Random interior design related thoughts that don’t fall into any other category.

Basement Bathroom Upgrade at #LugbillLanding

Today I wanted to fill you in on our basement bathroom. Full disclosure… this bathroom has been a headache since the day we decided to remodel it. I had a clear vision for the whole home (including the kids’ bathroom, which will be a future project) but I could not find inspiration for this last small bathroom. I lost so much sleep over this cave of a space. I wanted it to be high contrast, a fresh take on black and white, fun, playful but not so wild that I would get tired of it in 5 years. 

 

It was clearly a DIY project completed by someone who quite possibly had never remodeled a bathroom before. Here is a look at the original state. 

 

View looking into the bathroom from the living space

 

Weird nook we discovered could be eliminated during demo to enlarge the vanity

 

Cave-like shower stall

 

Existing dark shower stall

 

View of vanity before demo

 

The space was incredibly dark and dingy, with weird cutouts and low ceilings. We are so thankful that we decided to remodel it during phase 1, because during demolition, the plumbers found massive tree roots that had taken over the pipes. We also uncovered a hole where rats were coming into the house under the old shower… the joys of city living! It was wild to see our basement in this state, with roots and debris covering the floors. 

 

The plumber breaking the news of the tree roots

 

So much debris!

 

More debris!

 

Clean Slate!

 

The bathroom originally had a shower stall. We went back and forth between installing another shower vs. a tub.  In the end, since the wall had to be removed anyways, and we needed to frame out the space, we decided to go with another tub. After all, how amazing will it be to have a dedicated tub for extra dirty jobs like giving baths to extra dirty children and dogs!

 

New tub!

 

I went through about 34 different finish combinations for the space. After one last change due to COVID stock issues, this is where I landed.

 

Basement finishes

 

I’m obsessed with the gray scallop tile. I love the large scale and the playful pattern it adds to the space. I wanted to keep the side walls very simple and let the scallop tile take center stage. For the floor- I loved the idea of a medium scale tile- but again, I didn’t want to compete with the patterned tub wall. I decided to go with a light 12”x24” tile and have it cut down to 6”x12” pieces onsite. 6”x12” stocked floor tiles are nearly impossible to find.  My tile installer was not thrilled with the extra work, but it was worth it! I had the tile installed in a basketweave pattern. It is perfect for the space.

 

Walking the tile installer through my vision

 

The 6″x12″ basketweave pattern

 

Future (larger) vanity placement

 

During the demo, we found a ledge in the foundation wall that I knew I could take advantage of. We followed this foundation line to create a wall to wall ledge in the tub. I love how it adds storage to the tub and makes the space feel larger. After so many unhappy surprises, I was thankful for one good one. 

 

The new wall to wall ledge

 

Accent tile

 

I can’t wait to share photos of this finished bathroom with you. It was worth the headaches and will be a heavily used space for years to come.

 

A Master Bathroom Retreat at #LugbillLanding

The master bathroom concept came very easy to me, but the details took a painfully long time to finalize. I was basically flying by the seat of my pants as things were getting installed. I hate feeling rushed on decisions, but it is SO HARD to find time to dedicate to my own project when I’m so busy 9-5+ working on everyone else’s projects. I’m lucky I work great under pressure, I have put that skill to the test during this season of life!

 

As a designer, there is a certain pressure to create something innovative and fresh with each new design. I’ve designed so many bathrooms that I’ve adored and would love to call my own- but I wanted something different than I had done before. It’s a bit scary to have carte blanche and know there is no one to point my finger at if I’m not happy with the results. 

 

I went out of my comfort zone and took several risks in the master bathroom. I wanted to create an elegant, timeless, bright, spa like retreat without being too fancy. I love natural materials and the depth they add to a space. Calacatta marble has warmth and dramatic veining, but is a huge risk as a tile material. Marble is generally considered a final sale item, and you are stuck with what you get. Each lot of marble is dramatically different in both color and veining. Despite the huge risk, I decided to go with a large scale 12”x24” honed calacatta marble on the floor. I ordered 25% overage and hoped for the best. 

