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Show and Tell! Unique features in your home

Posted by carsonheim (My Page) on
Thu, Apr 4, 13 at 13:29

Howdy! I'm getting near the end of my floorplans with architect. One thing that I've noticed is that the rooms are all pretty straightforward. I've incorporated some unique features I learned about here on GW, such as a pullout cat litter drawer in mudroom that will be accessed for cleaning via a separate door in the garage, as well as a ton of ideas for the kitchen. I cannot tell you all what a difference GW has made in our approach to this house!

Before we finalized plans, I'm wondering what kinds of creative, unique features others have incorporated. Not so much the stuff from the "small things that get forgotten" thread, but cool architectural details like fun nooks or out-of-the box ideas for making your living space just a *little* more special than a standard collection of rooms.

Would love a little show-and-tell, here. Photos are welcome!


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Show and Tell! Unique features in your home

The cat litter box thing sounds interesting, but is it allowed? My house to garage penetrations had to be self closing/sealing (think garage entry door.) I would think they'd frown on a drawer for the cat litter box. Genius though!


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RE: Show and Tell! Unique features in your home

Kirkhall,

I can't see why not. Here, I'll describe it:

There is a bench on the outer wall of the mudroom, adjacent to the garage. We will cut a large hole in the end of the bench that allows the kitties to go inside it and do their, ehhrrr, "business" LOL. They will come out that same hole when they are finished.

For cleaning, I will go into the garage and access a small door that is adjacent to the bench in the mudroom. I'll open the door and there will be a rev-a-shelf type of rolling drawer that contains the litter box. I'll pull that out, clean box, roll back, and lock the door.

So it is a small, locking custom door that will be there. Make sense?


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RE: Show and Tell! Unique features in your home

Great thread topic!

If I still had a cat, I would absolutely be willing to pay for that little do-di-do. I've seen it online before -- what a nice feature. It's not unlike the outside "box" I have for my fireplace ashes. I can sweep them down a little hole, and then I can remove them from the outside.

Other cool things I have in my current house -- this'll be a short list:

Walk-in linen closet in my kids' bathroom with shelves on the left and right, nothing in the middle. This allows me to have multiple hampers (tall, thin), which are labeled "whites", "colors", "darks" and "jeans and towels".

Huge covered walk-out deck at the back of the house is a sweet feature. We're going to have a similar covered patio in our next house -- we're going with concrete instead of wood, thinking it'll be a little less maintenance. Also, our land is flat as a pancake, whereas our current city lot is a bit sloped.

Huge bathroom vanity with a large mirror. My girls love that they each have three bathroom drawers PLUS another three drawers that hold shared items.

This is a tiny one, but our master bedroom closet and our attic lights are on the same switch, which is located in our bedroom; thus, if we leave the attic light on, we know. Also, we don't have to go back up the stairs to turn it off.


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RE: Show and Tell! Unique features in your home

Laundry chute! Laundry chute! It has changed my very life. :-)


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RE: Show and Tell! Unique features in your home

carsonheim, you may want to check with your building official about your "cat door". Some building codes require a 1-hour rated assembly between the potentially flammable area of a garage and the habitable spaces in the dwelling. The purpose is life safety. All penetrations of a 1-hour assembly have to also be rated, so if this building code requirement applies in your jurisdiction, the cat door will have to have a rated assembly consistent with the 1-hour rated wall.

Otherwise, a good idea, if your area doesn't have a building code and you're not concerned about possible fire threats from the garage.

Good luck with your project.


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RE: Show and Tell! Unique features in your home

If a litter-box-door is a fire hazard, aren't doggie doors also a fire hazard?

I don't have either one. I'm just askin'.


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RE: Show and Tell! Unique features in your home

I would think so, if it opens to the garage.


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RE: Show and Tell! Unique features in your home

Fun thread!

Our unusual stuff:

1) Our stove will be in front of a (non-functional) window. We wanted light from two directions in the kitchen, and this will let us do that, and glass is easier to clean than a painted wall. Also, we're building on acreage, so privacy is not an issue. People have strong opinions about this-- from what I can see, people who have it, love it, but a lot of people are sure it's a terrible idea.

2) We homeschool and tend to have a lot of projects going, and we wanted a space on the main level for that (instead of having them on the kitchen or dining room table), so we've got a "project space" adjacent to the great room, where someone can work on messy stuff, or stuff that requires a lot of space, and still be near everyone else. And we are going to have Japanese style sliding doors so we can close off that space if either the person working wants some privacy, or if we're entertaining and we want to hide the mess.

3) We're using translucent roofing on our screen porch so it blocks less light.

4) Courtesy of our architect, we are going to have a switch in our bedroom for the front flood light, in addition to the switch down near the garage. This will let us easily investigate noise late at night, or turn it off if it gets left on by mistake without having to go back downstairs.

Re: the catbox door, I think the door may need to be steel, like the man door between the house and the garage. I suppose it will be possible to get a small steel door. I haven't seen a doggy door between a house and garage.


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RE: Show and Tell! Unique features in your home

We built a small nook in the upstairs off of our loft area. It's been a fun place for our little girls to hang out and they actually like to sleep in there on the weekends.

This post was edited by bowyer123 on Thu, Apr 4, 13 at 19:06


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RE: Show and Tell! Unique features in your home

The small sconces were installed today, so we were happy to get rid of the temporary acorn lights!


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RE: Show and Tell! Unique features in your home

We love our barn door, although we can't decide on a color to paint it, so for now it is primed. To the left you can see the steps that go into the nook pictured above.


