Now that all the tile is installed (!!), we had to head over to the house to choose the grout colors that will be poured next week. Here is a glimpse into the master bath (as it currently stands).
The photo on the left is a corner of the Master Shower, which I am very excited about. We wanted to create a calm oasis, if you will, and this arabescato carrara marble seems to do the trick. The photo on the right is a view from the entrance. The shower sits in the nook at the top left of the photo, with a tub (that we will never use) centered as the focus. Not seen: a window over the tub, which seemed like a great idea during the planning phase (yay natural light!), but in reality is a front row seat for our neighbors to hang out on their balcony and get a free show (note to self: make appt with a window treatment company immediately). The tile on the actual floor of the bathroom is an Eleganze Varese tile, which is meant to look like poured concrete. This should look pretty cool (fingers crossed) contrasting the hard and industrial concrete look against the soft and elegant marble. Next up: choosing the hardwood floor stain!
Matt and I have been taking frequent trips over to the house for progress checks, but we’ve been careful not to go too often – a watched pot never boils (or however that saying goes). So we did our usual swing by and then grab dinner on Wednesday after work and were pleased with the how things were going:
Not bad, right? The foundation was poured and cured, the basement framed, and the floor/ceiling joists were just getting started.
Then after Sunday brunch with my parents at one of our Logan Square go-tos, Lula Cafe (delish – sit at the bar and order a fancy coffee!), we drove over to the house. HOLY COW was I thrilled with the progress!! In just a matter of a few days the basement/first level floor joists were completed as was the framing for the entire first floor – whoopie! It was finally starting to take shape and look like a home. There’s our front windows! There’s the front door! The fireplace will go right there!
So thar she blows! Our contractor said the second floor and the roof are en route and ready to go, so we are (fingers crossed) on schedule! Time to stop doing the happy dance and start making those decisions I have been putting off… 🙂
So next on the to-do list is to confirm all the plumbing fixture choices for the house. I thought I would have an opinion about this and let me tell you, I just don’t; except for the brass faucet I ordered for the powder room.
Brass is so back – is there anything chicer than black and gold? Obviously that’s what Wiz Khalifa was referring to in his song “Black & Yellow.” I wish I could make all the faucets in the house brass, but alas, the husband isn’t too fond of the look and always taunts me with Goldmember Austin Powers quote, “I loooove goooold!!” And he is absolutely right.
Anyways, we will be going with the Moen Kingsley in the “antique bronze” finish. It is just the right shade of gold – not too shiny, not too yellow – and fits right into the Parisian Bistro powder room experience I am going for. Yes, an experience (my dream job was to be an imagineer, after all).
Everything else in the house will be stainless steel or chrome; I actually prefer chrome in the bathrooms as it lends itself to a nice retro vibe. I’m still trying to work in a brass faucet for the kitchen (it’s so on point), but I might just have to let this one go…
Now that construction has actually started, we thought it might be time to get our ducks in a row and start nailing down some finishes. On our contractor’s recommendation, we ventured out to Stone City in Humboldt Park after a deeelightful breakfast at WHISK (those salty caramel pancakes – omg!).
Upon entering the warehouse, I felt like a kid in a candy shop. Marble! Granite! Quartzite! Galore! It was so cool to see and touch these giant slabs o rock. It was a very educational trip and Lizette, of Stone City, was an absolute gem to work with.
Here is what we learned.
If you want Calacutta Gold Marble look, consider: 1. White Mystery Marble 2. Eureka Danby Marble
Calacutta Gold is currently the most in-demand marble on the market for its obvious good looks and warm tones, so unfortunately, that also makes this Italian marble the most expensive. We wanted to use this slab for our kitchen island – which is rather large at 4’x11′, so any type of savings would help. With that in mind, we discovered Mystery White Marble, which also had the same characteristics as CG, but with a whiter base – and here’s the kicker – half the price tag. Mystery White is also sometimes called Misty White. Eureka Marble (sometimes called Danby) has a more dramatic, darker veining, but also the same warm tones as Calacatta Gold, at also half the price. We also learned that the largest slab we could get would be ten feet – so in order to achieve the seamless, one slab look we are going to resize our island to 10′. These stones are also sourced in the US – Vermont to be specific.
