Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Making Some Changes

You have probably been wondering why I haven't published my post on the details of the $6500 bathroom budget.  Some of you have no idea what I am talking about because Facebook only let 250 followers see the link to my budget post a few weeks ago.

The truth is, I am not happy with that budget.  Ever since I came up with the budget and shared the decisions with y'all, I have had anxiety.  I want specific look and feel in my bathroom and $6500 is not an unreasonable amount to invest in the master, but, I just don't want to spend that much.  Period. And it was probably going to cost more.  As I was getting quotes, and realizing some of the prep work we will have to do, it was actually going to cost OVER $7000 and was getting closer to $8,000 everyday.  Um...no.

There are too many things on my to do list next year (going to Europe, updating the other bathroom, having a life) to spend that much on one bathroom.  And this is why it is so important to do research and get quotes before the remodel starts.  There were so many things that I did not realize we needed to do or would have to purchase.

For the past few weeks I have been researching and looking at a bazillion pictures to think of a way to save.  Things I have been asking myself.....What can I live without?  Where can I make changes to save the most money?  Can I find the same products cheaper?

My goal is to get this makeover well under $6000.  I have to give up my precious calacatta gold tiles and counter top but life will go on and the bathroom will still be beautiful.



Here are the big expenses I have decided to keep.





  • The shower base.  Cost $600.




For all showers, you have to have a sloped, waterproof shower base and install a drain.  This can be done by framing out the shower pan, lining with different plastic liners, and pouring a special concrete/mortar base creating a slope to the drain.  Then you tile on top of that.  It is a multistep process and there is tons of room for error.  I have decided to buy a pre made shower base.

My reasons:  Materials to DIY a shower base are not cheap.  Several bloggers I follow, had to do their bases more than once, meaning more materials and more cost and more time.  But the biggest reason, it is a HUGE time saver.

Remember, time is money.  My time is money and it is worth a lot.  :) Well, its worth a lot to me.   Even more expensive time, my husband's.  I treat all home updates as my job.  During the bathroom remodel, I will not take on much, if any, furniture work.  The investment into our home and sweat equity earned is my job.  The last thing I want, is to have to wait all day for Brian to get home from work to help me.  Working after work is miserable.  Been there.  Done that.  And I don't want my husband to have to do it.  I will spend more money to save my husband from having to help and save me hours of time to work on something else.

Although I am pretty sure I can frame out and pour a DIY shower base, a pre made shower base is something I know without a doubt, I can install on my own correctly and quickly the first time.



  • The glass shower door.  Cost $900-$1100 including installation.  




So....I could live without this.  But I don't want to.  You don't makeover and create a beautiful shower just to hide it behind a curtain.  It is okay to not settle sometimes.  This is one of those times.  That's all I have to say about that.



Things I have decided to compromise on.




  • The sink.  My first and second choice sinks.  $550 - $650.






The compromise.  This Ikea sink for $250.  I know the differences are subtle but I can see them and I really like the first two sinks better.  Having said that, this Ikea sink is very similar and will save me $300.  That savings is worth the less attractive sink.





  • The marble tile.  My first choice was 2" Calacatta gold marble tiles.  $15.99/sq ft



The compromise.  White hexagon tiles for $3/sq ft.  The white is going to have a different look and feel than the marble but I think it is going to be a better fit for our home.  We are trying to keep the classic, coastal, cottage feel through out the house and I think the white is a better choice for that.  This is a savings of $200.





  • The marble countertop.  My first choice was Calacatta gold marble.  $2,000-$2,500.  




I knew marble was expensive and we have a good size counter in our bathroom but I was a little shocked when I saw how high some of the quotes were (a few were even higher).  Cost of marble depends on the slab, edge style, holes cut for faucets and drains, and installation.  It got expensive quick.  A great way to save on marble is to find a remnant piece but with the shape of our counter, that was going to be near impossible.  The other thing that bothered me was my single 40" sink was going to cover a large portion of the marble.  Why am I paying so much for a counter that is going to be covered in one section?


The compromise.  Eco by Cosentino quartz in White Diamond.  Cost including installation $850.  We considered this countertop for the kitchen.  It has the look of Vetrazzo without the outrageous price.  Ultimately, this countertop did not fit in our kitchen budget but it is a great choice for the bathroom.  It looks great with the white subway tiles and white sink.  Also, it is very durable for all the use a bathroom counter gets.



These are the only changes I have made so far.  I am hoping to find a few more places to save.  As of now, these changes have saved around $2000.  Hopefully over the next few months I can find more places to save.


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Tuesday, September 16, 2014

How to Plan & Budget for a Remodel

This is one of those posts that you have to actually read.  No pictures.  Boring, I know.

For a budget to be successful, you must plan ahead, research and be realistic.  Seriously people.  You can't just make up a number and then think you can actually stick to it.  It might be absolutely impossible to do everything at that price.  Planning and researching will help find a realistic cost.


Here are a few questions I asked myself when starting this process.

