Our Master Bath Tile How-to

I posted this photo on instagram right when the shower trim was installed last year. We were still in the middle of renovating so this was the closest to a finished photo I had to share and I had no idea the response it would get. The tile layout was an experiment, it is something I had never seen done before… an idea I had that I would only dare try out on my own house, so if it was a failure it would only be my own mess to clean up. However, as soon as I posted the photo the questions flooded in, within a month I already saw three other bathroom renovations mimicking the layout on instagram and those are just the people that tagged me. I caught some flack for not explaining how I did it, but the truth is… for the same reason I didn’t feel comfortable trying this out in a clients bathroom for the first time, I didn’t want to share how I did it and be responsible for a slew of bathroom renovations that could go wrong. After a year of living with it and the shower getting daily use, I can now speak to how it has hold up and feel more comfortable sharing the process. I am sure this has been done before, we all know there is pretty much nothing new under the sun, but for me this was new. An original idea that I had to figure out how to execute myself (while leaning heavily on the tile experts I worked with, although this was also a new process to them as well). So here it is…

The best part about this treatment is its’ simplicity. The idea couldn’t be more simple. I used an extra large 1″ grout line going horizontally and skinny 1/8″ grout line going vertically. Another thing I love about this simple idea is that it could be applied in a million different ways to get drastically different results. It can be applied to different colored tiles, different shapes, different grout ratios, different colored grout…(you get the picture)  to create entirely new layouts. There are a few things to consider on installation, you can’t just use any type of grout for this and it might not be applicable in every space or with every tile either ( please follow manufacturers guidelines and listen to your tile installer) but so far it has held up well in ours.

Here is what we did.

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Our Kitchen Tour Before & After

Hello from our finished kitchen! It has been a journey to get here, but I’m thrilled to share the full tour and also take a look back at where we started. The concept of home as a sanctuary has always been important to me but now, in the current state of things, I feel that it is crucial. This kitchen has never seen such heavy use as it has in the past couple weeks and I count myself very lucky to feel like my best self in it. I think nothing helps someone feel more at home than a space that is a true reflection of themselves, a place they feel comfortable in. This kitchen couldn’t be more me. We poured ourselves into this kitchen, doing much of the work ourselves, but also splurging on some favorite details. I worked with Café Appliances to bring my dream kitchen to reality with their Matte White appliances and warm bronze appliance hardware (has there ever been a more me color palette? See the inspiration here). I ruminated over the details for months (pretty sure we used the kitchen without cabinet hardware for a good 6 of them) and while the bulk of the renovation was finished in 5 months, it took me another 7 to decide on and implement the finishing touches like the back plaster wall, the brass island panels and the hardware. I was originally planning to use my own brass hardware from my line with Park Studio but when I got my mind set on the brass island panels, it would have been brass overload. I wanted the warmth and softness of the wood ceiling brought down to the cabinets so really, my only choice was to get my hardware collection made in wood. I adjusted the designs to work with the new material and then tapped a local fabricator to make the prototypes. From there a new wood sss hardware line was born. We are still working on a larger production run, but they will be available this spring!

The new layout of the kitchen came quickly and easily. I had drawn up the plans before we ever set foot in the house! (see the floorplan before and after). I always knew I was going to utilize our “modern beaded” cabinet fronts from my line with SemiHandmade. They are my take on a traditional beadboard. With cleaner lines and wider spacing it brings texture into the cabinet but still has a modern feel. Two years ago I teamed up with Semihandmade to create the collection because they make high quality doors and drawer fronts that fit onto Ikea kitchen boxes, which brings a higher end look more accessible (and because we have worked together on many projects before and they are just good people. I only work with the good ones, ;) and I am elated to be able to finally use them in my own kitchen (you can see them in some of my client kitchens here, here, here and here). Even if you aren’t a kitchen designer you can use the Ikea Kitchen Planner tool fairly easily or get help in store. How it works is you purchase all the boxes, hinges, legs and interior organization pieces from Ikea and then you get the cabinet doors and drawer fronts from SemiHandmade, as well as filler panels, plinth (toe kicks), and any spacers needed, for the look of a custom kitchen for less than a custom kitchen budget. You can read more about the process  here and see the beginnings of my first project with them, our LA kitchen from 2013.

But now… let’s take the tour!

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Our Pantry aka the best decision we made

In the previous post about our kitchen, I shared all my kitchen must-haves for the renovation and probably the biggest, for me, was having a pantry.

The house, however, did not have a pantry. It had a wall of cabinets in the kitchen which we removed to open it up to the family room. Before we even set foot into the house though, I knew I wanted to turn a bathroom that opened up right to the kitchen into a pantry (we relocated the bathroom a bit further down the hall towards the bedrooms) so early on I turned to California Closets to help design all the shelving/drawers and organizational components. READ MORE

My Master Bath Must-Haves

I have yet to photograph the #samuelfamilyfixer for myself and to show you guys the full tour (but this image from the shoot for Domino Magazine is still giving me life, as are the nightly baths right in this spot), so in the meantime I wanted to give you a look into what my non negotiables were for my dream master bath and delve into the design and making of it.