 

I have never met a tile installer that truly sees my vision before installation and therefore I never leave it up to the tile installer to select which pieces of stone make the cut. When going with a natural stone tile, I highly recommend going through each box and sorting through prior to installation. I follow a similar process to a hoarding tv show… I make a pile of my favorite pieces that need to be showcased, a pile of pieces that are OK and a 3rd pile that are all rejects (can be used under the toilet, tub or vanity). Depending on the type of natural stone, I have been known to go to the extreme measures of taping out the actual footprint and labeling each tile with North/South/East/West instructions. I get extremely specific when I want the veining to continue through several tiles. It is an annoying (and filthy) process, but it pays off every time.

Sorting through the tile

 

Erica sorting through the tile

 

Part of my vision for the space was a line of chevron that started on the floor and continued vertically onto the vanity wall. I thought this would pull your eye up and add something special to the vanity wall. Tiling the whole wall felt over the top for my style.  I wanted to keep the chevron in the same calacatta material so it was subtle but still elevated the design. I searched high and low for the right size of calacatta to create the chevron with no success. I had my heart set on this chevron, so I was going to make it happen even if I had to cut the tile myself. In the end, I decided to have my countertop fabricator cut the custom chevron pieces to the perfect size on their huge machines. The pieces needed to be precise and it would have taken forever to cut each piece down individually onsite.

 

Creating a template for the Chevron cuts

 

Chevron tile template

 

This installation was extremely complicated, and needed to be mapped out perfectly prior to starting. Getting the chevron to line up perfectly with the center of the vanity and hit the tub where I wanted on the floor took about 4,000 iterations to the design, but it was worth it.

 

Figuring out the exact placement of the chevron detail with a laser

 

Floor tile progress

 

View of the chevron continuing from the floor to the wall, vertically before vanity installation

 

Because I’m a designer and I like to make things even more complicated (ha!), I decided that I wanted the vertical chevron accent to be flush with the drywall. This was another risk, I wasn’t really 100% sure what this would look like installed, and if they would be able to finish it to my liking. I think this risk paid off, it is such a custom look. It is such a subtle difference but I love the way it turned out.

 

Chevron detail after installing an additional 1/4″ drywall to make it flush with the wall

 

Flush chevron detail – after the cabinets and counters were installed

 

I went through all of the tiles individually, but made the mistake of not going through the chevron pieces after they were cut. Of course there was one piece that had to come out. It was bright white and all my eyes saw when I looked at the wall.  Lesson learned!

 

The picture I sent to my tile installer…this tile had to go

 

I could tell my husband, Justin, wasn’t in love with the calacatta when it was first installed. He thought it was too cold and a little busy. I was anxious as the bathroom started to come together to see if my vision would work in reality and I really wanted this bathroom to top our last bathroom. 

 

 Last week he told me that he has loved the bathroom more and more as each new finish/fixture is installed. He said each new layer adds a new dimension to the space. It felt like one of the best compliments I’ve ever received on a design, coming from my spouse. I had so much fun (and anxiety) creating this master bathroom retreat for us to share! If you need me, I will be in my new bathroom for the rest of 2020…

 

I love the contrast/warmth of the walnut combined with the calacatta marble…two of my favorite things

 

Tips for a marble tile bathroom:

  • Always order more overage material than normal so you are able to be selective in the pieces installed (this also ensures you aren’t stuck with a different lot if you run out of tile). I recommend 25% overage while the standard is 10-15%
  • Sort through the boxes prior to installation
  • Don’t forget to seal your tile!
  • Select a honed finish for a more casual/lived in look and polished for a more elegant look

Small Changes and Big Transformations at Lake Shore Restore

If you have been following us on instagram and facebook, you may have seen our previous posts about our current project, #lakeshorerestore. A little background on this project if you are not caught up can be found in our previous post,  A Deeper Dive into #lakeshorerestore. Keep reading to learn even more about this project, what we are changing, and our thought process behind the alterations happening in each space!

 

Original Floor Plan

New Floor Plan

 

As you can see, we didn’t make any MAJOR changes to this floor plan – all rooms are staying generally in the same location. However, we made multiple minor adjustments that will lead to major improvements. 

