My Blog List

Monday, October 8, 2012

Clean Plate

My Clean Plate

After a day of design, laundry and an emergency trip out to assist a client suffering with indecision, my plate is clean. Follow up appointments have been made and Tuesday and Wednesday are looking like good studio days. I am looking forward to them.

This master bath was the biggest challenge of the projects that suddenly came in. The client wanted a two person shower, a two person vanity and sit-down make up station. The existing cantilevered cathedral ceiling was/is the problem.

 It's cathedral-- and also not--and has a circular window up at the peak that makes "on center" with the vanity design preference she cut from a magazine impossible. What do you do? Tell her she can't have it? No. You ignore the window, build a soffit,  under it, connecting the lower ceiling portions of the room and go from there. You think she'll like it? I have no idea. Next Friday, we'll see.

What you see here is the floor plan and the elevation of the vanity wall with a cross section of the requested two person shower with a seat, which is way too large and will have cold spots while she's in it--and when she gets out of it. There's no place for a venting/heat fan near the shower, because that's where the ceiling goes way up and the warm air with it.  After twenty seven years of experience, the estimated cost will be close to fifty thousand dollars, a very pretty penny. Next Friday, we'll see just how pretty (or ugly) this penny is. "God protect me from what I wish for" applies here.

WHAT APPLIES HERE?

While the rest of the trees around my house are doing this:

Autumn Red and gold among the greens.

My Japanese Dogwood is doing this:

It flowered in late May/early June like it should. And it's flowering again now in October
with the temps in the forties like it shouldn't. Very odd.




32 comments:

  1. Glorious photo of the dogwood--hope the second flowering is not some kind of omen (ha).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Me too. Isn't that weird? I can't even guess what happened over the summer--too much sun--too much hot weather--to bring about a second blooming?

      Delete
  2. I have no idea about the bathroom, but I am sure it will be splendid, but I love those photographs, especially with color changes.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If the cost of the project is okay with the client, the bathroom will be very splendid. Those kinds of numbers make me fall off my chair, but the room is large--nearly seventeen feet by eight feet.

      Isn't that red gorgeous? And the day was cloudy. When sun hits those trees, they look like they are on fire. Glorious.

      Delete
  3. Ah, how the other half live! Wish I had 50 grand hanging about waiting to be used, what a great ad campaign that would buy! Love that glorious red!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I am so glad for the other half Sharon. I think they should all live like that I should build it for them. As much as I complain about design work suddenly coming back into my life, Ellis and I would like to travel more often. It's jobs like this that make that possible. IF THE COUPLE BUYS IT. It is quite possible, they will be as shocked as you at the cost and the project will disappear. The bathroom is the costliest room per square foot to remodel--much more than a kitchen; it's plumbing intensive. And then if you choose Hans Grohe and Villroy and Bosh (the tile manufacturer who did the Titanic stateroom baths) and Poggenpohl, the supreme German cabinetry manufacturer--the high end guys--well, you'll really be spending big bucks. But the client is in control of what suppliers we use. What no one can control is the size of the room. This one is large: seventeen feet by eight plus some amount of height to be covered in (that enormous spa shower) with materials. Concessions may have to be made. The first thing is to find the budget that's most agreeable with the client's pocket.

      Meanwhile, my pens are working, but not well. My arm is exhausted from shaking the damn things all day yesterday to get up a smooth flow. I'm afraid it's back in the agitator for them.

      Delete
  4. Can't comment on the bathroom, God protects me from what I wish for, sigh. :) The pictures are stunning, look at that autumn reds, wonderful!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'd like to redo mine too--and also my kitchen. I don't think it's fair that the designer's kitchen is lacking some of the conveniences she designs into other people's kitchens--like all storage drawers that bring everything out to me and I con't have to get on my hands and knees to find some dumb pot. But that's the way it goes. We would rather go to the seashore more often than find a pot without tearing ligaments. :-)

      Delete
  5. The cost of buying happiness in construction is what got me out of the business! I wonder a lot about a $50,000 dollar bathroom? It will be good for the economy but what an adventure that would buy! Makes me a believer in property taxes.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The cost isn't written in stone. I'm just guessing from what she said she wants--granite countertops--frameless Euro shower enclosure--twelve foot vanity with complicated inset mirroring wainscotting--wall sconces)that the client will choose the more expensive manufacturers. But the size of the room too will affect the price; It isn't a small bath. Your product isn't inexpensive either. I worked with wrought iron; it's high end material and your experience with it is worth your charges for labor.

      Our trades are skilled men with years on the job who don't work for pennies either. But the high end materials we use are requested by the clients, not suggested by us. When pricing a job, I initially specify stylish, middle of the road products; the client is the one who ups the expense when we go shopping.

      The client's wishes, the structure, the quality of finishing materials are the things that affect the cost of a project. The structure is the structure, but the client's wishes and the materials to be used can be adjusted according to what the client wants to pay.