When we moved in there was an un-used and unfinished “hot tub room” just off the master bedroom (which you could also access from clover’s bedroom) that I suppose once had a hot tub in it, but by the time we got there it was by name only. Essentially, it was an un-heated and unfinished exterior room with decking for the flooring and plywood walls but it was a good amount of space and it had the best light with all the windows. The master bathroom at the time had almost no natural light and was divided up into two small rooms, one with the sink/vanity and the toilet and the other had an alcove bathtub and closet. Here is a look at the “as-built” floor plans and then what our plans were for the space.

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Domino Cover!

I took the holidays properly off for the first time in hmm, I don’t know how many years, but after the year and a half of moving and renovating and moving again and again, and momming and working… the holidays lined up with the perfect time to take a minute to settle into the newly finished (top floor) of our house and enjoy the fruits of our labor. The icing on the cake… no, the icing and the sprinkles and the cherry on top, was the Winter Issue of Domino coming out with our own #samuelfamilyfixer (and my face) on the cover!

Domino has always been one of my favorite magazines, I still have a box of all the past issues I saved starting from when was in my early 20’s. To get to share the first look of our house within it’s pages is such an honor and I am thrilled to be able to start to roll out the rest of the reveals and tours here. Until then here are a few of my favorite images from the feature.

Chair is Vintage // Side table from CB2 // Ottoman from Lulu & Georgia // Lamp from Lulu & Georgia // Print from Blockshop // Planter from Cb2

Commissioned Artwork by Jen Garrido // Credenza from Cb2 // Sconce by Human Home // Side Table/ Plant stand from CB2 // Planter from Target // Vase by Cym Warkov // Lamp by Virginia Sin // Tray from MARCH sf 

Cabinet doors by Sarah Sherman Samuel for SemiHandmade on Ikea Boxes // Stools by The Citizenry // Countertops are “fresh concrete” by Caesarstone // Large platter from MARCH sf // Planter by Cym Warkov // Cutting board by Sarah Sherman Samuel // Hardware by Sarah Sherman Samuel for Park Studio // Pendants by Allied Maker // Appliances by Cafe Appliances // Sink by Elkay

Natural Zellige Floor tile by Clé Tile // Farmhouse Brick Wall tile by Clé Tile // Bathtub from Wayfair // Stool from Wayfair // Pendant from Wayfair // Roller Shades by The Shade Store // Planter from Wayfair

Hexagon Tile from Granada Tile // Table from Lulu & Georgia // Vases by Light & Ladder and BDB NY from Spartan Shop 

I’ll be getting down to all the nitty gritty of the renovation and sharing full tours with each of the rooms here, but until then I hope you pick up the Winter Issue of Domino to see the full feature. They are on stands now (until march 2020). You can also read the story and see some of the images here.

Happy 2020! This might even be the year that we finish the other half of the house. ;). To get caught up on all things #samuelfamilyfixer head here.

Images by Mathew Williams for Domino mag
Produced by Kate Berry
Design by Sarah Sherman Samuel

my new kitchen must-haves

I pinch myself every day that, A, we have a finished kitchen, but even more so, B, that it is bright and open (goodbye wall) and feels like a beautiful part of the home instead of just a utilitarian space (with a big thanks to Café Appliances coming in with the matte white finish and customizable hardware colors… and a new pantry which keeps the counters uncluttered), but most of all that it is exactly right for our family. It really is a dream and since it’s now part of the same room as the family room, it’s where we spend the majority of our time at home together. It’s been so nice finally settling into the new heart of the home and just in time for the holidays.

For a quick re-cap… we moved into our fixer house in July 2018, construction began November 1st of the same year and we moved out into a rental house until April 1st 2019. When we moved back in, the kitchen was fully functional but we didn’t have hardware, trim, island panels etc (basically all of the finishing touches). We worked with a contractor for all the new framing and structural work, drywall, plumbing and the flooring so when we moved back in, his work was done. It then took us from April to October to do all the finish work ourselves. These photos we took along the way so you will see some progression even through this post. I’ll be sharing more in depth about each project we did ourselves but I also wanted to give a quick realistic timeline of what it looks like when there is a lot of DIY involved (and are a working mom with two kids). The good news is we got it to a functioning space in 6 months, before we moved back in, and was able to use it while we deliberated and didn’t rush to choose all the finishing touches at the same time.

So how did we do it? I am sharing my own personal list of must-haves for my kitchen and they might (probably will) be different from yours but I have received SO many “why” questions throughout the process on IG stories that I thought I’d give you the run down and hopefully answer all your burning questions along the way.

Here is a look back at the floorplan of how it was pre-renovation.

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