Thursday, April 24, 2014

Designing a Bathroom


There are a few inspiration bathrooms that appeal to me.  After going through houzz.com and looking at thousands of pictures, I am on overload.  I think every designer in the world is using white marble subway tile and white painted cabinets.

Here are some photos I've collected of bathrooms that I like.  One thing I like about the bath below is the windows and the ottoman.  I am thinking about the wall color and the use of cream on the tile and cabinets--the room seems very warm.

My husband, on the other hand, really likes the all-white marble bathrooms.  I think it is because of the hotels he's stayed at in Europe.  They're all ancient and marble ages beautifully.  Of course I'm a bit harsh on white marble, I use bleach products in the shower, which doesn't really noticeably etch marble (in my book), but it does eventually destroy grout.  I like to KNOW that my showers are germ free!




 I love the freestanding tub. However I am not able to design one into the house.  It requires the plumbing drain to be in the center, and we are past that stage in the building process.   We have something called a post and tension slab, and you can't cut into the concrete floor once it is poured.   Boo!   There are other tubs that drain left or right, but they are too contemporary for me.
From Houzz.com

There are many all white marble tile showers.  I do love them all.


From Houzz.com
The master bath is the shape below.  I like the L-shaped vanity wall.  While I am a big fan of symmetry, I am thinking of going with this design.  It provides a ton of storage which is important to me.  My bath measurements are 140" for the longer vanity wall, the shorter back wall is actually 86".  The tub is on the right like the photo below, and there is a doorway in the center that goes to a very large closet that even has a window in it!






 I had featured this bathroom in an earlier post "Shingle Style Meets Northwest" Sept 2013.  The doors with the X's intrigue me.  I'm not sure if I really like them or if I would get tired of them.  They seem sort of french country so that appeals to me.  The tower on the right with the two doors-- I would probably make that one door, and I am thinking about putting a mirror in it rather than glass.   I know I like to stage with nice towels, or fancy antique smalls, but I would also do well with mirror.  The mirror over the drawers would not be there, I really want to put a painting there to warm it up.




What do you think about the vanity?  The one above is very narrow, about 25".  I would do about 30".  I am thinking of putting a medicine cabinet in behind the center mirror.  I have to store my hairspray somewhere!

The vanity below was featured in Traditional Home.   What do you think of the two towers instead of 1?   My husband says he doesn't like the two sideways sconces, which I would have to do because of the electrical work already done.  (moral of story:  PICK OUT EVERYTHING before you build!)

There are many things I like about this vanity, I like the mirror with the rosettes in the background, I like the rounded doors, the Louis Philippe mirror, the very cool chair....  I could do this, but it would make the sink to the left of the vanity and bank of drawers to the right of the vanity smaller.  I would do a bank of drawers on each side, rather than doors on the bottom.  They would have to be about 11" wide.




What would you do?  A vanity with a single mirror or the two towers.  I suspect that the two towers would be more costly.

Here is what most people do in the development:
In the mirror reflection you see a shower.  I would like to build a wall between the tub and shower.  I don't like cleaning glass!  I think the vanity idea above is a huge improvement!

I did think about putting this  in the center of the wall, and then put the vanity on the right side of the "L", but I have already ticked off the builder and the hubby with the countless times I have moved the sconces.....




I did pick out some sconces:


The shades are more cream than white.   Depending on the marble/tile selection, I may have to swap it out.  Below is another bathroom where someone used them.  OK, OK, I'm in love with the antique mirror.  I don't own it and I should!

I have seen the bath below from Architectural Digest all over the internet.  (Designed by Suzanne Kasler).  I will take it, just like that!  Wow. White marble, white cabinets and all.

Notice the sconces, familiar looking?  (they are a different brand, over my budget)  Of course the Venetian mirror is killer and really helps make the room, not to mention the architectural windows that are so fun.
I really like the antiqued mirrors on the back wall with the rosettes.   I stopped by a glass shop, and they quoted me about $1300 for a 6' x 9' wall.  I know there are alot of do-it-yourself antiqued glass out there, I don't want it to wind up looking like a house from 1967, with the only thing missing is the red flocked wallpaper on the other wall!

Tile shopping has really changed in the last 5 years.  Of course we all want something a little different, so the market has responded with some really artsy designs with waterjet cut marble.



New Ravenna has tons of to die for patterns.  I just don't think that $300/foot is something that most people would consider, but they are in lots of showrooms, someone is buying them!   I am not sure what I will use.  I am thinking about using the limestone that I have picked out for the rest of the house.


I have a second bathroom that I am designing around a bargain I picked up.  This Restoration Hardware vanity:

Restoration Hardware St. James Vanity
I like the darker antiqued finish on it.  It is not so sterile looking.  I managed to get the faucets at RH for all the bathrooms.   I do like their product and catch it on sale, it is alot better than the Perrin & Rowe pricing.

We are thinking about lining the walls with marble subway tile.  I really like the idea of the antiqued mirror too--can't get it out of my head, and don't have a place to do it except here.



I have these sconces from Horchow that I may use in the room.



I have to get back to the cabinet guy on my design next week.  I will be busy this weekend, as that includes the kitchen.  I did find some lovely slabs of calacatta marble for the counter.  I was looking for a honed finish, and this one has a finish called Satinato.   Think of it as a slightly leathered surface.  It is smooth, with some ripples at the veining.  We really liked the finish on these particular slabs, as we've seen other leathered finishes that wind up being terrible on white marble, pitted, etc.

