With both stainless backsplashes and faucet removed, we moved into install day in good shape. The team at Stone City Chicago did a nice job removing the existing granite counter while preserving our cabinets and was able to install 2 out of 4 total pieces.
Remaining are the counter under the window and the backsplash behind the sink.
The counter under the window had a larger than expected gap that we will need to level with a piece of half inch plywood (Home Depot, here we come!). The backsplash was staged to install after the counters to get the measurements correct.
In the meantime, I am searching for tile to install behind the stove. I thought I would easily be able to find the perfect tile, but my first attempts were false starts – too white, too yellow, etc.
The first tiles I pulled were from Walker Zanger. They were an awesome handmade glossy subway less than $14 / sq ft. The tiles are beautiful but the milky color was too white and the latte was too yellow.
I have 10 new samples to try from Ann Sacks, Waterworks and Virginia Tile, so will be reviewing those colors shortly. All tiles are various sizes of glossy subway with a couple of matte finish tiles just to see. I’m leaning towards glossy to contrast with the honed marble.
One of our first projects after we moved into our apartment was opening up our kitchen by removing the overhead cabinets. The cabinets were wired for lighting and were heavy, but otherwise the removal was relatively straightforward. (That being said, my dad and husband did the heavy lifting so I was merely watching!)
The kitchen is relatively small so the overhead cabinets took up a lot of space and closed off the kitchen even more than it already was.
The peninsula granite has a hole in it from where electrical was previously installed in the breadbox – slightly annoying, but certainly not unlivable. We’ve gotten great use out of this kitchen for just over a year, and I’m ready to upgrade within budget. I have had the hardest time justifying an upgrade in this kitchen given how timeless it already is, but with a tight budget we were comfortable moving forward. Our current Rohl faucet is badly leaking, so we removed the regulator to allow the water to flow more freely (vs. spray in all directions) and found a replacement faucet from Devol Kitchens. I wrote about our new faucet here. It was much cheaper than alternative options in the U.S. by Rohl on build.com and we saved a material amount of money importing this faucet from the UK, including duty and shipping. We went with with a similar Rohl faucet in unfinished brass with a separate spray. We will DIY remove and install to save $450 (the quote we received from our fabricator).
We are planning to keep our current Shaw’s farmhouse sink and all of our appliances, replacing only the counters and backsplash with honed marble. When we were working on our bathrooms, I found a material at Waterworks that I really loved. The material has become relatively “trendy” now, but I really like it and generally my philosophy is that everything including gray / white eventually looks dated so I’d prefer to just do what I want today and “use it up”.
After some google image searching, I found two slabs at Marmi Natural Stone that matched my vision and I’ve worked with them to procure our materials. We are working with Stone City in Chicago on the fabrication and installation. Stay tuned!
Perrin & Rowe from DeVOL in the UK provides extra style for half the price
I have discovered an interesting arbitrage opportunity for those that like high end Rohl, Perrin & Rowe, brass taps. I have been poking around the internet for this particular tap because we inherited a nickel version in our kitchen and it is regrettably spraying water everywhere. That is how I came to discover this odd price discrepancy. In the US, the Rohl Perrin & Rowe Inca brass tap with spray is priced anywhere from $1,500 to $1,800+ and in the UK, from DeVOL, adjusting for shipping, currency conversion and tax, they are priced at $900 (or, £630 + shipping). So, if you want a Rohl Perrin & Rowe aged brass tap with spray, buy it from DeVOL Kitchens! DeVOL spent time with Perrin & Rowe to identify this specific brass finish, which looks better – less shiny, more aged, and they are half price compared to their US counterparts! All you need to do to order, is email DeVOL directly and they will take care of you. Don’t forget to ask for US configured if installing stateside!
If you are looking for the tap only, and no spray, the price is less (and still cheaper from the UK).
While we haven’t replaced ours yet, I love the look of these brass taps and the style, color and price of the DeVOL taps from Perrin & Rowe compared to their US counterparts.
The den has been in process for quite some time and not including the kitchen, the last room to finish, but we have a great base with the walls painted Railings by Farrow & Ball to layer on mixed plaid and cozy this room up! As a reminder, this is what the room looked like before we got started.
It is amazing to think that our cozy den was once a bedroom!
It still makes me sad that the homeowner painted the entire home gray to sell it, just for me to immediately re-paint, but alas – the gray is gone, and so is the pink square that the mirror was hiding…
The carpet selection for this room was simple. I knew I wanted a modern plaid rug in a navy tone and was immediately drawn to a carpet from Stark that could be custom cut to fit the room perfectly.
We had a couple of real-time decisions to make as the carpet was being installed. Namely, whether or not we left the “tail” of carpet alongside the fireplace and behind the door. While it is relatively “skinny” I decided to keep the tail as the door is often open and I wanted to see the carpet extend behind the door. I also did not want the door to get caught up on the edge of the carpet when opening and closing. After months of living with this carpet, I am happy we kept the tail.
The addition of the carpet made such a difference in this room and I am so happy with it. It is a perfect compliment to the Railings paint color.
Still in process is a cornflower blue pull-out couch from Avery Boardman that will be delivered soon. Once the couch is in place I will select chairs from Chairish (or Ebay) to re-upholster.
