Entries from December 19th, 2018

how we are ditching baseboard heaters

We ripped off the construction band-aid and have been demo-ing our little hearts out over at our #samuelfamilyfixer and sharing loads of progress as we go via Instagram stories. I’ve put a bunch in my highlights if you’ve missed anything and I’ll be sharing more updates here now that things are really rolling. Along the way I’ve gotten a ton of questions over what we are doing with the baseboard heaters, if anything, and I tried to answer as best I could in a few short frames but really this is a full blog post kind of answer so here we go!

We love all the modern lines and unique features in the house but what we didn’t love was the look of the radiant baseboard heaters. They do the job ok, but boy are they a big bummer to have to design around. No matter how you slice it, they make a space feel dated. So I did a deep dive into researching alternative heating systems and the good news is we got to rip those babies out of there, and will be replacing them with radiant heated floors which will be nicely tucked away under the finished flooring.

Through all my digging I found a company called Warmboard, and their pretty green panels are the answer to our prayers. According to their site… As a whole-home heating system Warmboard is the premier radiant heating solution in the US. Their panels outperform all the competitive systems with faster response times, easier installations, AND lower energy use.

Tubing, that will eventually carry hot water, runs through those grooves in the panels and their patented design spreads the heat from the tubing throughout the surface of the entire floor, so there are no hot/cold spots and the water can run at a lower temperature which means its more efficient. What is really exciting from my point of view is that since these panels have a more even surface temperature than a lot of other radiant systems, the flooring possibilities are wide open. From what I gathered some radiant systems aren’t compatible with carpet or hardwood because the heat doesn’t make it thought the carpet efficiently and hardwood isn’t good with the temperature fluctuation, but with Warmboard you can use thick carpets, laminate, tile, hardwood… all fair game and I am using a mix of almost all of the above. WOOT!

Once I locked in on the Warmboard system it opened up my design choices for the flooring. Tile in the sitting room, tile in the kitchen, bathrooms and even tile in the bedroom! I’m doing it. Without the radiant heated floors there would be no way I would install tile in the bedroom in this cold climate, but I was set on keeping the wood ceilings as is and I didn’t want wood on both the ceilings and the floors, so with the Warmboard to keep the tile from feeling too cold and giving me the look I wanted, it was a win, win. We are doing carpet in the kids bedrooms and the large fireplace living room to keep those spaces extra cozy, laminate in the dining room, pantries and closets (I was originally planning on tiling those rooms too but when we got the labor estimates back for tile install we had to make some cut backs), and tile everywhere else. A peek at some of the finishes we’ve narrowed in on above!

Another way we are saving some pennies (like $5000 worth of pennies, because we are covering A LOT of square footage) is by installing all the panels ourselves. This whole renovation is a mix of DIY and hired out work through our contractor, to get the most out of our budget (and so I can splurge on certain things like terrazzo floors in the main living space) and the Warmboard installation is a perfect illustration of that. We install the panels and then licensed heating & cooling professionals come in to run all the tubing, install a new boiler (ours is on its last leg) and does all the plumbing and mechanical portion of the install.

We just started installation and Rupe got a new power tool… so he’s happy. It’s an auto-feed drill that allows you to stay standing while screwing in all 16 screws per panel. We did the math based on how many panels we have to install and needed 5,000 screws! Rupe’s knees are very thankful for the screw-loading stand up drill. Pop Pop and Rupe are on panels, me mostly on the sidelines this time, with the kids but jumping in and throwing my 2 cents in whether or not it is appreciated, and Mimi is sweeping up the floors as they go to make sure there’s no princess and the pea situation under the panels. Warmboard supplies an install kit and a detailed custom design plan to follow which makes it a little like a putting together a giant scale, but fairly simple, puzzle. There was a bit of a learning curve at the beginning but once we got into a groove (pun intended) things started to move. I’ll let you know how we do on the rest of the house! Wish us luck. x

Oh and p.s. I got the question a lot on IG if this will be our only heat source and the answer is yes! I’ve heard that some radiant systems may require supplemental heating, but not Warmboard! It is supposed to heat better than forced air, especially when it comes to heating rooms like ours, that are very large and have tall ceilings (ours are 20 feet tall at the peak!). But don’t worry, this girl has been in California for way too long… so it better do the job, I will be the true test and report back.

Juniper is Here!

a-frame finished kitchen renovation semihandmade sarah sherman samuelI have some exciting news! Remember the beautiful green prototype version of my SSS signature doors for SemiHandmade that we installed in our old A-frame? Well it took a while to get the exact color dialed in consistently enough to pass SemiHandmade’s high quality standards but they finally got the right formula and as of today “Juniper” is now available!

a-frame finished kitchen renovation semihandmade sarah sherman samuel a-frame finished kitchen renovation semihandmade sarah sherman samuel a-frame finished kitchen renovation semihandmade sarah sherman samuel

To give you a quick summary on all things SemiHandmade, they make quality doors in a range of designs that fit the Ikea kitchen system, thus creating the look of a custom kitchen at a more affordable price. You buy the cabinet boxes from Ikea and the doors and trim from SemiHandmade. So far I have used their DIY shaker in our LA kitchen and in the Trullbrook kitchen, their Slab Supermatte in LightLab, my SSS design in the Maya Brenner office and our A-frame and I have a few more exciting projects in the works to share soon!

It has been one year since the launch of my SSS “Modern Beaded” door design for SemiHandmade and we are celebrating with the launch of Juniper (perfect timing for Christmas right?!)! Adding the eighth color to my signature palette but guess what else? Starting in January, Semihandmade is going to be rolling out all eight of those colors to their Slab and Shaker door designs as well. Blush, Juniper, Night Sky, Agave, Desert Grey… they will all be available in the Slab and Shaker profiles in addition to my Modern Beaded. The gangs allll here!

