Bob & Ellen's Excellent Adventure

Black Sheep Tower House

Thinking About Design

Jan 2, 2022 Before the internet, I guess we all used magazines as inspiration. Ha, I remember that. Now, I quite like looking at actual books and magazines, but it is so easy to click away on the laptop and find all sorts of “inspo”. Yes, I have a Pinterest board (ok, a LOT of boards) but photos are found everywhere, and I am not really willing to constantly be switching between accounts… yet the end result is that I have photos everywhere – in my iPhotos, my saved emails, Pinterest, Houzz and THEN there are the photos Bob emails me…. where do I save those? I am really not organized at all, and that is a constant stressor. I should be organized. I should have a plan, many plans. I should have mood boards, and all my rooms arranged with complementary textures, materials, colors, patterns and so on…. ACK.

Do we have a final, clear vision for this house? No. Or maybe just, not yet. The feature photo of the spectacular, swirling, unique and reflectively lit-from-behind glass blocks represent the inside of my mind – both my design aspirations, and my confused vision!!

But we are trying. And really what we have to decide first are what they call the hard surfaces, the permanent choices of woodwork, flooring, walls, ceilings and all that! We are starting to think that this house would challenge even the best designer. Because you might have a plan (many plans), and then the house itself says NO. You can’t do that, structurally, and you have to change this, whatever. For a million reasons, most of them worthy reasons, and it is frustrating. And then it is back to the drawing board… again and again.

So here are some pictorial thoughts about different parts of the house. First, the ceiling. We’ve had more than a month to ponder the red oak engineered flooring idea for the ceiling, looking at the samples almost daily. We keep trying to convince ourselves that it is right. But it’s not. It is just too “flat” and perfect, with no texture or depth, and it is such a huge expanse….. When our son Josh told us that it looked like a basketball court on the ceiling, we knew for sure. We had to find another option.

We wanted warm, natural colored wood, with variety of grain, pattern, color, and texture. Bob found this Armstrong product online and fell in love with the linear patterns and the black line grid effect created by spaces between the wood planks or slats. He set out to investigate it, and we immediately ran into challenges in part because it was a commercial ceiling solution, not residential, and was designed to be hung from grid system – this would be a challenge on a sloped ceiling. I wasn’t as much of a fan, but willing to explore. I liked the variety of the natural wood grain and color of the arched ceiling. We both agreed we didn’t want knotty pine, so maybe our best method of decision-making is the process of elimination! And you can be sure this decision won’t be solved quickly. Scott will be tearing his hair out over us. 🙂

We have a meeting with Cindy about lighting tomorrow. Here are some ideas for the stairwell down to the lower level, with the open window view from the entryway. It is hard for us to visualize what it will look like (everything is open right now and studs are making the vision confusing…. but the idea is to have 5 or more pendants at varying heights, which will be viewed from the main room (open stairwell), and also the entryway. We like the hand blown glass look, and Bob is drawn to Edison bulbs and the apothecary jar style of glass, while I prefer the curved glass. In any case, these fixtures are not inexpensive and the prices will be going up this month (a lot), so we are pondering… We’ve decided we can splurge on 2 really nice “statement” fixtures, this one and the piece over the dining table. More on that soon.

Speaking of lighting in the entryway and stairwell, we have the open interior window into the bathroom, which will also be visible as you enter the front doors (as well as from inside the bathroom). We had thought to put some type of interesting glass window there, even stained glass. But now we wonder, what will enhance the light fixture and the space inside and out, and not fight with it. So hard to tell right now, but here are some ideas. We want privacy yet a good amount of light into the dark bathroom, and something contemporary yet unique. Probably we will need to design something custom, and probably we shouldn’t even be thinking about this, it is so far in the future!

That bathroom on the first floor…. it is oddly shaped and the product of a series of decisions made “before us”, and by us as well. There was a Geberit wall hung system in place when we bought the house, and we’ve kept it, so we’ll have a modern style toilet (that we hope flushes well!). I made the choice to center the vanity on the wall opposite the interior window, because I wanted the mirror to reflect back the design of whatever the custom window glass ends up being. The plumber and electrician thought the vanity should go in the corner, yet I made this decision without a clear plan in my head of how it was going to look in the end…. probably not a pro move, but…. so far I’ve been all over the place in my head with design choices. Why change now?

Here are some bathroom photos I thought were interesting, and maybe had elements we could work with:

Turns out that Bob doesn’t care for round mirrors, round lights, weird lights, wall hung vanities, bowl sinks, wall mounted faucets, and black fixtures…. okayyyy. He wants an octagon mirror (huh?) and he likes things made of wood. Well, designers say that the “powder room” is a place to take a few risks and indulge your creative ideas, and after some discussion, Bob states he is willing to expand his horizons. 🙂

Lastly (because your head might be getting ready to explode too), we have ideas about our mini-bar on the 4th floor, tucked into a nook as you head up the tower stairs. The space looks to be just wide and deep enough for a built-in “refreshment center” – small fridge, tiny sink, coffee maker, a tiny microwave maybe… and a cupboard for glasses, mugs, snacks and so on. Although we don’t necessarily like the glass doors, these photos give an idea what’s possible. We picture ourselves up in the tower room with a sunrise coffee, or entertaining friends for sunset adult beverages – available just one flight down, instead of four! Mmmmm, Heaven.

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