 

Kitchen Layout

Kitchen Layout

First and foremost, upon walking into the space, you notice how closed off and separated the kitchen is from the dining and living space. The kitchen feels small and cave-like with the dropped ceilings and outdated cabinets and appliances. It was a no brainer to take down both the wall to the living room and the dining room to create an open space that made the whole area feel much bigger and way more functional. The main thing our client wanted was an island, so we went as big as we could without overwhelming the living space. The island will offer plenty of seating for this couple, and will be perfect for when grandkids come to visit! 

 

We can already envision the family gathering here (which is what usually happens any time there is an island). A few other design elements we wanted to include were some open shelving with lighting to open up some visual space with the cabinetry. We chose a small spot in the kitchen to include this feature so we could be sure not to take away from the much needed storage space. We also included a wine / beverage refrigerator towards the dining room end of the kitchen for easy access while serving guests. 

 

Hallway into Guest Room

New Hallway Layout

 

Next, we move onto the family room, hallway, laundry room, and guest area. Look closely and you’ll notice a few big changes. The first thing we decided to do was remove the closet closest to the family room, and open up the family room recessed wall. The closet wasn’t necessary since there was plenty of storage space already, which made the decision easy. Next, we moved the laundry room from the right side of the hallway, to the room on the left. We added a second door and made the doors open up like french doors to allow access to the side by side washer and dryer – a huge improvement from the small and awkward previous laundry space which could only house a stacking washer and dryer comfortably. This will now be a coat and linen closet. The hallway bathroom floor plan remained the same (the transformation in this room is still going to be huge – keep an eye out for finished photos!) since we didn’t have much flexibility due to the location. Not to mention, it was already a great size for a hallway bathroom! 

 

We wanted the guest bedroom and bathroom to feel more inviting and comfortable. The room already had some great built-ins to work with, but an overly crowded closet area. By removing one set of closet doors, we allowed for open space for a bench, freestanding furniture piece, or anything else the clients think their guests could need while still allowing a full closet for storage. This was another small – but big impact – change that really made a huge difference.

 

Old Master Bathroom

New Master Bathroom Layout

 

The master bathroom is definitely the bathroom with the most changes! Originally, the bathroom had two separate sink / vanity areas, one on either side of the room. It also had a separate closet area right outside the bathroom before walking in, with tons of closet space in the actual bedroom area itself. We decided to extend the bathroom into the back closet area and create a double vanity with sinks, and use the other side of the bathroom as floor to ceiling linen storage. The angled shower was also widened and straightened out to make the space feel more open. 

 

We are really looking forward to sharing more of this project with you as progress is made throughout the unit, and we absolutely cannot wait to show you the finished result!

 

Second Floor Upgrades at #LugbillLanding

Happy May!  Today we’re going to spend some time jumping into the second level floor plan. 

 

When we purchased #LugbillLanding, we knew that eventually we would end up renovating both the first floor and the second floor, not to mention the attic and the basement.   We originally were going back and forth between phasing out the first or second floor, versus ripping off the bandaid and doing the whole project at once. 

 

The logistics of phasing out the project would be very complicated with our 2 kids, so in the end we decided to go all in. Pre-kids, while renovating our last condo, we lived without a shower for a week. I don’t even want to imagine what that would look like now that we have kids!   While we didn’t love the idea of spending so much money at one time, the alleviation of future headaches, coupled with the cost savings from doing the entire home renovation in one pass, led us to go big.

 

So, without further ado, let’s dive in!

 

2nd Floor – Original Floor Plan

 

2nd Floor – Demo Plan

 

When we first walked up the creaky staircase during our initial visit with our realtor, there was a bathroom at the top of the stairs, with no true master bathroom. 

 

Original bathroom at the top of the stairs

Original bathroom at the top of the stairs.

Original bathroom at the top pf stairs, post-demo

 

When we walked into the master bedroom, we saw a giant room with a sitting area.  It felt very compartmentalized and dark with the location of the closets. 

 

Original Master Bedroom Closets

 

Original master bedroom closets during demo

 

The other room on this floor was the future bedroom for our two boys.  It was giant and had a small ensuite bathroom. We liked this space as is, although we didn’t love that their bathroom didn’t have a bathtub.  After 2.5 years of raising boys, I think it is safe to say that they play hard, with the dirt to show for it!

