1. How much do I need to spend? How much am I prepared to spend? In order to minimize costs and structural concerns when renovating your bathroom, you’ll want to try to keep major plumbing outlets in the same position or nearby.
Jo Castillion, consultant with Southland Plumbing Supply, emphasizes that homeowners can get the look they want for $5,000 or $15,000—but they must give themselves a budget and not deviate from what they really want.
Also, be sure to get the maximum bang for your buck. “Why spend the extra money to get brushed nickel when chrome would look better?” she says. “Spend the extra money where it’s going to make a difference.”
Certain additions are still widely perceived as luxuries, but the truth is they are extremely affordable, says Patrice Keller Kononchek, vice president of Keller Supply. Items like body sprays, which are very popular, come in all different price ranges, as do the new one-time flush commodes.
2. Will I settle for a minimal makeover, overhauling some existing structures, or do I want a complete renovation? Know how you want to use the bathroom. Do you want a big shower? Do you really want a whirlpool, or will a soaking tub suffice? Castillion finds that once customers start looking, they can easily get distracted because of all the options today. “Have a set direction or look that you want,” she says. She adds, “Always consider the resale value, even if you don’t intend to ever sell your home.” For example, don’t build your master bathroom too small. “Spending the extra $1,000 can make the difference in it appealing to more people.”
3. Who will I need to help me? Professional renovators can take charge of the entire renovation process for you and organize all facets of the project, from tile selection to the necessary trades. It can be helpful to employ the services of a professional designer to fine-tune the layout and maximize use of space. They can work a little magic in ways you might not have thought of. If you don’t wish to go to this expense, consult with professionals about the basic points of bathroom design.
4. What do you need from me—the homeowner? “The most important thing to remember is that you are working with specific sizes and space,” Castillion says. “Know your space, because there is no give.” For example, don’t waste time looking for tubs if you don’t have a clue as to what size your bathroom can accommodate. Also, remember sizes can be deceiving. “Not all 5-foot tubs are the same. The exact length of the bathing well varies from one to another,” she says.
When you go shopping, bring in house plans or measurements, so everything can be measured to fit, advises Keller Kononchek.
5. When buying tubs, showers and plumbing fixtures, how do I choose colors? When choosing colors, you can start anywhere. “If you have a tile or granite sample that you just love, we’ll make sure to show you all [that] coordinates in faucets and tub,” says Keller Kononchek.
“With any fixtures, it’s how you put it together,” Castillion says. “Fixtures must be complementary and work with the cabinets, flooring and tub surround. Make sure they are not battling each other.”
This article appears in the November 2004 issue of New Orleans Homes & Lifestyles