CCSRpersonal: Our Big House Renovation – “The Plan”

So – you are probably wondering what this house looks like, and what “The Plan” might be. As explained before, it’s a 2000 sq foot rancher that was built in 1986 in Maple Ridge, BC. Therefore, it has raised panel oak cabinetry, pink p-lam countertops, blue/grey plumbing fixtures, single pane windows, 2 1/2″ mouldings/baseboards, shiny brass hardware, a burgundy double front door and 11 flooring transitions [GAH!] – which include linoleum, carpet and laminate.

Demo Plan

As for layout – it has five bedrooms including the principal bedroom which includes an ensuite. There are two, three piece bathrooms as well – which is great for a growing family. The public areas of the home are compartmentalized and therefore, make it harder to entertain. I have always liked the way the home was laid out – but now thinking about functionality for our family of 5, there are definitely a few things that we are going to change.

Construction Plan

By taking out some partition walls – and adding a beam in another area – we hope to create an open space. We will define the different areas of this open space with custom millwork and furniture – therefore, still allowing a separate feel for the kitchen, work space, dining area, and media area. We also decided to stack the washer/dryer to allow for an undermount laundry sink, and took out the closet in the boot room to allow for a built in to house shoes, coats, backpacks, etc. I feel that the riskiest thing we are proposing to do is take out our existing (tiny) WIC and use that space to extend the existing (tiny) ensuite – and include a freestanding soaker tub. To make up for the lost walk in closet, we will have full height built-ins installed in the bedroom instead. I will let you know if this is a disaster – or if the trade off was worth it!

Screen Shot 2013-02-21 at 10.01.42 PMAnd yes, that is a baby grand in the corner of the great room – a girl can dream! (and drop numerous hints to the hubs!)


CCSRpersonal: Our Big House Renovation – Follow Along

Today, I thought I’d share with you some progress – Usually, before starting a project, I would ask my clients to compile some “inspiration images”, to give me a feel of what they are looking for. These would consist of some of their favourite furniture/decor pieces, their wish lists and dream ideas, and then finally some finishes that they LOVE! Since my client is: me, myself, and I … O, and my dear husband and lovely children, (can’t forget that their opinions matter as well!!!) most of my ideas are in my head as mental notes from when I have been sourcing for my clients or just doing research for the company. So, to include you as we take this wild ride, here are some ways you can follow along! This may help you visualize how this project will take shape and possibly give some direction on how to organize your ideas if you were thinking of renovating or re-decorating! Because Social Media is the bomb (yes, I just said that) – I thought I would use some neat little apps for sharing some of our selections. Enjoy! Make sure to follow us on Twitter, Vine, Instagram, Pinterest & Facebook – all under CCSRdesign – for up to the minute inspiration (or if I’m keeping it real – many quirky photos of my children and other strange things!)






(still new to Pinterest – my boards are kinda lame – but a great way to keep track of specs and pricing!)

Screen Shot 2013-02-15 at 12.14.31 AMFACEBOOK

Screen Shot 2013-02-15 at 12.27.40 AMDISCLAIMER: Yes, I do enjoy Social Media – but am aware that these tools must be used with CAUTION… too much of a good thing… well, can be wonderful… but, sadly sometime becomes this:


Therefore, I will try to keep it simple!

CCSRpersonal: Our Big House Renovation

Since starting this CCSR Interior Design blog, I haven’t made it really personal – and just thought of it more as a blog where I could share little tips that I have learnt, or some information on current projects we are doing. Well, today that will change a little bit! I thought I would share a little bit about myself – and also take you alongside my family as we embark on a little adventure we will title “Our Big House Renovation”. Now this might seem like a strange title – so I will give you a little bit of a back story – and get a little bit personal.

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My name is Christa Carls Sophia Robinson (this is where the CCSR comes from), and I started my little Interior Design company in 2008. Going back a little bit further – I started school for ID in January of 2006 and got married in July of that year. I completed my Management Certificate in Interior Design in 2007 and had spent some time interning and then getting hired on as a Jr. ID at a design firm on Granville Island. Then in late 2007, I got my dream job working downtown Vancouver at a wonderful firm – until August 2008 when I went on maternity leave. During that time, I had also spent my evenings going to school to finish my Diploma of Technology – and then returned to school again after my daughter, Sophia, was born in October 2008. Alas, my heart was definitely in school and learning about the more commercial aspects of Interior Design – but I had to admit that my girl and my husband were my priority and held my heart with a firmer grip. So, I slowly let the dream of finishing school end. (Sad – but I’m okay!)