So leave me some comments with  your opinions.   I know thousands of you read my blog, so don't be shy, I know you're out there!   I get so stressed out with all the expensive decisions that must be made, and picking things from swatches here and there, making sure it all goes together is quite a chore if you're not careful.

I hope you enjoyed reading about all my bathroom musings!

Monday, April 21, 2014

Ribbon Storage

Who doesn't have a collection of ribbon at home?   I suspect many bloggers are as OCD as I am.  How to keep them orderly is the question.   I tend to use old wood spools, but they are hard to come by.   Here's a cute idea:


Use old wood clothespins!  Isn't that great!   Store in a basket to keep them tidy.  That is another requirement, so they are available when you need them.


Friday, April 11, 2014

Lady of Shalott

Check out these beautiful blooms.  They are a David Austin rose "Lady of Shalott"




Have a great weekend!

Sunday, April 6, 2014

King Ludwig's Meissen Swan

Last fall we were in Germany, and went to Neuschwanstein Castle.   It was a fabulous trip and we had a wonderful time.  Best vacation ever!

 Any way you look at it, the castle was a feat--even if you'd prefer to live in one of the houses in the valley.

Inside, you can't help but notice the fascination that King Ludwig had with swans.  In addition to being known as Mad King Ludwig, he is also known as the Swan King.

On the tour we spotted a fabulous Meissen swan in the dining room.  


The swan is life-size.   - As in the size of a swan.


Isn't it awesome!  It is Meissen.  Of course, when I got home, I had to look for swans.

I found some antique ones at Westerhof Antiques.com



They are 15" x 15" and were made circa 1820. Oh yes, they are $22,000 for the pair.   The work is fabulous.
You can see the details of the feathers in porcelain.
I went hunting for more swans.   Sothebys sold this tureen for $37,500 GBP

But I'm baffled that all the Meissen swans do not look anything like King Ludwig's swan.

And then I found a swan.   It is huge.


Mine is earthenware, and is from the turn of the century France.

And pennies compared to what this one would go for!

Now.  Where to put it!

I am happy to report that it fits on my giant demilune sideboard.   

My husband reminded me that King Ludwig died under suspicious circumstances--his family was upset that he was spending too much money on all his crazy ideas.    Hmmm.   


My swan seems at home on the sideboard, the mahogany reflecting just like water on a lake!

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Antique Cocktail Napkins and Coasters!

Collecting antique textiles can be fun an practical.  There are so many items that don't involve wrestling 120" long pieces of linen.  In selling linens on Ebay, I found that a lot of people give antique linen as gifts.  It is something unusual as a hostess gift:  not too expensive, but something really fun for them to use and enjoy.

The one drawback is that you do have to iron them, but they are so much more elegant to use than paper napkins, and ironing only takes a few seconds, because they're usually about 4" x 6".  Antique coasters are great to use--don't necessarily have to iron after every use, unless it gets stained, and the lace ones often don't need ironing.

If you read my post on hankies, you know that I love Madeira embroidery.  Cocktail napkins can originate from many places.  They can be home-made, and have lace on them, but mostly they have fun figural designs.  I think roosters seem to be the most common, but many animals follow.

Cocktail Napkins
These cocktail napkins have an applique rooster on them.  Aren't they adorable!

These napkins are the most common to find.  However finding a large set is very unusual.

These Madeira napkins have the original metal tag on them.  Items with this tag indicate the highest quality embroidery from Madeira.
This rooster is very well done.  I love the red.
Aren't these works of art!  I love these figural napkins.
Wouldn't you love to get these as a hostess gift!
These appliqued animals are adorable.
I would like 3 dozen, please!

Can you see these in a summer party? On July 4, cherry red works for me!

These were cute in all the colors.   The little reticella bird is adorable.

These look like Marghab napkins, but they are a knockoff.  How can you tell?  The quality-the embroidery is great on the fish, but the edging is frayed.  That doesn't happen on Marghab.  However a scissor trim would solve this. 
These are handmade applique, aren't they cute!

Elegant Madeira grape embroidery.

These for sure should be a gift to an interior designer friend!

The napkins above are harder to find than luncheon napkins.  The sets below would make great gifts and work well as a hostess gift.  Think of a dozen tied up with vintage ribbon.

Fine Madeira embroidery.

Victorian eyelit embroidery

Fabulous set of a dozen cutwork napkins.

Cream Brussels lace edged napkins

Point de Venise lace with filet lace edge.


Really fun fringed napkins with great monogram

High quality fine monogram and embroidery

Fine yellow applique work.  
Coasters

Another plentiful option is coasters.  They go for a song on Ebay--and I can't believe how cheap they are.

Check out the wonderful quality--click on photo to enlarge.
These are Madeira, of course.

Fabulous lace coasters.

Madeira applique

It's always fun when you find the original box.  These are a nice simple design.

Awesome example of drawnwork.  Each square is a little different.
These wonderful Quimper coasters were  too cute to pass up.
Royal Society silk embroidery coasters are still fairly easy to find.
The more ornate the embroidery, the more expensive they are.
 These pink rose ones are killer!
Of course, the quality of Marghab embroidery done in Madeira is superb.
A stunning set of Marghab coasters like these would be an awesome gift.
Didn't see anything that caught your eye?  Think they're a bit too spendy for your budget?  Well, we have another idea:  Fingertip towels!  Below is a photo of a few Madeira and Marghab designs.


You can always find a set of fingertip towels for $2 to $4 each.  

I hope you enjoyed this walk through antique linen!   Wouldn't you love it if someone gave you a unique item like this as a hostess gift?  I would!