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Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Value Added Master Bath Friendly to the Environment

This is a master bath project I have been working on. The goal was to update the bathroom, add aesthetics, and add value for resale purposes. First step ~ functionality. If the bath's layout is functional, keep it the same as relocating plumbing can add expense. If it lacks functionality, change it as that will add value. In this case, the bath's layout was quite functional ~ no need to change it. That was fortunate as my clients were on a strict budget. Here are more before pictures....

My client thought she needed to add a whirlpool tub to add value. But ~ "I am not a bath person so I wouldn't use the whirlpool myself." If a whirlpool would have added value to her life as she plans on staying in the house for at least three more years then fine, but to add resale value ~ no.

Almost any updating will add value and I think folks are interested in that these days. However, it is important to know what will specifically add value. Whirlpool tubs were all the rage in the 1980s but not much now. Now people think about how to sanitize used whirlpools. The whirlpool industry has taken note of that fact and developed spa tubs that use forced air to create the desired affect versus regurgitating the bath water itself. They even changed the name of the product from whirlpool to spa tub to rid themselves of the association. The spa tub would be a wonderful addition but a bit pricey for one on a strict budget. Soaking tubs and large showers with bells and whistles and seamless surrounds are actually what are sought after these days (if the spa tub is not already installed :)

After speaking with my client for a while, she understood that the soaking tub was just fine and we should keep it. What would add value are updates ~ a seamless shower surround, an efficiency toilet, replacing the builder's tile and vanity, and updating the plumbing fixtures and lighting, and of course, a fresh coat of paint.

Here are some pictures of the job in progress....

We took out the 'built-in' vanity and the return and added a vanity that looked like a nice piece of furniture. We took out the water guzzler and installed a Toto efficiency toilet. The builder's tile was removed though out the bath as well as the plastic shower pan ~ we built the required pan for tile. To keep costs down I used 12 x 12 tile for everything except the tub back splash and shower floor. For that I used 2 x 2. I found a 12 x 12 tile on special that my client adored when I showed it to her. My vendors are great that way ~ sending out communications when they have specials. When I received the one about the 12 x 12 tile, I knew she would like it as it was her style. Love when that happens! We added a listello around the tub and shower for a bit of variety. The lighting fixtures were also replaced. Outdated ceiling fixtures were replaced with recessed lights. The center ceiling fixture was replaced with a small chandelier. The original gold plumbing fixtures were all replaced with brushed nickel to maintain the English style my clients love.

Houston, we have a problem! The vanity was completely level but there was a large gap between it and the wall. It did not look good. Oh dear! No worries, I can solve that. The home is a bit older; the walls are not plumb. Enter chair rail, upside down of course.....

In this side view, you can see the gap (only seen when looking at it just so). But it is undetectable from the front. It just looks like an ornate back splash. My clients love it as they enjoy ornate furnishings.

Here are a few more pictures of it now ~ sorry the pictures are dark ~ I did not turn the lights on ~ silly me. BTW, the mirrors, rugs, and all accessories were to return as they really enjoy them (and it saves bit of money too!)....

The room looks much more spacious and airy. They love that! All that is really left are the window treatments. They are deciding what they would like to change them to.

The moral of the story is if adding value and being budget conscious is important in your renovation (and who doesn't have those objectives in mind these days), understanding what specifically adds value is critical. Installing a whirlpool tub in this design would have not been money well spent.

Installing eco-friendly products such as the Toto toilet is another key ~ people are looking for those. An eco-friendly and cost efficient resource I used on this project is a demolition company that donates all usable items and provides the homeowner with documentation of such ~ homeowner is able to write-off the donation. That is a win~win situation of the eco-friendly kind!

Share your value-added ideas and eco-friendly recommendations. I'd love to read them (and so would everyone else)!


  1. Looks fantastic. I love the vanity and the seamless shower. Those are both big value adds. I also love that the demo'd product was recycled.


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