My supportive husband (who occasionally thinks I’m crazy!!!) saw me through starting up CCSR Interior Design in August of 2008 – and by starting up I mean doing the odd re-decorating project/working on everyone’s house as a favour for my portfolio/working on stranger’s homes for [almost] free. I mean how else does one get a start in business when they are having babies and loving being a mom/wife at the same time???? 🙂 This is I guess where the first part of the story of “Our Big House Renovation” starts – we bought our home in 2007 – a 2000 sq foot rancher in our home town of Maple Ridge, BC. We were younger then (ha ha!) and couldn’t afford to really do anything to it’s interior – but we didn’t care – because we were in OUR HOUSE! The photos below, are the photos taken from when it was listed for sale.

outsidekitchen before

before diningbefore living

Almost a year and a half after moving in, for the sake of my “portfolio”, my husband agreed to re-decorating our living room and dining room. My husband is really responsible with money – and doesn’t usually see any reason to spend any of it on furniture/decor… – I MEAN – COMMON! (Can you see where we may occasionally disagree???) So I got him to agree to some re-decoration, and by that I mean, actually buying furniture (we didn’t really own any at this point!). Did I mention that he may have agreed to the “project”, but funding it was another story! So, I cashed in my Airmiles points for Pier 1 gift cards and went to work – with my $2200 budget. (PS Urban Barn Outlet in Coquitlam was my best friend – talk about deals on pieces that were just the tiniest bit damaged) Now, don’t be too hard on me – I can honestly say that I did the best I could with what I had – and this was almost 5 years ago! 🙂

dining after

living afterSo, fast forward almost a year, and we hear about some new bylaws that were being passed in Maple Ridge. Now, to understand my husband better is to know that he really tries to stay informed. He is always surfing the net (that sounds so 90s) and reading up on something new interesting thing – and he also really likes to explore paths not yet taken. SO… we decide that we should take part in an experiment with one of these new bylaws that were in effect. The one that caught our eye was this thing called a Garden Suite. (Simplified Definition – A seperate dwelling on a property no more than 968 sq ft) Now, my husband is lovely and allowed me to design this little house from the ground up – I got the chance to learn about foundations, roof pitches, vaulted ceilings, exterior elevations, sections, structural engineering, etc. And we came up with the plans for our little house – and began construction in late 2009.

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My husband, our 18 month old daughter and I moved into the “Little House” in May 2010 and began renting out the “Big House” with the intent of staying in this 968 sq ft home for three years. I bet you can now see where this story is going! During these past [almost] three years – we welcomed our first son Levi into our lives in October of 2010, and then our second son Theo in July of 2012. And our little home that fit three comfortably, and four tightly – now fits five – o wait – it doesn’t really fit five at all!

garden suite demogarden suite 1 garden suite 2 garden suite 3 garden suite 4

At the end of January, our tenants had made the decided to move to another house – which was an incredible blessing – and we have now begun the huge process of figuring out if renovation is in our future. Have I mentioned that we get possession of our “Big House” March 1st – and have I mentioned that we have a new tenant for our “Little House”/Garden Suite April 1st. If you have done the math in your head – that gave me 2 weeks to make some plans, 2 weeks to order fixtures, millwork, appliances, windows, flooring, doors, and trim, and 4 weeks to get this thing BUILT???

So, as of yesterday my husband and I had one last chat about if we were going to do this thing – and today it is official – we are on this new adventure titled “Our Big House Renovation”. With the excitement that a renovation brings – what better way for me to remember the chaos that will surely ensue – than to BLOG to entire process for your enjoyment! Pray for me please – and for my dear dear children – as their mumma might come unglued! But, don’t worry too much – as we have done something similar to this in the past. Click HERE to see a video of when we renovated a 2700 sq foot home in 1 month.

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CCSRtip Tuesday – Some bathroom renovation ideas

Today we start our first renovation of 2012 and we thought we’d share some ideas that we are using for this Ensuite Design.

Here is our elevation sketch for this project: where we used four ideas for a bathroom update.


A) Pendant lighting.

This is a unique and new way to light vanities… working the same way that sconces do – providing that great overall lighting on your face. Overhead vanity lighting and pot lights create a dark shadow on your face and a great solution for this is sconce lighting or this pendant lighting with the centre of the fixture hung at 5′-6″ A.F.F. Above is an example of a Tech Lighting pendant over vanity – beautiful.

B) Wall mounted faucet.

These faucets are a great choice if you want to add a little bit of interest to your bathroom. Used with a vessel sink, above counter sink, even a under-mount sink – these slick faucets are pretty great. They take a little more thought when specifying them – i.e.. height above sink rim- comfortable height for on/off lever and of course a plumber who has installed them before – it’s a little like a shower rough-in, but easy enough to figure out after a little research! Above are a few examples of more interesting wall mount faucets from our friends at Kohler and American Standard! We used the last example for this application.

