DESIGN LINE: Remake A Bathroom in 10 Steps
Tuesday, September 17, 2013
1. Establish a budget.
I cannot tell you how many of my clients start with “no budget” and then freak out when the price starts climbing. This is the way of construction: the sky is the limit. Establishing a budget, even if it is within a range, is going to drive every single decision you make. It is vital!
2. Measure your space.
If you’re doing this project yourself, it’s likely you are using the existing space and simply reconfiguring or re-decorating. Whatever the case, the place to start is with an existing floor plan. Grab some paper, draw out your space, and measure it. Knowing your dimensional limitations will help you as you proceed.
3. Draw your space to scale.
Do not be intimidated by this. Get some graph paper and figure each square is 6-12,” depending on the size of the space. From there, draw the room to scale as closely as you can. This will help you understand the relationship of fixtures to one another, which will allow you to envision the space better as you design.
4. Determine sources of natural light.
At this stage, you can locate a new skylight, add a window, or move a window opening to a new location. Natural light is such an important component of a bathroom. I highly encourage you to get as much of it as possible. Skylights are great for natural ventilation too.
5. Locate the major fixtures.
The next step is to locate your tub/shower stall, vanity area (how much space? two sinks or one?), toilet, and any other major fixtures you will have. This will help you determine the size of the fixtures you need, so that when you’re shopping, you’ll be able to narrow your choices.
6. Design your ceiling and lighting plan.
You’ll need general lighting, lighting at the mirror (I love pendants on either side of the mirror, but sconces are great too), an exhaust fan, and perhaps even a chandelier in the center, depending on the size. Whatever the case, figure out what you want and the sizes that will work.
7. Determine other electrical needs.
In a bathroom, most of the electrical needs are for lighting, but you will need to locate electrical needs for other features, if you are planning them. A heated floor, towel warmer and other specialties require rough electrical work before walls are closed up, so make sure you know where all of those items are going. You’ll need outlets near the vanity as well, and don’t skimp on them. More is better.
8. Decide the finishes you’d like to have.
Will the walls have a wainscot (with tile, bead board or some other material)? Will the ceiling of the shower stall have tile? Will you do a wood baseboard or a tile base? Will you use paint or wall covering? You’ll need to answer these and other questions before your search for finishes starts.
9. Locate bathroom accessories.
These are things like toilet paper holders and towel bars, which often become an afterthought and then things get problematic. Have you ever seen a loose towel bar hanging on the wall? This is because there was no wood blocking installed in the wall, so the screws had nothing to catch on. If you plan these locations before the sheetrock goes in, you can make sure they will be secured forever.
10. Think about bath and shower needs.
This is particularly important when doing a master bathroom that two people will share. These days, you can have multiple shower heads, a rain shower and loads of body sprays, so figuring out exactly what’s important to you and what you’re willing to pay for is essential before you set out to find fixtures.
Now it’s time to shop! Don’t forget to take your budget with you and keep a running list of everything in some sort of chart or spreadsheet. Once you figure out exactly what you want, you will have a much better sense of the overall costs and then if you need to choose a less expensive sink, light, or vanity, you’ll know. And if you have read all this and are completely overwhelmed, I’m right here to help!
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