Lessons From A Bathroom Remodel

September 23, 2015 by Ariana | 0 Comments


Over the years, we have completed several remodels.  At our first house, we redid two bathrooms and a kitchen.  As soon as we got the keys to our current home, we started off with two rushed bathroom remodels and a family room/guest room renovation.  We are not novices, but I learn something new with every experience.  Of course I learned the most from our fabulous kitchen renovation with the help of inSite Design.  Working with Lauren gave me the confidence to do our master bathroom on my own, and I constantly reminded myself of the lessons gleaned from prior projects too.

Even though the remodel was finished a few months ago, it has taken me awhile to write this post.  After spending so much time on the nitty gritty and harassing my contractor, I just wanted to enjoy it.  And I am.  Now I’m also ready to share some of the lessons learned from our latest project:

Math is important.  Measure, measure, measure.  Sure, I measured the room more than once and made sure all the items I ordered were going to fit.  That’s a given.  I’m talking about the measurements you don’t think about until the contractor asks, like where to place the toilet paper holder (yep, I sat down on that toilet and figured it out) or how high and deep to make the shower bench.  Especially when tile is concerned, it’s important to consider the size of the tiles (the exact size, not what’s on the box or order) when doing the layout.  On our shower wall, we decided on an accent of vertical stripes.  Since our main tile was a simple oversized subway, I worked with our tile installer to figure out the best tile size after the demo was completed and we had a better idea of how large our shower could be.  We used the large subway as a guide for how wide the box shelf would be, as well as the placement of the accent stripes (shown above).

Nothing ever goes as planned.  I pride myself on my planning skills.  Everyone who knows me knows that I am very organized and plan ahead, maybe too far ahead sometimes.  When construction is concerned, things never go as planned.  Luckily, we only had one surprise.  We wanted to move the window — which originally was between a single (and really ugly) vanity and the shower (hello neighbors!) and indirectly across from the neighbors’.  I measured myself and with the contractor, but neither of us considered looking at the outside of the house.  Only after the demo was done did we find out that the  detail along the roofline would interfere with our chosen window height.  It was not a big problem, but we had to move the window lower, which meant less room to accommodate our medicine cabinets and a last-minute exchange.


Narrow your focus.  There are so many great options out there these days, and no shortage of places to find inspiration.  I love shopping for tile and changed my mind numerous times every time I visited a showroom.  We decided to focus on the floor tile.  We chose this marble calacutta mosaic from Walker Zanger (shown above) which we love.  The shape is a bit more modern, but the marble is classic.  We stuck with white tiles in different shapes (hexagons on the shower floor) and a small mosaic of the same marble for our shower accents.  Seeing all the varieties in tile, I worried that it was boring, but we wanted to a look that would be timeless and I think we achieved that here.

Choose trendy accessories, not fixtures.  It’s hard not to be inspired by all the photos and great design that I see daily on blogs, magazines and showrooms.  While brass was trending when we chose our fixtures, it didn’t go with the rest of the house and I worried that I’d tire of it.  We chose clean lines for our bathtub, pendants and faucet fixtures to balance out the classic mahogany vanity.  I’m still looking to add some color and whimsy where I can, like a colorful stool and graphic modern art.  These are much easier to swap out when they’re out of style.

Consult your contractor before making large purchases.  It might seem obvious, but let your contractor see the assembly instructions for your fixtures and appliances before you purchase them.  They can require changes in the location and type of plumbing.

The internet is great, but some things need to be seen in person.  I admit to having rolled the dice and purchased the vanity online, sight unseen.  Lucky for us, it worked out.   But there are some things you really want to see and try in person, especially when it comes to your home.  It seems strange to do it, but you should sit in the bathtub and even on the toilet, and definitely feel the faucets.  A lot of models look alike, but you’re going to be using these multiple times a day.  Feel the difference.  We were able to find most of what we needed at a local showroom so there weren’t too many surprises.

Now enjoy the before and after!




“Before” photo courtesy of McGuire Realty, all others are original to RevolvingDecor.com.  Interested in sources?  Please add your question to the comments.

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