Leclaire Playroom & Bathroom: Part II

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Welcome back for Part II!

Let’s jump right in. Other than the floor, one of the larger changes we made was on removing some of the kitchenette uppers. These were brand new Ikea cabinets that had barely been used and to keep budget in check, we decided to remove everything other than the open shelving to the left of the sink to create more of an airy feeling.

B E F O R E

Like I said in the first post, we used this space as storage only and I despised how disorganized it was.

Like I said in the first post, we used this space as storage only and I despised how disorganized it was.

You can see the door that leads to the unfinished portion of the basement as well as the bathroom. That door has always been begging to become a dutch door to ensure we could hear Reed upstairs if we had to leave him down there unattended for a minute or two.

You can see the door that leads to the unfinished portion of the basement as well as the bathroom. That door has always been begging to become a dutch door to ensure we could hear Reed upstairs if we had to leave him down there unattended for a minute or two.

D U R I N G

Byyye, heavy uppers.

Byyye, heavy uppers.

An additional space that needed to be reworked for more optimal use was this small canning closet. In the 20s, this would have been a necessity. Now, it takes up valuable real estate in the floor plan and we needed a better solution for all of that baby gear we used to stack in the middle of the room.

B E F O R E

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D U R I N G

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This is where my dad comes in. While Mike and I were on our babymoon in Palm Springs, he built us this closet that was deep enough for the baby stuff that needed to be behind closed doors.

This is where my dad comes in. While Mike and I were on our babymoon in Palm Springs, he built us this closet that was deep enough for the baby stuff that needed to be behind closed doors.

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A F T E R

A cozy TV space with smart storage was just what this space needed. The door to the right leads to Mike’s music room which has since become more kid friendly and a frequent spot for dance parties:)

A cozy TV space with smart storage was just what this space needed. The door to the right leads to Mike’s music room which has since become more kid friendly and a frequent spot for dance parties:)

Other improvements we made:

  • Change out the track lighting and have a higher wattage LED track heads. Would recessed lighting have been preferred? Absolutely, but the budget wouldn’t allow that due to the amount of work that would go into opening up the plaster ceiling. I’m not normally a fan of track lighting, but in this space it really works well. Plus, every project has its compromises and this was one.

  • Repainted the walls (Chantilly Lace), ceiling (Chantilly Lace), trim, and beadboard (custom color match).

  • Created a dutch door out of the existing door (original to the house) to the unfinished part of the basement. See that transformation below!

B E F O R E

Remember this door? Another thing my dad was able to tackle while we were away.

Remember this door? Another thing my dad was able to tackle while we were away.

Dutch door goodness!

Dutch door goodness!

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Last, but certainly not least, is the transformation that the bathroom underwent. This space was the most improved by far.

B E F O R E

I’ve never been a fan of yellow, but this bathroom made me dislike it even more.

I’ve never been a fan of yellow, but this bathroom made me dislike it even more.

Dialing in on that ideal shade of dusty blue.

Dialing in on that ideal shade of dusty blue.

A bathroom with a clear glass door? No, thank you! We opted to do privacy window film to the existing door.

A bathroom with a clear glass door? No, thank you! We opted to do privacy window film to the existing door.

D U R I N G

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This wall storage was strategically chosen in the event that we turn Mike’s music room into a guest room and it can be the perfect place to hang clothing or put toiletries since space is at a premium in this smaller bathroom.

This wall storage was strategically chosen in the event that we turn Mike’s music room into a guest room and it can be the perfect place to hang clothing or put toiletries since space is at a premium in this smaller bathroom.

A F T E R

Adding a playful, geometric wallpaper, a new vanity, new lighting and plumbing fixtures really brought it together!

Adding a playful, geometric wallpaper, a new vanity, new lighting and plumbing fixtures really brought it together!

