New Design for an Oddly Shaped Bath

Bathroom Remodel

It was bad enough that this ‘80s style bathroom was weighed down in oak and somber finishes — it was also strangely configured.  We breathed new life into its design by opening it up and letting the light shine in!

Vision

Here was a master bathroom that enjoyed a killer view of downtown Boise — but the spatial constraints of its layout hardly did justice to the expansive view from its foothills perch.  Our goal was to not only create a sense of spaciousness, but to further enhance this with a lighter and cleaner look and feel.

Challenge

Two major factors to the choppy layout of this bathroom were the peninsula vanity in its center and the large spa tub that took up an entire corner.  An existing shower that was enclosed in a 3’x3’ space added to a claustrophobic feeling.  To dramatically change the layout of this room, the vanity and the tub had to go.

Accomplishment

Removing the peninsula vanity and the spa tub dramatically opened up this room.  We kept the location of the existing shower, but increased its size and installed a glass enclosure.  This gave the space a transparency that complimented the room’s newly discovered openness.  We created a half wall for the shower to give it some privacy, and installed the shower controls in this wall.  In place of the spa tub we added a stylish free standing tub.  We replaced the existing brown carpet with lighter colored tile.  What had formerly been a single vanity against the wall became a double vanity with new cabinetry and a full tile backsplash.

Highlights

It was our good fortune that a skylight already existed in this room — but thanks to the changes we made to its layout and fixtures, its light was no longer swallowed up in a morass of dark wood, tile, and carpeting.  At last, the open dimensions of the space inside did justice to scene it overlooked outside.

 Click on photos to enlarge. 

A Whole House Rejuvenation

Whole House Remodel

Updating a foothills home, room by room

Well designed and constructed homes may age with grace…but they still age. As with humans, dealing with the “ravages of time” may require replacement, but it can also be achieved at a deeper cosmetic level — without the trauma of surgery. Think of it as optimizing the best of what you have by giving it a fresh look. That’s what our clients were hoping for with a home they purchased for their retirement, and it’s what we helped them achieve over a six-month period, in partnership with a local interior designer.

Vision

Our clients wanted to downsize their living space in retirement, but not at the expense of extended family activities or lifestyle. They found a home with a foothills view that reminded them of the one they had sold, and they loved its brick facade and overall layout. The interior of the home had not been touched in nearly thirty years, however, and our clients wanted to update its look and feel, as well as create dedicated if distinct spaces for private and family life.

Challenge

A new home represents a blank canvas upon which to create, and the inherent possibilities can be simultaneously exhilarating and overwhelming. Other than having some heirloom furniture pieces that they wanted to incorporate, they didn’t really know what they wanted. We began our project together with the realization that the home’s basic floor plan sufficiently met their needs to require no major reconfiguration, and instead focused on a room-by-room rejuvenation that for the most part involved fixtures and finishes. To help in this area, our clients made the wise decision to involve an interior designer from the beginning, and based on our recommendations of local designers we had worked with in the past, they chose Amy Snow Interior Design.

Accomplishment

Since their home’s layout ensured that our clients’ daily activities could be lived out almost exclusively on its main level, we made the kitchen and living room our remodel focal points, giving the combined space a “great room” feel. Aside from all new fixtures, appliances and cabinetry, the only change we made to the kitchen was to modify the island counter to provide more optimal seating. Since our clients liked the tile flooring in the kitchen, new cabinetry was selected to better compliment its color scheme. The only major structural change in the course of the project was the demolition of the previous living room fireplace, which was a cozy little brick structure with a white wooden mantel, and the creation of a floor to ceiling stone fireplace that added a sense of drama — and did justice to its foothills view. Along with repainting every room and replacing carpeting throughout, we also added new lighting and bathroom fixtures, while Amy Snow worked with our clients on finishes and accents that included decorative beams for a more masculine feel to the study.

Highlights

Besides updating virtually every square inch of our clients’ new home, our remodel project gave it a clearer functional distinction between daily private life and extended family interactions — the latter taking place below the home’s main level through a recreational space and informal living room, as well as guest bedrooms and baths. By opening up a wall in the couple’s exercise room, we not only let in more natural light, but also inspired them to design a custom stainless window that we installed for them. As with humans, so with homes: Being old doesn’t mean being drab…as long as you’re willing to make an effort.

This link takes you to another article about this home

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Behold the Power of Finishes!

Bathroom Remodel

The most obvious way to dramatically affect the look of a room is to change its layout — whether the goal is functional improvement or simply a makeover.  That said, one should never underestimate the power of “finishes” to transform a living space.