C) Floating vanity with under-cabinet lighting

If you are going for a more contemporary look this is a great option – also adding more visual appeal to your space. When you have this great feature –  a floating vanity – what better to accentuate this, but with under-cabinet lighting. An easy way to achieve this look is with 3 LED puck lights surface mounted to the bottom of the unit. Unless you bend all the way over, you’ll never be able to see them, and this is much more cost effective that those amazing LED strips (they are amazing, you have no shadow gaps or visible fixture – but they are expensive!) This light feature will help you set a great mood or provide a neat night light.

 D) Recessed shower cubby.

Do you have a tiled shower surround? Do you find that you need more storage for your shower? Are you a little nervous of water issues in your shower? Yes??? Then these great shower cubby’s are option for you. They come in a variety of sizes and because of their design – they ensure that there is a water tight installation. Above photo shows an option from Maxx – we installed this version in our Marble Bathroom from last summer… The last photo shows another option where the installer added a beautiful tiled pattern to the recess.

UPDATE: THAT Pink Bathroom

In July, we posted about an outdated Pink Bathroom in West Maple Ridge… Although, the colour was an issue in this ensuite, the layout was definitely the reason for the renovation. (Especially since there are websites devoted to Pink Bathrooms – see THIS to believe it!) In this 12′-0″ x 8′-6″ room, the large soaker tub took up half of the floor area. There was literally no storage because of the pedestal sink and the shower was one of the typical 3′-0″ x 3′-0″ enclosures with the angled exterior corner door – which was just not functional for daily use.

So, it was to the drawing board for us – how do use our space wisely and create a functional environment that also has amazing form. We designed a beautiful 5′-6″ vanity with lots of storage, it also had two sinks and it’s lines mirrored the master suite furniture. We added lighting above head and a sconce to provide eye height lighting (which does not cast uneven shadows on the face) and the client also thought it would be lovely to include a chandelier above HER freestanding dream soaker tub. All of the elegant plumbing fixtures are finished in polished chrome to add to the sparkle and reflection in the space, along with the glass shower door enclosure – which continues to enlarge the room. The marble – in various sizes, 12″x24″, 6″x18″ and 1″x1″ was used to create pattern and interest in the floor and 6″x18″ tile was used on the shower wall with a 2″x12″ chairrail to finish the edge. We were also able to include details such as; a heated floor mat (laid under the tile) and a heated towel unit, and we also ordered pulls from a specialty retailer in Victoria.

These clients, (as all my clients are) were again wonderful to work with – with such close attention to detail that all parties involved in the process, myself included (!!!) were so pleased with the result. Hope you enjoy seeing how we came up with our solution to our previous Pink Problem…. Here are some before and after photos as promised.

PS… If you are a fan of apartment therapy – they apparently enjoy Pink Bathrooms as well…. Although … WAY more stylish than ours was!

West Georgia&CC-810

Have you been driving down West Georgia St. in the 1500 block lately???

If you have or if you are planning on being down in that area – take a quick look at 1575 West Georgia St. (on your right hand side if heading to the Park) and you will be able to see a wonderful colour from Benjamin Moore painted at the entryway of that building. A few months back CCSR ID had the opportunity to do some work for clients who are tenants in that building and one of the items in our scope of work was to select a new colour for the face of the building.

We selected the Benjamin Moore colour CC-810 Hudson Bay to compliment the grey concrete exterior, add a nice punch of great colour, and to remind the eye of amazing ocean views that the area has to offer.

UPDATE: 2010-13 Textiles for Bench Seat

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CCSRproject: 2010-13 Textiles for Bench Seat

We are working on the bench seating for the nook to compliment the newly designed kitchen for the 2010-13 project.

The workroom we use is located in Abbotsford and we are very excited to be collaborating again. She is incredibly talented and uploaded a photo of the all the yummy Dwell Studio for Robert Allen fabrics that we sent to her right before she started her work.

Photo Credit: Kimberly Gladman

Check out her personal blog for an update on her process.

Below is a video about the amazing line that Dwell Studio and Robert Allen created. I am so lucky to be able to work with this beautiful fabric and to create a wonderful little kitchen nook where my clients will be able to enjoy meals with family and friends. Please check back for an UPDATE in a few weeks!

Why, O Why… Pink as an interior theme?

Pink is a wonderful colour… Hey, it’s currently found in my 2 1/2 year old daughter’s room! BUT.. PINK/PEACH/SALMON seems to be what I see in almost every home I enter that needs some design work! These houses are typically between 15-25 years old and are all plagued with pink/peach/salmon paint, wallpaper, carpet, countertops, tile and plumbing fixtures! In our most recent project: an ensuite renovation in west maple ridge, these colours were definitely well used.

Here are some before photos of the room…

Make sure you pop back in a few weeks to see how we dealt with our “pink problem”. Meanwhile – have fun dreaming up ways to deal with any of your un-loved “pink problems”!