Filed under: misc.
Yep, the ol’ blog (or at least the WordPress version) turns four today! Although it feels like the house projects have slowed down, it was still a busy year – we had a baby, started our own firm, had the blog redesigned and the backyard transformed! It was a year of new beginnings and we’re still riding that wave.
Goals for this next year? We’re going to finish the basement bathroom and laundry room (we’ve renewed our building permit an embarrassing number of times), redo the bedroom (for reals!) and maybe, maaaybeee get going on the garage remodel. In addition to posts about house projects, we’ll also be sharing more of our Studio Zerbey projects and brainstorming ways to grow chezerbey beyond its humble house blog roots. (In fact, I’m going to the Alt Summit conference in January for the first time!)
On a related note, I’ve been meaning to take new photos of the house – the ones on our house tour and Studio Zerbey site still show the nursery as a flex room! So, a few days ago when the house was clean and the light was decent I snapped these:
We’ve added a few accessories to the space this year, but looking at these photos it’s still a bit too minimal for me. Granted, there is typically more clutter but I’d like to fill our home with more personal items. (Like y’know, actually printing and framing some of the family photos we took last Spring!)
The pouf is new! It’s from West Elm and I love it. Avery loves it too – as a step stool to reach taller and more dangerous things!
Cone of Shame photo bomb! (He had a sore on his tail, but it’s healing up.) Also, the runner is new-ish. We replaced the IKEA one (which was curling up on the ends) with this sisal runner from Crate&Barrel. We originally purchased a Chilewich runner but it was smaller and really showed how much the cork has faded at the back door so we returned it and bought the C&B one.
The poor fauxdenza – so useful and yet so hard to style. Avery is tall enough to swipe things close to the edge so we keep it mostly cleared off (when it’s not serving as a whole house catchall that is).
This will be its own blog post, but I think we’re going to replace the fridge soon. Now that we’re a family of three and eating at home a lot more, it’s just a little too small. Good thing Kyle designed in a contingency (aka “I told you so”) plan when he built those custom fir panels.
An architect friend of ours did this sketch of Bailey and every morning Avery points to it and smiles. (Thanks Margo!)
We’ve made zero progress on the bedroom. There are lots of ideas but it’s been back-burnered for the time being. I think it will be one of those projects that needs to be fully designed and materials purchased and then we just spend a weekend powering through. We’re also still debating whether to do custom doors and drawer fronts over the existing IKEA PAX wardrobe or a more custom curtain. Both are expensive and have their own pros and cons.
Finally, a big thank you to everyone who has supported us (with a comment or a crow bar) along this journey. This little corner of the internet is one of the best parts of my day and I’m thankful it exists. Cheers!
Earlier this year, Kyle and I were contacted by a production company (teamed up with HGTV Networks) about filming chezerbey for a new webisode series called Home Diaries – a show about different homes and the stories behind them.
We liked the concept and signed on…then promptly scrambled to finish up some projects around the house! A month later a production crew from Knoxville flew out and spent a full day filming our home and interviewing us (it’s amazing how much work goes into something like this…and is everyone from TN just super nice and cool?). Bailey went nuts not only because there were a dozen new people to meet, but also because all the camera gear had tennis balls attached to the legs (to protect the floors). It was a fun and crazy day and we also owe a big thank you to our friend Robynn for hanging out in our basement and watching Avery.
The webisodes are part of a new website called ulive and were just released last week. Since then, Kyle and I have watched it a few times…ok, enough times to over analyze ourselves (yes, this was our first remodel as homeowners but not as architects!)(…and even though we opted out of grad school we still have a combined 10 years of architecture school under our belts!). Ok, just had to get that out there.
To see our segment, click on the image link below… [Update: if you're outside the U.S., reader JC uploaded the video here!]
Eek, it’s so crazy to see yourself on video (is that how I really sound?) but we love the way it turned out and the “feel good” aspect of all the homes featured in the series.
We’re crunching on a deadline here at Studio Zerbey, but I wanted to drop by to share some family photos that we had taken recently. Now, we have no shortage of photos of Avery (and Bailey, for that matter), but very few of us as a family. I wanted something more than the outstretched-arm iPhone photos, but different from a traditional portrait setting. We worked with Seattle photographer Dorothy Huynh and she was great! (We also took the opportunity to snap a few headshots to use for our Studio Zerbey website and various other things.)
For our outfits, I didn’t want to be all matchy-matchy but there needed to be some cohesiveness. I actually picked out Avery’s shirt first and then Kyle and I chose things that would compliment it.
Classic Bailey. This is what he does when he meets a new person.
We went through a lot of O’s trying to placate a wiggly little girl who was ready for a nap by the end of the session.
Kyle just started wearing glasses and I love them. (Back off ladies…)
In addition to our home, I also wanted an outdoor setting. These were taken at Discovery Park in Seattle. (We took a couple with Bailey, but could only coordinate a dog and baby for so long. No offense, Bails.)
Thank you Dorothy for taking these photos of our family. Now, time to actually print a few to hang in the house! Y’know, eventually.
