Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Remodel Wizards

I am dubbing Jon (my husband) and me the "remodel wizards." Not because we're that good at it, but because I like being called a wizard. Since moving into our mid-century modern Streng home almost 2 years ago, we have redone (and I mean COMPLETELY redone) both bathrooms, and our laundry room. Not to mention the endless hours spent painting almost every wall in the home.

So I decided I'd post a few of my remodel strategies. Actually, I must admit that I'm the picker-outer and Jon's the man behind the sledge hammer.* Guess who's got the better job? Gee, I don't know . . . . so my advice will definitely err on the side of the design part.

When we moved in, I knew the bathroom with carpet had to go. Pronto. Funny thing is, we started on the less-offensive-but-more-often-used one first. I knew I wanted tile, but not just any tile. I started online research and came up with this beauty of a company. We opted for the glass mosaic tiles in the Ashland series . . . a beautiful blend of blues. Lucky for us, the very tile we wanted was in the sale section. (Actually, I waited a month or two before purchasing, and checked their website frequently, and when the colors I wanted came up, KA CHING! The tiles were on their way.) I won't go into the details of the manual labor of this tile, but let's just say it wasn't a good beginner project. At all. But, we now have a beautiful bathroom and a deeper knowledge of biting off more than we can chew. (It hasn't stopped us from doing bathroom #2 and plans for kitchen gutting.) Our vanity, sink, fixtures, all came from IKEA. We actually got our mirrored cabinet from Target in the Isaac Mizrahi home section. It's exactly what I wanted.

We've since had to do a slight remodel on this bathroom because of a leaky toilet (just clean water leaking, friends) caused a little mold on a wall. We hired out this time. The new wall-hung toilet is still pending arrival (how long should it take to get a stinkin' toilet?) or I'd take lots of pictures. I'll post one of our tile if I can find it.

The second bathroom I want to tell you about is every bit as lovely as #1, if not more. This time the trusty internet led me to the most amazing tile company. I think I googled "bay area tile company" or one of a million permutations of that idea. I wanted a local company that I could go and pick out a funky tile --- and hopefully from an overrun or seconds pile. Whoa, did I hit the nail on the head when I found Heath. Not only do they have the most beautiful tiles, they are also produced in Sausalito. If you haven't been there, consider a trip. I could write on and on about the quaintness of this little burgeoning company. It was founded over 60 years ago and has amazing artisan tiles. They are still being made in the Sausalito factory with old techniques. Jon and I went back in February and took a factory tour, run by the foreman, and bought even more tile. The coolest part about going there is their 2nds room. Boxes and boxes of the most amazing tiles are lined up against the walls. And the colors! They are to die for! The glazes are fabulous, and I realize I'm gushing, but I could go on forever about how much I love Heath tiles. (They are probably more well-known for their dinnerware----they just made a new line for Chez Panisse in Berkeley.) Whenever I have a future tile project, Heath will definitely definitely definitely be my source. We have now used their tile for Bathroom #2 and for our redone laundry room. Every time I walk by either of those rooms, I get giddy!

I'm going to give you a really cool link to their frequently updated list of seconds and overruns. These tiles aren't cheap, folks. For ceramic tile, they run about $22/sq ft. Our perfectly-fine seconds, however, were only $4/sq ft. A deal for how amazing they are. Make sure you check out their tableware and bud vases as well. My mom and dad babysat our kids overnight for us so we could go on a little getaway and I brought an avocado-colored bud vase as a little token. I secretly wanted to keep it for myself.

Pictures of bathrooms forthcoming, I promise.

*FYI: I did my share of mind-numbing, back-breaking, nail-ruining work, but I don't like working with a blow-torch, so I eased up when it came to the plumbing.


Michelle said...

Rachel I loved this post- my most favorite thing to talk about. Unfortunately we will not be remotely able to make decorating a home a reality for at least a year, but a girl can still dream! I loved all the links and will most likely refer to them when the time calls. I was just looking up today some ideas for counter tops, and this may not be your thing but I think you may appreciate this Link

Thanks for the inspiration!

Michelle said...

By the way Devon is a great handyman too, I love just hovering and directing!

Jordan said...

ohmygosh--my heart nearly skipped a beat at the mention of Chez Panisse! Great Tile links, Rachel--I'm bookmarking them for my future home.

AzĂșcar said...

I might have to have you on speed dial when we finally tackle this mess of a bathroom.