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Set the tone in a bathroom remodel

Recently, my friend Kiki and her husband Beck moved to the northwest corner of the country.

They purchased a home in dire need of updating. I believe that a bathroom offers something more than just utility. Bathrooms can be a sanctuary within your home, where one goes to get in touch with one’s self.

Kiki decided that the starting point of what was to be a “one room at a time” house redo began with the bathroom. Suffice it to say, the existing room wasn’t what she wanted.

Her bathroom had a pink tub and toilet with an open-front, dark mahogany seat. The lavatory, sitting on a pitted chrome frame, picked up the pink tile floor. Her walls were covered in shiny purple wallpaper with a chartreuse raised flocked peace sign pattern. Together, it made this particular bathroom very “unsanctuary-like”.

Like many people in her situation, Kiki needed help thinking through what she wanted out of a bathroom remodel. I was someone who’d already gone through a remodeling project.

Our emails and late night phone calls about bathroom makeovers went something like this…

Kiki: Where do I start?

Me: First you have to set the tone of the bath. Who’s going to use the bath?

Kiki: Me and Beck.

Me: What’s Beck’s interest in the bath? Just a place to do his business or an escape to his own personal space? It’s good to set the tone for a bathroom.

Kiki: So how did you set the tone?

Me: My husband Michael likes to soak in a bath, especially after yard work. I’m more of a shower person but I like a spacious shower. I didn’t want to sacrifice one space for the other. So I needed a tub long enough for Michael to stretch out in and a shower with a seat for shaving my legs and sitting.

I needed a tub and shower big enough for two, that way I knew we’d both always be happy. We also changed the vanity. We went from double sinks to a single sink, with a large-landing area, making a stone top the focal point. Functional yet beautiful.

Kiki: Why’d you go from a double to a single sink? That sounds the opposite of what most people would do.

Me: Michael and I never use the bathroom at the same time, so no need for two sinks to stand side by side at the vanity. Also, it is one less sink to clean!

Kiki: But what if you sell the house? Won’t buyers want two sinks?

Me: We decided to live for us in the here — not focusing on some future homebuyer. Since we were installing new tile on the floor, we added an electric floor warming system under the floor tile. You have no idea how good your feet feel when you step on heated floor tile on a cold winter morning.

We hung warming rods for the towels, installed toe kick lighting under the vanity as a night light, added niches framed into the walls of the shower and tub surround to hold shampoo and conditioner. We changed the toilet, too. It’s a Comfort Height, elongated, dual-flush toilet with a SoftClose seat and a concealed trapway for easier cleaning.

We added a handheld shower on a slide bar and painted the walls “Mega Greige” by Sherwin-Williams to pick up the color in the vanity top.

Kiki: Are you happy with how you set the tone of your bath?

Me: Absolutely. The bath is calming and “Zen-like”. It’s relaxing any time you enter.

Kiki hasn’t finished deciding. But she’s looking for resources. So we continue the back and forth chats.

She’ll send me color swatches and links to her boards on Pinterest, plus she’s hired a designer and contractor to do the work. I’m excited to see where her master bath redo takes her.