A SoMoToHo Update -Waterworks Improvements

Remodeling & Design / Saturday, May 7th, 2016

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Water is the theme of today’s post – we’ve recently completed (or nearly completed) a couple of hydrology-related improvements at the SoHoToHo. In honor of those, I decided to post a pic of the fountains at the Summer Palace in St. Petersburg (although there is no telling what will appear to those of you seeing this on Facebook – just click and go to the WordPress site for the pic). Dancing fountains can be found many places, of course – Barcelona and Las Vegas come immediately to mind – but I found the obvious popularity of these (see the crowd gathered on the other side of the reservoir?) affecting. During the communist regime, these fountains were still and silent, the grounds and magnificent buildings used for storage. They’ve been beautifully restored and dance daily during the summer months to strains of classical music –  and to the delight of throngs of visitors, natives and tourists alike. It’s quite a sight.

But on to the SoMoToHo. Remember this?2014-10-19 20.29.47.jpg

This is the pool shortly after we bought the place. I’m futzing with the cleaner, which is something I spend an inordinate amount of time doing (long time readers will remember my love/hate/hate relationship with pools, in general). Here’s another shot, showing how the pool relates to the fence, taken just after the cross vines were planted:

Fence 5-4-15

We thought that the brick coping looked kind of tired and really 1985-ish. And the tile, while not so bad in and of itself, was missing in several places along the dividing wall between the pool and the spa. Finding a match would be an impossibility. So, we decided to replace both. Here are some shots while the work was being done:

We didn’t want to spend a fortune on this project and we wanted to keep things pretty simple, so Debra chose an Oklahoma flagstone for the coping (we did cough up a bit extra to make sure that the color was fairly uniform) and an understated grey for the tile. Here’s a shot just before it was ready for the water to go back in:


And here are some views of the finished product. I think it turned out really nice, don’t you?

The cross vines love it here


Understated. Calming. I like it. Probably even better than filling it in. Our grandsons certainly like it better than that. And speaking of the grandboys –

The upstairs hall bath (or “Boys’ Bath” since we use it primarily for the boys) is next. Let’s take a look at some before shots.

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Shiny brass fixtures, scalloped sinks, and that wallpaper! My, my, my. It really was pretty fun ripping that stuff off!IMG_3293.JPG

A little juxtaposition will illustrate the effect of this update – and kind of show Debra’s vision for transforming the whole house from 1985 mish-mash of cloying flower, hideous tile, and shiny brass to sleek, comfortable soft-modern town home. First, the sinks:

Next, the wall and light switch cover. It’s the little things; it really is.

The aim of this project – and pretty much every project in the SoMoToHo – is to end up with a sleek but warm, contemporary but comfortable, livable space. Here is the new vanity going in:IMG_3394.JPG

The marble slab and the under-mount sinks meet the sleek but warm goal. Framing the mirror and updating the hardware make the space more comfortable – and certainly more contemporary than it was.

Scroll back up to the first pic of the bath. Here is sort of the same view as the one at the beginning of the post once it was finished:


Makes you breathe a bit easier, doesn’t it?

We removed the cabinet above the toilet because it made the space seem constricting. Here is is with the cabinet gone and the new bath hardware installed:


But we still needed some storage in that space – it’s far more convenient to have towels by the bath than somewhere down the hall. Debra found a wire mesh shelf on the West Elm site that fit the bill nicely – no heaviness and no claustrophobia.


Simple, clean lines. A comfortable bath that will work well for the grandboys and guests, as well.


Next up – a much larger bath project – the en suite in the master down. And we’re going to get rid of the once-ubiquitous hideous tile in the coffee bar. Hope to see you next time! Thanks for reading!

0 Replies to “A SoMoToHo Update -Waterworks Improvements”

  1. You really need to let me “dress” the room before you do photos.. . . .
    Trust me readers, it looks far better with the “right” towels, accessories, art, etc. Perhaps I can convince Dan to do another photo when it’s truly “done”?

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