All of this happened while our master bathroom renovation was underway. Looking back, it was straight chaos to be as pregnant as I was with two spaces torn up. BUT, having these things out of the way before a newborn started dominating every waking moment, was the best thing that happened. It’s just like we tell our clients all the time, keep your eye on the end game. It’s easy to look at a hole in the floor where a toilet should be or the stacks of boxes or plastic hanging from the ceiling, but the short-term upheaval of your life is worth it.

What do you love most about this project?? I’d love to know in the comments below!

Leclaire Playroom & Bathroom: Part I

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When we bought our house, I had grand visions for the basement. I was pregnant with Reed at the time and could see it as a perfect space to have as a playroom. So when I found out last spring that we’d be bringing another Haywood boy into the world, I knew we needed to fast track that before the baby was born in January.

Basements in Chicago with a nearly 100 year old foundation are tricky. The risk of taking on water is a pretty consistent concern even if you have weatherproofing, things properly sealed, everything up to snuff. Our basement took on water the first spring we were in our house due to a clogged water main. It’s not something I EVER want to repeat. I will never forget coming down to put laundry in first thing in the morning with a newborn Reed upstairs while we had the first “100 year rain” that year. I definitely won’t forget Mike in rain boots using our shop vac and buckets to bail out the water shooting up every drain in the basement when they opened up the main to release the pressure. Or the hazmat suited needed for clean up after all of that was squared away. Needless to say, I wanted to create a space where even if there was a water issue, it would be easily contained and would minimize the issues of replacing flooring.

B E F O R E

The previous owners had wall to wall carpeting. Thankfully, we pulled that up in the fall of 2016 before the basement took on water!

The previous owners had wall to wall carpeting. Thankfully, we pulled that up in the fall of 2016 before the basement took on water!

We mostly used this open area to stack and store baby gear we had cycled through.

We mostly used this open area to stack and store baby gear we had cycled through.

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Can’t you just see a play kitchen tucked into that nook where the shelving is?:)

Can’t you just see a play kitchen tucked into that nook where the shelving is?:)

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And that’s where the design plan started—with an epoxy floor. This was a process. It was really neat to watch and to know that we were sealing the floor from moisture as well as creating a surface that would be easy to clean and would never mold.

Charcoal gray was the winner!

Charcoal gray was the winner!

D U R I N G

Step #1: Paint scraped off. They strip the floor down to “pure” concrete which is as difficult as it sounds when talking about years and layers of other paint on top of it.

Step #1: Paint scraped off. They strip the floor down to “pure” concrete which is as difficult as it sounds when talking about years and layers of other paint on top of it.

Step #2: Vapor barrier and base coat down.

Step #2: Vapor barrier and base coat down.

Step #3 & #4: Two more coats and the top coat which creates a matte finish.

Step #3 & #4: Two more coats and the top coat which creates a matte finish.

A F T E R

The finished product!

The finished product!

More of the other spaces in the playroom to come! Keep an eye out for those posts coming soon:)

Leclaire Master Bathroom Project

Designing our master bathroom was a challenge to say the least. It’s the only bathroom on our second floor, I was VERY pregnant and as always, I had a vision for the space. However, in this case I skipped over the meticulous plan that I would normally have for any other project. Enter analysis paralysis and becoming my own worst client! Nevermind all that. Let’s breakdown the space and enjoy the journey:)

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BEFORE

This bathroom was part of the larger renovation that the previous owner did in the mid-2000s. The vanity was 32” high vs. the standard 36”. These slab front doors were great, but you’ll see that they no longer lined up because the door was too large and therefore too heavy on the hinges.

This bathroom was part of the larger renovation that the previous owner did in the mid-2000s. The vanity was 32” high vs. the standard 36”. These slab front doors were great, but you’ll see that they no longer lined up because the door was too large and therefore too heavy on the hinges.

Right before demo started!

Right before demo started!