  1. What do I need done?
  2. What do I want done?
  3. How much money can I afford to spend?
  4. How much money do I want to invest? 
  5. How much money is realistic for what needs to be done?
  6. How much money is too much?  Am I going to overbuild for my home and neighborhood?
  7. What do I need to do to maximize sweat equity and/or the value of my home?



The following are steps I took to come up with a budget and to answer the above questions.


  • Make a list.  What is the goal for the space?  How do you use the space?  What needs to be added or removed? What will be DIYed?  What will be hired out?  What kind of textiles do you want to use?  What prep work has to be done (waterproofing shower, repairing and leveling subfloor, moving plumbing, etc).  I have found two great resources to help with this.  Better Homes and Gardens has a resource guide and a pricing guide.  Both are filled with great info and questions to ask yourself.  Best part, they are free to download. 




  • Actual costs.  You need to be aware of actual costs to set a realistic budget.  Budgeting $10 for a sink is not realistic.  Research costs of products you need.  Try to find them cheaper on Ebay or an outlet store.  Call a local dealer.  Many times they can order it and you don't have to pay shipping if you pick it up from the store (can be a huge savings).  If you have to contract out any work (for us it will be the glass shower door and the marble countertop) call and ask about a free estimate.  Many times they will come to your house to take measurements and discuss options (sometimes they have better ideas) and will give you a free quote.  
This is a small section of my Numbers (Excel) page for the bathroom budget.  I put the price (including tax and shipping) and the link.  The goal is to have as close to exact cost as possible BEFORE the project starts.  



  • Hidden costs.  Do not forget tax and shipping.  If you have budgeted $500 for a shower faucet, buying a $500 faucet is actually over budget.  With an 8.25% tax, a $500 faucet costs about $541.  You think that's only $41 over, but those extra dollars can add up fast.  Especially, on expensive items like vanities, tile and glass shower doors.  Shipping can be a budget buster as well.  Quality tile is easy to find for a reasonable price online but shipping costs are usually high.  Tile is heavy which means it is expensive to ship.  I always put the items in my online shopping cart and enter my zip code to see shipping costs.  Pretty much, I get all the way to the enter your credit card info page so I can see the exact cost.  Try to find a local dealer to eliminate the shipping cost.  If there is not a local dealer for the exact brand, find a dealer with a similar product.  Bring your online price.  Sometimes they will match or give some discount.

  • Talk to a realtor.  I feel this is an important part of the planning process and no one seems to talk about it or do it.  Do not overbuild and overspend for your home and neighborhood.  Just because you can or want to spend $20,000 on a bathroom doesn't mean you should.  Call a realtor to get a present day value of your home (Don't assume this number on your own.  Get a realtor).  Ask what homes similar in size, that are already updated are selling for.  Ask what your homes present day value is.  My realtor has been in our house since we did the kitchen and has seen pictures of the dock and other projects.  She gave me an estimate of what our house could sell for based on the current market.  I now know what kind of profit we can make if I want or have to sell.  This value obviously changes with the market but it is smart to have a ballpark number from a professional.  Do not get upside down with your investment.  Even if you don't plan on selling right now or ever, getting upside is NEVER good.

  • In several places, I read a good rule of thumb is a master bath should cost 5-10% of the homes value.   If you know the current value and/or the potential value of your home, this is an easy step.

I have done all the steps above.  Knowing the value of my home, knowing what we can afford, knowing the costs of materials, knowing how I want the room to look and what will fit with the rest of the house, I have set my budget for $6,500.  GASP!  I had to call my friend the other day for her to talk me off the ledge because I didn't think it would cost that much.  Which is why I plan and research!  I was thinking we could do everything for $4000 based on some other budgets and makeovers I had seen (I'll tell you about that tomorrow), so I was a little disappointed that it is going to cost more.


In the grand scheme, $6,500 is not overbuilding for our neighborhood and the end result is going to be amazing...I hope.  I feel confident that I can get a few things cheaper (Still waiting to hear from some local people) and can actually do the update cheaper ($5,750 - $6,000).  Having said that, I am preparing to spend $6,500.

I read the other day that the National Kitchen & Bath Association (NKBA) says the national average for a master bathroom remodel is about $16,000.  We are definitely below that average and we are below the 5-10% of the home's value rule.  Those things make me feel better.  I know once its done, I won't regret spending the money and it will add value to our home.

Tomorrow, I am going to share some details of the budget and how it is going to cost $6,500.


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Monday, September 15, 2014

Master Bath Decisions

Hi all!  I hope everyone had a great weekend.  Things have been quiet on the blog but that is because I am super busy with work!

Furniture projects consist of a huge, multi piece entertainment center (delivered yesterday) and a farmhouse table.  This weekend, two dressers and a bed were dropped off to get their update before they go in a sweet nursery.

My other project is planning for the master bathroom.  I am really tired of looking at this....







Searching for products and prices is time consuming.  Also, as much as I love shopping on the internet in my pj's, I had to get out and go see things in person.  I went to several big box stores and small shops to look at tile, faucets and glass doors.

