Friday, February 28, 2014

the story of our fireplace wall

Our fireplace wall has been a big work in progress.  

The wall the fireplace occupies is one of the only walls in our house that has stayed put throughout the remodel process.  It was this lovely green color that eventually got covered up:

It is completely load-bearing so we didn't have a big choice, but we did want to move back at least part of it to make the family room wider (more about that back HERE).  

So they moved all the load-bearing stuff to the middle around the fireplace and moved the other walls back.

And then we had all that darn trouble with the ceiling being off.

Like, WAY off.  A whole inch and a half higher on one side than the other.  
Lots more about that back HERE.

But finally we did get it straight enough so we could get on with our big plans for it.

Initially I bookmarked these ideas:

I wanted something very simple and linear.

As we got closer (and with help from my "pretty committee":), I narrowed the wall finish ideas down to  two inspiration photos.

This one:
(all those different size boards but still simple and straight...with pictures similar to those as well...)

Or this one:
 (I just love how simple it is.)

My trim guy said he could get that effect with mdf board and I decided it was more clean-lined than the first option so we went with it.

And decided to do big huge frames on either side of the fireplace sort of similar to these:
But colorful and way bigger and probably not quite so many.

Kind of inspired by all these colorful canvases as well.

I wanted to do something different from your average fireplace walls with cabinets and shelves so I scoured the internet for ideas.

This cement bench idea "spoke" to me:
I love how it's just so simple, narrow in the front to let it go straight across...

So I drew up my little plan on a picture I had taken.
...and we got to work.
Whoops, I made that sound like it was all easy-peasy but it wasn't.

Remember all the serious ceiling problems we had back HERE?

I was just glad to have that part done.

Next it was on to making that cement bench idea come to reality.

These guys came to measure and got going on that thing.

We went to their shop (for the first of what seemed like 72 times) to figure out how high we wanted it off the ground, what color, etc.
After we finalized it I kept worrying that it would be too "heavy" looking so I went back and had them bring up the front edge to make it lighter.  

See how it's a little higher in the front?

They made it and were trying to figure out how to smooth out some of that character on the front that was kind of a mistake (but kind of cool too).

And in the midst of that process there was a rainstorm (I think the same one where Dave fell off the roof and all our baseboard got ruined in our house leak).

And that darn rain promptly ruined that bench.

They were sure they could fix it up and refinish it to look how we wanted it.

So they worked their hearts out on it.

 But the first fix-up looked like this:
...and the second one looked like this:
(no character at all)

So they gave up and re-made the darn thing.

As I walked down this little well-known-by-now-alley-way to get to the "shop" to see the newest try, I was so nervous because I just hoped with all my heart that this time it would work.

And guess what?  It did!
I fell in love at first sight with that thing.

I told Jose I wanted to give him a hug (I probably should have) I was just so happy.
(Is Jose not the cutest ever?  If anyone wants anything done in cement let me know because this guy rules.)

So they installed that bench.
Then we painted the walls:

Got ceasar stone to finish off the fireplace:

Added shallow shelves for my big photo idea (above):

And added white cabinets at the bottom:
(they're kind of camouflaged in there, see them?)

And it was all super easy-peasy, no problems at all because it's so easy for me to make decisions.


I do love how it's turning out though.  The cabinets are designed to be a perfect back rest for people sitting on the cement bench for all the wonderful discussions I envision us having in this room.  

And with a little photography color it may end up to look something like this:
(I photoshopped some possible pictures I want to enlarge in there on those shelves...imagine a television in the middle...I know, not the most beautiful accessory but I'm trying to pick my battles wisely :)

I'm trying to figure out if I want to do canvases or just black frames, or a mixture of both.  

Someday it will be done and I think I'm gonna love it. 

Thursday, February 27, 2014

December progress according to my iPhone

Oh man, loooooottttsss happened in December.  

Our kitchen went from looking like this:
and this:
To this:

Our laundry room went from this:

To this:
(Love my flooring guy :)
To this:

Our master bath wall was a little tricky.  We did glass tile and to figure out the openings we had to decide if we wanted smaller rectangles or bigger squares.  This was my method to figure it out:

I picked the rectangles:
Here's the progress:

Soooo exciting to see it come together.

Now if we can just get a faucet for that tub to come in (it's back ordered):

Powder bath funky-ish tile with the walnut floating vanity:

Max's shower is my fav.
(It's 4x16 HL-pumice from Arizona Tile.)

I like his floor too which is 2-inch hex tiles.  (This will eventually be our guest room bathroom.)

We did the hex in the pool bathroom too.  They put the wrong grout in at first (white...which I love but know there's no way I can keep it up).  So they chipped it all out and put in the darker grout.

The jack and jill bath went through a few changes.  

It was tough to figure out how to get these faucets to reach the sink!
We ended up having to put an extension on them that after much worry I think will end up looking great.

This is the back splash I came up with to go with the tub surround tile:

And here's the process as it went in:

Here's the finished (but un-cleaned) herringbone wood-tile in the front room:

We cut up the gray tile and had them lay it herringbone in the mudroom too:

Right before they put in the wood I realized we didn't have a plug for the lamp I want to put on a table between the two couches in there.  It was a big fiasco to get power in there but we had it done just in the nick of time before the flooring went in.

I already talked about my wood-choosing saga back here, but in the end I chose the Provenza Fossil Stone and I adore it.  

Some of the fans got installed.  
It's amazing how a fan can make things feel so much more finished off.

And it's also amazing how one of the contractors crawling through the attic for one thing or another and falling right through can make it feel so un-finished speedy quick:
That was scary business...he fell right next to the guy laying the tile in there...soooo glad no one got hurt.
And so sad we had to fix yet another drywall patch.

The book shelf made a teeny bit of progress:

(I love how those transem windows bring light in that bedroom foyer.)

We got most of our plumbing fixtures in.

SOOOOO exciting to get running water!

Agonizing decision over which color wallpaper to do in the pantry.

Trying to decide between these two combos:
Ended up choosing the navy...with blue backsplash in there...can't wait to post pics. soon.

Measured out where the girls' beds will go:
They have been ready to be delivered for two months now but I keep putting them off because we don't have carpet yet!

Fire place wall got trimmed out.

This is now all painted white...more pictures soon along with the story of this whole wall business.

One last fiasco for the month:  They started painting our gray paint I was SO sure about on all the walls (more about that back HERE).  I even had the painter paint an entire wall to be sure waaaayyy back when I was trying to figure it out.  Yes, I loved it.  

But when it started going up for reals after all the drywall and much of the flooring was in, Dave saw it he asked why in the world it was getting painted tan.  

And sure enough, it looked completely tan.  

So we scrambled to figure out another great gray to no avail.  Two different grays you can't even tell the difference between:
The painter had already bought all the paint so he went ahead and kept painting. 

Guess what?  We love it.  It's totally gray (especially now that the floors are in), but a warmer gray.  

Oh boy, yes, lots happened in December.  And January too...hopefully I'll get to that soon!