Work in Progress

More Powder to You!

It has been oh so long since we have updated our readers on the progress of any projects around our house. With busy summer schedules (and the pregnancy) unfortunately we hadn't been tackling too many of our own projects. However, lately we've been taking some time to focus on some of our ongoing design projects around the house. Personally, I think it's a little bit of the "nesting" bug that is starting to hit us, hehe! So anyway, we wanted to share with you the progress of our tiny powder room design. With the first few layers complete.. including the flooring, the paint color, and our DIY paneling project, it was finally on to some fun fixtures, accessories and art projects. In today's post, we'll share a few of the tasks we tackled in the design of our powder room and, of course, show off the final result!

Our Powder Room Reveal

Powder room left side

Powder room sink and accessories below

Final powder room shot.

Since it's a super small space, it's hard to get a good overall shot! So, below are some detail shots!

As you scroll down, you'll notice that for this space we DIYed some projects, accessorized with a few new decorative accents (that we picked up at some of our favorite local stores) and, of course, added some personality with some of our already owned decorative items. Check 'em out!

A fun, and functional, step stool!

Milk stool

While painting a portion of our wall in our design studio with chalkboard paint to create a handy and cute daily to-do list area, we got inspired to try another creative project with the fun, and super simple, chalkboard paint. So, here in the powder room, we decided to take a boring old milk stool (that we envision our child using someday to wash their hands.. how cute?) and give it a fun and functional finish.

"Wash your hands"


A small floor basket for much needed storage!

Toiletries basket


A cute, and personal, decorative wooden accent!

Powder room right side.

A mini wooden cityscape of NYC sits atop the paneling ledge to the right of our mirror. This little vignette serves as a nod to our first place in NYC and the time we spent there. It will always hold a special place in our hearts, and well, now in the powder room!

Wooden cityscape.


A custom wall art installation!

The yarn bird art installation.

We'd been meaning to create a custom art piece somewhere in our home, and what a more unique place than the powder room, right? Haha. So, with some miniature flat-head nails and a ball of yarn, we created a few flying birds as a whimsical yet modern art installation. We like it, do you?

Yarn ball close up.


Some added architectural detail!

Yarn bird and crown molding.

After the paneling project, we still wanted to add one more layer of architectural detail, which was the crown molding. It was a simple upgrade that made the space feel larger and more sophisticated, and tied together the paneling!


Personalized, and changeable, artwork!

Elephant mosaic.

This ledge over the toilet serves as an art ledge! So, instead of hanging art on the wall, we can simply prop a piece of art here and change it out whenever we want. I know, I know.. the elephant with the birds don't quite mesh, but both are personal and meaningful and that's what matters most in any space!


A necessary accessory, yet in a unique style!

Waste basket.


A space saving switcheroo!

Powder room pedestal sink.

Before we started designing the powder room, the space was pretty blah! And the faucet fixture was pretty run-of-the-mill! So, we knew we wanted to switch it out, and with a tiny space like this, we need all the space we can get! So, we replaced the old faucet with a single handle faucet to allow more room on the pedestal sink!

Faucet.


Bringing in some texture, some quirk and some vintage!

Towel holder

The vintage hat hook was found lying in one of my mom's old dressers, and it was just dying for a front row seat somewhere. And again, what better place then the powder room! I mean, let's face it, everyone who enters our home will likely visit this space, right?

Hat hook close up.

Oh, and since it's a bathroom, and it must be functional, we of course added the mustard yellow hand towels and grey-blue bath rug that you may have seen in the shots above!

And in addition to some of what is shown in these photos, we also tackled a few DIY projects like giving the old light fixture a new life with a fresh coat of paint! We may still replace it at some point, but for now (without spending more than a few dollars) we've made it work in the space!

Well, there you have it - a long overdue update on our tiny powder room. I suppose we'll call it complete.. for now! You know how these things go - I may feel the need to change something out in the near future, but it is good to feel like a space is complete.

The good news is that it is a world different from the powder room that you see below (from when we first moved in)!

The before shot.

Final powder room shot.

Hope you enjoyed the tour of our new space! Let us know your thoughts.

An Unexpected Renovation.. Ahhh!