To see my original post on our partnership around the SSS “modern beaded” design, read about it here.

samuel family fixer kitchen update!

She gone! Goodbye small old kitchen with zero counter space! Construction has officially started (FINALLY) and while I am still playing catch up in the design. Yes, I broke my cardinal rule (again) of not starting construction until after the design is finished and materials are on site, but we couldn’t wait any longer. We’ve been a bit swamped between the kids, and work, client projects, the move, and our second move (into a rental house during construction) etc etc and that left very little time to work on our own house, it ended up coming last but we finally got some help with the kiddos and I’m wrapping up some things, so now it’s my turn! I hope you’re as ready as I am for me to start sharing progress and process as we go! Thankfully I pretty much designed the whole kitchen before we even saw the house in person, so I am starting there! See my initial plans to get all caught up here.

Our renovation couldn’t have come at a better time. I started working on the kitchen in my head before we even made an offer and long before we set foot in the house. As soon as we were in escrow I started on the design. Part of my process for myself is that I first create my ultimate space with no regards to budget or logistics, just whatever I can dream up. It’s my utopia space and anything goes. Then I work backwards from there and get creative on how I can execute the look within my budget. Remember the A-frame living room? It worked there, and thats exactly how I started in the kitchen. But, spoiler alert, this time around I hit the jackpot. I had dropped a 36″ white range into a rendering I was working on and turned the hardware a gold color in photoshop, just making up what I wanted in there, and no joke a week later I got an email that Café Appliances was launching this beautiful new line of appliances with customizable hardware (you can choose from 4 different metallics, Stainless, Bronze, Black, and Copper) and the face of them are either Matte Black or Matte White! MY DREAMS LITERALLY CAME TRUE. They reached out to ask me to become a part of their Café Collective (a group of women they brought together to work with over the coming months who each “have an unapologetic approach to embracing their distinct style”) to which I screamed and jumped out of my chair and ran to tell Rupe that I just visualized our kitchen appliances into being. Ok I didn’t really, the talented folks at Café did but I can pretend to take credit like they plucked the design right from my brain. I am just thrilled they exist and even more thrilled that I get to use them in our new kitchen.

samuel family fixer kitchen moodboard Earlier this month I took a trip down to Louisville, Kentucky to dive deep into all things Café Appliances. We got to see them installed in a few homes, we toured the factory, got a taste of Louisville (and the bourbon), did some mixed metal jewelry making and created real-life inspiration boards around the spaces that each of us will be creating with the Café Appliances. It was so fun to see how different everyone’s boards turned out based on their own personal style. That’s mine above!

Speaking of personal style… I like to reference client’s wardrobes when designing for them because what you choose to put on your body is such a great reflection of your style and I feel like your home should reflect that just as much! So for my own space I turned to my wardrobe…

sarah sherman samuel layers and noticed a whole lot of whites, ivories, natural materials, combining different textures and always a touch of gold with my jewelry.

When it came to overall design of the kitchen, I wanted it to be similar, bright, natural, open, a reflection of me, and feel like part of the living space. Crazy but true…I never thought I would want an all white kitchen for myself. I usually gravitate towards colored cabinets but in this space I wanted the wood ceiling (the only original feature in this room that we are keeping) to be a main focal point. See the before photos here, but previously the kitchen had a lot of wood, A LOT. Wood floors, wood ceiling and wood cabinets. I am a big fan of natural wood but if you’ve been following me for a while you know I like a bright space and since the wood ceiling was so special that meant I wanted to remove the other wood finishes to really let it shine.

When I looked at my clothes, other parts of the house, my products, the finishes and appliances I knew I wanted to use, a color (or lack there of) palette started to come together. Thankfully Café Appliances gets that you want your house to be a reflection of you and it doesn’t have to stop at the appliances. There is so much stainless steel out there and not much else, so it’s incredibly refreshing to be able to find customizable appliances to fit my or a client’s style.

And finally, I took all that inspiration above along with some sourcing leg work and translated it into the product selects and finishes for our kitchen.

sarah sherman samuel kitchen // samuel family fixer Wood, terrazzo, quartz, brass, cement… and a lot of love. A lot of love for all the things. :) Are you as surprised as me that I am doing all white or do you think “duh this is totally you”? The key to making all white not boring is to play up all the textures and of course the pop of metallic really helps. Wish me luck!

Sources for first photo: Sweater by Entire World // Jeans from Asos // Table from CB2 // Chair from CB2 // Gold Initial Necklace from Maya Brenner // Gold rings from L Frank Jewelry

Sources for second photo: Sweater from Club Monaco // Top from Sugar Candy Mountain // Jeans from Topshop // Gold rings from L Frank Jewelry

Sources from living room photo: Rug is vintage // Ottoman by sarah sherman samuel // coffee table from Urban Outfitters // rug is vintage // chair is vintage // Art from Minted // stool from lulu and georgia // vase is from CB2 // Planter from CB2  // Pillow form Kesslyr Dean

Kitchen Sources: Range from Café Appliances // Dishwasher from Café Appliances // Refrigerator from Café Appliances // Fresh Concrete countertop by Caesarstone // White Cabinets by Sarah Sherman Samuel for SemiHandmade // Brass hardware by Sarah Sherman Samuel for Park Studio // Faucet by Kallista // Stool from The Citizenry // Pendant Light from Allied Maker // Quartz Sink by Elkay // Cement Tile by Granada Tile

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