Inspire! Inquire?

In our office, we have regular Monday meetings to discuss our projects, goals for the week, timelines & progress. As part of these meetings we like to add a little fun by bringing in new knowledge, videos or readings that may inspire or bring questions to the group.

I was recently inspired by a video I saw while scrolling through my Facebook page and thought it was too good to only share internally. If you follow our website or social media accounts you are already aware of our passion for sustainability. The video I saw was titled “Off the Grid” which inspired me to press play.

The video captured a little island called Lasqueti which is located off of the east coast of Vancouver Island. It is home to around 400 people who have embraced the full meaning of sustainability. These residents have completely adapted to life off the grid.

I researched the community further and they describe their way of life in these words….

Lasqueti_Island

“Residents are accused of trying to put the clock back, living a self-sufficient lifestyle reminiscent of an earlier century. Lasqueti is the place where the conversation is more likely about solar panels or composting toilets than about microwaves or toasters — foreign objects for most of the 400 residents. Nobody can work a five-day week away from home because it takes three days work just to survive — to cut firewood, to maintain power, water, and waste systems, to work in your garden to produce your food. An island of individuals, with poets, artists, physicists, fishermen, loggers, tree planters, designers, professional musicians, published authors, some small scale manufacturers, some commercial agriculture, mariculture as well as professional consultants in education, engineering, forestry and alternate energy make up a population that Statistics Canada says is the most highly educated community in British Columbia.”

There way of life has shaped some of the most unusual yet beautiful architecture, as they have used all forms of building to create long lasting homes. Some of my favorites are below.

The Cod Houses formed by the Mud Girls

Their houses are formed by Cod, which is a combination of sand, clay, straw & water. The compound is often mixed & applied by hand which makes for a natural aesthetic. The technique allows the owner to create their own vision. There is no limit to the creativity whether they want clean lines or sculptural forms these house are truly unique.

Cob HouseMud Girls

Earthship Homes

House created by using both natural & recycled materials to develop the structure & creating the layout to utilize thermal mass & cross ventilation to regulate indoor temperatures. Typically most earthships are created by recycling old tires or glass bottles, filling them with sand and casting them in concrete. The ships are then carved into the landscape to blend into the natural habitat.

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As designers we don’t shy away from the unconventional, in fact we welcome it. I am completely intrigued by the people of Lasqueti and will be placing it on my bucket list for future vacations as I’d love learn more about their way of life & how we could take lessons from their pursuit to live off the grid and apply it to the building practices of today’s society.

Carrie

Carrie Signature Photo

 

Bathe in Luxury

When you walk into a hotel bathroom, what are the things you hope to find? We are not surprised by the typical things like a terry cloth robe, soft fresh towels, and sample size body washes, shampoos and conditioners. The 4-star hotels that leave an impression have unexpected elements like a floor-to-ceiling steam shower, whirlpool tub, vanishing television mirrors, heat racks for towels, slippers to go with your robe… The list continues. I had a client that wanted a piece of this luxury at home, so they put my design skills to the test.

Design Requirements

  • Gut the existing ensuite as the space was outdated & did not meet the needs of the client
  • Jacuzzi tub was unused & the shower was too small.
  • Increase the size of the walk-in-closet
  • Maintain location of the existing toilet

Include the following in the new design:

  • Large tiled steam shower w/ body jets, rain shower head, hand held shower wand & bench
  • Large vanity with single sink
  • Make-up counter (separate from vanity)
  • Separate toilet room
  • Use sustainable & eco-friendly materials

The Existing Space

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The Concept

  • Create an urban escape; a home space that mimics the amenities of a hotel
  • Space for various functions, separate toilet room, suit preparation in good lighting, make-up table, and shower for 2
  • Maximize storage
  • Shower to be the main feature of the bathroom
  • Make-up table to be designed for easy access for styling tools (hairdryer, curling iron, etc)

AS BUILT

Inspiration Image

Click here to see the inspiration for this design.

Project Limitations

  • Working within the existing square footage
  • Staying within budget $40,000
  • Adding a new hot water tank for new steam shower
  • Compliment the glass block windows that will remain

New Design

In the new design, I started out by removing the angles that were taking up valuable square footage, which allowed for an increase in length for the walk in closet by 3’-6”. I then took some room from the master bedroom to allow for a nice sized make-up table. I maintained the existing toilet room but just shortened it to decrease wasted space. The vanity was relocated to the back wall to make it the feature when you walk into the ensuite. The shower was moved to the backside of the closet and is the focal point of the bathroom.

BOSCHMAN FINAL-A-2 CONSTRUCTION PLAN

Millwork Design

The Vanity was designed strategically to balance the existing stepped window with the sink & mirror. We wanted to draw the attention of the viewer away from the window which we did by creating vertical elements on one side & horizontal elements on the another side. We used a stone & glass backsplash tile to bring some drama behind the mirror. Open vertical storage boxes were used in the base cabinets to emphasis the vertical line.

Ensuite sink Makeup space

We recreated the backsplash detail on the make-up counter to bring consistency through the space.

Quality fixtures

BOSCHMAN FINAL-A-5 ELEVATIONS

Shower Tile Design

As the shower was meant to be the focal point of the bathroom, I used a variety of tile combinations & Schluter products to bring the final product to life. We used the KERDI-BOARD system on the shower head wall for recessed accents (backed with a beautiful glass tile) as a place for the client to store shampoos, body washes, and conditioners. We also used the KERDI-LINE shower drain which allows you to use large format 12” x 24” tiles on the shower floor for limited grout lines.

