Sunday, December 18, 2011

Basement Before and After

This weekend is the only weekend, for a little while, that we don't have any contractors around doing any renovation. Our ears and mind were at complete peace, and we were even able to sleep in a bit. For the next few months I am only going to take up a few tiny projects (mostly decorating) here and there, but nothing major like our master ensuite which is slated for next spring. Hopefully by then I will have recovered from this home reno fatigue.

Before I take you through a tour of our basement, let's recap on what it looked like before and during the renovation.

Basement Before

Basement Day 7 into renovation

And this is the after.

Hallway leading to one large living area in Hollywood Regency Chinoiserie theme with faux bamboo mirror, Ikea Hemnes dresser in Lee Valley's BBZ ring pulls, and faux bamboo chairs.

From another perspective. 

Media Room, aka Anthony's man cave. Do you see my entrenchment everywhere? :-) The sofa set was from our living room...I can't believe we pretty much furnished this area using all our existing furniture!

And this is the built-in wall unit I mentioned yesterday. Can you believe it's based on Ikea's Billy bookcase?  When I was given a quote of $10,000 for a wall unit this size, I was determined to find a cheaper alternative (and I did). I will write more about how we had it put together later.

Notice those cane chair fixer-uppers in the front? They are upholstered in Dwell Studio Bella Porte Charcoal fabric from Tonic Living.

This is from the media room overlooking the future art & craft room and the hallway. At the end of the hallway is the cold room. I've decided to keep my wine collection in it now that the temperature is perfectly regulated in here with new insulation.

Years ago I used to paint at night as a hobby to declutter my mind. After a series of three Paris paintings, I realized I needed to add a fourth -- the summer season, to complete the collection.

And this will be my future art & craft room (area). As we were preparing our basement for renovation a few months ago, I found this unfinished work piled among many of my other pieces. I am sure I intended to paint Paris in the summer...the inspiration was long gone, but I hope to pick up my hobby by completing this one.

So that's what our basement looks like now. Bedroom and bathroom were covered in last week's post here.

Our house is a new built so it has central heating and all the vents were tucked away out of sight. But if you have an older house, a heat radiator is an easy way to keep your basement warm and toasty. They come in so many styles and colours these days that they can be incorporated into your design elements. For radiator ideas, please check out Castrads

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Living Room Complete - Take 2

I was finally able to relocate the black cowhide sofa set from our living room down to the basement. There is a bit of the whole enchilada down there now with a collection of furniture we've accumulated over the years but no longer wish to use them as show pieces.

I am sure most of you know that I am a die-hard fan of Sarah Richardson, and I drool over her entire furniture collection with clean lines, slender legs and neutral fabrics, everything has Sarah's signature all over. The one chair which I am particularly in love with is Elsie Chair. I don't know how much it would cost (not cheap I guess) or where I could conveniently get it, but one thing I know for sure is that her furniture is custom made which means it takes time. With holidays only weeks away and the need to back-fill the space I just freed up, I settled for these lookalikes from a local furniture store. I am extremely happy with the fabric options, quality construction and turnaround time -- one week from the time we placed the order to our living room, one week! The price is decent but I can't say it's cheap. It's still worth the splurge especially now I have them to entertain my guests throughout the holidays.

This is what our living room looks like now. The white mirrored cabinet with clover-patterned cutout is a score from HomeSense.

We are finishing up a wall-to-wall built-in shelves in our basement this weekend. I'd do whatever it takes to stay away from those malls. Hope you all have a great weekend. The sunshine outside picks me up.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Bling Bling

Today I came home to this. Isn't Christmas still 10 days away? Our master bedroom transformation is now one step closer to completion.

Pandora 6-Light Chandelier with French Cut Crystal Prisms

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Bed and Bath

The furnishing and decorating our newly-finished basement is nowhere near complete. But for now I will share some pictures of the WIP bathroom and bedroom.

First up is the additional guest bedroom we added in the basement. We retired our old bed down there, and replaced with an upholstered one (more to come on the bed soon). The Imperial Trellis-alike bedding set was a score from a local HomeSense.

Remember the massive 4-door closet I bragged about before? Well here it is. I might be able to fit my entire wardrobe in there!