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RE: Show and Tell! Unique features in your home

We built a 'tree house' (what my kids call it) above the doors that lead to our media room. We will add a railing and then a ladder that leads up there. Not sure it would have passed code, so for now it is just a 'plant ledge.'

Friends of our family had one growing up and we loved it....and survived, too. I have a feeling we will do the same.

Great thread, look forward to seeing more pictures!


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RE: Show and Tell! Unique features in your home

We're doing a number of unique things. We're using re-purposed items, such as antique barn door rollers for the powder room door, and a 'chandelier' made from a hay trolley. Today, I bought a group of 10 matching antique five panel doors! In addition to using them as doors, I'm going to use a couple for 'paneling' in the hallway.

Being made from ICF, the walls are over a foot thick, which can lead to a tunnel effect with the windows. Some of my windows will feature a flared inside opening. I had a hard time finding pictures of similar features, although I did see a picture of similar windows in British pub on an old TV show. Below is a picture of the first window I mocked up to see how it will look. The ones in the kitchen will have the flares covered with panels that match the kitchen cabinets.

 photo 008-2.jpg


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RE: Show and Tell! Unique features in your home

Mine are kind of simple -
When you enter our home fom the garage, you enter an 8 foot by 5 foot drop zone. The floor will be old Chicago brick. We thought it would be tough enough or our 2 boys....sand and dirt will look like it belongs!

We also have a small room behind the kitchen called "homeroom.". This will be my office - built in desk, cabinets and shelving. I can easily hide my Mom clutter but be in the center of the house.

Our outdoor storage areas for pool and boat supplies will be keyless locks....just a push button keypad. So, no more lost keys!

Our home is just starting to be built, so no photos yet...
Pam


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RE: Show and Tell! Unique features in your home

What a fun thread!

You all have wonderful ideas and I second that GW has been invaluable for us, too.

Here are some of our fun things:

1.) We have a wall of bookcases in the library with a secret door.

2.) The playroom has built-in bunkbeds. Our kids each have their own room, but are very close with each other and I thought this would be a really fun feature for them so they can have "sleepovers" together or even sleep in there with a friend if a friend stays over when they're older. That room also has floor-to-ceiling bookshelves to house their books and toys. I'll take photos tomorrow.

3.) Our library has a little built-in storage bench nook with wall-mounted sconces for my husband and son to sit at and play a board game or chess--I love little nooks.

4.) The fireplace in our keeping room will have a fireplace crane so we can cook over the fire in there. It's a room styled in a very early American manner and this will be in keeping with that theme and my love of fun things like this.

5.) We have a board game nook in our basement.

I would love to add more fun touches, but since the house is nearing completion there is not much construction-wise that we can do. Plus, my husband would kill me. Lately he says, "there's average, there's upgrade, then there's 'three apples.'" But, I think he loves the fun features in our house.


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RE: Show and Tell! Unique features in your home

We don't have much....I do have a great area in my kitchen that is out of the work zone (it is actually the "L" in my "L" shaped kitchen) it is a wonderful little nook with 2 windows, file drawers, knee space, and cubbies. I keep all my cr@p there, totally out of eyesight.

In dd's closet, there was a lot of dead space that was going to be dry walled over...we had the carpenter build cubbies to fit dd's collection of American Girl dolls...it is so cute, like a wall of bunk beds! Her closet is so spacious, she and her friends play in there a lot.

Not sure if this is all that special, but it was my idea at the architect meetings and it works brilliantly so I'll include it... ;) Ds has has own ensuite bath that shares a wall with the playroom, we made a second door in the bath opening into the playroom. Ds has a ton of sleepovers, and this makes it so much easier! The boys don't have to walk all the way around and through ds's room to use the bath. Plus, since the playroom is very large and we included a large closet in it for toy and game storage...it *could* function as an upstairs master if for some reason we ever sold it to a family with very young children who wants to be upstairs with them. (we are not ever planning on selling, though!!!)


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RE: Show and Tell! Unique features in your home

Three apples please post pics of your playroom! We are beginning to build and I have toyed with the idea of built in bunk beds in the playroom. I would love to see pics!


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RE: Show and Tell! Unique features in your home

Fun thread!

1)We built some conditioned attic space with a ship's ladder to access. It has an amazing wide triangle dormer window and you can see very far from this window. The ceilings are low, but for the kids this adds to the appeal as a hideout.

2)We are planning to add a manual dumb waiter as we enter from the basement level so would find the dumb waiter invaluable for bringing groceries up to kitchen or garbage down.

3)In the basement we will have a small bar area and we are adding some coloured cove lighting for atmosphere, and a trophy shelf behind.

4)We will have an interior bathroom with no real windows. We decided to do two opaque decorative glass interior windows with LED lights around them to steal light from nearby real windows and augment this natural light with the LEDs.

5)We have taken care to seek expert advice from an electrical designer so we can have some special accent/mood lighting in many rooms.

6)We will have two window seats.

Looking forward to reading about what others have done.

Carol


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RE: Show and Tell! Unique features in your home

This is in our current house, and not particularly exciting- along the lines of the cat littler box room.

Our powder room has an exterior wall and a closet along that same wall. For our dog we installed a doggie door through the exterior wall in the closet, built a ramp (we have a dachshund) and fenced in a dog run. That way our kids can play in a poop free backyard and the dog can go in/out as she pleases. Also, when we go out we often confine the dog to the powder room/closet (don't worry, it's pretty large and she has food and water available).

Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

:o Boy is it looking ratty (2 years now) and it did just rain. Looks like I need to do some weeding back there and apply a little moss killer.

This post was edited by olivesmom on Thu, Apr 4, 13 at 22:19


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RE: Show and Tell! Unique features in your home

My house is plain, but I did add two unique features: a heavy-duty baby gate, and a wall of picture shelves.

Our house is a split entry, stairs in the middle, open to living room on one side and dining room on the other. Instead of railings there are pony walls around the stairwell. When our twin boys were born, we knew that a typical baby gate wouldn't slow them down, so I built a door of 3/4" oak plywood, trimmed it out, and put it on casters. The I built a frame for the casters, so it can only slide back and forth. Both boys would perch their little toes on the bottom molding, and peek over the top!

The picture wall is at the end of a hallway. I screwed 1"x2"s the width of the wall, varying heights for 4x6, 5x7 and 8x10 frames. Each shelf has a short trim piece, to hide the screws, and keep the frames from falling off.

Oh, and I built media storage shelves in a hallway. I have pictures of those:

Here is a link that might be useful: media shelves


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RE: Show and Tell! Unique features in your home

OMG that doggie ramp is awesome!


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RE: Show and Tell! Unique features in your home

Still in the planning phases, but here are some of my fun things:

- wall of windows over kitchen sink to bring in lots of light and to minimize the cost of upper custom cabinets. We will have tons of storage in a 12 foot long butler's pantry (with less expensive cabinetry)
- building a bar area in the family room with a nice wine fridge
- laundry room adjacent to master closet, with a pass-thru door for pushing our laundry through. No more schelping laundry across the whole house!!!
- steam shower for those cold Texas nights (whaaattttt?)
- back staircase leads DIRECTLY to hubby's home office. He is a professor and has lots and lots and lots of research stuff that he carts back and forth from school. This will keep it off the dining room table (finally!)


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RE: Show and Tell! Unique features in your home

Annkh,

Love the media shelf. Any chance you could post a picture of the picture shelf? BTW, we are proud owners of a split entry house too :)

Carol


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RE: Show and Tell! Unique features in your home

Some of our unique features for fun:

1. Slide from main floor to basement
2. Fireman's pole through all 3 floors
3. Secret room (bookcase entry door)
4. Secret exit hatch from house (via another secret room)


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RE: Show and Tell! Unique features in your home

Some of my favorite special touches:

Bookcase w/ library ladder:


Dining room built-in warming drawer in cabinet:

Sweater shelves (plus, really the whole closet):


Hidden shower niche (it is a little open here, when closed it just looks like the wall!):


Custom storage in every kitchen drawer:


Pantry w/ two doors so it is accessible from the kitchen and from right next to the garage door for bringing in groceries:


Dog grooming room w/ tub (pull -out steps for the tub) and crates:


Wave sink in beach theme bathroom:

And this is my husband's favorite. The water turns on automatically in the water-fall faucet when you go in the powder room:

This post was edited by beaglesdoitbetter on Fri, Apr 5, 13 at 0:30


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RE: Show and Tell! Unique features in your home

Annkh, can you please post a photo of the baby gate? Our 3 year old is bound to get hurt trying to go down either stairs in the night and every type we tried will not work for our new house. Thanks.


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RE: Show and Tell! Unique features in your home

Beagles, Will you tell us more about that waterfall faucet? I assume it's a slow drip -- is it adequate flow for handwashing? The rocks are a great touch. Is the water dripping from a long bar-type faucet? It turns on when you enter the room? That's just plain cool, and my two germ-o-phobe daughters would love it. Does it turn off automatically too? I've never seen anything like this -- was it custom made?


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RE: Show and Tell! Unique features in your home

Wow! So many fabulous ideas and such cool execution of them!

Our family room is open to our breakfast nook and our kitchen, so we used the banquette to hide the boom box for our surround sound system. Open floor plans seem to lack the nooks and crannies for hiding such stuff.

We went with tempered glass for our deck railing as our house is up and the view is down...no way did I want to have to look around pickets to see the view. It gives the impression of being in the tree tops. We love it. We also half covered the deck like a porch so we get sun/shade/rain protection as we want.

For efficiency, we wanted all the ductwork in conditioned space....but we finished the basement, so the architect camouflaged the ductwork by instead turning the ceilings into trays....now you look and say what a nice tray ceiling instead of there's the ductwork.


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RE: Show and Tell! Unique features in your home

Here's our baby gate open
 photo IMG_2236_zps4fa88d85.jpg

closed
 photo IMG_2237_zpsc94864a1.jpg

The gate is wider than the opening to the stairs, and there's a latch on the stair side. I don't have a table saw, so I had our local lumber yard cut all the pieces for the frame and stop to my measurements (I spent quite some time getting the measurements right!)


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RE: Show and Tell! Unique features in your home

Here is my picture wall. To the left is the door to the bathroom.

 photo IMG_2240_zpsa97941f8.jpg


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RE: Show and Tell! Unique features in your home

Love, love, love our concealed, slide out, double laundry hampers (3 sets of them). Laundry gets sorted as its brought in (even by the kids)--so less work for me, 1 full hamper = 1 full load, & the dirties are always hidden away neatly!

 photo LaundryPullouts016.jpg photo LaundryPullouts008.jpg

The goldfish vessel sink with rustic looking faucet in the powder room. Everyone who goes in to use the bathroom comes right back out and pulls in whoever they brought with them to check out the sink!!

 photo EbayPics003-1.jpg

Large walk-in pantry under the stairs in a 'J' shape. Plenty of room for the pantry staples, extra cookware and even a spot for brooms, swiffers and mops to be stored out of sight around the corner (in the short leg of the 'J'). 6' ceiling clearance so you can comfortably walk through the entire space.

 photo Pantry-1.jpg

Our large doorless shower--heaven!

 photo FlushGlazedDoors018-1.jpg


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RE: Show and Tell! Unique features in your home

OMG, so much awesomeness being posted here! I totally want beagles' warming drawer hutch in dining room!


