Bathroom renos benefits from big picture planning and loads of research

A modern bathroom with open plan shower and minimalist design features and fixtures

For someone who’s always telling other people that the key to a successful reno is planning, planning, and more planning, I’ve pretty much failed to do so for a bathroom project for my own home in the country, And as is so frequently the case, this simple lack of prep work could have really come back and bit, costing -me time and money.

I think I made the right choice about my first decision-which was whether an aging kitchen or one of two fairly awful, awkward bathroom renos would go first.

The kitchen has ill-fitting, inefficient upper cabinets, and needs new lighting, appliances, ceiling/exhaust fans, sink, and faucet. A wood countertop needs to be refinished, and a water purification system plumbed in. Next to the business end of the kitchen is an area with a collection of dining table, chairs, and storage. that could kindly be described as eclectic and more accurately as mismatched. It flows into another open area with doors to bedroom and closets with a jumble of (mostly old and unattractive) hardware. It’s a lot, and I decided that the bathroom renos would get priority.

Working on the notion that smaller is cheaper (a not entirely reasonable assumption in the first place), I decided to focus on the lower-level bathroom. I thought I was SO CLEVER!

Modern bathroom in grey tones with contemporary fixtures in brushed silver tones.
Schlage hardware is an affordable, easy DIY way to enhance the look of a bathroom.

With a room plan in hand, material research came next. I started at a Cosentino showroom, because I’d heard the multi-application Dekton line was particularly good for wet rooms, which is how I envisioned the bathroom. I got really useful bathroom renos information/ideas from the designer on the floor, and walked away with solid tips for saving costs without sacrificing style. It helped that I brought “before” pics, had room dimensions, and a budget (sort of).

I looked at and felt patterns and finishes up close, including Silestone’s Sunlit Days collection. Inspired by Mediterranean hues, there’s a clay-like Arcilla Red and refreshingly modern Cala blue that I found very tempting. I’ll head back in the fall when the Onirika collection arrives. Designed by interior designer Nina Magon, the carbon-neutral line includes striking marble patterns and colours.

The confused door hardware look is the easiest thing to fix. For that, I’m looking at Schlage’s Custom Collection of knobs, levers, and trim. Durable finishes in satin brass, aged bronze, bright or satin chrome, satin nickel, and matte black caught my eye, as did the variety of styles. I like Schlage’s contemporary Century or Collins trim in matte black, which I think would be a nice compliment to their graceful, modern Hobson glass knobs, a design element I’ve always had a soft spot for.

I also like the clean simplicity of faucets from GROHE’s Essence Collection, a salute to minimalism (see featured pic). These gently curved shapes come in chrome, polished and brushed nickel, a golden Brushed Cool Sunrise, and a stony Hard Graphite shade that I’m partial to.

Sleek, simple black fixtures add serene chic. from DXV

The next step of my bathroom renos saga was having our plumber in to make a work sked for changes to the bathroom before we began tiling. We agreed to a start date—BINGO! But just as the plumber was leaving the Man of the House (MOTH) invited him to peek at the other bathroom, where similar work would be done next year.

After looking in the room for about ten seconds, he pointed out that if my plan was to replumb the bathroom directly below, where we’re going to cover the walls and ceiling, and then come up here and move a toilet which, I’d be taking down a ceiling we just put up to get at it.  Did I see, he asked ever so gently, the flaw in this scenario?

I did, and was so grateful that he pointed it out, and so grateful to MOTH for bringing it up. The good news is that the sourcing I did can easily be applied to the main bathroom. Still, it seemed a timely reminder that doing research and asking questions frequently avoids costly mistakes, especially when it comes to bathroom renos that are part of a larger process.

Or maybe it’s a sign I should hire a designer to help me with design planning.

What would you do? Are you confident enough to plan bathroom renos on your own, or is enlisting professional advice a must for you? I’d love to hear your experiences.

PS: I’m so inspired by these dreamy blues: from L to R; a deco-inspired shower curtain by Arren Williams for The Bay, Katie Hunt murals in Jet Set and Castaway designs. Leaving you with these beauties.

What about you? How confident are you in your own design and reno project planning skills?

Vicky Sanderson

A self-confessed Opinion-ista, Vicky Sanderson has been writing and talking about décor, design and lifestyle issues for almost two decades, and has tested just about every home product known to humankind.

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