Now comes the exciting part -- a new bathroom we also added in our basement. I realized how difficult it was to photograph an almost-all-white bathroom with a lot of reflective surfaces.

Things took an interesting turn one day after I ordered the Hutton vanity from Restoration Hardware. I found a wannabe from a local bath store for almost 50% less. It was only natural for a deal-hunter like me to cancel the RS order and picked up the cheaper one instead. I still prefer RS' design, but quality wise they are almost identical.

Things I splurged on are:
  • Floor tiles and accent: Bianco Carrara;
  • Marble vanity countertop;
  • Frameless floor-to-ceiling glass panels and door for the shower stall;
  • Labour to give the bathroom a more custom look.
Things I thrifted on are:
  • Vanity: well it's still not cheap;
  • Bathroom hardware: they are from Rona.
So that's the skinny about our new bedroom and bathroom in the basement. More pictures and updates to come soon.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Master Bedroom so far the most neglected room, design wise of course, in our house. I took a short break from our basement project and started to put together elements contributing to my dream master bedroom.

The first up is drapery. I ordered 12 yards of this ever-popular (and darn expensive) Windsor Smith Pelagos fabric in Mist from the States.

Overwhelmed by the excitement when it arrived, I started to cut them into panels at 108" in length each. It's not until I got to the last piece before I realized that oops, I only had about 80" left for the last panel, and that's not going to work. I phoned the fabric store and after one week of back-and-forth phone calls, they finally admitted it's their oversight and that they would ship out another 3 yards as long as I covered the shipping. If I thought that was a struggle I needed to think again -- it was only the beginning of a bigger nuisance. 

The fabric was shipped by a courier with the company sounding like "OOPS". The courier somehow misplaced the correct invoice so when they showed up at my doorstep they wanted almost $100 in broker & duty before they would release the package. It was supposed to be FREE and there shouldn't be any duty or broker fee involved since I paid for the shipping in full. I had to reject the package, and of course it was sent back to their depot for re-rate. One month later, yes folks, ONE FRIGGING MONTH later I finally received my last 3-yard of fabric! This courier company appears to be such a big well greased machine yet it couldn't handle any non-standard hiccup like this efficiently.

Anyhow, back to the positive thoughts. The drapes have been made and I will share some pictures later. As usual, I can't design a room without a mood board, so here you have it, my master bedroom design plan. 
Source (clockwise):
  • Maria Theresa Crystal Chandelier - new purchase;
  • Barcelona dressing table and bench - new purchase;
  • Antique scroll mirror and bow-front dresser - own;
  • Custom made upholstered bed - new purchase (existing bed is going to the basement bedroom);
  • Elite Custom Furniture bedside tables - own;
  • Crate & Barrel Vaughan chairs - own;
  • Trellis rug - own;
  • Bench custom upholstered in Bowlin Driftwood fabric - own;
  • Windsor Smith Pelagos drapery in mist - new purchase;
  • Paint: Valspar Polar Star.
I will post some Before & After pictures when I am done. Hope y'all have a great weekend.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

The End Is The Beginning

Well, folks, we could finally put those get-up-at-6-am-to-turn-off-heat-so-that-dust-won't-travel-through-the-house days behind us. Why? Our basement project is a wrap today, woohoo! It's the beginning for me to decorate and furnish the new space. It might still take a few days of cleaning and organizing before I could show you the After pictures, but for now, I will show you our new staircase that leads to the new basement. 

For the basement staircase I used square wood spindles painted in white, different from our ground-floor flight with wrought iron posts. I want it to be less formal and more welcoming: this is the space where family are going to watch movies, drink beer and make a big mess. I think the contrast from the red oak treads in pewter stain and white risers & spindles looks pretty amazing.

Now that this massive project is done, we were able to spend some time tonight and put up the Christmas tree. We've decided the foyer is where the tree belongs this year --wouldn't it feel great to come home to a twinkly and heart-warming Christmas tree?  

Friday, December 2, 2011

Basement Day 16 - The Good and The Bad

Since I am in general hunky dory, I will start with the Good. The shower stall glass panel was installed, and the bathroom turned out to be exactly as I imagined (uhhmm, designed). Vanity, toilet and all other plumbing fixtures are still yet to go in.


