Just Ask Joe


First I like to find out what the homeowner’s vision is. I like to get a starting point and then work towards what they can afford and what the space will allow.
You can upgrade the whole room with fresh colors, a new countertop, mirror and light — without heavy permits, changing the roofline and adding on the foundation.
If we work with the existing roofline, the existing foundation, then next we would discuss the existing location of the plumbing. Moving water lines might affect the project budget. Other questions that affect budget would be if we move an interior wall — is it a load bearing wall or just a partition wall that separates spaces? There’s a huge cost difference in time and labor.

I like to find out what a homeowner wants and what they’re picturing. There’s a huge difference between a traditional Art Deco bathroom and a very modern one that might have slick, big tile and a frameless shower door. A walk-in shower is a common request. A lot of my clients want to get rid of the bathtub. If they have two bathrooms, they might keep a tub in one bathroom for the kids. In the other, they might opt for a walk-in shower.

You want to consider flooring options that aren’t affected by moisture, whether it be tile or high end vinyl flooring. Plank-style ceramic tiles that look like wood flooring are very popular right now. A lot of people also like the floating, locking flooring options. It’s a great solution, since a lot of those flooring options don’t have any wood in them and are moisture resistant — but they can get pretty pricy and can quickly exceed the cost of tile.

Bathrooms are expensive to remodel. It can add up quick between the light fixtures, plumbing fixtures, labor and tile. Going over budget is common but can be avoided with careful planning. A bathroom remodel can also be a major inconvenience if you don’t have two bathrooms in your home. A big factor in planning your bathroom remodel is whether the house is still livable while I work on it. I work with the homeowner to minimize the time I’m inconveniencing them while delivering a quality remodel.

Some homeowners want traditional and timeless bathrooms. Others want a bathroom that looks “right now — 2017.” The current style is big tiles. Mosaics are also popular (sheet tile). Or using the mosaic to accent the big tiles so the bathroom isn’t too bland. The trend is for large tiles and thin grout lines. Minimal decor and trim, more of a minimalist, modern approach is what designers are driving people towards. However, in older houses, an Art Deco bathroom fits real well, such as in 1940s Benton-Stephens houses.

For bathroom remodel inspirations, go the Big Box Stores to look at materials. Save pictures out of magazines, go on Pinterest. Go check out the bathrooms when you’re at a restaurant or a relative’s house. Some people are inspired to remodel a bathroom by a particular light fixture. Gather your ideas so you know what you want. Sometimes it’s good to consult a designer. I’m a craftsman, not a designer. At the end of the day, I want to produce the homeonwer’s unique vision.

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