Our Friends Michael and Iris are selling their house and that makes us quite sad... some recent work on the house bought me back to San Rafael where I was able to review some of the past work, get some new photographs, reflect on the work overall, and see how it's held up five years later.
The Laundry Area: This modification got a bit of press. In revisiting the home, a few things became apparent: (1) it was the right thing to do -- the machines that will fit there depth-wise are "condo sized" in the first place (smaller and lower) so having them on the platform makes sense and (2) the materials have held up quite well — I can't really find a scratch. As-is, most any counter-depth machine will fit and the height of the counter is very usable. The washer box is easily accessible should you need to turn off the water and the way the hoses (down below) and electrical lines (up above) run through the area makes it a very tidy space. Some additional design details like the aluminum trim under the counter and on the sides of the shelf (see pix below) and underlit shelves add to the style-element while the drywall backing adds additional file protection.
Bathrooms: We renovated both bathrooms — the tub/shower and the sinks/faucets... and in the end, rehabbed the cabinets and installed GFCI outlets (and a new door in the hall bath). Given that each saw daily use, they look great after five years and work as well as they did when installed. In the bathrooms, we used DensShield tile backer — a great alternative to more traditional materials. The great thing about DensShield is that the waterproofing is on the outside which means everything stays a good bit dryer — it's also lightweight ans easy to work with. With Wonderboard or HardiBacker, the waterproofing is on the inside, so the board stays damp most of the time (and takes special blades). The simple white subway tile in a jack-on-jack pattern along with the simple porcelain tub (hall bath) and Keystone tiles (shower) work to mimic the look of the original materials. All of the faucets are from the Grohe Essence line which ties everything together — there's even one in the garage set to install in the kitchen should the new owners want to.
Where new areas transition to old areas is often a challenge in situations like these. In this case, the DensShield is 1/2in and joins up with 1/2in drywall quite well. Using a tile edge strip makes for a very clean and water-tight installation.
Doors: We installed quite a few doors in the house: The front door, the bathroom exit door (a very tall one), and a fire-rated door from the kitchen/den to the garage that had to be carefully stain-matched to blend with the 60 year old luan paneling. All of them are working as well today (and looking as sharp) as they day they were installed.
Kitchen cabinets: This will probably occupy its own post eventually, but the cabinets were rejuvenated with a fresh coat of stain on the bodies of the cabinets and on the doors. It makes the kitchen look quite tidy, especially with the new vintage-style faucet we installed (we still have the Grohe one to install as well if the new owners would prefer it). Adding GFCI outlets in the kitchen bought the area to code and we were able to find a faceplate that worked with the original Eichler switches as well (which is otherwise a bit hard with one side as a decora-size and the other as a switch-size) — a blend of original and current.