Painting is also done, and I am glad I chose ICI Silver Cloud again.

So now let's get into the Bad, shall we? Remember earlier this week I ranted about my frustration over the flooring? Well, our contractor managed to find the "Grey Oak" through another supplier outside of the GTA. That's good right? Not quite. It turned out this supplier would charge extra 30 cents per sq ft, and guess what our contractor did? They came to ask me to cover the additional $400! I would be totally fine to pay extra for a nicer color or better quality, perhaps even so to pay for our contractor's delinquency (they didn't order the flooring early on). But to pay additional for exactly the same flooring that we were going to get as part of our pre-negotiated package is nuts. A deal is a deal, and in my opinion, our contractor should absorb the extra and get me the "Grey Oak" now that they find new stock.

As you could imagine the conversation wasn't all that pleasant, but at the end, our contractor backed down and bought the "Grey Oak" which was our top choice (and yours too). Perhaps I should get them some Starbucks to make up tomorrow?

This is what the flooring looks like in the basement bedroom. It's gradually making its way to the living area. Bedroom and bathroom are painted in Valspar Polar Star.

So that's my basement adventure today. Hope you all have a nice weekend. We are going to start our furniture hunt tomorrow.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Basement Day 13 - The Bad News

It's as if my day couldn't get any worse besides being so gloomy and rainy outside. I guess a project like our basement reno isn't really a "major" one unless of course there are hiccups. Today our contractor gave us the bad news: our top two options of the flooring is out of stock until late December (which means in the new year)!

Remember I was debating between the "Oak Walnut" and "Grey Oak"? Well it turned out today that neither of them remains as an option if we still want the project done in a few days.

I was royally mad! We gave our contractor our choice over a week ago and they waited until today to order the flooring. It could have been out of stock then but at least we would find out earlier and start to look for alternatives. I wasn't going to let this one go so easily by picking something else I don't like. At the end of the day, flooring is something we will be stuck with for a while, unlike paint color. So I refused to pick anything else from the same batch, but instead sent our contractor to look for close alternatives. They phoned about an hour ago that they picked up many other samples for me to choose from tomorrow. Fingers crossed that I would find a similar replacement.

On the upside, the floor tiles in the bathroom are almost set. The mini Carrara mosaic border looks sensational. I am sure it will show better when the grout lines are filled.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Basement Day 12

Day 12 into our basement project...where did all the time go? Our contractor has started to paint the walls, add casings and baseboards as well as tile the bathroom. We are still pretty pleased with how fast this project has been progressing. At this rate it should be done by early next week if not this weekend. The only thing that I am not so thrilled about is that they don't vacuum/clean up at the end of the day so there's saw dust all over the floor. I am pretty sick of having to vacuum afterwards so I was wondering if I should ask them to do it? I know they will do a complete clean sweep before they put in the hardwood floor, but shall I ask them to at least get rid of the saw dust as they go? Did your contractor clean up every day before they left?
Due to the dust previously mentioned, I have to limit my time down there, and hence the poor-quality quick picture snaps as follows.
Shower stall wall tile: 3x6 white subway + mini Carrara mosaic accent

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Now Comes the Fun Part

Day 7 into our basement project and our contractor has started to patch the drywalls. The patching and sanding will take at least another 3 days. Recessed lighting is (almost) in, and so is all other electrical and plumbing.

We were handed yet again another fun homework -- pick wall paint colors! I know I would want to stay in the grey spectrum: blue'ish but not baby blue, definitely no green undertone, true grey but not too cold. Our basement has pretty large windows and many potlights, but most of the time the paint still needs to look good under iridescent lighting. Easy, right? Not!
I've narrowed down to four options (for now), and here they are.
I used ICI's Silver Cloud in my kitchen, so it's a safe choice and I know exactly what I am getting. I will likely use it in all the living space and corridor.

Valspar Polar Star appears to be warm grey under various lightings, so it might be a good choice for the bedroom. It might also go nicely with the Bianco Carrara marble in the bathroom. You can see what it looks like in a room here.

ICI Universal Grey looks so much lighter and bluer in a bright bedroom Sarah Richardson designed. I will need to go to an ICI/Dulux dealer to pick up a sample and see for myself.
So what do you think? Any other paint color suggestions for a basement? 

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