If you've noticed that we haven't posted too much about our home and our projects around the house lately, you might be wondering why! Well, today, we are finally letting you all in on the craziness of what has been going on around here for the past month or so! Here's the story! It was a rainy Saturday morning, and I was just getting dressed and ready for a baby shower for a friend of mine, when "whoooossshhhh", an unmistakeable sound of rushing water gave us very little warning of the cascade of water that would come pouring into our bedroom moments later. Ahhhhh! Luckily we were still home and began grabbing towels, buckets, etc. to defend our home from whatever was happening!

Check out the picture below to see exactly what was happening!

SIDENOTE: We often have really lovely interior images on our blog, but the images you're about to see are not so lovely! But hey, it documents the experience, right?

The water leak.

More of the water leak.

Well, I could give you the play by play of the next several days and weeks, but I'll spare you all the details and try to make a long story short. Apparently, a drain on our neighbors roof (we live in semi-attached city row homes) had clogged, and standing water was backing up on their roof. Upon their attempt to unclog the drain, the concealed drain pipe must have broke, because all of the standing water, as it flushed down the now unclogged drain, didn't make its way down the down spout as it should, but instead came pouring into our house! The water entered on the ceiling of the second floor and, because of the volume of water, made its way all the way down to our first floor and even into our basement! Ahhhhh! We are thankful, however, that we were able to move most of our personal belongings out of harms way (only a few things were damaged/ruined), but the walls and ceiling didn't fair so well!

The resulting damage!

More resulting damage!

Ceiling damage on the fist floor.

So, with extensive amounts of water damage, we called our insurance company and a restoration company, both of who acted very quickly to remedy the situation. Roofers came to repair the damaged drain pipe, and restoration workers came to tear out our damaged walls and ceilings and take the necessary measures to dry out and sanitize surfaces from potential mold, etc.

The demolition.

More demolition!

Fans drying out the space.

Gutted room with anti-microbial spray.

Obviously, we were very upset at the situation and maybe a bit angry that it had affected us, but the damage was already done! Unfortunately, all we could do is fix the problem and chalk it up to "sometimes in life, things happen beyond your control". But, it didn't help that we were just starting to feel like we had made some progress on the design of our living room. We had just, a week earlier, installed a wall to wall custom built-in unit (that luckily didn't get any water damage) that we hadn't even gotten to share with you yet - more to come on that in the future. Anyway, we were ready to pull together the next layer of the space, when this little set back happened!

So, forgive us if we've been a bit busy with an unexpected renovation!

Drywall in the room.

Well, thanks to everyone who has helped us during this crazy time. We appreciate it!

The painters are here today, so we are starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel! Hopefully, our home will be back to normal soon. Did I mention that we are basically living in one room of our house during this process. I'm ready for this to be over, hehe!

Wish us luck as this process wraps up. Have any of you ever experienced a similar situation?

Let's get our paneling on..

and by on, I mean, on the wall! Hehe. We are moving along with the progress of our powder room project, and since we've taken care of the first step, we are ready to add the next layer. In a previous post, we had mentioned a paneling project with a modern twist and that's what we've got in store. So, here's the design concept - a classic crisp white paneling on the lower portion of the powder room walls, but instead of a traditional panel design or a typical bead board design, we have designed a more modern style horizontal plank paneling. You know, how I love a good horizontal design.

As you also know, I'm a huge DIY fan and love the sense of adventure and accomplishment (hopefully) that every DIY project brings. Not to mention that I also have the maybe-a-little-overconfident belief that I can do anything I set my mind to! So, from the beginning, this project was something Logan and I were definitely gonna tackle ourselves. But (yep, here's where the 'but' comes in), I have to be honest and say that I am also a fan of hiring a professional to get a job done, and to get it done right. I've seen too many clients with a "whoops, guess I shoulda called a professional" mistake and, by the time they called me it was too late. So, as a little disclaimer, before you tackle this project, please know that it has some difficult steps, requires some special tools and takes a good amount of time and hard work. However, if you're up for the challenge.. the result is worth it!

But, before we show you the results, lets go back to where it all began!