Vision

The master bathroom in this home was already stylish, and its layout worked effectively for our client.  The goal of this remodel was to update that style and give the room a more understated elegance.  We accomplished this with well designed finishes, rather than through reconstruction.

Challenge

Glass blocks have a timeless appeal, but they simply didn’t work with the look our client was going for.  The biggest change we needed to make, however, was the transformation of the vanity, which we wanted to reflect a more contemporary sense of elegance.

Accomplishment

We replaced the glass block it in this room with clear tempered glazing to allow more light, and complimented its transparency with mirrored doors on the closet facing the tub.  We framed the new tub deck with openings for cabinetry behind the tub face panels to be used for towel storage.  We removed the soffit from above the vanity — not only because of how it affected the look of the room, but because the lighting was ineffective.  In its place we installed custom designed mirrors (can you find the one that is hinged for an inset medicine cabinet?) and new light fixtures.  We constructed new cabinets and added a marble vanity top with matching backsplash, as well as new sinks and fixtures.  To tie the look of the bathroom in with the master bedroom, we replaced the carpeting in both rooms with a dark hardwood that complimented the bathroom cabinetry. The visual “flow” between bedroom and bathroom was dramatic.

Highlights

Not long after we completed this remodel, our client put the home up for sale.  It sold within a matter of days, and our client assures us that one of the features that “sealed the deal” was our remodeled bathroom.  We would never encourage anyone to remodel a home strictly with an eye to “return on investment” — but a well designed and executed remodel sure doesn’t hurt a home’s resale value!

Click on photos to enlarge. 

As part of this remodel, we also completed a Powder Room remodel which turned out just as beautiful, visit the Powder Room post here.

 

 

A Bathroom Remodel that Played Well with Others

Bathroom Remodel

We love a good collaborative effort — which is how we typically think of our relationships with our clients.  But we also enjoy working with other industry professionals.  One such professional is Gina Wegner, a talented designer with Seed Interiors.

Our client had hired Gina for the interior design of their bathroom update, which was carried out as part of a larger remodel effort, and we were pleased to be the partner that was entrusted with bringing Gina’s vision to life.

Vision

Our client had decided to convert a child’s room into the master bedroom, and in the process convert the existing bathroom into something befitting this transformation.  Seed Interior’s design for the room included a frameless shower that required some structural changes to the floor, as well moving a lot of plumbing.

Challenge

To fulfill the vision of the interior designer, our biggest challenge was structural.  To create the frameless shower, we needed to slope the bathroom floor.  This meant notching out a floor joist that went down about three inches.  Fortunately, we had a partition wall with a full basement underneath that served as a load bearing wall for the space we created.

Accomplishment

By sloping the bathroom floor to the shower we were able to keep the same tile as the rest of the bathroom.  By taking out a wall and shortening an existing vanity, we were also able to add sufficient space to put in a huge walk-in closet, a double vanity with counter top, and a powder room.  Additional designer touches included the use of hanging pendants that provided more precise lighting for the wider mirror we installed.  We also added a window for additional natural light and airiness.

Highlights

What started as a kid’s room and adjoining bathroom became a beautifully designed master bedroom and bath combination that flowed attractively together into a more private space for the parents.  This was a great design that was fun to work on, despite the structural challenges that had to be overcome to pull it together.  Of course, one of the hallmarks of a great remodel project is to make it appear effortless — no matter the reality.

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From Tuscan to Contemporary: a Whole House Remodel

Our clients loved their Southeast Boise neighborhood, and while the Tuscan-inspired exterior of their house was attractive, the carry over of that theme into its interior created a number of issues for the couple from the day they bought it.  Although our initial focus was the kitchen, this ambitious remodel soon extended well beyond.

Vision

Our clients’ home was certainly large enough from the standpoint of floor plan, but it always felt crowded to them — particularly when more than one person was in the kitchen.  Beyond updating the look of their home’s interior to reflect a more contemporary European style, what our clients wanted was a greater sense of spaciousness, and straighter, cleaner lines throughout.

Challenge

One of the drawbacks of the original kitchen was inefficient workflow, especially between the cooktop, the preparation space, and the refrigerator.  Our clients also wanted to improve the efficiency of their cabinetry as well.  Besides the kitchen, several other spaces suffered from what our clients repeatedly described as being “cramped” and dark.”  For one thing, the home had a beautiful backyard and patio area, but there was virtually no visual connection to it from inside.  The house had a separate dining room, but it wasn’t large enough to host the family gatherings they had envisioned — while the dining area next to the kitchen gave the term “nook” a meaning more synonymous with “cramped” than “cozy.”  Although it came as something of an afterthought, our clients asked us to address their home’s staircase, which while visually striking, also added to a bulky and dark look that plagued other areas of the home’s interior.