 

One of my favorite stages during a construction project is reworking the floorplan. The challenge of maximizing the space is like a complicated puzzle to me.  In situations like this, my first step is to sketch out the existing floor plan and use white out over the existing interior walls.  This gives me a baseline to work with.  It feels like a blank slate with endless possibilities! 

 

I often have a lightbulb moment when working on a new floor plan. For my 2nd level, that lightbulb moment happened when I decided to eliminate the existing closets and open up the whole master suite. The bathroom and closet layout immediately fell into place. I love the flow of the new floor plan, it is perfect for our needs!

 

The space feels so much better already!

 

If you remember from my list of must-haves, an amazing master suite was top priority. Our previous condo had a great master suite, and I didn’t want to downgrade. A true master bathroom that is connected to the master bedroom was also non-negotiable for me. 

 

Erica’s must-haves list

 

Knowing that the activity level (and subsequently, dirt level of our two boys would only increase in the coming years, we knew we needed at least one bathtub in the house. I didn’t think it was worth the financial and space investment to add a tub to the kids’ current bathroom.  I figured that we needed a tub for the young kid years, and having it in the master bathroom rather than their bathroom, wouldn’t be a huge inconvenience. 

 

Prior to moving in,  I was not a big bath person.Three weeks into living here, I may have had a conversion experience.  It. Is. Amazing.   

 

So – with those priorities in mind, here’s the new floor plan:

 

2nd Floor – New floor plan

 

So far, we are thrilled with how the second floor is coming together. We love the natural light in the master bathroom and bedroom and how open and airy the whole space feels. 

 

New master bathroom layout during framing

 

Prepping for tile!

Stay tuned to see what finishes we selected for the master bath.  We took a few risks so are excited to see whether those bold decisions paid off. We can’t wait to share the 2nd floor with you as it comes to life!

 

Floor Plan Upgrades at #LugbillLanding

Today I wanted to walk you through the first level layout at #LugbillLanding, where construction is progressing beautifully.

 

I knew the home had the perfect floorplan for our family based off of the listing photos. I love how the space is open, with just the right amount of division. There were a couple of tricky areas that weren’t functional in their current form so I ended up breaking a couple rules.  I don’t regret it, though!  Before we get into my rule-breaking, here are the things I needed to solve for:

 

  1. Convert the sunroom into usable space
  2. Find space for a half bathroom on the first floor- I can’t be bothered going up or down a flight of stairs when nature calls
  3. Remove the wall between the dining room/kitchen- even with it being partially open, this wall was non-negotiable (despite Justin’s hesitations)
  4. Integrate more kitchen storage – it had a great footprint, but not a ton of storage 
  5. Make the ceiling height change work between the sunroom and kitchen (more on this later!)

 

With these things in mind, here are the “Design Crimes” I committed:

 

  1. I covered up a window. Not everything is about aesthetics.  Good design ensures optimal functionality.  To that light, because there were so many windows in the sunroom, the kitchen couldn’t be extended. The space is WAY more functional with that window gone, and there is still plenty of light!

 

  1. I put a toilet right off the kitchen. This was the only spot for a toilet, which is very typical for Chicago homes. This wasn’t the first offence on the premises.  There were old plumbing stubs already in the pantry space, so someone else committed the same crime at some point.

 

Location of Powder Bath

Powder Room off the kitchen.

 

Wall that must go!

The Wall That Had To Go!

 

During Demo

During demo…..Looking better already!

 

Progress photo of the Kitchen

Progress off the new kitchen with the wall gone.

 

View from Kitchen

View from inside the kitchen looking towards the foyer.

 

For those of you that are floor plan junkies- here is the layout of the first floor: 

 

Lugbill Landing’s Original Floor Plan

 

Lugbill Landing’s New Floor Plan

 

To wrap this up, remember if you are working on your own renovation there is always a balance between the aesthetics and the function.  In addition, you should always be thinking about how the changes you’re entertaining will impact resale value. Not every decision should be made based on this, as you have to consider the enjoyment and use you’ll get out of it.  However, it is an important variable to consider.  Last, take it from an interior designer that does residential remodels for a living:  The right thing for your home doesn’t necessarily need to follow the rules.

