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What My Bathroom Remodel Taught Me

Lessons learned and knowledge gained

bathroom renovation

Now that the warmer weather is coming, homeowners, like myself, start to prioritize and list all the home improvement projects they want to complete.  This can all be fueled by popular reality shows on such channels as Home & Garden TV (HGTV)  that showcase how to make a space bigger, create curb appeal or renovate on a budget.  It’s just a coincidence that we just finished a bathroom remodel in our house (excuse for my hiatus from blogging for a bit) and the whole process made me think about what I learned during that time.

  1. Think Big Picture:  My renovation wasn’t completed in an hour which is typical of HGTV shows. We are talking about painstaking weeks that had me wishing we hadn’t started the project.  Something was always pushing this remodel out including the wrong size for a fixture or the custom shower door was on back order.  My patience was truly tested by having all four members of our household share the same ONE bathroom.  All my toiletries piled high in a laundry basket or stepping on every possible bath toy to make my way into the shower.  Not to mention, bumping into my daughter as we tried to brush our teeth and comb our hair at the same time.  However, the more I thought about those inconveniences it made me think of the larger picture…… all the fun we had during that time cramped into one space.  We made a game out of it, setting the time clock to see how fast we could shower! Then again it was only ONE bathroom to clean! When the time came for us to move out, it was bittersweet.
  1. Be Bold and Stick to a Decision.  Most of my house is painted in either a tan/beige or grey color scheme. I have spent a lot of time trying to tell the difference between Dusty Gold S280-3 and Tostada Tan S-270-3. So when the contractor gave me a chart of paint samples, and said “Pick one, you have 24 hours,” I broke out into a sweat.  How could I possibly do that without going to Home Depot for at least an hour and picking dozens of samples only to come back home and “test” them all out on the wall? So I had to be bold with the color (because there was no tan/beige or grey in the samples) and firm with the decision (no time for indecisiveness).   The next morning, I handed him the chosen color with much trepidation.   I couldn’t wait for the day to end so I could get home and see the final product.  My decision of a vibrant ocean color blue, even though a stretch for me, was a perfect fit for my beach themed bathroom. 
  1. Be Willing to Negotiate:  I’m used to trying to compromise with my husband but this particular situation was with our contractor. A gentleman I didn’t know that well and couldn’t necessarily gauge. 

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    I had my hopes of doing a large wall with a tile backsplash but the contractor said it would be too gaudy, not to mention more expensive.  So instead of just getting nothing out of it, I negotiated and was able to put the tile to use on a smaller scale wall.  In the words of President John F. Kennedy, “Let us never negotiate out of fear. But let us never fear to negotiate." What did I have to lose at that moment?

  2. Cherish Yesterday:  When we purchased our home 13 years ago, the previous owner had lived in the house for very short amount of time and had literally done nothing to many of the rooms including the bathroom.  When we officially moved in, my husband, Matt, and his brother worked really hard to add some design elements to the bathroom at that time.  I recall my brother in law, who has real knack for carpentry and house renovations, would come over on the weekends.  Being sentimental, I didn’t want our latest remodel to destroy that memory I had of their time together and their hard work.  So when the contractor asked me if I wanted to have it removed, I simply replied, “Matt and his brother worked so hard on that, I can’t bear to see it taken down.” So we simply kept the structure but added a modern flair to it bringing those cherished memories into the present.  

    I think I will take a little break from our home improvement projects and perhaps wish you better luck on yours.

    You will need it!

Other articles by Karen DeMaio