Hall bathrooms might not always be the most stunning room in the home, but that didn’t stop Normandy Designer Chris Ebert from making one of his recent projects nothing short of just that. The new modern space kept the original footprint of the bathroom, with the toilet, two sinks and tub/shower combo in the same place. .
“The size of the bathroom was a challenge because the homeowners wanted it to feel more spacious and minimalistic, yet retain the same amount of storage,” says Chris. “We took out the vanity that had stretched across the entire wall of the bathroom and opted for two modern, floating vanities. To make up for lost storage we incorporated a wall hung cabinet, creating a perfectly symmetric design.”
“A couple of my favorite aspects of the bathroom are the tile wall and the window we created there to allow natural light in, it’s a focal point that can be seen from the hallway and invites people to look into the space,” commented Chris. “Another notable element in the bathroom is the shower door; the homeowners wanted a glass door, but didn’t want a track that would make them uncomfortable while soaking in the tub. We included a tri-fold glass door that rolls on modern hardware for ease of closure while showering and negates the need for an obtrusive track.”
It was his ability to keep that footprint and still make such a remarkable transformation that won the project a Master Design Award from Professional Remodeler Magazine. Take a look at the contemporary powder room Chris created in the same home that also won an award.
“Low divide kitchen sinks, called “Smart Divide” sinks by Kohler, essentially give homeowners the best of both worlds in kitchen sinks,” says Normandy Designer Stephanie Bryant. “They’re designed for washing large pots, pans and skillets with long handles, but still offer the divide for the times you don’t need to fill the entire sink with water. Couples and small families really enjoy the convenience of being able to fill up one side of the sink when washing dishes, but having the flexibility to fill the entire bowl for family gatherings when there’s more dishes.”
“Low divide sinks come in your stainless steel, cast iron and Silgranite finishes and are undermount sinks,” says Stephanie. “They work with any style of kitchen, and are chosen based on the homeowners’ personal preference. They’re not ideal for everyone, especially those that are heavy bakers and cooks; selecting a single bowl sink is typically what they’re going to prefer.”
Oftentimes you’ll find we use letters of professional designation behind some of our designers’ names, whether that be AKBD or CKD. But unless you’re thoroughly involved in the remodeling industry, there’s a good chance you might not know what those letters stand for.
To start, the National Kitchen and Bath Association (NKBA) is an industry organization that provides resources, training and more to designers. One must go through their testing and training to become officially accredited.
An Associate Kitchen and Bath Designer (AKBD) will have met the following qualifications, per the NKBA website:
2 years experience or combination of experience and formal education
30 Hours of NKBA professional development courses or NKBA approved college coursework
2 professional affidavits
Pass the written exam
And a Certified Kitchen Designer will have met the following qualifications, per the NKBA website:
7 years experience or combination of experience and formal education
60 Hours of NKBA professional development courses or NKBA approved college coursework
2 client references
2 professional affidavits
Pass the 6 hour drawing exam for either kitchen
Pass the AKBD academic exam and the CKD Design exam
The ultimate goal of this bathroom was to be a soothing, calming retreat for the homeowners. When you’re going for that spa-like aesthetic, a big part of the design is going to be the colors you choose. “Not only are grays and blues popular colors for bathrooms right now, but people also find them to be incredibly soothing,” says Normandy Designer Ann Stockard. “Keeping that in mind, we went with gray and blue tile mosaic accents throughout this bathroom.
“When it came to the shower, we chose natural colors to complement the blues and grays. The pebble flooring in the shower added to the spa like inspiration the homeowners desired,” commented Ann. “To make the most of the space, I had the curve of the tub deck double as a bench in the shower.”
“While the blue and gray color scheme worked well for this bathroom, I think it’s fair to say that everyone has their own definition of what they find to be soothing,” says Ann. “I recommend choosing whatever colors you find relaxing and keeping the color scheme simple.” For more color ideas, take a look at the latest bathroom color trends shared by Normandy Designer Karen Chanan.
“A well done table setting really sets the tone for a party, making everyone feel more festive and welcome,” says Normandy Designer Heather Dalskov. “If you’re someone that typically decorates for the holidays, like me, then setting your table is easier than you might think. For instance, most of my tablescape is comprised of the fall décor around my home, such as the pumpkins, leaves and lanterns, that add beautiful texture to the table. Gathering those items made it easy to narrow the color scheme.”