Before I could make solid decisions on products, I wanted to get a realistic idea of costs and get a budget set (I will post about planning and setting the budget tomorrow).  Talking to people in our area was helpful.  I definitely have a better idea of prices for retailers near my home.  I also know that my original budget (I kind of just picked a number I thought would be enough) was not realistic for all the things we want to do.

Last week, I posted some inspiration pictures and showed y'all our bathroom as it is now.  I have made many decisions over the last few days and have a better idea of what I am going to do.

So, which decisions were made?  Several major ones.

First, thing.  No tub.  After shopping around to see tubs in person and researching prices and options, I don't want it.  Yes, we can say there is a whirlpool tub in the house but it was going to make the shower feel small and cramped (opposite of what I want).  A 32-34" wide tub does not have that much "floor" space.  They have angled backs and some of the width is taken up by plumbing for the jets.  You end up having this tiny space to stand for a shower.  So, the tub is out.  Also, we will have a glass shower door.

The walk in shower will have 2" hexagon calacatta oro floor and accents and large white subway tile walls.

This is not the tile pattern I want but you can get an idea of the white subway with the marble.




Second thing.  No built in bench.  Benches in a walk in shower are great but I hate the ones that are built in.  Sitting on cold, hard stone with a bare bum is not appealing to me.  Just saying.  They are slick and uncomfortable.  Not that I spend a lot of time sitting on shower benches but I have experienced them enough to know I don't like them.  I did a little research on garden web and many people said the same thing.  So we will have a teak bench.  It can be moved to any spot in the shower or taken out all together.






Third thing.  I had this great plan for a walk in shower that has two sets of working shower heads.  Something like this.  (Actually I want this exact shower.  I LOVE the mix of tile colors and materials.  Its perfect...just a little too expensive)




Changing plumbing is expensive and I am not sure how much we can do.  I at least want to have several shower heads to choose from but they will be on the same wall. They can't be used at the same time but you can switch between the different types.  Not every one likes rain shower so the regular shower head is still an option.  I like the idea of a hand held shower head for washing the dogs, cleaning the shower, or if someone with kids purchases the home, hand helds are nice to bath kids in the shower.

These are my favorites but it really depends on how much plumbing will have to be changed and how much it costs.  I am hoping to get with a plumber soon about this.






Fourth thing.  I will use the existing vanity.  This is a huge cost saver.  There will be some modifications and it will stay L-shaped but there will be a laundry storage added and the sink(s) will move to the same wall.  Now there will be plenty of counter space along the other wall.  I really want one sink with two faucets because of the size of the space but the sink I want is expensive and I am not sure if I want to splurge on it.  Two small sinks will fit but it will be a tight squeeze.  I like the idea of a solid sink.  Easy to clean and no weird gaps between the sinks.

The countertops will be callacatta oro and there will be a white subway tile backsplash.


White and marble mix.  I will not have a white vanity.





This is the sink I really want. It will be set on the countertop like a vessel sink instead of wall installation.  We have a weird size space for the sinks to be on the same wall so this 40" sink with two faucets is great solution.




Fifth thing.  The same luxury vinyl planks we used in the rest of the house will be used in the bathrooms.  I love our flooring and I love the look of wood in the bathroom.  It warms the space and keeps things from looking hard with too much tile.  The other deciding factors are it is cheaper than tile and faster to install.

My samples next to the flooring.




There are many more details that have been worked out but this post is long enough already.  Of course, things might change but as of right now, this is the plan.

Remember to check back tomorrow for some planning and budget tips.


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Thursday, September 4, 2014

Our Master Bath ~ Before

So today is the day I finally show you what my master bath looks like.  It is a good size but the layout is not the best.  I feel there are too many doors in such a small space and the closets are pretty small.  As I said in yesterday's post, see it here, we are going to leave the footprint the same.  Nothing is going to move but everything will be replaced, painted and updated.

Here is a floor plan I drew yesterday so you can get an idea of where every thing is located.




And now for the big reveal!


The view from our bedroom.



 Yes, that is blue carpet you see in my bathroom.




The tub & shower unit is a puddy color and it always looks dirty.  It doesn't matter how much I scrub.  




I hate the awkward L-shaped vanity.  We don't even use the sink shoved in the corner.  The blow dryer usually lives in that sink.  :)  Don't you love the seashells with the built in soap shelf?!








Blittle uses the towel ring to hang his belts.  





I do like that the toilet is separate.




This window is the only source of natural light in the space.  We usually keep this door shut so it is not very helpful.


This room needs help.  BAD.  I can't wait to get rid of that yuck carpet, get more storage (there isn't a good place to put towels and the doors are so small on the vanity that most items won't fit through) and I really need a designated space for laundry.  Right now the laundry basket is on the floor of my overflowing closet.  Even when my closet is clean there is a laundry basket taking up tons of room and it feels more claustrophobic than it already is.





I want to build custom shelving for shoes and other storage all the way to the ceiling and change the hanging rods so we can fit more hanging clothes.

There is tons to do.   I am hoping to get some tile samples early next week so I can start making decisions on colors and textiles.  Also, I want to see how much this is going to cost.  We have a guest bath that also needs updating and I would like to do that project right after the master but to do that I have to keep costs under control.


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