We just finished a built in bookshelf and window seat for book lover in this 1924 bungalow. The old book shelves were full and over loaded. We matched the decorative trim work existing in the house and ran it across the top of the bookshelf. We edged the shelves and front in vertical grain fir. It is a wood that would have been used at the time the house was built. There are less expensive woods that we could have used but fir is a strong wood that it easy to work with. The bottom shelf is a bit taller to accommodate some art and larger print books. There were some challenges in building straight and square on to the old lath and plaster walls which we were able to work through. We finished the book shelves with a low VOC oil based paint. We wanted a tough finnish that would stand up to books moving we have used it on other trim work projects. A latex paint would ware and may stick to the book covers.The window seat has a heating vent that directs out the front. We built a few decorative panels for the front. It may become the new favorite place for the cat and the homeowner.
The project we are starting on is a challenge. It is a small high volume commercial kitchen. Currently the formica counters have warn out from abrasion, there is water damage around the sink area and the plumbing needs a re work. Durability, situation and water resistance are some key points we need to focus on. We also need to consider the ergonomics and the work flow of the kitchen. Many counter top choices have qualities and weaknesses. Some counter tops that we have built with before are wood butcher block: beautiful easy to maintain not good with heat or water near sinks Porcelain tile: Great with heat and water, medium cost not good with too much heavy use can be brittle and the grout can be an issue. Concrete counter tops are tough good with water and heat but need to be maintained with a wax finish or they can stain Metal counter tops will be the beat choice for the main work surfaces. The top cap rail will be a bamboo butcher block around the work space. We have built custom Zinc counter tops however for this project it will have to be stainless steel. The Zinc will develop a patina over time however, in this kitchen we want to keep the clean look.
Measuring and examining the layout of the room we tried to fit in as many stock size stainless steel counter tops as possible however the hand washing sink and counter will require a bit of custom work. One cool aspect of the custom stainless counter will be the continuous bent up back splash so that water will not be able to work its way under the back splash. We have also designed a 2 foot tall stainless back splash for the end of the sink that gets a lot of water and has been a leak problem for some time.
We are toughening up the walls all around the sink in ways that can and can not be seen. The new drywall will be mold proof fiber glass faced. This will be covered with a plastic reinforced panels and in placed a stainless steel back splash. Building for durability with attention to detail will be the way to make this a lasting kitchen which serves 120 three times a day. This kitchen has more daily demands than a traditional home kitchen.
With the rough in of the shower in place the tile work can start. There are a few precautions to make sure that the shower will be water tight and once those are in place we are ready to tile. For this project we decided to do the tile work with our own crew. The layout is precise the stacked arrangement of tile does not leave any room for fudging things. The lines need to be razor sharp from top to bottom. The dark grout is a nice contrast with the Carara marble but it would show anything out of line. The homeowners cose the Carara marble in two size formats. The 12×12 tiles for the end walls and a 3×6 subway with the backwall the heart of the project. The dark grout sets off this pattern change. The niche is inset with a 1×1 mosaic of handmade glass tile. This was set with a white thinset so the color of the glass shows through. The homeowners had the tile chosen early so we could have it ordered and shipped. This was great as delays waiting for a piece or two are a drag for everyone. Working with a designer and with some of their own ideas resulted in a exquisite bathroom.
The two shower heads are in place in the shower. The unique aspect of this shower is the custom plumbing work that allows one or both showers to have the volume of water set. It can be gentle summer rain or a downpour depending on the day.
The frameless glass shower doors were put in place by our glass champions. Talk about precision. The door and the solid wall line up exactly. The mass of the 3/8 thick glass door is substantial on the heavy hinges it opens and closes both in and out of the shower space with ease. I am always impressed with the skill and attention to detail the glass folks bring. We had the panels treated with a coating to reduce water spots which can affect untreated glass panels.
Thinking through what is important to get in the bathroom remodel, who will be using it, and what materials to you like is a great way to start. There are some good bathroom planning tips on our planning page here.
We got the shower floor drain in place. This is a unique system that fits in to space. It is a pre-sloped linear drain system that will allow large 12×12 tiles to be placed on it. Most of the time a small 2×2 tile will be used to cover the floor. The linear drain is stainless steel and will allow a lot of water to flow which is useful in a shower taht has several fixtures. The floor tiles need to have a certain slip resistance rating and also be non porous to be used on the shower floor.