I’ve narrowed down the fabric to a selection of Colefax and Fowler plaids, pictured below. They all coordinate well with the couch fabric (below, bottom right), and the carpet. I’m debating introducing more than one plaid and am thinking about it all as a big mix and match project. It needs to coordinate, but it doesn’t need to match perfectly.
Keeping in mind the art that we selected for the room, I am leaning towards the plaid on the top right of the image above for side chairs. The fabric has a sense of plum which helps to pull in the tones of the artwork and it feels like a better coordinating fit, to me.
Once the couch is delivered and in place, I will make the final decision. I’m enjoying taking my time on this project!
It has been too long since I’ve written about this little gem of a guest bath. Since then, there has been a ton of progress! As a reminder of where we started here is a peek back at the listing photo:
What did we save: we saved the 1) Duravit 1930s pedestal sink, 2) subway tiles
What did we add: we added the 1) Kohler Underscore Bathtub, 2) Ming herringbone Ann Sacks floors, 3×12 blocks, 3) molding to update the subway look including baseboards, finishing molding and a rope detail, 4) updated Grohe fixtures on everything including the sink, 5) Kohler Verdura LED medicine cabinet (built in, for storage). Here is where we are today with some work still remaining:
While initially we wanted to try to save the toilet, we ended up needing to replace it anyways since the original wasn’t the appropriate rough-in size for the space. Compare the traditional Kohler above (10″ rough-in) with the Duravit 1930s style toilet that we replaced, below.
The ming tiles (custom cut 3×12 by Ann Sacks) made a huge difference in overhauling the look and feel of the space.
The rope and finishing molding in addition to the baseboards finished up the subway that was already in place.
There are still a few details left before this bathroom is complete including painting, updating the can lights and potentially adding glass sliding doors to the shower / bath.
The Ann Sacks custom floors will be delivered the first week of May. It is going to be a long haul waiting for them this month! Until then, the floors are making their way on a ship from Hong Kong. The finished product with 3″ overage for the master bath floorpan is as follows:
The orientation is such that the entry to the bathroom is actually at the top right of the image, with the first pedestal sink in that first jog out, toilet at bottom right, second pedestal bottom left and shower top left. The fixtures will all be brass Waterworks and we will be installing two of my favorite Kohler LED Verdura medicine cabinets for great lighting and even better storage.
Many of the windows in this home are drafty because they are old! The den is a great example with curved glass windows from 1897 and the bedrooms all have wooden framed windows that raise and lower on chains. In addition to being energy inefficient, the draft does blow in some dust and debris – yuck – which is not great for the new paint job! I searched solutions and found only a couple that I would consider myself. Now, these are NOT the most energy efficient solutions, but they are the prettiest, so keep that in mind.
First, there is window putty that can be inserted in the gaps. It is pretty discreet, but I couldn’t find it in white, so I gave up.
Second, there is Etsy! Etsy solves so many problems in a chic way. I am loving these Grain Sack Linen-Canvas door and window draft stoppers from Woods & Shore and ordered the beautiful yellow and cream version for the guest.
The den is draped in a lovely shade of Wimborne White paint. Walter and his team from Tapia’s Works carefully painted the detailed mantle, trim and ceiling. The den is now ready for a coat of Railings which will be a dramatic update for this space and make it a super cozy place to hang out.
I’m excited about this room because it will be painted Railings, a softer alternative to black. You may remember what the room looked like before we got started. The brick on the fireplace was the inspiration for the wall color.
It is funny to me that the previous owner painted around the mirror, but not underneath it. The mirror was purchased from the prior owner for $500 and will be re-hung once the painting is finished.
I am excited to move into an era of paint that is NOT gray. I am tired of the gray paint that I have been enjoying for the last 10 years (aren’t you?!).
The finish of Wimborne White on the trim is Estate Eggshell and the walls will be painted Estate Emulsion, a chalky finish.
One of the neighboring units did restore their mantle to original wood and it was gorgeous, but out of budget (and time!) for us to restore, so we have kept with white paint and will enjoy the character with fireside drinks with family and friends!
I love this master bedroom because it is tucked away in the back of the house, so it is quiet, but it also has great street views thanks to the space afforded by the side alley and the angle of the bay windows. Today it is wallpapered in this lovely floral print. This wallpaper will be stripped and Farrow & Ball Wimborne White will take its place. Here is the bedroom in the listing photos:
Here is the bedroom today:
The closets are cedar lined and afford plenty of space, although one of the uppers is HVAC…
A custom set of mahogany drawers are being made in TN. The drawers will look similar to this piece from Primitive. I’m still searching for the perfect hardware.
The wallpaper stripping will happen this week, followed by the painting of the entire apartment including ceilings.
The reason why we selected Wimborne White for the master is because a large colorful piece of art will be hung on the bedroom wall, away from direct sunlight, and white is the best suited backdrop. The art will be hung where the TV is placed in the listing photo. The stacked drawers will be placed between the bay windows that are unfortunately not captured well in the pictures above but are located next to each other with a gap between.
The master bathroom demo is underway and all floors and the privacy wall have been removed. The master bathroom previously had hex tiles and a very traditional look and feel with 1930’s style fixtures that will be kept.
All fixtures will be replaced with Waterworks unlacquered brass Highgate and Easton Classic fixtures.
The hand shower will be removed and an in-wall shower head will be added. The fixtures have been delivered as we wait for the ceramic trim and baseboards to arrive with medicine cabinets, lighting, ceiling fan and geometric floor design to be ordered.