Accomplishment

Addressing our clients’ issues resulted in nothing less than a virtual gutting of their home’s interior, beginning with the transformation of their kitchen and dining area into contiguous spaces in which form followed function with a contemporary European sensibility.  Although we didn’t significantly change the footprint of the kitchen, we profoundly changed the nature of the space and visually opened it up — partly by adding a bank of windows over the kitchen sink.  This effect that was repeated in the former breakfast nook, which was squared off to pick up enough additional square footage to make it a viable family dining room (the former dining area has since become a cozy sitting room alternative to the family room adjoining the kitchen).  The bank of windows installed in the reconfigured breakfast nook also had the effect of bringing in views of the backyard to enhance the overall feeling of light and space in the home.  This effect was further heightened in the evening, thanks to the outdoor lighting.  The flow of the great room/kitchen/dining area was further enhanced by continuous cork flooring.

The staircase redesign took many hours to figure out.  The original had a half wall that went all the way up the stairs, and our clients had proposed taking out that wall to create an open bannister with a custom rail to match the curve of the stairs.  This would have been very costly, so we instead proposed demolishing the old staircase and reframing it to create the straight, clean lines that the couple was looking for as a consistent theme of their remodel.

In its original layout, guests who wanted to use the downstairs bathroom/powder room had to walk through a narrow passage way that led to the laundry room, and ultimately to the garage.  We relocated this bathroom to make it more accessible, then expanded the walls and ceiling of the laundry room area to make it a more practical workspace and quasi-mudroom.  We also remodeled the master bathroom, removing the soffits, updating the cabinets and fixtures, replacing the spa tub with a free standing model, and installed a more contemporary looking shower.  By removing the space that had been a separate toilet area, we were also able to expand the size of the walk-in closet, while adding to the overall sense of spaciousness in the master bath and giving it a sense of symmetry consistent with the rest of the remodel.

Highlights

Overall, this was a project that involved not only issues of esthetics and flow, but also a number of structural challenges as well — most notably with the staircase and dining room remodels.  Although Strite brought the best of its design and construction acumen to bear on the successful conclusion of this whole house remodel, that success was due in no small part to our clients’ participation in the design process.  The old adage in our profession remains true: the best work is engendered by the best customers.

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A “Treehouse” Gets New Bathrooms

Bathrooms Remodeled

Even after 30 years, our clients loved their home in the foothills above Warm Springs Avenue in Boise.  The floor plan gave it an intimacy that one of them described as like “living in a treehouse.”  Eventually, however, one aspect of any home that can become not only outdated but dysfunctional are its bathrooms.  It was time to rekindle the magic with a master bath and guest bath makeover.

Vision

Our clients had never really cared for the bathrooms in their home from the day they moved in, and as the years went by, both the master and guest bathrooms became increasingly outdated.  The original plan was to update the master bathroom, but on closer inspection of the tile in the guest bath/powder room, we discovered that the wall behind it was rotting out.  Fortunately, our clients had had thirty years of thinking about how they would ideally like both rooms to look that they could share with us.

Challenge

The master bathroom was cramped and dark, a feeling that both he original wallpaper (which was beginning to peel away) and the dark brown tile in the shower and tub areas contributed to.  While we wanted to give the room a more spacious and lighter feeling, keeping the costs of the remodel to a minimum dictated that we stay with the same layout — which was fortunately a good one.  In the case of the guest bath/powder room, our client wanted the update to reflect a feeling of water through softer colors and more light.  A Google search using the words “zen bathrooms” yielded plenty of inspiration when it came time to choose tile, cabinetry, and finishes.

Accomplishment

To open up the master bath space, we removed full height walls, including the shower wall, and put in a new window.  The vanity and toilet stayed in the same location, but we shifted the shower just enough to install a custom pan, while keeping the new tub in same location. New cabinets, sinks, floors, and fixtures not only gave the room a more contemporary look, but contributed to the overall feeling of light and space.  For the guest bathroom, our project manager painstakingly ferreted out the elements that fit with our client’s design vision, including exactly the tile to achieve the “water effect” she was looking for.

Highlights

Among the happy surprises with the guest bathroom remodel was our discovery of an affordable frameless glass shower enclosure and a frameless mirror that created what our client described as a “floating” effect.  How zen is that?