To get started with this DIY paneling project, we headed to our local home improvement store to pick up some supplies. Fortunately, all we really needed to purchase was the wood, because our already acquired arsenal of DIY supplies will take care of the rest. But, so you can plan accordingly, here's a list of what you'll need.

Supplies:

  • paper and pencil (to plan out your design)
  • a tape measure
  • wood (specific to your panel design)
  • a saw (we used a jig saw, but a circular saw would probably be best)
  • laser level
  • nails, nail gun and compressor
  • wood putty or spackle
  • sand paper
  • drop cloth
  • painter's tape
  • paint
  • paint brushes

With all of these supplies on hand, follow these how-to instructions to create your own unique paneling for any space in your home.

DIY Wall Paneling How-to

  1. Determine Paneling Design. Decide on the look and feel you want and sketch it out. This will help you in the following steps. As you know, we decided on a horizontal wood paneling design. Our design incorporated wood planks of varying widths and depths for added texture. In this step, we determined the plank dimensions that were the most aesthetically pleasing and in what pattern they would look best - see our elevation drawings below. (Side note: I happen to love drafting and using AutoCAD, so don't mind me.. instead you could just as easily use pencil and paper, which I did first anyway).

AutoCad drawing showing paneling design.

  1. Measure and Plan. Determine the measurements and calculations of your paneling design and how it will fit in your space. This will include height, spacing, proportions, size, etc. Therefore, this is also when you'll determine how much material to buy. In this step, we determined the appropriate height of the paneling on the wall for our space, and also took the perimeter measurements of the space to determine how many of each plank size we would need to implement our design. You'll notice that we utilize the wall surface, as part of the panel design, to save on material.
  2. Cut the Wood. After (and only after) you have measured and checked your measurements, you can start to cut your pieces of wood. I suggest doing this step in combination with the next step - cutting each piece, then hanging it, before moving on to cutting the next. It is a lot less confusing than having 20 pieces of precisely cut wood, but not remembering which piece goes where. Not to mention, sometimes measurements change as you go, even just a tad - your saw blade can eat away about 1/8" of your wood as you cut, so remember to allow for that.

First stage of the paneling project.

  1. Hang the Paneling. Again, do this in combination with cutting, as you'll want to double check your measurements between each cut to ensure a perfect fit. Oh and by the way, in our case, this step was easiest when done with two people. One person to hold the laser level (to ensure that the horizontal plank was actually horizontal), while the other person lines up the wood plank on the wall. Then, the first person grabs the nail gun and nails the plank in, while the other person is holding the plank firmly against the wall (careful not to nail any fingers). And, if you get to choose which job is yours - I think the nail gun is the fun job. I love that thing! I do love a power tool every once and awhile. =)

Another progress shot.

  1. Putty and Sand. Once the boards are all attached to the wall, and your paneling design looks complete, it's time to add a painted finish. But, like any painted finish, you want to prepare the surface. In this case, this includes puttying the nail gun holes and the seams where any wood planks meet. Once the putty dries (typically about 24 hours) go to town with some sandpaper to create a beautifully smooth finish. This process took us a few days with the drying time and my perfectionism. So, depending on your project this part may take the longest.

Puttying.

Valerie sanding the putty.

A close up of the top paneling trim.

  1. Paint and Enjoy. Lastly, you want to paint the paneling in whatever color you choose. We went with a warm crisp white in a semi-gloss finish. But first, make sure to use painters tape to trim out and protect any edges you do not want painted. In our case, we taped the blue-grey wall so that when we painted the top of the paneling we wouldn't damage the freshly painted wall. Then, we went ahead and painted the entire paneling area with a brush to ensure that every nook and cranny got covered.

Paneling with the first coat of paint.

So, that's it! Simple, right? Follow this how-to and you can add a personalized architectural feature to any of your spaces.

Below are a few photos of our finished DIY paneling project result. Check it out and let us know what you think!

The finished panel design!

Paneling behind toilet

Paneling from another angle.

A close up of the paneling texture.

The mirror layered over the paneling.

So there you have it - another step completed in our powder room project. But even with the paneling complete, this space is still a blank canvas, so we will, of course, be adding the next layer in the near future. Check back soon for progress!

