Thursday, September 4, 2014

5 Tips for a Bathroom Remodel

The Headlines:

We remodeled our bath & shower.

It was a lot of work.

But it looks amazing.

Let me start this post reminding readers that we bought our house because we loved the location and its basic bones.  Also, because I like projects and I knew this house would be one.  The house was built about 20 years ago and I'm pretty sure was lightly touched since then.  So I saw opportunity.  Lots and lots of opportunity.  People here in the Southwest don't decorate with my "Defined Style" - Desert Cottage - much… so I knew to get exactly what I wanted… I would need to do it myself.

Here's our latest project.  Yes, it's a fairly large shower.

This is the side view...

This is what it looked like before:

and the side view...  Don't you just love the carpet?  I think that was circa 1990, right?
Here is the bath before...

and then after.

Bathrooms are hard to design.  Because there are so many possibilities but also so many constrictions.  Water being the #1 of them.  Keeping with my "Defined Style" - Desert Cottage - I wanted to go white.  But too much white and gray, especially (marble)… while so pretty - can appear cold.  I wanted it to be warm.  Even comforting....  so I went with the wood floor we put in almost all of our house.   Because our bathroom opens to our room.. it was a good decision.

See no doors.  Our bed is just to the left of that picture.  But the decision for wood brought on immediate complications… since the old shower was basically leaking onto our new wood floors we had to replace the whole shower right away which kicked this project into high gear. 

Here's what I learned...
5 tips for a Bathroom Remodel

1.  Know what you want.
I knew I wanted to do subway tile and hexagonal floors in a shower.  My husband didn't want to standard subway so we went the size up and did the 1"x1" hex.
2. Go classic rather than trendy.
Hex and subway tile is such a pretty/classic look.  Also, I knew I wanted all chrome fixtures.  

I went with all traditional touches so it will be timeless.  For instance, I love oil rubbed bronze but I'm concerned it's too trendy.  Perhaps too fleeting?  Also, bead board on the face of the tub.  You can never go wrong with that.

3.  Think about the details.
My husband needed a rain shower head (not pictured below) and I wanted the arm so we got those plus another one in the center there.  But we didn't really discuss the height of that shower head so when it was put in he was deeply concerned it was too low.  I think I've finally convinced him it is not.  But that's a detail that wasn't discussed and could have been a major mistake. 

4. Design Matters
We made little shower "inlets" or frames to hold… whatever.  But we didn't use the subway tile, we used squares and finished corner pieces so the space would be special.  It worked!  Love love love!  Excuse my bad lighting/photograpy.

5.  Have a master plan.
My thought was, I want someone to turn the corner in our bedroom and see a kind of "shower work of art"  Score - it's quite the spectacle.  Plus is opens up the space immensely.


Hire a contractor that is recommended to you.  
This is by far the most important advice I can give.  Every contractor tells you it will be 2 weeks and it's 7.  Every contractor says it will be 10k and it's 12k.  But not every contractor will be honest and trust worthy.  Find one that is.  Interview multiple.  Ask friends.  Get the right one for you.  

Plus, we have now decided the next project we do with a contractor we will be putting a "timeliness" addendum in the contract.  Meaning, they're supposed to finish by such and such date - if they do not - something will be done, like a percentage of their full pay will be subtracted upon completion.  Within reason of course.  Like a week over or something.  Everything is negotiable.  Bottom line, I bet they get it done on time!

For now all there is left to do is "dress" the shower/bath with details.  Like curtains, I think I want a chandelier over the tub, I'm going to put a bench for towels near the entrance of the shower.  And I need to something pretty in that framed "inlet" of mine.  Just the fun stuff!  



  1. I really like the wood floors. I would never think to put them in a bathroom but they pop against all the white. Looks very classic. I can't believe they initially said two weeks. That would've been fast!

    1. i know.. it would've - i thought 3 but 7 kind of floored me. no pun intended. i would still recommend him tho...

  2. I love the dark floors. A friend of mine recently did her bathroom floors with tile that looked liked dark wood and I had NO idea until she told me that it was tile!

    1. that was an option but i wanted to stay consistent with the rest of the house AND i didn't want tile in my bedroom. i agree tho… the wood tile has come a long way in recent years!

  3. Wow I LOVE it! Great're hired! When can you do mine?

  4. OMG-- You are a super star!!!! You cook-&-you renovate!!


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