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Bye-bye, beige! But first, some inspo for the space…

Bye-bye, beige! But first, some inspo for the space…

Top left: renderings of the vanity. Top right: scheme of the shower tile (Fireclay 3x9 Flagstone), floor tile, paint color (Benjamin Moore Decorators White), cabinetry and hardware. The deep rooted inspiration was to have the bathroom feel like an extension of the outdoors. The skylights bring so much of the outdoors in and I wanted all of the materials to follow that lead. Bottom left: quartz for the vanity, shower curb, shower niches and bench. Bottom right: contractor sketch on the wall for the bench and outside niche that holds extra TP.

DURING

Demo day.

Demo day.

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Clean slate. I love this part of the process!

Clean slate. I love this part of the process!

When a sheet of plastic is the only thing between your bedroom and a construction zone.

When a sheet of plastic is the only thing between your bedroom and a construction zone.

Progress shots of the meticulous tile layout process and lining up the right mix of veining in the marble floor tile.

Inching closer to the finish line before the glass was installed.

Inching closer to the finish line before the glass was installed.

AFTER

FINALLY! We expanded the size of the shower by 18” to accommodate a bench and centered the glass panels rather than have the door left of center as it was before. We continued the same quartz from the vanity countertop in the shower niches and the top of the bench as well as the shower curb.

FINALLY! We expanded the size of the shower by 18” to accommodate a bench and centered the glass panels rather than have the door left of center as it was before. We continued the same quartz from the vanity countertop in the shower niches and the top of the bench as well as the shower curb.

The general layout of the vanity didn’t change because it did function really well for us. The drawer dimensions were customized to accommodate our toiletries that never stood up in the old drawers because they were too shallow. And one of the things I love the most was having full drawer dividers to prevent things from being a complete mess all the time.

The general layout of the vanity didn’t change because it did function really well for us. The drawer dimensions were customized to accommodate our toiletries that never stood up in the old drawers because they were too shallow. And one of the things I love the most was having full drawer dividers to prevent things from being a complete mess all the time.

This is one of my favorite angles of the space because you can see how running the shower tile all the way up accentuates the dormered ceiling.

This is one of my favorite angles of the space because you can see how running the shower tile all the way up accentuates the dormered ceiling.

What do you think? Do you have a favorite part of this project? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below!

Bell House Project Part II

Welcome back for Part II of the Bell House Project Reveal!

Right in the middle of the main floor at Bell House is a butler’s pantry/wet bar that needed a facelift along with the rest of the kitchen cabinets. The cabinets were original to the house and screamed mid-2000s.

BEFORE - BUTLER’S PANTRY

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AFTER - BUTLER’S PANTRY

Creating open shelving where there was once a wine rack, allows for display of drinkware and carafes.

Creating open shelving where there was once a wine rack, allows for display of drinkware and carafes.

BEFORE - KITCHEN

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AFTER - KITCHEN

We decided to keep the existing cabinet boxes, but replace the fronts with a simple Shaker panel. Next, was to determine how much color to bring into the space. After going back and forth on a few options, we settled on Farrow & Ball’s Inchyra Blue which is both refreshing and unique. Continuing the Simply White paint color on the walls throughout the main floor unifies the color palette and served as a perfect backdrop to a more adventurous cabinet color.

We decided to keep the existing cabinet boxes, but replace the fronts with a simple Shaker panel. Next, was to determine how much color to bring into the space. After going back and forth on a few options, we settled on Farrow & Ball’s Inchyra Blue which is both refreshing and unique. Continuing the Simply White paint color on the walls throughout the main floor unifies the color palette and served as a perfect backdrop to a more adventurous cabinet color.

The quartz we chose for the countertop had just enough veining for visual interest, but didn’t compete with the pop of color coming from the cabinets. We brought the quartz up as the backsplash material to create vertical movement up the wall. Adding island pendants with the appropriate scale and simplicity has this kitchen begging to be the sort of space you want to enjoy even when you’re not having a meal.

The quartz we chose for the countertop had just enough veining for visual interest, but didn’t compete with the pop of color coming from the cabinets. We brought the quartz up as the backsplash material to create vertical movement up the wall. Adding island pendants with the appropriate scale and simplicity has this kitchen begging to be the sort of space you want to enjoy even when you’re not having a meal.