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We’ll Remodel Your Bathroom…and Throw in a Laundry Room!

Bathroom Remodel

We like to think of our business as more than just a craft.  It’s the art of the possible.  The very best remodeling jobs are the ones that deftly combine solid design and quality craftsmanship to address a need…and then go beyond the utilitarian to the imaginative.  This case study is a good example.

Vision

This bathroom remodel was part of a larger project, and one that presented us with a client’s desire for not only a more pleasing environment, but for something they before had: a laundry room.

Challenge

To easiest way to “add” a room is to expand the square footage of a home — but that wasn’t in the budget for this bathroom remodel.  What we did instead was to “borrow” the space we needed to create a laundry room from a less critical area: a hallway that led to the garage.  Fortunately, we were also working with an oversized bathroom layout that had not been well thought out as originally constructed.

Accomplishment

We achieved our twin objectives of an improved bathroom layout and the addition of a laundry room by bumping the bathroom wall out into the garage area, then moving the wall between the bathroom and the hallway to create the laundry room space.  In the bathroom itself we removed a spa tub (typically used as a clothes drying area), and added a frameless shower where the tub had been, while keeping the existing plumbing from the original shower in place.  For privacy, we patched over the window that had formerly looked on the tub and added a smaller one above the new shower area to let in natural light.  By increasing the size of the shower, we were able to add a second shower head on a slider bar, so it could now be used to wash the dog.  We also redid the toilet room.

Highlights

More than just creating a new utility space and a more attractive and practical layout for the bathroom, this project made a difference to the rest of the home as well.  The washer and dryer had previously been in the hallway leading to the garage — a hallway that was also open to the kitchen.  Whenever they were in operation, the noise from the washer and dryer resonated throughout the house.  As a result of the remodel, this noise could now be contained in a separate enclosure, without having to sacrifice anything more than wasted space.

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Who Says Economical Can’t Be Exciting?

Bathroom Remodel

Remodeling can be a bit like a potato chip…it’s hard to stop at just one. This lower level guest bathroom was part of a larger remodel project, and with so many other rooms getting a makeover, it was hard to resist this long overdue update.

Vision

While our primary objective was to give this bathroom a more contemporary look, it was a perfect opportunity to address a very obvious issue: the bathtub. At 48-inches long and half again that deep, it hardly seemed useful for more than just a catch basin for the shower…or a good place to wash the family pet!

Challenge

We kept the layout of the bathroom as it was and replaced the tub with a shower. To make the shower more accessible, we borrowed space from an adjoining closet. The green toilet and matching sink had to go…along with the shag carpet!

Accomplishment

In addition to a new sink and toilet, we gave the bathroom a more contemporary look by removing the drop down soffit and putting in a floating cabinet. In place of the previous lighting, which was in the soffit, we added more stylish pendant lights. We replaced the shag carpet with tile that complimented the new counter top.

Highlights

As dramatic a difference as this remodel made to the guest bathroom, it was a very economical project. While new construction seldom contains any surprises, the same cannot be said for remodeling. In this case, the demolition phase revealed some very interesting wallpaper, and evidence of two previous remodels. We think this last one is the best one.

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Funky Works in Music..In Bathrooms, Not So Much

Bathroom Remodel

If every time you walk into a room only to find that it irks you, it’s probably time to consider a remodel.  This doesn’t mean that you have to start tearing walls down, however.  It might be enough to simply move a window to completely transform the layout of a space…as was the case in this bathroom remodel.  

Vision

Our client never liked his main floor bathroom.  Small wonder, considering the “funky” layout of the bathtub and shower.  In addition to eliminating the awkwardness of their arrangement, our client wanted a less angular design to the room, and a corresponding sense of greater spaciousness.

Challenge

With a modest budget, we couldn’t do anything too radical to the structure of this bathroom.   The simplest thing to have done would have been to remove the tub, but since this was the only bathroom on this level of his home, our client wanted to retain it.  Our solution was to combine the tub and the shower, while increasing the size of the shower space and updating the overall look of the room.

Accomplishment

We relocated the existing bathtub and integrated it with the shower.  To create the necessary space for this single unit, we moved the bathroom window and framed part of the wall.  Our client also wanted vertical storage space, which we made room for by slightly shifting the location of the vanity.

Highlights

Having achieved the functional goals of this remodel, we made esthetic enhancements with a new vanity (we were able to use a remnant counter top to save money) and cabinet.  We replaced the carpeting with floor tile that matched the tub/shower, and added an accent light.  We should note that part of the joy of any remodel, aside from its functional imperatives, is the opportunity to sit down with our clients and go through the interior design options that take the look of a room from “cookie cutter” to customized.

