Will changes be extensive?
It’s helpful to think of a bath redecoration or renovation
or the construction of a new bath as an opportunity to
achieve new comfort, beauty, and convenience. Simply
adding new accessories or a fresh coat of paint can do
much for the appearance of an old bathroom at a relatively
small cost. New tiling or carpeting will rejuvenate
an outdated bathroom; new shelves and cabinets can
relieve irksome overcrowding.
For any type of change, begin by gathering as much
information as you can on design ideas and the newest
materials, fixtures, and accessories. Then work up a
budget based on the parts of the job you think you can
handle, the going local rate for skilled help, and the
estimated cost of materials.
The answer may be decorating …
Though it’s part of remodeling, decorating doesn’t
include structural changes. Its cost can range from
modest to extravagant. Simple accessory changes can
often revitalize a tired bathroom-a new color on the
walls for an impression of spaciousness or brightness,
or a new throw rug, shower curtain, and coordinated
towels to add pattern. Certainly decorating is the
quickest and most convenient way to visually change a
Decorating is as individual as people. As in revamping
any other part of the house, “rules” are made to be
broken. However, some general guidelines that have
proved successful for others may be helpful to you.
First, choose a background color for the walls, ceiling,
and floor. Work around the existing fixture colors match
or complement them. The background color need
not be the s~me tone on all surfaces. Changeable color
accents in the room can be provided by matching or
complementary towels, rugs, and other appointments:
Consider color, pattern, and scale of all the bathroom
components before making final decisions.
One aspect of bathroom decorating that’s often overlooked
is the relation of the bathroom colors to other
rooms nearby. It’s usually pleasing to decorate a small
powder room in the same colors you’re using in the
adjacent foyer or entry hall or to coordinate a master
bathroom color scheme with that of the master bedroom
and possibly the dressing room.
… or is remodeling the approach to take?
Remodeling usually involves more than surface
changes. Your goal might be a limited modernization or
a dramatic rearrangement of space. The project could
range from replacing tile and fixtures to enlarging an
existing bathroom or converting a different type of room
into a bathroom. Sometimes the addition (or subtraction)
of a partition or wall will markedly transform a
bathroom’s overall appearance.
Homeowners may be surprised to find that remodeling
can often cost more than adding on an entirely new
bathroom. What contributes to the cost is the extra labor
involved for demolition before beginning new building,
the restrictions of working within set measurements
and structural elements, and-especially in older houses
-the difficulty of knowing exactly what wires or other
structural complications you ‘re going to discover and
then have to work around.
Many of the exciting features going into new bathrooms
can be included in a remodeled one. But before
you take a skylight idea from one source and a vanity
design from another, make sure their deSigns work for
the room as a whole-and that they work well with the
design of the rest of the house.
In most cases the best way to begin remodeling is to
draw a to-scale floor plan of your present bathroom,
including the exact sizes and shapes of the fixtures. If
the remodeled bathroom will include or affect other
rooms, those rooms and their features should be on the
floor plan, too. It’s also helpful to make scale drawings
of the walls. If you know the location of existing water
supply and waste lines, you should include them, too.
Before you begin removing walls , plan the total project
as completely as you can , down to details of locating
ventilating ducts, heating ducts, light fixtures, storage
cabinets, and mirrors. And calculate how much time it
will take to complete your project, how to dispose of the
materials and fixtures you tear out, and how to move
such awkwardly shaped components as showers stalls
and bathtubs in and out of your house.
To avoid the most common remodeling headaches,
do these things: 1) Estimate time, money, and other
factors as exactly as possible; 2) Know as much as you
can about your community’s plumbing and bUilding
codes, regulations, and guides (contact the city or
county building department, mechanical and electrical
inspectors) ; and 3) Have written agreements with
whomever you employ to do work for you, including
prices, general descriptions of fixtures and materials,
and a statement that places on the installer the liability
for an unsatisfactory installation or fixture damage.