaic tile in a blue/green/brown mix.

shower tile

We’re using the same mosaic tile on the entire wall behind the new vanity, around the window, mirror and sconces.

mosaic tile

The floor tile is 12×12 ceramic in a tan/green which blends in to the scheme of the room.  The makore vanity cabinet from City Cabinetmakers picks up the brown in the wall tile.

floor tile

The fireplace has been tiled.  The new hearth stone – a limestone slab from Ann Sacks called Topo Azul – is put in place, and the new simple mantle built – to be painted.   Finish details to follow.

fireplace tiles

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1950s bathroom – and fireplace

We are also tackling the fireplace which the owners want to revamp.  The white painted brick, the brass and glass doors (yikes), and the overall height don’t go with the low-slung mid-century feel of their living room.

fireplace before

We’ve removed the mantle, a few rows of brick, the pinkish stone hearth, and the doors.

fireplace during

The tile we’ve selected is Luxor Grey by Ann Sacks.  It’s a long thin tile that will accentuate the horizontal lines in the room.  I laid it out to get a good mix because the natural stone is slightly varied in color.

luxorgrey

Now back to the bathroom:  We’re down to the studs to install the new window, frosted glass for privacy.  We’re going from horizontal to vertical with the window.  Everything has been removed; the tile, the entire shower, the vanity.

windowstuds

We put insulation in where there was none before.  More to come!

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