I am currently remodeling our second bathroom in 12 months. Like anything I do for the first time, it is learning experience. Before I embarked upon the bathroom renovations, I had done many improvement projects. Some of them were even large ones, but those did not really prepare me for my first real remodel. I expected most of the bumps in the road that come with construction projects like this, however there were a few unexpected issues. A planner by nature, it is safe to say I don’t like surprises, or delays, or unexpected issues. I want to share with you my top 5 lessons I learned on my first remodel. I hope it saves you some anxiety and stress when it is your turn.
Prepare for the stress on your relationship.
These kinds of projects are expected to be stressful to tackle together, but I had no idea it would bring out my husband’s diva monster! Now my husband is the kind of guy who hunts and chops wood for fun so you can imagine my shock at his detailed opinions about the bathroom design. I had made numerous alterations to our home and he never had any opinion before. Overnight he turned into Merle Streep’s character in “The Devil Wears Prada”. He wanted this, this, and this, but he didn’t like this, this, and this. UGH! I thought it was hilarious that I might get divorced over bathroom tile. Which brings me to …..
Don’t be afraid to get help.
I spent weeks ordering samples and trying to select tile that my husband would like. Finally I had it. I mean HAD IT. I used to work with a guy who’s wife was a designer. She worked at a lumber company/design center not far from our home. I went in to see her and would pay whatever it costs, because it would be cheaper than a divorce attorney. Turns out, the designers there work off commission so she didn’t cost me a dime. It took us only an hour to completely pick out every tile and paint color for that bathroom. I couldn’t believe it. I had spent weeks trying to get this done. It helped that they had an entire room of tile samples. A hundred times more than any other tile store or home improvement store I had been to. I know what you are thinking. The tile was probably more expensive. Check out…
Nope. I had checked out prices of different types of tile from all those tile stores and home improvement stores. The tile I got was about the same price as similar tile at those other stores. I was surprised by this because they had more selection and more out of the ordinary options. I need to plug her here. The designers name is Korie Bock and she works out of Scrugg’s Lumber in Jefferson City, MO. And guess where my first stop was when I needed to remodel a second bathroom? You already know. I’ll meet with her before I remodel anything…ever…again. She keeps me focused and helps me pick out grout color. Can’t live without her.
Of course you need to shop around for your fixtures like faucets, toilets, mirrors, shower heads, lights, etc. Sometimes stores just have different pricing. I was most surprised on some of the bigger ticket items. When we started looking at tops for the vanity, we priced granite at some home improvement stores and the typical places. We also have a custom stone company near our home. At first, I assumed their products would not be in our budget, but I went to check it out one afternoon. I’m glad I did. I ended up shopping some of their remnant pieces and bought an exotic granite piece with the sink for about the same price as the home improvement store. The home improvement store’s granite was typical stock granite. I got the exotic granite for the same price including the $100 sink attached to it and, get this, custom installed at no extra charge. Yep. Come to my house and template the vanity. Send me an email where I get to pick out which part of the stone I would prefer. Come back to my house to deliver and install and seal. In and out in 30 minutes. All I did was open the door. Thank you very much. Hey, guess where I am getting my vanity top this time?
Prepare a layout of your room first thing.
So, the first thing you really need to do is figure out what type of tub, shower, toilet or vanity you would like to use. It doesn’t have to be the final decision but the size needs to be accurate. This is where you figure out what you have room for and where the shower door swings, etc. It’s important to measure the overall room and draw out the room and all the dimensions. You will need these for everything you pick out. You can’t pick out the mirror unless you know how tall the vanity is and how tall the faucet and the backsplash are. Everything you buy has a dimension you need to be thinking about. I draw my room and keep all those numbers in a small notebook. I carry that notebook with me everywhere when I am planning the bathroom. Everywhere.
Don’t be afraid to be assertive about what you want and expect.
I ran into a few people along the way who had strong opinions about my bathroom. I had one glass installer talk down to me about wanting a frameless shower door for my bathroom. He made me feel awful but I knew what I wanted. He could either give me what I wanted or I would find someone who would. I already had one tell me he didn’t think he could make it water tight. I respected that guy a lot more than the jerk who tried to berate me until I caved. Well, I didn’t cave and I got my frameless shower door. It being water tight was never a problem, so that guy was a jerk for nothing. It’s never wrong to hold people to what they promise. Accountability. Pass it on.
That’s all the helpful tips I have for your bathroom remodel. Good luck to you and if you have a husband who doesn’t give you any problems with your remodel….keep that to yourself and quit bragging. It doesn’t suit you. Any other comments or questions are always welcome. Leave a comment below or you can find me at [email protected]. Don’t forget to sign up for my weekly newsletter in the sidebar over there ->