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Diary of a Mad Renovator: Is this what progress feels like?

Written by Jaqui Lividini

Progress, progress, progress…there’s a word I feel we haven’t seen on this blog for quite some time. I went to the house last weekend and finally everything seems to be moving in a forward motion rather than the plateauing one you’ve all been hearing about.  Thank you Design Development!

The upstairs and downstairs bathrooms are all framed, and the ceiling in the upstairs bedroom is gone! There are shingles on half of the house (should be complete by next weekend), and we’re reviewing concepts for the lifted house (4 vs. 8 feet). Finally, the best (and in my case, most dangerous) part of house renovation is about to begin: decorating.

Last week, Doug (our DD project manager) presented me with a list of bathroom must-haves (endless, BTW).  Ever since, I’ve been perusing bathroom photos as I’m starting to decide what I envision for my own. I recently had dinner with my friend Susan, who happens to be building a house from scratch in Northern California.  She is a design mentor for me in many ways – she has amazing style and pitch perfect taste to boot.  From time to time I ask her to weigh-in on all types of design dilemmas that have entered my life.

At dinner we touched on the usual topics; children, the weather, friends and bathroom fixtures. Susan shared her findings that most high-end bathtubs are made of acrylic - rather than porcelain.  Since what I am looking for are vintage-inspired porcelain fixtures,  I was definitely surprised and somewhat disappointed until Susan pointed me in the direction of Kohler.  She outfitted all of her bathrooms in Kohler and was delighted with the results.  After spending quite some time on their website, I think this might be a great solution for me.  According to Doug, it’s also a prudent one, since going vintage comes with its own set of problems.   The “vintage” collection at Kohler might just do the trick – period look with modern function.  Stay tuned….

We also are deciding whether or not to put a wood stove into the great room. Though it’s an additional expense, I think in the winter, when you’re looking out at the water, it will be nice to have a balance of warmth and fire – especially when there’s so much glass in the house. My Design Development team figured out how to fit the stove between two windows so we could look at the water while enjoying the fire.  Genius!  Again I’m looking for an authentic look but modern function.  If anyone out there has any suggestions, I’m all ears.

I know the stove will be a good addition, as will the cathedral ceiling upstairs, as will the porcelain bathroom fixtures, as will the many additions that are surely on the horizon. Coco Chanel very wisely once said,  “Before you leave the house, look in the mirror and remove one accessory.” I’m hoping when it comes to house renovation rather than fashion, she’d prefer additions to subtractions.

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