Powder Room Progress

It's been a little while since we introduced you to our plans for the design of our tiny powder room. Since then, we have made some progress on the space! So, let me fill you in. First things first, we had to nail down the color palette and determine where those colors would be found in the space. We stuck with the plan and knew we wanted to go with a palette of grey blues, light browns, deep oil-rubbed bronze, fresh white and yellow ochre.

Fun little side note: Our inspiration for this palette actually came from this book cover!

Photo of inspiration book.

Our color palette.

To jump start the project, we decided to get some color on those blank walls! We chose the subtle greyish-blue color as the backdrop for the rest of the palette and off we were to find the perfect grey-blue for the walls of our space.

As you know, finding the perfect color can sometimes be a fun difficult task. Well, for me it is fun, but I know that it can be overwhelming for many people, and I've experienced this first hand with some of my clients.

So, before I share with you the specific color we've chosen, here's how we got there. Listed below are a few quick and helpful tips (that we always use), when choosing the perfect paint color for your space.

    Top 5 Tips for Selecting Paint Colors:

  1. Gather swatches/samples together. Pull together all the intended (or existing) materials and finishes for the space, and create a color and texture palette, to see how they all work together. You'll want a healthy mix of color, patterns, contrast, etc. The flooring material may make the wall color look very different than it does on the swatch alone.
  2. Analyze the color. Are there undertones of another color in your paint swatch? Does the color evoke a mood or feeling? These are things you want to be aware of before the paint goes on the wall. Your soft green may make you sick to your stomach, or your neutral beige may end up reading peach when it's on a large wall.. eek!
  3. Think about lighting. View the paint swatch in the light of your space at multiple times a day. Swatches can look very different in different spaces and in different light. Make sure you are happy with the look and feel of the color in your space from the bright morning light to the evening low light!
  4. Pay attention to the plane. Hold the swatch on the same plane as where you plan to paint - vertical for wall surfaces, horizontal for floor/ceiling, etc. You'll see that it really does change how you view the value of the color! I even suggest purchasing a sample paint pot and painting a test area directly on the surface, to be really sure.
  5. Take your time. I find myself explaining this to clients often. Good design takes time. It should not take forever, but the word design itself denotes planning and well thought out decisions. So, be patient and take the time to think about and explore all facets of the color before purchasing and painting.

Well, we followed our own advice and pulled together the few finishes that were already selected for the space - the ceramic tile floor (which we decided we are not changing), the bathroom fixtures (toilet and sink) and the book cover we were inspired by. And, narrowed it down to a few options.

Test swatches on the wall.

And after following the rest of the tips, we eventually decided on the color "Morning Fog" by Sherwin Williams.

Paint fan swatch.

Paint color blocks.

Anyway, after we purchased the paint, we got started late one evening. And here are a few shots of the progress.

Left side of space.

Right side of space.

Ruckus in the painted space.

Oh and yep, we only painted the upper portion of the wall. Wondering why? Remember the paneling idea we mentioned in a previous post. You'll have to wait and see what we have in store!

Powder Room Plans

We've been focusing a bit more time on our own home when we get a free moment here and there. And most recently we've been working on the design plan for our tiny powder room on our first floor that needs lots of attention! It's a small rectangular cube with only the necessities - a toilet and a small pedestal sink, cause that's about all that fits! So our plan was to add some texture and some visual interest to bring this tiny box to life. We are thinking a cool crisp color palette of grey blues, light dusty browns and oil-rubbed bronze metallics contrasted against a clean fresh white and a pop of a muted yellow ochre. We want this space to feel sophisticated and refined, but, of course, with a little bit of fun and quirk!

Here are a few inspirational images from our pinboards that have hints of the look and feel that we are going for with the design of our powder room.

Color Inspiration

Bath room.

White powder room.

Blue-grey and gold bedroom.

We are really excited about this project because it's small (3' x 5' small, in fact) and easy to tackle one little step at a time and hopefully complete in no time! We've got lots of ideas in store, some of which include: a modern twist on classic paneling, a fun and simple DIY painting project, some low cost spicing up to the existing fixtures, and even a custom art installation to add some character.