Team Sayer has made it to the final challenge, the kitchen!
The two remaining families had double the money ($1000) for this challenge and also received a complete kitchen suite of energy-efficient appliances from Frigidaire.
At the Sayer’s home, the kitchen is the hub of the main living area, which presented some challenges with storage and how the space should “flow” into the surrounding areas. (Actually, this is something we had to think about early on during the office, dining and laundry challenges, all of which connect directly to the kitchen.) A few other issues and ideas:
+ Take advantage of the under stair space for storage and small appliances.
+ Provide upper storage without large, bulky cabinets.
+ Install a mirror to reflect light and make the space feel bigger.
+ Add better task lighting over the island and swap out the existing bulbs in the recessed can lights for more efficient options.
+ Figure out a way to visually tie the fridge to the rest of the space (there’s a small wing wall in between).
+ Install new base cabinets (especially essential since they repurposed them for the laundry room challenge!).
+ Install new counters at the main wall and add a functional backsplash.
+ Install a new sink and faucet.
+ Create a mobile storage unit between the range and wall.
Now, keep in mind that the two remaining families still only had 10 days to overhaul the most used room in the house. The results:
Scott and Nia brought in new base cabinets and countertop from IKEA and ditched the open shelves to visually de-clutter the space.
Upper storage was added back in the way of recessed shelves that Scott made and the back wall was painted a soft gray.
The never-really-finished stair landing was reworked to provide space for the microwave with storage below. They painted the island to give it a fresh look and DIYed the lighting above with a combination of salvaged theater lights and handmade fixtures.
The wing wall separating the fridge from the rest of the kitchen was trimmed out in steel to match the semi-steampunk aesthetic that Scott introduced in the adjacent rooms. The surface also provides a great spot for a chalkboard wall.
Even without appliances, $1000 is not a lot to work with in a kitchen but I think Scott and Nia did a great job! But what really matters of course is what the judges thought. The final challenge was divided into two webisodes; the first one focused on the design and process of the two kitchens:
And the final webisode reveals WHO WON!
Spoiler alert…keep scrolling…
Congratulations Sayer family!! Not only did you work really hard and come up with so many great ideas, but you proved that good design can be energy-efficient, affordable and attainable! Now, time to sit back and enjoy your home, your energy savings and that $5,000 prize money!
To learn more about the Re-Energized by Design challenge sponsored by Puget Sound Energy, check out the official website!
[Hey guys, Kyle and I have both been travelling and are also in the process of migrating our sites to a new host, so things have been a little slow on the blog front. Stay tuned though for another Studio Zerbey post as well as a few updates around the house. In the meantime, if anything looks wonky or links don't work, let me know!]
Now, are you ready for your weekly dose of re-energization? (Nope, that’s definitely not a word.) The Sayer family made the cut last week, advancing them to the next challenge – the laundry room!
Scott and Nia’s laundry room was really a tiny closet adjacent to a larger space that was being used mostly as a catchall for various items. Here are some of the things we discussed:
+ Stack the washer and dryer to free up space. (As part of this challenge, the family received a new, energy-efficient washer and dryer.)
+ Swap out the solid pocket door for a glass one.
+ Re-use the bathroom sink from the first challenge as a utility sink.
+ Re-use the kitchen cabinets for built-in storage (and cross our fingers that we make it to the final kitchen round!).
+ Replace the existing bulbs in the recessed cans with more efficient versions.
+ Add a counter for folding clothes with storage underneath for laundry and misc. house items.
+ Seal around the existing french doors to reduce any air leakage.
+ Since the space also serves as a mudroom of sorts, provide a place for shoes and coats next to the door.
+ Add a “window” to the opening between the kitchen and laundry area to provide acoustical and visual privacy.
In a mere ten days, they took the space from crazy clutter…
Didn’t they do a great job? I think this is my favorite space to date. Did you see the pendant they made over the sink? It’s a salvaged washing machine drum attached to a pendant fixture. And the artwork? A handmade sign with a washer door as the “frame”.
Scott and Nia also painted the laundry “nook” a bright aqua to give it some punch and added tons of storage and surface area by bringing in (and painting) some of their kitchen cabinets and installing a wood top over a steel frame that yep…they found at their local ReStore.
The existing nook was crowded and had barely enough room to actually do laundry. By stacking the new units, there is more elbow room and space for air drying clothes. The added storage in the larger space meant all the clutter could come out of the nook.
The divided lite “window” is a salvaged old window that fit the existing opening almost perfectly. It provides acoustical privacy while still allowing “borrowed” light into the kitchen. Although they can rely on natural light during the day, the existing light bulbs were replaced with efficient CFLs.
These bins? Just another awesome idea that the Sayers came up with. Salvaged? You know it! (Nia just gave them a fresh coat of paint and added the labels.)
Finally, they swapped out the solid pocket door for a salvaged glass door.
Once again, great work Sayer family! If you want to see what the judges thought and who the final two families are, check out the webisode here.