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RE: Show and Tell! Unique features in your home

MrsPete the intensity of the water and the temperature can be adjusted via two knobs that are underneath the sink where you cannot see them so it can be set at whatever level we want. We have it set w/ enough volume to wash your hands but it still creates a very nice trickle sound when turned on.

It is a basically a long metal trough w/ holes in it and the components from a standard motion-sensor faucet were taken apart and reconfigured to work with an on/off motion detector like the kind normally used for lights. The water will turn off on its own after 30 seconds w/o motion in the bathroom or it can be turned off manually by pressing the button on the motion sensor which is on the wall next to the sink.

The whole thing was custom designed. The faucet came w/ the concrete sink which was made by a company in Arizona and flown in. Then my father-in-law and his friends (all retired electricians and people w/ 20+ years in the building trade) configured it because my builder didn't know how to make it work the way I wanted (i.e. turning off and on when you enter the room).

If it is something you really would consider putting in your home, let me know and I will ask my FIL to explain how they made it work :)


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RE: Show and Tell! Unique features in your home

annkh,

I really like that picture shelf. Thank you so much for posting a picture. I will be finding a wall in my home for something similar.

Carol


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RE: Show and Tell! Unique features in your home

I really liked the picture of the stand up shower. It reminded me of when my wife and I had to re-do our whole shower. We had to get new customized insulation because our shower was in the basement underground and it got so cold that the walls would start to freeze and pipes froze. We had no choice but to insulate the whole shower space. It worked out great but that's what that picture reminded me of.

Here is a link that might be useful: Utah Reflective Insulation


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RE: Show and Tell! Unique features in your home

flgargoyle,

Your idea for the ICF windows is brilliant. It will look particularly sharp in your kitchen with the match to the kitchen door. I wish we had thought of that for our basement windows (basement is in ICF too).

Carol


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RE: Show and Tell! Unique features in your home

Since I love in a tornado alley, I felt a need for some type of storm shelter..and since I have a 4-5 foot crawl space under my bedroom-bath area, my contractor made me a lift-up door in the floor of my walk-in closet and put steps down there for me....now if I do not have time to get across to my son's basement, I have my own safe room....that I hope never to use.


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Our plumber had to install the toilet flange forward in our water closet from where we had hoped due to window/i-joists below. So we are planning on making a 2 X 6 built-in behind, opening into my daughter's room for a stuffie shelf. We will put dowels across the shelves to hold the stuffed animals. Sorry, I don't have any pictures as we are not nearly done.

Carol


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RE: Show and Tell! Unique features in your home

Beagles,

Can you please tell us more about your beautiful hidden shower niche? How deep is it? How did they build it and how did they waterproof it? Is it as handy for grabbing shampoo compared to an open niche? Is it easy to keep clean and dry enough to avoid mold etc. Thanks for your inspiration!

Carol


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RE: Show and Tell! Unique features in your home

Zone4newby, I'm interested in your translucent roofing, do you have pictures? Could you share the product name you used?


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RE: Show and Tell! Unique features in your home

Tempe-- we're building now, so this is still just a plan, but we will be using something like Tuftex Clear Corrugated Polycarbonate Roof Panels (they sell them at lowes among other places). We're not one of the really high-end builds on the board. If you want to look at a screen porch with a translucent roof on houzz, here's one I like:

Here is a link that might be useful: translucent porch on Houzz


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RE: Show and Tell! Unique features in your home

Here are the bunk beds and book shelves in the playroom. The ladder for the bookshelf is not yet installed.


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RE: Show and Tell! Unique features in your home

Strangely only one image appeared:


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RE: Show and Tell! Unique features in your home

thanks zone4newby, I like all that extra light let in. And threeapples, I love those bunk beds and bookshelves.


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RE: Show and Tell! Unique features in your home

Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos
Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos


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RE: Show and Tell! Unique features in your home

Lucy- That's the most unique TV-over-fireplace I've ever seen. Well done!


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RE: Show and Tell! Unique features in your home

carsonheim- this is a great thread. We are just starting the process and these are the types of things that make a house "homey" to me anyway.

mydreamhome-I have seen your shower over on bathrooms and clipped it (as well as your laundry room - great idea). I am very intrigued by doorless and I have searched the forums on the great "is it too cold" debate but I'm wondering what climate you live in and if YOU find it to be cold? We live in MI and it gets very cold in the winter and it can drag on well into spring - I keep waffling on whether we'd like doorless or indeed find it too cold. I guess my question is when you turn off the shower - do you feel an immediate difference in air temperature while you are drying off? Do the mirrors fog excessively with the lack of a door?

Loving everyone's nooks and out of the way spaces.

Lucy-love your fireplace - the mantle, hearth and the cool tv barn doors.

beagles-your dog room is awesome. I am getting tired of bending over my dog to wash her feet every day after our morning walk. :p


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RE: Show and Tell! Unique features in your home

Thank y'all!


