Bathroom renovations are one of the most popular searches on Pinterest and Houzz. We all want that ideal- the spa bathroom experience. It seems like it should be so easy, not to mention inexpensive. Nothing crazy in my small bathroom renovation, everything in the same place, just newer! Except reality sets in, when you realize that a small bathroom renovation costs the same as a large bathroom renovation. And every bathroom renovation costs 4 times more than you expected. How can this be?
The answer lies in labor costs. When you consider a bathroom renovation, most of the difference between a tiny bathroom and a large bathroom cost is only tile square footage- and maybe another sink and sconce. In effect, the same cost regardless of size. Generally, I like to gut a bathroom to the studs so that new cement board can go in the shower/tub area. This allows us to access the plumbing and take care of any leaks that may not be apparent under the old tile. This is also the time to update the lighting and ensure that outlets are placed where they are most convenient to use.
Bathrooms are complicated and interior design is a skill that may seem quite easy, thanks to TV, but is actually rather difficult unless you have years of education or renovations under your belt. To get a renovation project right entails making hundreds of tiny decisions and getting each one exactly right, because they build, like Legos, on top of each other. This is particularly important with bathroom renovations, because you are investing a lot of money into a room that you’re going to use every day for the next 15 years.
I love to guide my clients through this process. We have a floor plan for the contractor, a tile design plan for the walls and floor, and checklists for the fixtures and finishes and lights! Everything is planned out and nothing is left to chance (or ‘open to interpretation’). It’s function followed by form with lots of fun thrown in. The result is your spa bathroom dream!
Here’s what’s happening in Bathroom Design- On my most recent trip to the National Kitchen and Bath Show lots of new things were apparent, including-
Bathroom Lighting- Manufactures are being very creative, particularly with the use of LED lamps integrated into bathroom vanities, mirrors and medicine cabinets. Incorporating these ideas is a decision that needs to be made early in the design process so that your power sources are in the correct place spot for installation.
Bathroom Finishes- Prevalent at the show is the use of natural materials, particularly wood and stone, in vanities, sinks and lighting. Brass is the predominant metal color, although manufacturers are testing matte black plumbing fixtures to rave reviews. A combination of brass and matte black is a nice transition and very sophisticated. The black ‘grid’ shower door is everywhere and coming on strong. Tip here- they can be impossible to clean. There are manufacturers who have solved this in their construction, so be sure you know what you’re getting.
Bathroom Tile- Large format is still going strong and this category is expanding in leaps and bounds. It’s a smart way to tile a your walls and floors, as less grout is…less grout! Easier to clean and maintain. Why not try it?