Replacing Tired Hardwood Floors (#LugbillLanding on IG)

Over the years, I’ve had a hand in replacing countless creaky, tired, dated floors with updated, fresh varieties.  Personally, I’ve owned three homes, and one of the first things to be updated has always been the floors.  New flooring has an uncanny ability to breathe life into a home and really transform a space.

 

Most recently, the original red oak wood floors at #LugbillLanding were not only dark, but they were t.i.r.e.d. The 100+ year-old home had floors with spots that were basically worn to the subfloor. In other spots, you would step on them and almost fall through the floor joists.  OK – maybe that’s a bit dramatic :).   Following tradition, I knew when we signed the papers to close on the house, replacing them was at the top of my priority list.

 

Stepping back 6 years to our family’s previous condo, on day one, we ripped out the basic, generic factory-grade engineered wood flooring, added a plywood subfloor and installed ¾” thick red oak flooring.  The dark ebony stain that we went with was absolutely perfect for the condo.  This time around though, the space called for something different – something lighter. 

 

Old Condo Floors

Red Oak flooring with ebony stain

 

Pro Tip: The Red oak wood species is a great choice if you are looking for a medium to darker tone stain. It is a durable hardwood and stains beautifully.  However, when you try to stain red oak floors lighter, the pink tones are really prominent.

 

New Floors

New floors being installed in the boys’ room.

 

When installing new flooring, I always encourage people to ensure their flooring contractor includes a minimum of 3 onsite stain samples in their bid. Although it may not seem like it, the same exact floor stain can look completely different based on the lighting and batch of wood. For LD projects, these on-site samples are a must.

 

Here’s a peak at the 3 combinations I was trying to decide between:

 

3 Stain Colors

From Left to Right: Bona Birch 100%, Bona Birch/Sand Dune 50/50 mix, Bona Sand Dune 100% — the sample board on top was my original inspiration for color

 

3 Color Stains

Another view of stain colors

 

My favorite stain was the Bona Birch – no question. It was so beautiful, bright and fresh!  Contrary to what you’d expect (and most people have to fight against),  it isn’t always the best choice to go with their favorite stain.   Despite it being the most logical thing to do on the surface, there are almost always other variables to consider.  Here, my hesitation to go with my favorite stemmed from the notion that we plan (I know, I know, plans change) on staying in this home forever, and while you can refinish floors, it is a big investment, alongside it being an incredibly messy proposition.  The thought of trying to live through that messy, dusty upgrade with a family in tow seemed pretty overwhelming. As a result, my gut was telling me to go with a more timeless option.

 

I studied the samples, putting down the other finish selections and walking around the room to get a sense of the different ways the light interacted with the stains… which is a somewhat daunting experience while the whole flooring crew stares at you,  waiting for a decision so they can get on with their lives.

 

In the end, I went with a 50/50 mix of birch and sand dune. It felt like the perfect combination of fresh and bright, while still being warm. This color has great staying power and will go with a variety of colors as the fads cycle through over the life of the home.  Even though birch was my favorite color in the moment, I LOVE the birch/sand dune mix. It is so beautiful with the other finishes I have planned throughout the home. 

 

Final Stain Choice

 

Final Stain Choice

The final stain choice

 

Post-stain, I am so, so happy with the decision.  The contractor paper we had down to protect the floors while the remodel was in full swing,  just came up last week, and I absolutely adore the color.  I love how they turned out.

 

More updates to come.  Stay tuned!

 

Lugbill Designs Founder Named One of the 10 Best Chicago Interior Designers

Lugbill Designs founder and lead designer, Erica Lugbill, was recently recognized as a top 10 interior designer in Chicago. Decorilla, an interior design blog, hand-selected ten of the top interior designers from the town considered to be the global architecture capital for its bold structural design, many museums and art installations. Deservingly, one of them is the brain behind the high-end interior design firm, Lugbill Designs.

Here’s what Decorilla has got to say about Erica, founder and creative director of Lugbill Designs:
“As founder of Lugbill Designs, Erica Lugbill has been a strong name in Chicago’s design community since her start in 2010. She capitalized on specializing her service in both décor and full renovations. She strives to make communication the heart of the project making the end result a completely customized space that embodies the client’s personality and lifestyle.”

