Monthly Archives: May 2014

Planning the Perfect Bathroom Renovation

BathroomThe most important step is identifying what is not working for you and what you need to work better in the new space. This may be layout issues; lack of storage; shower might be too small; everything you do not like about the existing space. Once you have identified the critical must haves, the next step is the budget. 

How are you financing the renovation? Have you saved “X” amount? Are you planning on using a credit line? Were you planning on updating and then rolling the cost into your mortgage renewal? These may all effect the amount you have available for a renovation budget. 

Next we need to address practical issues such as location of plumbing and accessibility and functionality of accommodating various floor plans. It may be much too costly and use too much of the budget to move the toilet stack.  This dictates we must design around the existing toilet location. This just means that sometimes, we need to be a bit more creative with our design and work a bit harder to achieve that “perfect” look. You would be amazed at what we can accomplish! 

Once we have determined a floor plan that is functional and solves all or most of the home owner’s concerns with the space, we can begin to have fun! This is where the creative side comes out and shines! We can help you allocate your budget to the things that mean the most to you! You might really love tile and want tile floors, walls and shower stall. However, you may also want a real fabulous shower with speakers, steam and body sprays as well as the overhead rain shower and telescopic handheld pole with handheld spray… the options are now almost limitless in terms of the level of luxury you want to indulge yourself in! After all, this is how you start every day – so you might as well make it an amazing start to every day! 

The style and type of tile and color can really set the mood from calm and soothing to something a little more stimulating and refreshing! You want something funky and fun, no problem! What color would you like that fun in?  You want a calm soothing spa like feel – again options now are almost limitless! There is something for everyone and something for every individual style!   

Shower doors area somewhat confusing, some better than others. You want to ensure a proper closure to prevent water outside the shower. Do you have room for a pivot door or is a roller door a better option for you? Maybe you really want a roller door but it’s not in the budget right now. Rather than settling for a door you do not like and will have to drill through the tile to attach, consider using a basic adjustable shower rod and curtain for the short term. After saving for a few months, you can now have that fancy roller top shower door you really wanted! It’s a great compromise and has caused zero damage to your walls! 

Bathroom vanities and colors have a multitude of selections. Space will dictate the size; but from there on it’s all about the style that speaks to you. My one word of caution is to get a good quality product. Sometimes the less expensive items may look nice but they simply do not last! The finish can start to chip, handles or doors break… if you are going to pull back on the budget, this is one area I always tell clients – you get what you pay for! You are better off installing a less costly vinyl floor that can be easily replaced with tile down the road, and spending the extra money for a really good vanity. It you want a granite countertop; again if it’s in the budget great; if not there a multitude of laminate selections that look just like granite that can all easily be upgraded down the road. 

 Mirrors and lighting and storage features are very much individual. However, they should blend seamlessly with the overall design of the room. Having a real funky light in a very traditional room may not look quite right… WE can usually recommend something that has a bit of fun but blends a bit better with the overall look and looks better in the space. 

 Using a Designer is not only about maximizing your design options, it’s also about maximizing your budget!  Certain items are worth the extra expense and the latest box store special is just an expense that will require replacing much sooner with a much better quality product at a slightly higher cost. There is a lot to be said for good quality materials! They last a long time! I’d rather see my clients get 20 years out of their bathroom than just 5 or 6 years!

Planning Great Kitchen and Bathroom Designs

ensuite611after kit611after Kitchen P1020816This is the time of year when many people undertake major home renovations. They decide they want to renovate now and rush out to begin purchasing. The first thing many people order when undertaking a major bathroom or kitchen renovation is the cabinetry, countertops and knob pulls.  Then they begin to look at appliances and fixtures. This can easily lead to disappointment and design compromises. 

The first step is to consider what you want? Do you have any “must haves” on your list? If so, what are they? Do you have any appliances that you simply cannot live without? How will you use the space? How many people will use the space at the same time? Are there multiple functions the space must accommodate in the design?

Whether you are using standard cabinetry or completely custom cabinetry or a combination of the two, it is critical to know what appliances and fixtures need to fit in the cabinetry! You should have a specification list of product models, names, and supplier information for each piece. Most manufacturers have an installation guide available online. This makes it extremely easy to print off all the correct dimensions for the appliances and fixtures you want and provide them to your cabinet supplier at the time you place your cabinet order. Trust me, they will love you for the effort!

This not only saves a tremendous amount of time; it also allows them to provide better options for your layout knowing exactly what they are dealing with from the initial appointment. Sinks and dishwashers may require modifications to existing plumbing and electrical; certain hood fans may require additional power or exterior venting to be moved/modified, and cabinetry to hide the vents! If planners know what they are dealing with in terms of appliances at the initial design, they can recommend the most efficient layout, and save you time and money!

There is nothing more disappointing than ordering your cabinetry and then finding an appliance you love and MUST have, and then finding out it doesn’t fit in your new cabinetry! Appliances come in multiple sizes. If your cabinetry is built for a 30” fridge and you get a counter depth 36” fridge , modifying your cabinets can be costly! 

Do you want granite, laminate, quartz, Caesar stone, concrete countertops or something else? Your countertop selection affects the cabinetry. They need to know what countertop you are using. Different counters require different specifications in finishing! So, if you change your mind, part way through, make sure you tell your cabinet maker – otherwise you may be in for a nasty surprise on installation day!

Showers, sinks, faucets and baths also have different specifications and often require different framing details. Again, you should have the manufacturer, model number, product name and installation specifications so everything is ready for the product to go in. This just keeps nasty surprises and frustrations to a minimum. No job will go 100% problem free, but when you take steps to minimize problems and surprises, a job can go much better than anyone thought was possible!

Even though, spring seems to be the time when most people jump into renovations at the speed of light, it pays to take your time and plan things out before you begin placing your orders! Fabulous kitchen and bathroom design doesn’t just happen – it takes time and planning to make it all come together just right!