Our kitchen finish design has a darker, contrasting counter on the perimeter. I wanted something a little rougher to contrast with the smooth marble, so I was thinking a soapstone would do the trick. Here is what we learned.
If you want the Soapstone look, consider: 1. Honed, Virginia Mist Granite
Soapstone is a very porous material, which means that it would quickly absorb stains into the stone itself and require a lot of maintenance. I, personally, am a little of tired of the granite look, but the Honed version is so different. It has a matte finish and really looks more like a soapstone or concrete. Granite is also one of the most durable materials on the market – with a much smaller price tag than the soapstone. With the Virginia Mist (also sometimes called Jet Black) we can achieve that same look with more durability and spending less. Honed granite FTW!
Here are some real kitchens found on Houzz using these materials for your perusing pleasure.
Hey youuu guuyysss… We scored some major progress!
Yesterday, the construction crew got to work on the demo of the existing structure on the lot – which is HUGE (as in a life step, not size)!
Here is the pic our contractor sent during the day. I’m sure your first thoughts are the same as mine: DANG THAT IS NARROW, but hey, that’s city livin!
As a lover of old things I was concerned about demoing a home, but the existing house was just not salvageable – but, I am going to try and scavenge some of the pieces to recreate into furniture so that a part of the original house lives on.
I was off in lovely Vancouver earlier this week (it really is an awesome city), so I rushed straight from O’Hare over to the site once I landed, hence the mucky night photo.
This called for a celebration, so Matt & I popped some bubbly and cheers’d to the new digs. We then continued on – with champagne in hand – to one of favorite neighborhood spots 90 Miles Cuban Cafe (such a fun place: Byob! Patio! Great food! FUN!).
We had a chance to meet our future next door neighbor as he was parking in his garage, which was great, but I think we scared the bejeezus out of him, you know, hanging out in the alley at night and bursting out of the car excitedly to say hello. I, for sure, staked my claim as the neighborhood Kimmy Gibbler with that move – hey there neighborino!
Have a great weekend!
P.S. credit to my mom on this title, who is apparently a Kesha fan?
I have always had a penchant for vintage things with loads of character, but after taking Woodworking 101 at the ReBuilding Exchange in the Spring, I want salvaged everything. I took the class with my future sis-in-law and we absolutely loved it. We hand selected our own timber and used real badass power tools over the course of the 4 week class. I will eventually be using my tabletop as the basement bar counter top – chyea! Sidenote: if you live in the Chicago area and have never visited the ReBuilding Exchange – GO! I have found many a pieces there for projects – including the mantel that turned into our headboard and is my favorite project to date.
So naturally, I now feel compelled to sprinkle the magic of reclaimed wood all over the new house: the recipe for instant character. I have already designed built-ins around the family room fireplace that will be using the wood pieces as counter top and shelving (contrasted against white cabinetry) which I am incredibly stoked for. Also, as mentioned above, I will be using the tabletop piece I made in class as the counter top for the wet bar in the basement – I also plan on taking a trip to ReBuilding Exchange to select a few thick pieces to turn into open shelving above the cabinets. I have been hemming and hawing about adding beams in the family room or the master bedroom and I think we are settled on the master (I was worried the dark beams would bring down the ceiling height in the family room). So without further ado, here are some of my fav uses of salvaged wood that I found on the interwebs that will *hopefully* be incorporated more or less into House Wagner 2.0.
Last weekend we ventured out to the burbs to work on cabinetry selections for the house. We had a great meeting (albeit both of us slightly hungover) and started to make some major strides in nailing down decisions for the kitchen. While we wait for the cad drawings, I figured I would share some of the inspiration I have been referencing that I found on Houzz. Warning: if you have never visited Houzz, make sure you clear yourself a solid 1 – 2 hour window where you can be totally unproductive before you do.