“With a network of independent construction companies and various vendors, Lugbill Designs provides competitive pricing and easy billing which results in a very low stress design process. Lugbill Designs also offers complimentary in-home consultations. They have consulted for many well-known TV networks such as DIY, HGTV, and Bravo.”

What Decorilla loves about Erica? The blog says it’s “her keen eye to see what the design industry in Chicago was missing and capitalize on providing the absolute best possible service for her clients.”
This is not the first time Erica is recognized for her exquisite work. In 2016, she was listed as one of the 20 best Chicago-based interior designers by freshome.com website. The blog expressed confidence that the shortlisted professionals can turn your home into a work of art or a cozy getaway.

To know more about Erica Lugbill, log-on to her website: www.lugbilldesigns.com.

How to Decorate a Kitchen Using Earth Tones

Here’s a how-to video by Erica Lugbill, the owner of Lugbill Designs, that discusses ways to decorate a kitchen using earth tones.

Nothing beats the combination of rich warm woods with earth tone colors. You can’t go wrong with this combination because it is warm and inviting.

When decorating your kitchen, the key is to aim for a perfect contrast. Start with your cabinetry samples and match them with the earth tone paint color that you like.

Another way to decorate your kitchen with earth tone is with the backsplash tile and earth stone counter top. If you have a window in your kitchen, you can also match the earth tone theme with the wooden shade.

Using earth tones for a kitchen’s interior design can bring impressive results, especially with the help of a professional. Check out this video for further instructions in decorating a kitchen using earth tones: http://www.lugbilldesigns.com/videos/kitchen-earth-tones.html

Need help with your home’s interior design, find useful tips and update from our interior design blog.

How to Keep Rugs From Slipping on Wood Floors

How to Keep Rugs From Slipping on Wood Floors

In this video Erica Lugbill, owner of Lugbill Designs, a Chicago-based residential remodelling and interior design firm, gives tips on how to keep rugs from slipping on the floor.

Some rugs come with a rubber non-skid backing on that keep them in place, but others don’t. This means having a difficult time to keep them from slipping  on the floor.

But while it seems like a problem, there are actually several options that you can try to keep rugs from slipping.

Add a layer underneath your rug

What Erica Lugbill personally uses is a felt rug pad with rubber backing to layer underneath your rug. It is nice, thick and plush option. Not only can it keep your rugs in place, it also adds luxury to the height of the rug, so it is softer when you step on it.

Use a carpet tape

Another option is to use a carpet tape, but you have to be careful when using it. It is only advisable to use if your wooden floor has a very strong finish or if you have a laminate flooring. Simply put a double sided carpet tape on the floor, peel off the top and securely put down your rug.

Rugs that don’t stay in place are safety hazards. Much more, they can ruin the orderliness in your home and prevent you from achieving a flaw-free interior. However with several techniques to try, you can easily keep rugs from slipping on the floor just fine.

Video: http://www.lugbilldesigns.com/videos/slipping-wood-floors.html

Learn cool interior design hacks that you’d want to know by visiting our blog.

How to Choose an Accent Color for Interior Painting

VideoScrape 1 (edit) - How to choose an accent color for interior painting

In this video Erica Lugbill, owner of Lugbill Designs, a high end residential remodelling and interior design firm at Chicago, covers how to choose an accent paint color when painting your space.

The first thing to evaluate is the size of the the room. Small rooms won’t work well with accent wall. Erica advised: “Painting an accent wall can kind of chop up the space and make the room smaller.”

If the space is large enough, then, look for the undertone. For instance, Erica presented paint colors with grey undertone. Check your paint deck and pair it with colors with the same undertone. And if your wall has a brown undertone, look for the warmer spectrum that has the same brown undertone.

The trick is to not have loud or too wild of a color. “You want something that will work well with the main wall color within your space.”

The accent color that you will choose can make or break your interior design. Take it from the expert so you can make use of the colors that can bring tremendous improvements in your space.

Want more useful interior design tips and tricks from the expert? Stay up-to-date by visiting our blog.

@ 2019 Lugbill Designs   Downtown 211 W Wacker Dr, Suite 300, Chicago, IL 60606   North Side 7005 North Glenwood Avenue, Chicago, IL 60626-2812    (773) 572-9049