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This is all so cool! We plan to put in a faucet over the dog bowl, so I can just fill it from there instead of carrying (and often spilling) a large bowl of water. That or an automatic waterer there.


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RE: Show and Tell! Unique features in your home

Mavers --

thanks for your email. I don't know how to email back since I got this message: (PLEASE NOTE: The member responding to your post has chosen not to reveal his or her email address. Therefore, you cannot reply to this message via email.)

Anyhow, here are the answers to your questions:

- steam shower (cost?) We haven't figured this out yet, but I think its about 2-3K additional from regular shower.

- laundry pass through from master (this is on our plans, but we haven't figured out details of the look!) We plan on having drawers with hampers on the wall of our closet that is directly adjacent to our laundry room. When you open the drawer in the closet, there will be a hamper. From the laundry room side, there will be a door that opens, and I'll just pull the hamper out from there. Here's an inspiration pic from inside the closet: http://www.houzz.com/photos/90614/Natural-Oasis-Master-Bath-modern-bathroom-atlanta

- wall of windows for kitchen sink. Here is my inspiration photo: http://www.houzz.com/photos/1344374/McEvoy-Kitchen-traditional-kitchen-newark
Of course, my set up is a bit different, but we will have about 2/3 that amount of windows on that wall.

Hope this helps! :)


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RE: Show and Tell! Unique features in your home

Autumn4- To answer your questions about our door-less shower...

-We live in central NC, so we get all 4 seasons. We try to keep the house temp between 68-72 degrees all year long.

-No, I don't find it to be cold even when I turn off the water. The phenomena on why we feel so cold when we turn off the water in the shower has more to do with the opening the shower door/shower curtain that has been insulating and holding heat inside the shower and then being abruptly exposed to room temperature air that may have heated up slightly, but not anywhere near as hot as it was behind the door/curtain and now you're uncomfortably chilly. So not having that insulating factor in an open/door-less shower allows the entire area to heat up pretty evenly and then when you turn off the water and step out you don't have that abrupt temperature change.

-The mirrors don't steam up any more excessively than they did in our old bathroom with the standard tub/shower combination with shower curtain/glass door--and DH just loves to stay in the shower for forever with the heat turned all the way up after a hard day working.

We had already tried out the door-less shower at my parents' (relatively) new build and knew that was the way we wanted to go as I hate cleaning all that glass. Theirs is 5'x6' and has 1' walls on either side of the entry, so it's a little more closed. We have the 5' high pony wall and a completely open entry end, but I didn't really notice too much of a difference between ours and theirs other than ours lets in way more light. We did build our shower so that if we found the shower to be too cold/drafty that we could add glass later, but we are thrilled with the result and do not need the glass at all. The builder wanted to put in a heater in the ceiling, but we opted against that too, knowing we could add it later if we needed to, and again we have not found that to be the case. However, it does give you a couple options on solutions if you decide to go door-less and find it to be too cold.

I hope this helps! Feel free to ask any other questions you might have.


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RE: Show and Tell! Unique features in your home

Thanks carsonheim.

I will see if I can change that email preference.

Love everyone's unique ideas and the pics are so helpful!


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RE: Show and Tell! Unique features in your home

Thanks for the details mydreamhome! We keep our heat at 68 in the fall/winter/spring. A nice hot shower when it's cold outside is a necessity for me to start my day off even keeled - nothing worse than a cold shower for me. I also take a really hot shower, almost so hot I can barely stand it (strange I know). That is why I was wondering about the cold as with a really hot shower there is likely to be more of a air temp change but that totally makes sense that the air temperature outside the shower would heat up accordingly as it's 'open' so it's not keeping all of it in.

What is the dimension of yours? I also hate the glass part and was thinking if we did put one in maybe we'd configure it somehow so the water spray wouldn't hit it much. Good idea to plan for a door just in case as you did.

Would you mind sharing the dimension of your laundry room as well?

We are going to start meeting with the house designer in a couple of weeks so I am trying to prepare by getting some rough measurements down to start with.

Thanks again so much for your help.


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RE: Show and Tell! Unique features in your home

OntarioMom I'm not really sure about any of the technical details on the niche. I think they just built it in like they would any other niche that is in the wall, with a little box framed in and indented and then tiled it. Then they attached the outside tile on hinges to hide it. It is very easy to use, I just open it when I get into the shower and close it when I am done. I much prefer that to having visible shampoo bottles out which would drive me crazy. We haven't noticed any problems w/ the niche getting dirty but the housekeeper does clean the shower 3x week so I am not sure.


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Beagles,

A big thank you for explaining your shower niche. I had assumed it was some sort of pull-out. I did not realize, until you posted today, that the door covered in tile hinged open. That is brilliant! What kind of hinge did you use to resist rust? Also, is the door only made from a piece of tile or is there any other building material attached to the tile door?

Thanks for your help, Beagle. I would really like to put tile doors on my shower niches too.

Carol


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RE: Show and Tell! Unique features in your home

Unfortunately my tile people did the construction and I'm not on good terms with them so I can't get the answers to most of your questions, but I will answer what I can.

The door is made from a piece of tile that is attached to another piece of tile on the hinge (does that make sense). The door opens on one of those piano hinges so when you push on the tile, it pops open.