      I'm just glad to see people wanting to upgrade their houses again. It's a good sign--for state property taxes--and art sales. But yes, I'd rather get my home improvement kicks with OPM (other people's money) and travel with whatever is left after living expenses. What I really like best over the last few weeks is that we're quoting again.

      Delete
  6. How the other half lives eh?? $50000 on a bathroom though I do remember us spending well over £4000 on ours 20 years ago, as you can imagine it is now in need of a complete revamp with new everything though the plumbing is still in the optimum place for any future redesign so that should save us a bit... I totally understand how costs run away with pocket, how may times do we say "oh well we don't want to spoil for the sake of a few pounds(dollars).... yes we'll have the more expensive one" Multiply that by every decision and it doesn't take much to send the cost well over budget... definitely the story of our lives... lucky I have a financially savvy husband who always builds in lots of contingency for the one off's!!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You do understand! Meanwhile I can't get in touch with this lady, so we might have scared her off by mentioning the numbers that her high end wish list conjured up from our experiences over the years.

      Add to the master bath redoing another bath of normal size and another double bath with private shower/commode room, you're talking big, big dollars. While we try to get people to narrow down their projects, they seldom do. When their wish list is this big and we tell them how much for the three projects, the job usually goes away till they realize they have to break it down into phases. I would have started this house with redoing the master bath as phase one. Her daughters are in high school and college--their bathrooms aren't as important as hers. She's staying in the house. One daughter is out and the other is soon to follow. Few people listen. That makes annoys me--I end up working for nothing. The grand price makes us look bad, but we really had nothing to do with making up their wish list. I should charge for the service of making initial drawings, but it isn't common practice in residential remodeling. I think it should be-- oops, there I go getting political again. :-)

      Delete
  7. Congratualtions that your business is now beginning to boom - but hope it doesn't take all your time away from art. Saturday morning life drawing? Oh well, life is everchanging and all things must be balanced. Having once been an east coast girl (still am at heart) I adore the leaves changing and the fickle dogwood - sooooooo beautiful!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well I wouldn't say booming yet. I think it's a good sign we're quoting jobs. The more jobs you quote, the more job you get. My part in the business is designing the bigger jobs--additions, lower levels, albeit basements, and only complicated interior structures. So far these types of projects aren't happening. The master bath is difficult because the structure of the room was too fancy (cathedral ceiling, clerestory window) for what goes on there and what she needed from the space. I got it, but we may have scared her off with our preliminary estimate. She hasn't called me back yet. Ellis says it's best. He didn't spend a day figuring out how the hell that huge shower was going to work and what to do with the ceiling. I'm back to painting today and happy to be here.

      Delete
  8. I must admit, if I had $50,000, I would not be spending it on a bathroom. Italy here I come!!! With Bruno, too. I didn't realize you were still working in interior design! That project looks very complicated to my naive eye. As for your Japanese dogwood, that is strange. We have had unseasonably warm and dry weather here, too - the low 70's during the day, and low 30's at night, and no rain for months. Very weird!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You two could go to a lot more places than just Italy with those kinds of dollars. But the young still want their castles. Thank God. --I didn't know I was still working either, but the construction/remodeling business seems to be stirring. It was dead for about five years and dying a couple of years before that. Ellis loves working with me. I am thorough in the designing stage and can pin point trouble spots before we're actually working on site. I draw/design by hand and head--no computer programs. I like to "feel" the structure as I actually draw the lines--like I'm walking around in it on paper. Old fashioned approach.

      Delete
  9. If he bathroom costs around $50000 then how much on kitchen or on living room...
    I hope everything goes as you want them to go-fingers crossed, touch wood!! I can tell you had to put an effort on this project, so you must have quite an agony for the outcome. Maybe the odd-off season blooming of the Japanese Dogwood is a sign :)
    Hugs and smiles.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Living room less. Kitchen more than living room, but less than bathroom. The trick in bathrooms is to try not to relocate the plumbing--particularly the toilet. --Fancy front doors though with lots of beautiful stained woods, glass sidelights and glass panels in the doors run about eight to ten and higher if leaded or sandblasted glass is used. Working on one of those now. Fireplaces can be costly if you get carried away with fancy finished mouldings and granite or marble. They are great focal points though. I like designing them.

      I'm used to the agony. Ellis and I used to argue about the free design policy because it really isn't fair--and you end up giving your knowledge and talent away for free and not earning anything for it. It is the way of the business though. But when the plans are bought and the structure is built, the satisfaction is enormous. To think of folks getting up every morning and taking a pee where I put the toilet and then drinking their coffee at the island I placed in their kitchen is great. I know I made life more pleasant for them.

      Delete
  10. Ook ik weet niet veel van ontwerpen maar wat ik zie van je foto,s die prachtige kleuren plaatjes zijn het lieve groetjes Daniele

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Danielle. I do like photography too and I couldn't pass those trees without taking their picture. As for the Dogwood--which may be a River dogwood and not a Japanese--flowering in October is really out of character. Though the daytime temps are springlike and the evening temps are high thirties, low forties--spring like.

      Delete
  11. My wife and I lived in many places, but we finally got our dream bathroom. It's worth it. Good luck

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks JJ. I'm seeing her tomorrow.