“I used two tablecloths for this setting, a large beige one and a smaller orange one to bring in a fall color. Then I used a fall colored table runner down the center, along with a few matching placemats,” commented Heather. “To add some glamour to the setting and add contrast to the rustic lanterns, I used a few golden placemats and gold and silver china. In my book, it’s perfectly fine to mix china, as long as it all follows the overall color scheme you’re working with. If you find yourself without enough china, you can actually buy some upscale disposable plates that match your décor at a party store or online.”
“I also set up a buffet area for the food, so that my tablescape stays intact as long as possible,” says Heather. “To get your tablescape started, I recommend gathering the items at least a week beforehand, so you can see what you have and what you might need. Also, make sure you set aside time to iron your table linens – it always takes longer than you think!”
Refinishing a piece of furniture, such as a hutch, is a great way to breathe new life into it. Normandy Designer Ann Stockard had a hutch in her kitchen that she just didn’t think fit in with the rest of the style. “I didn’t like the color of the hutch, it didn’t match the rest of the décor and finishes in the room well,” says Ann. “I knew I didn’t want to sand it, it just wasn’t worth that much effort in this case. So after researching the best way to refinish the hutch without sanding it, I came up with a five step plan.
1. I put protective flooring all around the hutch.
2. I used Stix, a heavy duty primer over the entire hutch (except the glass).
3. I chose a black paint and applied two coats. The materials I used to paint and prime were foam rollers, and foam brushes for the detailed areas.
4. I chose a peacock blue/turquoise hue for the backing of the hutch to add a pop of color. I also used it inside the drawers.
5. I updated the hardware on the hutch to better fit the style of the rest of the kitchen.
I’ve been very happy with the final product, and haven’t noticed any chipping or peeling thus far,” commented Ann.
For all those that love their time in the soaking tub, you’re going to appreciate volcanic limestone quite a bit. Volcanic limestone tubs have been appealing to homeowners because of their ability to sustain heat and the fact that it doesn’t have a surface coating, making it impervious to chipping or peeling. “Victoria and Albert has really been able to capture the form and function of these tubs,” says Normandy Designer Chris Ebert. “In the project shown, the homeowners were drawn to the properties, as well as the beautiful shape.” Victoria and Albert have dubbed their product as “English Cast” and it’s comprised of volcanic limestone and high performance resins.
“The tub we selected would be comparable, in regards to cost, to your traditional cast iron tubs,” says Chris. “It just has a couple added benefits that make the classic freestanding tub even more attractive.”
Heated floors might not be necessary in all parts of the country, but being based out of the Midwest we tend to get a good deal of requests for them. “Heated flooring is typically incorporated into a master bathroom, especially those over a garage because of the multiple exterior walls,” says Normandy Designer Jennifer Runner, AKBD.
“The top four reasons that I’ve come across over the years for people wanting to it are:
1. It takes the sharp chill out of the cold tile floors, making for a more enjoyable experience overall.
2. It’s a supplemental source of heat for the entire bathroom.
3. It’s programmable, so it works with your lifestyle and daily routine to be as energy efficient as possible.
4. It’s easy to install, and is offered in standard and custom sizes.
You can also use heated flooring in your shower, or just on your shower bench, which really adds to the spa-like aesthetic that people are looking for today in their bathroom remodeling projects,” commented Jennifer.
Normandy Co-Owner Andy Wells was recently invited to participate on a panel for the semi-annual Remodeling Futures Conference hosted by the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University. The purpose of the conference was to share key insights of the remodeling industry, including research on the current housing stock trends, demographics and outlook.
“It was a great opportunity to connect with some of the largest firms in the industry,” says Andy. “They’re predicting remodeling to remain strong through next year, which is what we’ve been seeing in the Chicagoland area. It was nice to hear that reinforced by the Harvard research team, indicating that the industry as a whole is recovering and will continue to recover.”
Giving your powder room a contemporary makeover is a way to make it look open and sleek, and not like a room that you’ve given up hope on because of it’s small size. In this powder room, Normandy Designer Chris Ebert incorporated a vessel sink with a wall hung vanity to make a statement the second someone walks in. “It made sense to pair the unique sink and faucet with a light fixture that could match that level of interest,” says Chris.
“The drawback of selecting the wall hung vanity was the inadequate storage it provided, a common issue in general with powder rooms,” commented Chris. “To overcome the obstacle, we included two tall, wall hung cabinets to match the aesthetic of the rest of the room and provide adequate storage for the powder room.”
This powder room has been an industry favorite, recently winning an award from the National Kitchen and Bath Assocation Chicagoland and a second award from Professional Remodeler Magazine for its clean, innovative design.