I'm away for the winter in FL but here are the best pictures that I have of it, hopefully that helps. When I get back to PA in May I can take more pictures if you want if that isn't too late for you:

Here is a closeup of what it looks like when closed:

And a further away look, you can see that you cannot see it at all. The niche is on the right side three up from the bottom:

This post was edited by beaglesdoitbetter on Mon, Apr 8, 13 at 20:49


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RE: Show and Tell! Unique features in your home

Beagles, yes your explanation makes perfect sense. It is such a good idea. Thanks for sharing your photos and your explanations on the niche.

On a side note, Beagles did you do any electrical upgrades or accent lighting in your build? I have started another thread on this forum collecting those kinds of ideas and wondered if you had any to contribute? Your house has so many wonderful features. You must love your home, and I imagine you were very involved in the build to ensure all these features were incorporated.


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RE: Show and Tell! Unique features in your home

Thanks OntarioMom. I just went over to your other thread. Yes we were very involved in the building, I think we were the most hands-on ever. The build took two years and we sourced a lot of stuff ourselves.


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RE: Show and Tell! Unique features in your home

threeapples, I'd love to do those bookcases and built in bunk beds in my playroom. Do you remember the dimensions of the bunk beds by chance? I love them, they look great!


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RE: Show and Tell! Unique features in your home

I'm jumping from idea to idea here, but it's all interesting to me:

Back to that cat litter box -- 'cause my daughter and I have been drooling over pictures of Rag Doll cats. I really want one; I know, not your problem. Anyway, if you can have a door to open to clean the cat litter out . . . wouldn't it be smarter still to have a door that'd let the cat walk out into the garage and use a litter box that does not reside inside your house? Okay, we're back to that fire hazard thing, I know, but the greater distance between me and the litter box, the better! I think a kitten or an elderly cat might have trouble with it, but a healthy adult cat could navigate a pet door to an outdoor enclosed litter box without difficulty. Plus, my old cat really liked privacy. He'd become VERY ANGRY if we entered the room while he was "going", and he'd give us nasty sidelong glances as if to say, "I cannot believe the audacity of my people. Can't they see I am indisposed?" And then he'd give us the cold shoulder later.

Beagles, Cool information about the sink. I can imagine how this works now. I'd love to hear the details!

I have another bathroom question for you: I notice you have pebble tile in your shower. I'm very interested in this, but I have one concern: Does it feel rough under your feet? I know you can buy these tiles in rounded or in -- for lack of a better term -- flattened out /sawed off versions. What do you recommend?

I guess I'm on a plumbing rampage tonight because I'm interested in the open shower. This is one of my husband's few demands. My biggest concern is that it might be cold (our bathroom is moderately large), but my husband wants this very much, so we've made an agreement: We'll build the open shower that he wants . . . and IF it's cold, it's laid out in such a way that we could easily add a pony wall . . . and then if that's still not enough, we could add a piece of glass above the pony wall . . . and if that's not enough, we can add a door and have exactly what we have now.

We are planning one cool thing for the shower: A Tornado Body Dryer. It's like a hair dryer, but it dries your whole body. At 2K, it's a splurge.

We also have our dog's bowl under a spigot out in the back yard . . . but we went about it backwards: It wasn't a plan. Rather, we chose to keep the dog's bowl in that area because the spigot was already in place.

I think in our new house I'm going to have a double-spigot in the backyard. That way I can keep a hose screwed onto one all the time so watering my flowers is an easy task . . . but we'll have instant access to the other spigot without taking time to disconnect the hose.

We're definitely planning a pass-through between the master bath and the laundry room. I wanted it to be a real door, but I don't think that's going to happen -- you know how these things work: sometimes the things you want can't all exist together, and you have to choose the ones you want most.

And something new I just thought to mention: A relative of mine has a cool feature on her garage. It's a simple front-facing, two-car garage . . . but she had THREE garage doors installed. Two on the front of the house -- normal, expected. But the third garage door is on the back of the house. The benefit: The yard man (or a repair person) can open both doors and drive through the garage into the back yard to unload the mowers. No need to open the gates /have them drive across the side lawn, which would mean dodging trees and flower beds. It's turned out to be a useful feature quite a few times.


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RE: Show and Tell! Unique features in your home

MrsPete, have you seen these?

Here is a link that might be useful: Hose bib splitter


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RE: Show and Tell! Unique features in your home

Nothing as unique as some of you guys have! We will have a little "command center" room with a built-in desk and cabinets and shelves (my mini office) and a doorless walk-in shower in the master bath.

Beagles, I am in LOVE with that library!


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RE: Show and Tell! Unique features in your home

Mrs. Pete -- with regard to kitty box, I don't allow my cats in my garage, as they like to climb on my car and then they damage the paint with their claws. I learned about that the hard way with my last car :(

However, I do think it's a fine idea for those who do let the kitty out in the garage...

Wow, I never heard of the Tornado body dryer before. I'm gonna have to google that one!


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RE: Show and Tell! Unique features in your home

Oaktown, I need that product! Thanks!

CarsonHeim, I wasn't imaginging that the cat would have free access to the garage. I was thinking that the cat would exit a little pet door and enter a box -- or, better yet, a wire cage inside the garage. The benefit is that he'd "do his business" in the garage, then return to the house -- but cats can climb inside engines, and they can escape if someone opens the garage door. No, I wasn't imagining the animal'd have free run of the garage.

I don't know that this is a feasible idea at all, but it seems to me to be a slight improvement over the litter-box cleaning door.