BOSCHMAN FINAL-A-6 ELEVATIONS

Tile attention to detail Glass & tile shower

The Finishes

The clients wanted a fresh & neutral palette with a hint of colour. As a way of giving the palette an enhanced look, while keeping it neutral, we looked at using texture to give the space a boost.

Finishes Boschman

The Final Result

The final result is soft & elegant. The tile design in the shower & the reconfiguration of the space make the space feel large and luxurious.

ensuite photo

I would love to have this bathroom in my own home!

Come talk to me if you want to create your own spa in your home.

Carrie

Carrie Signature Photo

Peace. Rejuvenation. Relaxation.

When you think about your home, what areas can function as a space for a personal retreat? I personally would love to have an ensuite were I can run a hot steamy bath and melt away from day-to-day stresses. I’ve had the pleasure of working on a few ensuite projects in 2014 and the results were pretty awesome. The one project that I’d like to highlight is a gem in the heart of East St. Paul. Here, the goal was to create an in-home spa that was eye catching & glamorous.

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Design Requirements

  • Design a spa-like retreat that incorporates a new steam shower, vanity with adequate storage, as well as a free standing tub
  • Implement layers of lighting for all differenct day-to-day tasks (bright for getting ready in the morning, dim for relaxation & meditation & a soft glow for wayfinding)
  • Incorporate soft colours & textures for impact and luminescence

Project Limitations

  • Work within the existing space & maintain the existing location of the plumbing
  • Work with the clients budget & timeline

The Concept

The concept was derived from the client’s inspiration of existing spas and hotels. The client also loved soft colors from the ocean & the sparkle of the sand, which we wanted to incorporate throughout the space.

ocean-beach_00367648 combo

Since we were working within the existing envelope it was important to keep clean lines & uncluttered flow. The goal was to also blend the style with the rest of the house, so we applied a timeless look to the vanity & the flooring.

Development and Implementing the Design

Our design process always starts with measuring & photographing the existing space.

before combo

The existing steam shower was not working properly & the existing tile was dated so we needed to completely gut the existing space and start fresh. The next step was to come up with some alternative floor plans.

Janet Cyr Ensuite-CONCEPT

Janet Cyr Ensuite-CONCEPT2

Once the floor plan was finalized, we moved on to finish and fixture selection, as well as generating the elevations for the project. We used a large format 12” x 24” anthracite tile to ground the floor with a baroque shaped tile for a decorative inlay to add some drama to the space. We used white millwork to keep the space feeling light & spacious. An iridescent glass mosaic tile, luminous wall covering & sparkly quartz countertop gave the space the glamour the client was looking for.

Finishes

The end result can only be described as stunning! The renovation process went smoothly with only a few hiccups along the way. Any time you are renovating an existing space, there is a good chance that you’ll have a few surprises thrown at you. This client was smart and took a vacation while her ensuite was being transformed into the oasis that it is now. I’m thrilled that the client could come back and continue to relax & rejuvenate in peace.

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Hope you enjoyed seeing this space as much as I enjoyed creating it.

Peace,

Carrie

Carrie Signature Photo

basement design

Renovating this Spring or Summer? Start planning today!

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Has winter already got you thinking of renovating when the snow melts? Well, I’m here to tell you that NOW is the best time to get started on the planning process. But, I bet you’re asking yourself…

Where do you start?  What do you need?  Who do you contact?

I’ve been working in the industry for many years now and I can tell you, without a doubt, planning ahead of time is not only suggested, it’s a necessity!

Here are the steps that I think you should take when starting a renovation project:

1. Start planning early: 

Depending on the size of your project, expect to spend 2-8 months in the planning stages. This may seem long, but it’s well worth the effort.  A poorly planned project will end up costing more time & money (not to mention frustration) in the long run.

2. Create a list of needs and wants:

The more decisive you are about your spatial needs, your aesthetic style and your budget, the more accurately the professionals you enlist can do their jobs. As the designer on your project, I truly want to hear from you. I want to know how you want to function in your space, how you want others to function in your space and, ultimately, how you want the space to make you feel. In the end, it’s all about the experience!

3. Enlist the help of professionals:

Interior Designers | Architects | Contractors | Builders | Electricians | Plumbers | Etc

The list goes on… Hiring a professional will be the best thing you’ll ever do! Bold statement, but it’s true. They can assist you with putting your dreams into visual form, making your dream into a reality.  At our office, Elaina, Annie, Carrie and I are qualified to do everything from the space planning to the final finishing touches. It is up to you, our clients, to decide how much or how little assistance you need. Getting everyone involved right from the beginning allows for problems to be solved before they even begin.

Please see our Design Services on our How We Do It page. 

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Renovating will have its challenges, it ALWAYS does (remember it’s humans you’re dealing with). However, if you allow yourself enough time to plan your project; if you hire competent, honest and hardworking people; and if you keep a positive attitude with the end goal in mind, the results are well worth it!

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So, if you’re looking to renovate that kitchen, that basement, or really anything else, come Spring or Summer, call the S3 Team today to get started on the planning.

We’d love to help you out!

Tracy

Tracy Signature Photo