      Delete
  12. OK so you've made the impossible look possible, and that's brilliant, Linda ... though you won't agree.

    I guess that's a floor area of about 144 sq ft, giving a cost @ $3800/sq ft. But money is relative! If you've got it ... and like it ..spend it.

    I like the symmetry. The granite top sounds good. Any exotic woods? I remember Rose wood (I think) you used on that other bathroom you showed me.

    Do you use trace-heating (you might call it something else) looks like electric cable but with a heating element inside. We had a contract to do an Oil Sheikh's house in London. Wound around the hot pipes so that the hot water is instant! It'd made by Radan in the US, we used to buy it off them, relabel it, and sell it on to the Russians at twice the price!

    Hope it's a goer for you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think the bathroom came out fine after I added the soffit to separate the window from the rest of the room.

      I was thinking heated floors if that's what you're talking about? As for fast hot water, Grohe does great a great job with that.I also think the large shower should be a steam shower. A heated towel rack would be a good addition; left a wall for it. I would think the wood will be either mahogany or a dark cherry given the clipping she showed me. I'm also thinking flush countertops in honed limestone, only 3/4", (we save money with thinner). I like beveled mirrors and have brushed Nickle sconces in mind. While Ellis doesn't think we need a pharmacy cab over that commode, I do--not a tall one, a half one with a drop down door that can also be used for a display shelf on top. I like access to tissue and feminine products within reach. If they want a magazine rack built in next to the commode, that's nice too.

      I would have liked to shorten up the shower and put in a linen closet for towels. She turned me down--said they were right across the hall. I like them at point of first use. The rain heads are pricey, I like a random pattern limestone on the floor; and 12 x 18 limestone tiles in the shower, with 4 x 4s on the floor. The soffit connecting the two sections of lowered ceiling doesn't need to be faced to match the vanity. It should be sheetrock and I would put phony plants on it to throw the eye off the off center of the window to the center vanity mirror. As laid out, one of the scones is on the window centerline. That's good enough for me. She also needs electrical in one of her vanity drawers for her hair dryer, a grommet for her make up mirror (which she did not want wall mounted). A towel rack for facial towels is a problem, so I'm going to use two of them for draw pulls on the vanity. All they will block is the hamper drawer below. Not a big deal. The only real problem is a heat light/vent for when they step out of the shower. We get this job, That's what I'll be worrying around. You must have a vent located near the shower to get the moisture out of the air. Most people think their purpose is to control odor in the bathroom, that's a misconcception--moiture first, odor second. I'm seeing her tomorrow.

      Delete
    2. Thanks for that, I enjoyed it ... you know me too well.

      Yes the moisture sounds like it will be the devil in the detail

      Delete
    3. You did push me to lay it all out. The vent fan is currently over the commode with the shower across from it. The fan is in between the two. Move that shower, you have to move the fan. To give the woman what she wants, we would really have to do what she wouldn't want: block out/black out that window and drop a normal ceiling height over the whole room. I'm guessing that would throw her off her chair. I won't mention that.

      I do love this work. It's amusing. Unknowing, but-thinking-they-do laymen simply think we'll do this, move that there, enlarge this, bump out that and it'll be nice. They have no idea that you touch one thing, you're going to have to touch another and maybe another? Then there's what's in the walls, the safety issue and the building codes and lots more to think about than "don't you think the shower would be nicer over there Honey"? And let's not forget there's a money meter that keeps ticking as long as they keep talking.

      Delete
  13. I am shivering, just thinking of using that shower. The juxtaposition of bathroom and cathedral ceiling--unfortunate.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The builder was trying to impress back then. The shore could be shortened up a lot more leaving dead space next to the vanity, but people don't usually like dead spaces. I also mentioned lingerie storage is nice in the master bath, but she didn't see any pluses in that. It's such fun being back to work. The whole area needs to be analyzed--his and her closets and a passage between all these rooms that has a very long vanity in it with no storage, no sink, just countertop and mirrors. Redistributing the space between all these rooms to make a large dressing room and bath would be interesting--and a lot more money. Now there's a project.

      Delete
  14. cool that you got this project and it's clear you know what you are doing! These people would absolutely hate my bathroom! lol! I should get you to do a new one for me.....but then the kitchen would need to be done too. Maybe when I win the lottery! Those red trees are gorgeous. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'll do your bath and kitchen right after I do mine when I win the lottery. Problem is:I have to start buying lottery tickets if I hope to win. --these people may hate this bath when they hear how much. You don't have a sale--the project isn't a go--till you have a check. So far this is just a drawing of what could be on a piece of paper. Nothing serious.

      I think fall likes to taunt us with these glorious colors which will soon turn burnt umbra and Paynes gray.

      Delete
  15. In our house that doesn't qualify as a clean plate. Lots of interest about things that I know nothing about and some beautiful photographs that might inspire me to paint, Dogwood in particular.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Sounds like a great bathroom! And I love the tree photo!! So pretty!!

    ReplyDelete