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Respect the Process

Designing and renovating are truly a process--often lengthy--that can bring about an array of emotion in clients and designers alike.  From excitement to impatience, and sometimes anger and frustration, there are high points and low points in the.  Its helpful to keep in mind that all of this is normal, and there have even been studies conducted that chart out when to expect the "highs", and when the worst and most frustrating times will be.  More often than not in my career as a designer, I've found that my clients can be my best friends, or look at me as someone to blame when things aren't quite as they expected.  Its sometimes difficult to see past the immediate situation and focus on the beauty of the end result.  The reason this is so fresh in my mind right now is because over the past few weeks, I think I've encountered every emotion that goes along with renovating, and I have no one to blame but myself  :)

With the exception of paint, a minor re-glazing project, and the final accessories and styling, my 50's bathroom renovation is complete.  Here's a walk through the process so far......

A reminder of the glorious "before".  My emotion at this point was complete apathy and neglect for the space.  Even keeping this place clean was kind of like trying to polish a turd, so letting go of what was in here wasn't difficult.

Lucky for me, the wallpaper came off like butter, and Mr. CottageModern pried out the cemented-in vanity in less than an hour.  With the cabinet and vanity gone, you can see the varying shades of "band-aid" in all their glory.  Feeling very excited about progress at this point.

We thought the floors would be the biggest beast to remove.  My innovative husband came up with some sort of primitive dual-wrecking bar system, and managed to pry it up in large sheets.  Genius things happen at 12:00 am.  I'm sure the neighbors were thrilled to hear the sounds of inch and a half thick tile and cement hitting the bottom of a dumpster at all hours of the night.

The bathroom came apart relatively easy, all things considered.  After 2 weeks of living in sub-par conditions, however (aka our 50's basement bathroom--yes, there's another one that's actually worse in some ways than the upper level), we were almost coming apart too.  I'd reached the point where things were moving along construction-wise, but not much progress was being made with the "pretty" things I'd chosen.  Then our air-conditioning quit, and it was game over for a couple of days for me.  Nothing like incurring another large expense in the midst of renovations, and having to sleep in a stifling hot box during one of the country's craziest heat waves.  I was beyond grateful when our new A/C unit came, even after a week of waiting.  At this point, I decided to put together a "mood board" to lift my own mood and organize all of the clippings of selections I had lying around for the project.  This helped tremendously, and referring back to it over the next little while lifted my spirits.

Here's the part where everyone freaks out and gets mad, and I was no exception.  The first of the tile selections go in, and they're not looking "perfect" and "done" the first day.  I know its typical to have a chalky haze of grout covering the tile right after its completed, but I was so amped up about the dark tile and excited to see it, that when I came home and saw this, it was instant disappointment.  Again, no one's fault, just impatience on my part, and an inability to respect the process at this point.

Even the pretty glass and stone accent tile was looking dirty, and the whole mess was causing me to doubt all of my decisions and material choices.  Silly, I know, because I coach clients into not falling into this type of desperation, but its so easy to get to this point!  The ironic thing was, this was the morning we left for a five-day weekend to visit my family, so I was forced to step away from the situation, trust my contractor (who has been fantastic throughout the entire process), and let the rest of the work happen according to my plans, but in my absence.  It was a good thing though, because to my delight, I came home to this:

While the space has a long way to go to reach the finish line, I can now breathe a sigh of relief at the way everything is coming together.  Details I love are the wood-look porcelain floor, the v-groove wainscotting (standard Home Depot v-groove panels that I had installed horizontally instead of vertically), and the grayed oak linen cabinet.  I'm SO pleased with the way that cabinet turned out, and can't wait to add the finishing touches with hardware and accessories.

With the tiles cleaned up, the glass accent sparkles.  I'm exercising my patience with that tub though--its getting re-surfaced (in white, of course) next week.

Here's a little bit of pretty......I'm loving this faucet, and guess what?  The hot water is now officially in working order :)  I'm a happy girl, and can't wait to get this space completed.  Stay tuned!


Sarah said...

Hi Kristen: I love your commentary - I rent so I know what you mean about 'polishing a turd' !!!! LOL - it really looks great, and I think I spy the Kohler Persuade Dual Flush - great looking toilet! I don't recognize the pedestal and faucet though - I really like the wood paneling installed horizontally, its a nice look. Looking forward to the final pics!! Enjoy the weekend! ;-)

Kim said...

Looking great! Delighted to watch the progress :)