BEFORE - EAT-IN KITCHEN

The previous owner had a table far too large for this space that made it challenging to get into the chairs by the window.

The previous owner had a table far too large for this space that made it challenging to get into the chairs by the window.

AFTER - EAT-IN KITCHEN

A smaller table now allows for easy movement on all sides. The new light fixture above the kitchen table creates emphasis and anchors that space separately, yet ties back to the kitchen pendants as well.

A smaller table now allows for easy movement on all sides. The new light fixture above the kitchen table creates emphasis and anchors that space separately, yet ties back to the kitchen pendants as well.

BEFORE - FAMILY ROOM

This family room area off of the kitchen had such amazing potential to be one of the most used spaces in the house.

This family room area off of the kitchen had such amazing potential to be one of the most used spaces in the house.

AFTER - FAMILY ROOM

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Now this is the ideal spot for their family to spend time together and the console serves as a great way to easily stow away toys.

Now this is the ideal spot for their family to spend time together and the console serves as a great way to easily stow away toys.

BEFORE - MUDROOM

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AFTER - MUDROOM

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The original footprint of the mudroom wasn’t terrible, but the quality of the cabinets could have been better as could the storage layout. In a space like this, we always want to optimize everything for the way the client will use it. In this case, we went with custom cabinetry that created more cubbies (for quick organization of easy to drop things like gloves and hats), closed door storage (to keep the countertop and bench free of miscellaneous items) and taller shoe openings on the bottom for snow and rain boots. A pop of pattern on the walls completes the space and keeps it playful.  We used a black hex ceramic tile on the floor so that it was durable for their sweet golden retriever and would help hide the messes that life inevitably creates.

The original footprint of the mudroom wasn’t terrible, but the quality of the cabinets could have been better as could the storage layout. In a space like this, we always want to optimize everything for the way the client will use it. In this case, we went with custom cabinetry that created more cubbies (for quick organization of easy to drop things like gloves and hats), closed door storage (to keep the countertop and bench free of miscellaneous items) and taller shoe openings on the bottom for snow and rain boots. A pop of pattern on the walls completes the space and keeps it playful.

We used a black hex ceramic tile on the floor so that it was durable for their sweet golden retriever and would help hide the messes that life inevitably creates.

What do you think about the finished product? Did you have a favorite part of this project? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below!

Bell House Project Part I

The Bell House project in North Center was a complete main floor overhaul. Our clients moved into this beautiful home after being in a two bedroom condo which allowed us to start almost from scratch. The design direction from the client was to: create a bright, family-friendly, cohesive vibe throughout all of the spaces. We did some painting and light fixture updates on the second floor and basement office, but the bulk of the work was targeted in the entry, formal living, kitchen, eat-in kitchen, family room and mudroom. Part I of the Bell House Project Reveal will feature the formal living room and entry. Stay tuned for Part II coming soon!

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BEFORE - FORMAL LIVING ROOM

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The previous owner used a neutral green paint color on the walls and had several patterns competing for attention in the space. The drapery hardware was also mounted on the window casings which drew your eye down and didn’t play up the beautifully tall ceilings.

The previous owner used a neutral green paint color on the walls and had several patterns competing for attention in the space. The drapery hardware was also mounted on the window casings which drew your eye down and didn’t play up the beautifully tall ceilings.

Nothing is more exciting than seeing a room empty, just before the transformation starts!

Nothing is more exciting than seeing a room empty, just before the transformation starts!

AFTER - FORMAL LIVING ROOM

The transformation included Benjamin Moore’s Simply White on the walls to warm and brighten things up. To create the best use of the space for entertaining, we centered the sitting area on the fireplace and brought in these beautiful blue velvet swivel chairs for contrast. We intentionally decided against window treatments thanks to the privacy that the foliage created outside, but also to allow the abundant natural light to pour in through this large window.

