SoMoToHo – Waterworks Continued and Roaring to the Finish

Remodeling & Design / Wednesday, July 27th, 2016

It has been awhile since my last post. Debra and I decided to escape the Texas heat and head WAY south – Buenos Aires and Montevideo. Here is a shot of Debra enjoying the cold weather and admiring the Puente de la Mujer by Calatrava in Puerto Madero, BA. 2016-06-26 15.57.44.jpgIf you’ve been to Dublin, you’ll find this bridge to be familiar. Same architect. Here’s a shot of the one in Ireland:

Ireland 2011 113 (3).JPG

See what I mean?

In any event – in addition to escaping the heat, we’ve been working furiously on the SoMoToHo getting her ready to sell. In a few days, I’ll do a “before and after” post with after photos by Trey Freeze, which are always a treat. In the meantime, I wanted to share the progress and some of the “little things” that go into getting a major project like this one ready. 

I thought you’d get a kick out of this note that the painters left behind fairly early in the process:


The “Casa de Debra” is my favorite part. No matter what the language, if mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy. These fellows obviously understood that.

Staging is essential in selling any home, no matter how wonderful the remodeling work. The next two pics illustrate some of the small changes that we went through in deciding the best way to dress up the SoMoToHo.

The first fireplace vignette in the upstairs Master.
The second. Only slightly different but another step in the evolution.

Substituting the large painting for the three smaller pieces (and removing the ottoman) calms the whole scene. Check back when we post the final pics to see how adding a single accessory gives a completely different feel.

The laundry room is often overlooked in staging. We didn’t want to spend a lot of money or effort in there but small pops of color and interest like the switch plate cover and cabinet door hardware shown below add interest.



This room probably won’t be in the next post – like I said, it never gets much respect – so here is a shot to show the effect.

A colorful throw rug and a little art makes it bit snazzier.

Now let’s look at the remaining baths – this is supposed to be about waterworks, after all. The en suite in the Master upstairs started out like this:2015-03-05 18.01.02.jpg

2015-03-05 18.01.08.jpg
See the DSL adapter on the wall? Remember those? And a landline in the bathroom? Remnant of a bygone era.

The cultured marble counter top and the scallop-shell sink with its shiny brass fixtures are similar to the ones in the boys’ bath. And the wallpaper. My, my. Even though it’s not as grating as the toile in the master down, it’s still hard to face in the mornings. The first step is to get rid of the paper and paint. We chose a white – BM Cloud White – to expand the space.

IMG_4128.JPGWe opted for smooth walls which, frankly, I’d just as soon have all over the house. I’m not, however, talented enough with tape, bed, and texture to accomplish that and most painters who are charge exorbitant prices for that work. I guess that’s why you typically only see it in commercial settings.

Then the counter top had to go and Dallas White granite looked good with the new white walls. IMG_4137.JPG

A rectangular sink makes the whole vanity look more contemporary, even with the raised panel doors.


Notice that the brass door knob is gone? We replaced every door knob in the house.

A new shower curtain, a Turkish rug, and some art and you have a pretty economical makeover.


The new mirror and uber-contemporary faucet help a lot, too.

Meanwhile in the Master downstairs, the new vanity is plumbed and moved into place:



And the new tub sits filled with water to properly set:


The new toilet is a Toto – Debra swears that it’s worth it and who am I to argue?


Removing the doors from the linen closet and leaving open shelving gives a more spa-like feel to the room.

In the next post, you’ll see a glass door knob in place of this brass one.

The shower will have frameless glass – it just hasn’t made it from the fabricator yet.


The stone guys did some really nice work on the detailing:



Once again, the inimitable Shawn Cowdin – our contractor for this bath – has performed true to Debra’s design. The result is high-end but comfortable. It’s not quite finished but you can tell where it will end up:


I’ll close with a shot of the new chandelier that hangs over the tub – a bit of bath bling, if you will.

Hanging the crystals was my personal contribution to this process.

The next post will put it all together. The SoMoToHo is a great house and we think the transformation has been a resounding success.  Let me know if you agree.

By the time you read this, she’ll be on the market.

Thanks so much for reading! We really appreciate it.

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