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RE: Show and Tell! Unique features in your home

We have a utility sink in the garage for washing veggies and eggs before they come inside. We are also having a doorless shower. We designed our guest room bath to accommodate a wheelchair with fold back doors on the vanity should we have a parent or child or ourselves needing handicap accessibility. This is not terribly unique, but I am so excited about a small cabinet area for dropping mail, keys, answering machine and a line of cubbies in our mudroom for the kids. I have also planned for a deeper shelf and outlet in our pantry for the toaster, toaster oven and smoothie maker to live and function. Also, all closets have an outlet so I can charge things in there.... Cordless vacuum, DustBuster, etc. we also have a switch next to our bed in the master that turns on all the exterior flood lights. We live way out in the country and motion sensors would be triggered all the time from our critter neighbors... Deer, raccoon, foxes, etc.


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RE: Show and Tell! Unique features in your home

My wife insists on putting those plug in candle lights in the windows at. Christmas time, as an electrician I've had her convinced it was impossible in our old house (I'm lazy). In our new home I'll be sure to have receptacles below (or close) each window to make it possible.
I have a couple electrical tweaks from our old fixer upper that I'm planning on doing again.
1) Christmas Light receptacle and hooks along the soffit just under the roof, I was able to hang lights by hanging out the second the story window instead of having to get extension ladder out, install a switch and timer somewhere convenient so you can turn them on/off with little hassle.
2)Exhaust fan in the bathroom had a timer in the switch that ran the fan for 10-20 minutes after you left the bathroom to pull out the the humid hot air leftover from the shower (or any bathroom odors).
3)Motion light in the laundry room so when my wife is carrying laundry basket in she doesn't need to fumble with light. *If you decide to do this be sure not to install switch facing dryer as the switch may sense the heat as a person and turn on lights all the time, and my idea to put motion switch above the washer door (top loader) figuring it wouldn't get blocked by something on accident was a bad idea, after an afternoon of perfectly setting the sensor and going all out to make her day she informed that the lid needs to stay open so it doesn't get moldy or musty in the washer, this blocked the motion sensor and foiled my plan, hence crushing any motivation to fulfill any unnecessary upgrades requests.
4)When basement walls are poured cut some PVC about 1/2-3/4" shorter than width of the wall, place inside wall near the top before the walls are poured, pick an easy number to remember after their covered (ie.12" in/12" down), duct tape on each end so they don't get filled with concrete. angle them slightly downhill with the inside being higher so that water won't run in. Later on if you decide to add something like sprinkler system, gas line to outside grill,sat cable,outdoor speakers, any exterior electrical,or generator. When the time comes a good wack with hammer or chisel will knock out the thin layer of concrete an leave you with a nice sleeve to the outside.


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RE: Show and Tell! Unique features in your home

Autumn.4--As requested:

-Shower Dimensions: 7' x 4' with 12" bench at back that spans the width of the shower, pony wall is 5' tall and runs from shower entry and is about 4' long

-Laundry Room Dimensions: 8'10" from hamper wall to W/D wall x 8'3" door to back wall. Here's the layout with dimensions straight from the plan. We did change the sink to a corner sink with an angled sink base cabinet. Other than that, no other changes were made. The 3 pullout full height double hampers are on the left as you enter across from the W/D.

 photo LaundryPlanCloseup_zps9473148d.png

Hope this helps!


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RE: Show and Tell! Unique features in your home

Accidently posted twice- sorry

This post was edited by sunroomguy on Mon, Apr 22, 13 at 18:51


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RE: Show and Tell! Unique features in your home

Great thread! love the hidden shower niche. I've spent the last 8 years building our retirement home (35 year contractor). tried to have many unique features including- powered opening towel drawer in kitchen (slight bump with knee to open); a 3 bin lazy susan recycle center; handpicked uniform grain, hickory for cabinets , doors and trim; pull out shelves in many wall cabinets; detail glazing on cabinets, door and trim; mixer lift station; built in toaster; formica lined drawers and sink base bottoms; kitchen sink drain trap in bar wall (it is accessible) allowing 2 full width pull out trays; a 14" deep wall cabinet recessed 2" into the wall for large boxes of cereal; kitchen cabinet bottoms to conceal wiring for puck lighting; 26" deep refrigerator cabinet plus 4" wall recess; 5" wide refrigerator end panel cabinet with hinged door to conceal small step ladder; on door in same cabinet built-in touch screen monitor for calendar, grocery lists, etc. and bulletin board below; a trash compactor; hickory trimmed glass tile on kitchen splash; induction cooktop; 2 tone LVT kitchen floor with hickory inlay; outlets behind toilets for concealed nite lites; 20+ custom carved hickory onlays; layered drywall in several rooms for added dimension; raised plaster wall words and wall art; unique cove lighting in bathrooms; motion sensor light switches (O.K. you can call me lazy!); unique ceiling designs; a 10' x 10' hickory trimmed (coffered style) skylight in great room; a 4 ' x 16' basement skylight; 10' high basement ceilings; a basement under the garage; etched glass door glass; marble medallion in foyer floor; mosaic mural in concrete front porch; illuminated vanity sinks (motion controlled), master shower has heated tile floor and towel bar; a Moen digital shower system; 2 panel Bellagio doors I turned into true arched top doors; hickory French doors with beveled glass; and jamb switched closet lights. Photos may be seen at 280po.com. please note: I have very limited time and may not be able to respond to emails.


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RE: Show and Tell! Unique features in your home

Bumped this thread because photobucket pictures are blocked on my computer at work and I wanted to see some of these pictures when I get home and I was afraid I wouldn't be able to find the thread.


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RE: Show and Tell! Unique features in your home

Interesting thread - I especially love that people have real books that they treasure!