So, before we make any progress.. check out a few before photos. Don't blink, you might miss it. Oh and you'll see that it is neutral, plain and sparse. So, forgive us that we have been living with this space untouched for quite some time now.

Toliet side of the powder room.

Sink side of the powder room.

Off to get started! Check back soon.

Inspirational images from today’s post were found here: Pinterest, DecorPad, Design-Seeds.

Paint the Plugs

So, if you follow us on twitter, you saw our latest tweet about picking up supplies for our Paint the Plugs entry. If you don't follow us, what are you waiting for? We tweet helpful design tips, inspirational design ideas and insights into the daily happenings of our studio. So, stop everything you are doing and go click the "follow" button now. We'll be here when you get back! Anyway, today we wanted to let you in on the details of the Paint the Plugs project and the design we came up with for our plug, aka. fire hydrant. I'm sure you've seen these community projects around here, or around your town, where artists from the community are called to submit designs for painting public objects like, well, fire hydrants - to bring some fun, personality and creative arts to the city streets.

Here are a few examples to clarify what I'm talking about.

Photo of me with a painted mario hydrant.

Zebra and pink hydrant

Photo of painted dalmation hydrant

Well, Friends of Midtown, our local community group (which we are, of course, members of) is hosting one of these events called Paint the Plugs and, as these events often are, it's a contest. We heard about the Paint the Plugs event a few months ago, but with our busy schedule we didn't consider submitting a design to participate as an artist. Instead we wanted to support the project as a sponsor. So we did! Then several weeks later, we ran into the Friends of Midtown leaders at the Pride Fest of Central PA, and they mentioned that they had very few artist submissions, so they kind of talked me into designing a submission!

Our design is entitled "Illusion".. we call it this because we plan to paint the plug to look as if it is constructed of something other than metal.. specifically wood, fabric and rope. Hopefully fooling your eye into actually believing it is.

So, check out our design concept images below!

Design concept for our hydrant.

Design concept for our hydrant.

Happily our submission was selected to be one of the contestants, so wish us luck on the execution of prep work and painting, and even more luck on hopefully winning the contest! When the time comes, voting will be online at the Friends of Midtown website, but not until September 16th!

As of now, here is what the plug looks like.. or as we're used to saying.. here's the before photos!

Before photo of our hydrant.

Second before photo of our hydrant.

Stay tuned for progress updates and the finished product!

Refreshing the Blog

We've been blogging for just a few months now, and we are enjoying getting into the swing of this new aspect of our business (and our lives, really). We, like a lot of things in life, are learning what works for us as we go along.. in this case, along our journey through the blogoshere! So, with only a few months under our belt, we saw a way to refresh and make our blog better, so we are already making just a few simple changes. I'll tell you what they are in just a sec, but if you've been reading you may have already noticed! Originally, the idea for our blog was to give StudioVB (our design business) a new means to connect with our clients (both current and future), to offer design ideas and advice to them and anyone who might stumble onto our blog, to simply offer a glimpse into our creative business - you know, to show more clearly and more genuinely who we are and what we do - and, of course, hopefully inspire our readers in some small way!

But, as I knew I would, I sorta fell in love with blogging. To me, this blog can be more than what it began as. Even though I am still finding the balance between work, play and blogging (since blogging is sort of a crossover, hehe), I am inspired to not only use blogging as I described above, but also to use it as a creative release as well - a place to share anything and everything (now, if only I had time). I know lots of people have personal blogs, but that's not really what we're going for here. However, as I look back over our posts, I was finding that a pretty good number of my posts were crossover topics as well.. but, I guess that's the way it goes when you live, work and play by doing what you love - it all blends! And, I feel blessed that I can say that.

So anyway, with the help of our web developer (my big brother), under the direction of our web designer (haha, that's me.. I like to think I can do it all), we made a few updates to fit the direction where the blog was headed! I know I told you I'd tell you what they are, but this could be fun - can you guess? what's changed? what's new?

Comment and tell us what you see that's new!

