Good Design – it’s all in the Details

master bedroom 1One of my favorite rooms in our Eichler is our bedroom.  Our bed faces an entire wall of floor-to-ceiling glass that looks out onto a private garden. My husband and I, along with our two cats, enjoy watching the birds, butterflies and lizards that call this garden home.

master bedroom 2

Master Bathroom Door Closed
All of our interior doors were hand selected for beautiful wood grain; this one reminds me of a topographical map. Our bathroom door is rather unique. Watch what happens.

bathroom pivot door 1

bathroom door after sequence

 Look closely. This is the same door, as seen from inside the bathroom.

bathroom door sequence beforeThis is how it looked when we bought the house. We renovated the bathroom, but restored the door. Actually, we installed a new door using the original hardware; it was difficult, but totally worth the effort.

Master Bedroom Garden

The door allows two people to share the bathroom without sacrificing personal privacy. Best of all, the toilet is never visible from the bedroom. How cool is that?

Master Bathroom CabinetOther details worth mentioning: notice the way the skylight fills the bathroom with natural light; we never turn lights on during the day. LED strip lighting, concealed beneath the natural walnut “floating” cabinet, provides a soft glow at night that’s easy on the eyes during middle of the night bathroom visits. We found the vintage Schlage doorknobs and locksets (new and in their original boxes) at Designer’s Brass, a family owned hardware store in San Bruno. The owner purchased Schlage’s remaining inventory when they closed their San Francisco production facilities. The quality of these pieces simply can’t be matched; most of the sets made today have internal parts made of cheap plastic.

Eichler bathroom addition & pivot doorWe gave the bathroom a bit more elbow room by moving the exterior wall out three feet. This small addition makes it much, much easier to enter and exit the shower.

Heath Tile in ShowerWe chose made-to-order tile from Heath Ceramics in Sausalito for our master bathroom.  The wall tile is new crystal blue (G36.2) and the shower floor is matte brown (M39.2). We opted for a shower curtain instead of a glass shower enclosure; I prefer a bit more privacy thankyouverymuch.

And lastly, the heated floors are divine!

Broken to Beautiful – Salvaging a Cracked Concrete Patio

Eichler Courtyard One of the features that made us instantly fall in love with our Eichler was the front entry courtyard. Our orange front door leads to this private space while the dark brown fence shields it from the street (and provides the perfect background for our blue agapanthus).

photo-11When we bought this house six years ago, ivy covered the front fence and overgrown shrubs blocked the view of the mountains. Worse yet, one of the two large rectangular concrete patios was terribly cracked and uneven. Something had to be done.

Front Courtyard Before 2

I began by ripping out the ivy and cutting down the shrubs, but dealing with the patio required a bit of creative thinking. Replacing it wasn’t an option.

eichler exterior hardscape plan

Our house has five distinct outdoor living spaces, with five sets of matching exposed aggregate concrete patios, all made with “Teri Beach” pebbles that are no longer available. As a result, replacing just the courtyard patios would have ruined the cohesive feel of the house. At the same time, replacing everything would have been incredibly wasteful (and expensive!) – all of the other hardscape was in excellent condition.

Front Patio with Blue Tape 3 I had no choice but to come up with another solution.

Front Patio Before 1

After doing a bit of brainstorming with a roll of blue tape, I decided to salvage the broken slab by having it cut into smaller rectangles and squares.

Front Patio Before 3

After contacting dozens of concrete contractors (all of whom complained that our job was “too small” and thought my idea was “ridiculous” or “impossible”), we eventually found someone willing to take on our “little” job, someone willing to think differently.

Sawcutting Front Patio 3 Sawcutting Front Patio 4

Front Patio Demo 1 Front Patio Demo 3After sawcutting the broken slab into pieces, our landscape contractor removed the excess concrete and thankfully, only one square had to be moved into a new position.

Front Patio After 1

Front Patio After 2

After moving and leveling one square, I cleaned the slabs with water, added some soil, and planted two flats of succulent Sedum rupestre ‘Angelina’ in the spaces in between.

Front Patio After 3

Since then, the succulents have filled in and the courtyard is once again a tranquil retreat.

Front Courtyard Patio - After