The completed space – the bath did have natural light, but one window was shifted over to allow for a new layout.  The room already featured two skylights which remained.

The former elbow bumper shower, we have all experienced them…the vanity shifted over slightly to allow for a full upright linen cabinet.

During the design phase – samples provided by the interior designer showing the shower deco and splash, the shower field tile, the counter top, wall and trim colors, and the cabinet finish.

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A Foothills Remodel Takes a ‘70s Home “Back to the Future”

Whole House Remodel

Our clients came to their home for the view, and stayed for the architecture. But before they reached that point, there was a lot to get done — as you’ll learn in this whole-house remodel case study that was featured in this year’s NARI (National Association of the Remodeling Industry) Remodeled Homes Tour.

Vision

Our clients loved the Boise foothills for their beauty and recreational opportunities, and when a chance run high above their North End home led past a certain “for sale” sign, they knew a change of address was the way to take greater advantage of this jewel in Boise’s crown. Although they saw a lot to work with in the bones of their ‘70s era home, they knew with equal certainty that it would take a lot of design talent, engineering insight, and project management — not to mention plenty of good old-fashioned demolition — to pay off their home’s architectural potential.

Challenge

The architecture of our clients’ home certainly made it unique, and its view of the Boise Valley from amid a cluster of trees was gorgeous — but the home’s floor plan not only failed to take full advantage of its design and site, it also robbed its inhabitants of the daily inspiration they should otherwise have enjoyed. To open up new lines of sight, add more points of light, and take full advantage of the views from around the second floor living space, a lot of walls and other “obstructions” would have to be removed, as would an aging and dysfunctional deck system. In the process, our clients also wanted the aesthetic improvements of an updated look and amenities in their kitchen and master bathroom.

Accomplishment

STRITE’s initial focus in realizing out our clients’ vision was to remove anything on the second floor, including the existing kitchen and fireplace, that would obstruct or diminish the views from the south side of their home, and in so doing make possible the corresponding light those views could bring to a more open floor plan.  Accomplishing this goal involved not only the demolition of walls, but also the replacement of an existing wall bearing point with a less intrusive steel beam that, when polished, picked up the metal highlights of the new kitchen fixtures.  By reclaiming an area of wasted space adjoining the kitchen, STRITE was able to convert it into a large, walk-in pantry with enough storage to eliminate the need for kitchen cupboards — thus adding to the clean lines and open feeling that our clients valued, in contrast to the cramped feeling of the original kitchen layout.

To further improve the views from the reconfigured living room, dining room, and kitchen, we added and enhanced window spaces. Although our clients’ original intention, thanks to input from the interior designer who STRITE brought on to the project team, was to relocate the existing fireplace, the fact that they seldom used it made its complete removal a more logical design decision.  By reclaiming the wasted space represented by the fire pit, as well as removing an alcove on one side of the fireplace, we were able to add another 200 square feet to the living room, as well as effectively making a previously “hidden” door to an outside walkway work as another view window.  To carry over the emerging look in other areas of the home, we replaced original carpet with lightly stained wood floors, and updated both the master bedroom (adding another point of light as one approached it from the hall) and the master bath (creating its own space distinct from the bedroom floorplan). On the outside of the house, our clients wanted to replace an aging and unsightly deck with a more aesthetically pleasing and functional option, as well as create a family-friendly patio in a backyard that they had described as “an un-level patch of cheatgrass.” To accomplish these latter renovations, we shared concepts and schedules with chosen local professionals whose expertise in their trades exceeded and complimented our own.

Highlights

Our clients had lived in their home for 11 years before executing their ambitious remodel plan — but they had been working on that plan for most of this time, and they had a very clear idea of what they wanted as an end result. They hired STRITE to help them get there, and we in turn enlisted the services of an accomplished interior designer to coordinate architecture and decor. Along the way we replaced dated wooden bannisters with custom-designed metal railings, reconfigured the entryway to open up a better line of site, updated the children’s bedrooms, and added unique touches like a single, wall-sized tempered glass backsplash (our clients’ inspiration) that reflected the trees through the windows in the main living area. It was a complicated project that lasted five months (the latter part during which our clients lived in the ground floor of their home), and at times taxed our scheduling abilities — but the end result was what our clients’ have described as a home that “looks and functions even better than we thought it would.” Those 10 words are what we are in business to hear.

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Click here to learn more about this project.