Our Blank Canvas

First, and totally off topic from this post, I have to say… Yay, Logan finally had some time to publish his first blog post! I’m looking forward to being able to post more often with two authors and give our readers (the few that may be out there) more updates, inspirations and ideas. Of course, it will be nice to hear all of this from two, often different, perspectives as well. So, yay for that! Anyway, back to the topic of this post. In a couple posts back, we introduced you to our home as it looked when we purchased it – nothing but the bare bones. But, I think it might be nice to show you how it looked right before we moved in (with the renovation complete), with freshly painted walls, newly refinished 100 year old floors, and all the standard conveniences of a modern home. Since we had made an offer on the house early in the renovation process, we were able to choose some of the finishes, but unfortunately, we did not have the opportunity to customize that much. That would be up to us! We look at it like this - we just lucked out on not having to do any of the fun, but often difficult, renovations like wallpaper removal, floor refinishing, relocating plumbing, ripping up old tile, etc. ourselves – maybe we’ll tackle that in our next home, haha.

Anyway, I dug (virtually) through photos to find some to share, and while we documented the renovation progress with hundreds of photos, it seems we failed to take good photos of the finished empty rooms, before we moved all our stuff in... bummer. Anyway, feel free to check out these pics from move-in day, but please forgive the cardboard boxes and random dropped placement of furnishings.

Empty living room.

Empty dining room area

Empty kitchen.

Empty bedroom

Empty hall.

Empty bathroom.

Bedroom with boxes and furniture.

Empty office.

So, our newly purchased house was pretty much a blank canvas for us to design and create into our own home. How exciting! I do remember being really excited, ha! Yet now, a little over a year later, I’d say we are still in the sketching stages of completing our work of art. But give us some time, after moving from a tiny studio apartment in New York City, we had very little furnishings to fill our home, and many of which we’d like to replace with “grown-up” pieces. We’ll get there slowly but surely. And if you know me, you’d know that I can make quick, innovative design decisions for anyone but myself – so imagine the analysis paralysis! If you’re not quite sure what I mean by that, I feel certain I’ll explore that in later posts! Stay tuned.

For now, we’ll hope to finish at least a few bits of our work of art (our home) and show you the progress as we go.

Our Happy Home

So, I’ve mentioned before that on our blog we hope to share with you our design ideas, projects, etc. Well, we will definitely be sharing what we can of our client projects, but we’re also happy to share the design journey of our own home. So, we thought we’d give you some background, or point of reference, on our happy little home before we would delve into any details in the future. So, here goes. Logan and I bought our first house here in midtown Harrisburg about a year and a half ago (wow, seems like just yesterday - time flies!). Like many house hunting stories, we saw the home listed for sale and called the seller to schedule a time to view it. We were told it was in mid-renovation, but we could definitely come check it out. Being the DIYers that we are, and knowing that we could see the potential in anything, we decided to go see the home. Here is what we walked into that day - an over 100 year old city home that had just begun a much needed renovation (forgive the picture quality, it was dusty and dark in some areas).

View of living room and front door during renovation

View of Valerie in kitchen with tape measure during renovation

View of 100 year old painted stairway during renovation

View of hallway during renovation

View of Logan pretending to wash his hands in our bathroom sink

View of office/studio during renovation

View of Logan and Valerie pretending to lay in their master bedroom during renovation

So, as you can see, we had to use our imaginations quite well to envision this as our home. But, we did, and the ideas were already swarming. I remember standing in what is now our master bedroom whispering to Logan, “I think this is the one!” After months of house hunting, and coming oh-so-close to deciding on another home, we were extremely excited about finding this place. It was in the perfect location, the perfect price and being a blank slate only made the deal more perfect. So we made an offer while there were only studs for walls, it was accepted and we bought the house! We were so excited to finally own our home and have the opportunity to make it ours.

So, over the following 2 months or so, we would travel back and forth from NYC to visit the house, make design decisions and see its renovation progress - so much fun! Eventually, we moved into the house, and began the seemingly never ending journey of designing the spaces, choosing color schemes, finding the right pieces, and working on projects to make this house our home. Well, I’m sad to say that we have unfortunately only made baby steps (in my opinion), okay maybe toddler steps, with so many other things going on and little time and budget allotted for our own home. But, I suppose since I claimed I hadn’t made a New Years resolution, focusing on finishing the design of our home would be a good one. We'll be sure to post any progress!