>> This kitchen below is everything. I knew we wanted a white kitchen with some contrasting elements and when I stumbled upon this photo it felt like love. Black and white is so classic and sophisticated, yet the use of the mixed materials on the counters and walls relax the vibe a bit and lend themselves to a slightly rustic/beachy feel. This will be the main focal point of the house and where we will spend the most time – and I can already picture hosting some great nights around this counter.
>> Here is another lovely black and white kitchen. This one feels slightly more refined than the above. I really enjoy the range hood pictured here – the horizontal orientation of the panels change up the pace quite nicely.
>> And one more for good measure. This kitchen is absolutely stunning and extremely dramatic, but I just don’t know if we are cool enough to pull it off — the brass hardware, black cabinets, and marble counter tops are beyond cool.
Anyone else catch that Charlie Brown Christmas reference? No? Anyways…
My recent task for the new digs has been to select the lighting fixtures for the house. To some, this could be a really easy task: “Sure, I went to Home Depot and got 5 of these and 3 of those,” but unfortunately for me, I really, really, really like lights. I’m the girl taking pictures of chandeliers instead of listening to the tour (see above – Notre Dame Paris). I have been pouring over these lights for weeks; even woke up in the middle of the night last week and my first conscious thought was pendants. Sad, I know.
To me, light fixtures are like jewelery for your home. An easy (and sometimes affordable) way to add a touch of glam or surprise where it could have been dull. So we walked through the entire floor plan with our contractor and, sure enough, I signed us up for megaload of these “moments,” which can really add up.
So, here’s the plan:
1. Prioritize your light fixtures. You probably do not need to spend as much on your basement bathroom fixtures as you would in, let’s say, the powder room that will be used everyday by you and by your guests. Put quality fixtures where they will be used most. I put our kitchen counter pendants, powder room, and dining chandelier at the top of my list. Don’t worry, you can still get some great looking fixtures for less dollas for the rest of the house (Shades of Light is a great place to start).
2. Create a pinterest board (or what have you) so you know what you want to purchase when the time comes. Feel free to take a peek at my Lighting board on Pinterest for some ideas.
3. Be ready to strike when the iron’s hot. Know when those fixtures are going on sale. Join email lists, do some serious browsing, and ask around. Knowledge is power when it comes to getting yourself the best price: Crest Lighting, who I pass to and from the L everyday, offers a 20% discount for new constructions. I knew Restoration Hardware had an upcoming lighting sale (30% off – and still going!) and I asked one of their designers if this was the best price I would be getting or if I should wait for another sale – they will be honest with you.
So although our house will not be ready for quite some time (grrr), we are now ready with some quality kitchen pendants that are just right and powder room sconces that scream Parisian Bistro – oooh lala! Excited to show you how these look in the finished product. Christmas came early in the Wagner house 🙂
Cue the Tom Petty and the smallest violin in the world…
After leaving a meeting with our contractor a few weeks ago we were under the impression we would be breaking ground any day now. So, naturally, in my mind I was already moving in. Pottery Barn is having a sale – we need to go get a couch! NOT.
Turns out, we have until November 1st to look forward to – and a terrible winter (Polar Vortex part 2) that should surely bring about buckets of excuses as to why the house will not be finished on time. Gotta love winter in Chicago.
We have been under contract since April and will be breaking ground in November. Seven months of deliberation and anticipation building is KILLING ME (and probably Matt since this is all I can talk about).
So when we were supposed to have our follow up meeting yesterday, which was changed to today, and then cancelled and pushed back five more days, you can imagine the steam coming out of my ears. We are trying our best to keep a positive relationship with our contractor, but man he is not making it easy. Anyone have tips on how to politely keep your contractor on schedule? Me and Stephanie Tanner are all ears.