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RE: Show and Tell! Unique features in your home

I've been looking into getting two chandelier lifts for our house. We will have a two-story entry and family room. I came across this today when looking for chandelier lifts. It's genius! I'm going to get my electrician or someone to do this for me.

Here is a link that might be useful: How to Build a Chandelier lift


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RE: Show and Tell! Unique features in your home

Carsonheim, Mrs Pete, I actually have exactly what Mrs. Pete described for my cats. We built it ourselves 14 years ago when we moved into our current home.
We actually tried to get a patent for it, but actual production would have been a pain.
We put in a doggie door thru the wall, took the flaps out. Build a wooden box on legs, 5 sided, it's on the garage side, against the wall surrounding the opeening. Top flips up to get to cat box & feeder. Storage underneath & on 1/4 of the top. spray foam around where it meets the wall keeps out any drafts from the garage door being open. BEST THING WE EVER DID.
New house is going to have same thing, only I'm going to build it more like a rabbit hutch, so it has an upper level with ramp for the food, lower level for business. Doors that open to the front instead of the top (I'm short, takes a stool for me to get in to clean it.) and the roll out shelf!!
I actually made sure my garage had a corner the right size just outside my laundry room. Door will go under the utility sink :)

I love this thread!!

Sure wish I'd been able to make the laundry shoot work!! dang...


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RE: Show and Tell! Unique features in your home

I've been looking into getting two chandelier lifts for our house. We will have a two-story entry and family room. I came across this today when looking for chandelier lifts. It's genius! I'm going to get my electrician or someone to do this for me.

Carsonheim

There are SO many safety problems, both mechanically and electrically, with that DIY hackjob chandelier lift. Chandelier lifts can actually be purchased! Baling wire to secure cable rather than the proper clamps? Hacked up electrical boxes? Metal fatigue from bending the chandelier's mounting strap? A capacitor just left dangling in the wall cavity (I watched both videos).

Please, save yourself time and get something that is built for the use already. It is a hell of a lot safer. Aladdin is one company that makes them.


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RE: Show and Tell! Unique features in your home

We are building a house with a 4 car garage, and in the far corner of the garage we are adding fencing for 4 dog kennels that will each have a doggy door to the outside. The outside kennels will then have a separate door that we can open from the inside of the garage that will lead into a bigger fenced in area, that way we can play or we can keep them separated if one of them cause in issue. This larger fenced in area will lead to the laundry room, which will have a doggy door into the house. I'm also thinking of installing half pocket doors to use as baby / dog gates through various places throughout the house.


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Sounds very cool NSW... funny how we do crazy things for our critters. :)

I sent this to my hubby when we started planning..."is this too close for the horses to be??" LOL


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RE: Show and Tell! Unique features in your home

Love that someone mentioned a unique cat box. DH when we moved into our little home built a cat box in the garage that has a light sensor that turns on a low what bulb and exhaust fan when the cat comes in, and there is a small magnetic cat door behind the front door where he enters the box (in the garage) does his business and then comes back in…most people don't even notice it, and then the box in the garage is plywood that he insulated, the lid opens you just lift the cat box out, clean and put it back and close the lid, you can then use the box to sit on and put your boots on as you head out…when we had a guy come in to look at putting some additional insulation in he was so fascinated by it he took pictures to show some of his coworkers!


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We have a chain link corner kennel in our garage for when we need to put our Lab out of harms way (like trees getting cut down or deliveries being made). We made our three car garage larger pre-construction. Next house, DH wants it even bigger. There is plenty of room to open doors to all vehicles at one time, no posts, etc.

I had a sliding screen (3 panels) made to cover the TV when not in use (aka anytime DH is not home). The door to the right of FP holds DISH equipment, DVR, DVDs, etc. It was made from a wood and tin shutter I purchased at a local antique store.

We have a lot of copper inside and out. Laundry room backsplash and pine cupboard in kitchen have copper sheeting backsplash. It was also used on the powder room ceiling with cedar beams.

Custom dog gate made from old wood and copper piping. We have grandchildren now so it stays closed all the time.

It folds against the wall when not in use:

We also used copper pipes outside. DH will be redoing the open portion of the back veranda soon. (Love my porch swing bed!)

We have an Ann Sack's Onzen tub (they call it by a different name now) in the MBath. It's about 4ft square and 32" deep. Two built-in seats at different heights. Nice for soaking. Ours is jetted, but we did not get a heater. DH insulted the area well before installation so the heater is not needed or missed.

Instead of a built-in vanity, I opted for a faux bamboo piece.

Our most unique feature is our English kitchen. I am still in love with it after 8 years, next week:


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RE: Show and Tell! Unique features in your home

Ok, some of my features are probably boring compared to the kitty box idea and the hidden shower shelf...but here goes...

Our "drop zone" from the garage has an old chicago brick floor so all the dirt won't show....just a good rugged floor.


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RE: Show and Tell! Unique features in your home

Laundry room -

We had granite over the top of our washer/dryer to use as a folding area.


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RE: Show and Tell! Unique features in your home

We just love our 8 foot x 8'6" island. Lot's of storage and seating area too....

The stools are also a favorite!


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RE: Show and Tell! Unique features in your home

This is a small detail....but I found vintage outdoor water faucet handles...and used them as knobs. I also had a blacksmith make some of the hooks and others were found at a vintage market.


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RE: Show and Tell! Unique features in your home

Guess what is hiding behind the pecky cypress barn doors? Our outdoor TV!


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