Before & After: The Chamberlains' Modern Addition

Before & After: The Chamberlains' Modern Addition

Aaron Able
May 7, 2012

Earlier on Apartment Therapy, the Chamberlains shared their Nickel Tile Floor — but the unique flooring choice in their new master bathroom is just a small part of the overall picture: Our project, while considered an "addition" by our city, was actually quite a major undertaking. In December 2010, we completely demolished our 1950's daylight basement rambler down to the foundation. The design of our new home (currently unfurnished, we are still in the process of moving in) uses the footprint of our old rambler, but in a much more efficient manner.

Our architects cleverly removed the hallways from the old house, leaving larger, more open spaces. The home is very open. Walk in through our front door and you are immediately welcomed into our great room — our living and dining room. Turn right and you are in our kitchen — which flows to the deck and into back yard. Look up through the perforated metal railing, and you see a glimpse of our master bedroom and bathroom (the only door in the loft is to the toilet room). To us, it feels urban, modern and fresh — others may not be as comfortable with the lack of privacy.

A lighting plan was designed to compensate for what generally are, grey, dark days in Seattle. Eighteen foot high ceilings proved a challenge for lighting, but after significant research (we visited open houses with
similar ceilings and home design), we opted for nearly 50 6" Juno cans throughout the house, which complement our floor-to-ceiling aluminum windows.

We made the decision to paint the entire home white — Benjamin Moore: Chantilly Lace — and accent with bright accessories embody (throw pillows, art, blankets, etc)

The basement, our kids' living space, was no exception. I chose bright orange as a common color, linking both my son and daughter's room to that scheme. To make the space more kid-friendly (concrete floors run throughout the home), we installed large foam pads (similar to what you would find in a kiddie gymnasium) over the entire floor and will layer it with cozy throw rugs for added comfort.

It was really important for us to personalize our space and incorporate unique details that you may not find in every home. For about a year I gathered images of specific materials and inspirational looks I wanted in our home (i.e.concrete, steel beams, wood, metal, etc) and while interviewing building contractors, we were able to share the "Chamberlain Look Book." This provided the contractors with a clear idea of what we wanted in our home and in turn, helped in defining a more accurate budget for the project. Research
was key! Throughout the 9½ month building process, I visited design websites daily — remodelista, livemodern, houzz, apartmenttherapy, among others — and constantly modified the look book, honing the look and feel of our home.

Some of the more unique features of the home:

Rubber Shower Surround — While flipping through the online pages of Sunset Magazine, I came across the image of a backsplash, tiled with rubber squares one usually finds on commercial stairs. I loved the idea of cladding the kids' shower surround with this fun, rubber material. Unexpected. Water-resistant. Perfectly durable for kids.

13,650 Nickels — We installed a nickel tile floor, similar to the popular penny tiles posted on Apartment Therapy in 2009. The copper from the pennies simply did not integrate with the neutral grey and white of our home. So,13,650 nickels later and after 30 straight days of gluing nickels to mesh, we have a nickel-tile master bathroom floor. See the post describing our process: Nickel Tile Floor! A DIY Bathroom Renovation

Perforated Metal Railing — My husband designed our perforated metal railing with both budget and visual impact in mind. ng-architects-archdaily-093973">This amazing Chicago apartment provided our creative inspiration for the railing.

  1. I sourced square perforated metal sheets from a local steel company —
  2. ion.html">Grating Pacific.
  3. We purchased angle iron and rectangular steel tubing from another local steel company.
  4. Great craftsmanship from our contractor and we had a very reasonably priced, solid railing.

Phenolic Resin Countertops — If this project taught me nothing else, it's that everything happens for a reason. In January 2010, I hired a concrete countertop contractor to install concrete in our kitchen. The week prior to installation (in July) he emailed to advise me that he was no longer in the concrete business. Not long before receiving (what I thought at the time was the worst email ever!!!), I had read about Paperstone countertops. Being the researcher that I am (and budget conscious), I explored the local cost of Paperstone, only to realize that it far exceeded the budget allocated to our
countertops. Always searching for the next best thing, I continued to research the best countertop option for our family (with 2 extremely active kids). Did you know that the countertop material in science laboratories is
in fact the same epoxy material found in Paperstone (just maybe not 100%
eco-friendly)? Now you do! Found a source in Arizona — Duratop Epoxy — that sells the resin countertops and the rest is history. Couldn't be happier!

Build a great working relationship with your contractor. Be involved! Our contractor, Robert Irish of Robert Irish Inc, knew exactly what to expect from our involvement in the process. We regularly shared our ideas of how to keep costs down and he remained completely open-minded, even if our suggestions were a tad unconventional.

When it comes down to designing/building a home within a budget, the key is defining a list of wants vs. needs. If your needs exceed your wants (or that you "want" more wants) be creative and resourceful. Inspiration is everywhere!

Thanks Chamberlains!

(Images: The Chamberlains)

(Re-edited from a post originally published 09.28.10 - NM)


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