Friday, January 27, 2012

Ruminations on Bathroom Design

The bathroom has, for a couple of months now, lingered as a project that I was worried about going further on. A lot of that has to do with the rabbit hole that is the overall design of it. I suffered similar concerns when I was repainting the dinging room a brick red - I don't know what it is going to look like and the thought of developing a color scheme for the room was both daunting and terrifying. Perhaps this is just showing how far away from art I have gone in my career - there was a time where I don't think something as simple as picking a color would have stopped me dead in my tracks. Maybe it has to do with the semi-permanence of a decision like that of redesigning an entire room. But, as the "winter" continues on, I find myself becoming more and more motivated to actually finish the job.

This afternoon, I spent some quality time with Home Depot, looking at possible toilets and vanities (with a salesman attempting to derail me towards a kitchen renovation). In general, I know what work remains in the room, I just need to get the ducks in a row and make some decisions on what I want the space to look like.

One of the biggest tasks for the bathroom is the window. All the windows in this house need to be replaced eventually and this bathroom is probably going to be the first. Because of that, I need education on windows. Unfortunately, because the windows (and casings/frames) are so old, I will need to do a full replacement as I don't see a world where I will be able to just drop new double hung windows into the existing casings. I was hoping to find someone knowledgeable in regards to windows at Home Depot but I had arrived during the window of time where the window expert was out to lunch. So... with that stalled, I gathered up what literature was there and went off to ponder the remaining fixtures.

Next up on the list, and probably the easiest for me to decide on, was the toilet. My parents have nothing but good recommendations for Kohler's toilets so I spent my time looking at those. I marveled at how one specific color of toilet somehow managed to be $30.00 more than what looked to be the same specifics but in white/cream. Either way, I've decided on a chair height, elongated bowl Kohler. Sometime around the next paycheck, I will probably be dinging my bank account for one and storing it in the basement or "demo room" until I am ready to install it.

I did spend some time looking at various vanities. The vanity/counter-top/sink combos were appealing but most were just a little shy of what I was looking for exactly (either I didn't like the color, or the design or the dimensions). I looked through some of the custom order catalog available to see what was there. After a while, I decided that I really needed to sit down and think about color scheme before making a decision on the vanity. A lot of them offered white or pink-granite-wanna-be counter tops but I didn't want to really go forward on those unless I knew what color I wanted to paint the walls.

After the trip to Home Depot, armed with some ideas and fresh memories of what was available, I sat down with my dear friend Photoshop to do some photo-tweaking to see what I could come up with that would work well.

As a baseline, the tub/shower unit was white to begin with. With that in mind, I made the decision to make the remaining fixtures (vanity counter-top, toilet) and trim follow suit. Next up was finding a color that works with white fixtures. Searching Google specifically for "GOOD COLORS FOR BATHROOMS" yielded a number of garish options that I don't think I will ever be brave enough to paint a wall with... ever. But a few suggestions pointed towards subtle blues, greys and greens.

One of the constantly repeated mottos of bathroom design that a number of articles and blogs recited was "light, bright and airy" (though there were a few more bold suggestions in the mix as well). With the "light, bright and airy" theme in mind, I worked up a few different color ideas that I might like to try. Of course, there was always the fall-back of "creme/eggshell" but, while safe, I feel like I should be at least trying something that is a bit more interesting, if not more bold.

Personally, because each of these colors are more muted, my comfort level with them is much higher than the color I chose for the living room.

On the left, the blue-grey is probably the darkest of the three ideas I played with. I am a fan of blue but I am not sure how I would feel about the entire room being like this. A number of the vanities I looked at had a nice rich wood-brown color to them that I like and with the walls being darker and the vanity being dark, I don't know how well they would work together.

In the middle is a neutral slate color. It is dark enough to make it and the trim stand out against each other. It should work well enough with a wood-colored vanity but, like blue, it feels dark.

The last one is a sea-foam/sage green. It is the brightest of the ideas I played with and I think it will make both white trim/fixtures and dark wood-work (like the vanity and perhaps mirror frame) stand out well against each other. While bright, it is low contrast (like blue and grey), which gives me a bit more piece of mind.

There is one more piece of the puzzle that I haven't really thought too much about - and that is the floor and ceiling. Giving the floor a bright, stark linoleum or tile might make the walls pop more. The ceiling is probably going to remain white regardless. For the floor, I have been considering a nice patterned tile look - something more towards the standard beige/creme color that was my ultimate safe zone.

So - for the few of you that check this, what are you thoughts? Blue? Grey? Green? Does going with something more "traditional" for floor color make sense?

Saturday, January 21, 2012

A few weeks ago, I bought a refurbished snowblower from one of Jay's co-workers. The rig itself is not entirely elegant looking and, considering how little (aka - NO) snow we had gotten for the season to date, it has been sitting in the shed by itself - untested.

This past week, New England has finally decided to allow it to be winter. It wasn't the grand dumping of snow that we got last year, but it was enough to make me have to consider snow removal. The first snow storm was handled for my by some phantom plow guy who rolled through at 5:30 in the morning (which, nice of it was of him to do that, I had barely gotten much sleep and a 5:30 rumble from the driveway wasn't entirely welcome).

Today saw more snow and like the last storm, it was light, fluffy and dry snow yielding about 4 or 5 inches. Again, not much and it would definitely get out of the way of a car but better to deal with it now than before it melts a bit and turns to an ice surface. Once the bulk of the snow appeared to have stopped, I went out to try to make sense of the snow blower and clean up the driveway.

Originally, because the snow was light, I was planning on just shoveling it all. But that idea went right out the window by the time I had finished clearing around the garage door. After a few false starts and an unnecessary use of the electric starter, the snowblower was happily growling along - flinging snow off the driveway. The driveway itself is not in the greatest of shapes, so there were a few parts where the blower bucked a bit and made a pain of itself but otherwise the effort was a success.

I do not need find a better storage solution for the snow blower. At present, I am keeping it in the shed but there isn't enough room for it and all the renovation waste - which makes closing the door to the shed unviable. Come spring, I think I'll store it under the pool shed and see if I can get the old shed torn down and something new built in its place.