Monday, August 10, 2009

Bathroom Rehab-Do's and Don'ts

The DO....


This bathroom project was a perfect DO! The homeowners wanted a new bath utilizing the existing space. They knew they needed help with the design even though they had a clear idea of the style that they wanted. During the planning phase we identified the following space savers and cost reductions-

1. None of the plumbing needed to be moved saving lots-o-$'s.

2. Although originally thinking a linen closet would be built where the old shower was (to the left of the tub), we added a linen tower to the larger vanity and added a second vanity in place of the old shower, adding immediate resale return.

3. The toilet area was cramped by the old door that opened against it and would have blocked the new vanity area. A pocket door was added, making the space much more functional.

4. By designing a custom look for standard cabinets from Merrillat, the bath has designer style with very economical cabinetry.

5. The homeowners love color and were considering painting the room in a bold hue. I suggested bold accessories and a neutral paint. They listened a love it.

The "design phase" of this project cost about $800 and more than paid for itself by the end of the project.

Now for the DON'T....

This bath is in a home that we own but was "renovated" before we purchased it. There are several points to note that we would have done much differently (and probably eventually will).

1. The minimum space (per code) for a toilet is 30". This means there should be 15" from the center line of the fixture to any wall or other element. This one has about a 24" area which makes it way too tight.

2. The industrial looking wall-hung sink is just plain ugly. Because the space is just too small for these elements, it encroaches on the shower curb meaning that no other type of sink can really be used.

3. To the shower, since the sink encroaches on the curb, a shower curtain is the only option. A glass door would have opened the space greatly and been much more functional.

4. Although you can't see it, new plumbing fixtures were installed on old iron water lines. Periodically the shower valve will clog from the pipe sediment. To fix the problem, one entire wall of shower tile would have to be removed, the pipes replaced and new tile installed. NEVER cover old plumbing with new finishes.

5. And finally, the medicine cabinet above the sink was a great idea for storage but a larger one could have been used giving the small room better balance and more storage.

When considering a bathroom rehab, even though the cost of planning seems high, it makes the construction process much more efficient, reducing if not eliminating the dreaded Change Order. Good planning can also save lots of money in finishes if your designer charges by the hour and passes on his/her discount to clients (which we do at Environs). Lastly, using a licensed, insured contractor who will TELL YOU if what you want to do will cause you problems in the future (i.e. failure to replace old pipes) will save you heart-ache down the line.

Next week-Smaller Kitchens

'Til then...


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