The transformation included Benjamin Moore’s Simply White on the walls to warm and brighten things up. To create the best use of the space for entertaining, we centered the sitting area on the fireplace and brought in these beautiful blue velvet swivel chairs for contrast. We intentionally decided against window treatments thanks to the privacy that the foliage created outside, but also to allow the abundant natural light to pour in through this large window.

BEFORE - ENTRY

Given the open concept of the main floor, the entry is visible from just about every space at the front of the house. This space needed a face lift and the client was jazzed about the potential to make a statement as soon as someone walks in.

Given the open concept of the main floor, the entry is visible from just about every space at the front of the house. This space needed a face lift and the client was jazzed about the potential to make a statement as soon as someone walks in.

AFTER - ENTRY

This marble, black and white patterned tile was just the ticket. It’s classic, yet playful and tied in perfectly with the matte black light fixture. We also decided to paint the door nearly black to break up all the white in the space for a truly stunning first impression.

This marble, black and white patterned tile was just the ticket. It’s classic, yet playful and tied in perfectly with the matte black light fixture. We also decided to paint the door nearly black to break up all the white in the space for a truly stunning first impression.

Another view of the front portion the house completely transformed!

Another view of the front portion the house completely transformed!

Stay tuned for Part II of the reveal coming soon!

Magnolia Condo Project

This Uptown condo needed new life after a previous full gut-rehab left some unfinished painting and lack of a cohesive feel. For this project, our vision was simple: create open and inviting spaces with the sunroom serving as the focal point when you enter the front door.

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BEFORE - SUNROOM

As soon as I saw this sunroom, I knew it was the perfect space for him to have his morning coffee, read a book on the weekend or entertain friends.

As soon as I saw this sunroom, I knew it was the perfect space for him to have his morning coffee, read a book on the weekend or entertain friends.

A major area to address were these expansive east-facing windows. The heaviness of the original blinds made the entire space feel closed off. While not compromising the need for privacy, we decided on a classic, cordless woven shade that allows just enough light to pass through and frames the windows effortlessly.

This client loves the color blue and we incorporated it in subtle ways through the blue undertones of the velvet sofa, the over-dyed pattern in the rug and the matching throws on the side chairs.

This client loves the color blue and we incorporated it in subtle ways through the blue undertones of the velvet sofa, the over-dyed pattern in the rug and the matching throws on the side chairs.

In a room that gets as much natural light as this one does, a fiddle leaf is a great way to bring more of the outside in. This corner is ideal for its love of abundant sunlight!

In a room that gets as much natural light as this one does, a fiddle leaf is a great way to bring more of the outside in. This corner is ideal for its love of abundant sunlight!

BEFORE - LIVING ROOM

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The living room opens up into the sunroom, so we wanted to continue the light and airy feel into this space. By reusing the console and some of the vases, placing matching lamps and hanging a round mirror, it anchored this portion of the room.

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The marble fireplace needed something to balance it out. Two matching cabinets on either side now hide TV equipment and showcase simple decor.

The marble fireplace needed something to balance it out. Two matching cabinets on either side now hide TV equipment and showcase simple decor.

BEFORE - GUEST BEDROOM

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The guest bedroom had become a catch all and our client wanted it to feel welcoming to visitors. We simplified the color palette with crisp linens and added furniture with clean lines to showcase the symmetry of the bed centered between the windows.

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The guest bathroom had unfinished walls and was in need of some warmth. Bringing in texture through bath linens and a peachy, punchy rug did just that.

The guest bathroom had unfinished walls and was in need of some warmth. Bringing in texture through bath linens and a peachy, punchy rug did just that.


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We are thrilled to have you here.

This blog will showcase the details of our projects and give an inside perspective on how the work was approached. We will also share how to tackle common design dilemmas and make the most of your spaces. May you be here for inspiration, guidance or simply a lover of digesting beautiful designs, I hope you enjoy it!

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Take care,

Kelsey