Bathroom redux: from drab to fab

Wrenda Goodwyn • special to the Fort Myers News-Press •March 4, 2017

There was a time when the bathroom was the most unmentioned room in the home. No longer. Today, bathrooms, as much as any room in house, reflect the style of the owners.  

It’s the most personal space in your home. It’s typically the smallest room and yet you begin and end your day in your bathroom. Next to the kitchen, it’s the most important room in the home.

And honestly, it is the most fun room to redo.  Whether it’s a large (or not-so-large) en-suite master bathroom, guest bath, Jack and Jill bath shared by two bedrooms, pool bath or a powder room tucked off your entry, with a little creativity, it can reflect your lifestyle. Or what you would like your lifestyle to be.

As a Southwest Florida interior decorator, the most point I try to impress upon my clients that it’s all about them. Not about trends or opinions from well-meaning relatives and friends. We are available to offer professional guidance and to keep you from making mistakes but the style is yours.

Total redo of this master bathroom with the goal of creating an Asian/Zen retreat for the owners. Quartz countertops, custom veneer vanity in tiger wood, mirror is lit from behind, wall covering, leather handles on cabinets. Flat tile with linen finish on floors. Photos by R.L. Caron. Courtesy of Diane Torrisi Designs.

Diane Torrisi of Diane Torrise Designs (www.dianetorrisidesigns.com) in Naples is someone that I consider to be a bit of a bathroom design diva. She creates the most blissful bathrooms and powder rooms for her clients. The bathroom shown here is an example. She designed this urban, Asian, Zen-style bath and despite the beautiful look, it also incorporates elements that will enable the owners to progress with their lifestyle…taller toilets, balance bars, hardware that’s easy to use, hand-held showers for cleaning. 

Total redo of this master bathroom with the goal of creating an Asian/Zen retreat for the owners. Quartz countertops, custom veneer vanity in tiger wood, mirror is lit from behind, wall covering, leather handles on cabinets. Flat tile with linen finish on floors. All photos by R.L. Caron. Courtesy of Diane Torrisi Designs.

Torrisi is also a CAP (certified aging-in-place) designer and says that she likes to incorporate these certain elements into all of her designs.

“After all, we are not getting younger, and who can’t use a balance bar in the shower? It’s all about how you incorporate these components into the design. It can be done beautifully.” 

Come up with a plan

If you have a bath that you have been thinking about redoing, you first need to come up with a plan and answer a few questions.

How long do you plan to stay in your home?
Are you planning to sell soon?
Will you be in your home for 10 years or more?

These are important questions and will help you decide the following:

What is your budget?
Does your bathroom need a little refreshing? Maybe just new hardware? Or a complete makeover/renovation?

Think about these questions and consider the following tips for your own personal situation.

Quick refresh

This is a quick mini redo and can be done on a weekend. It will make the room pretty and you will be much happier with this space.

Plan to spend: $500-$800. You can do all of this yourself.

 In addition to the rain shower, a hand-held shower is great for cleaning and for showering pets and kids. Flat pebble flooring and linen finished tile on walls. All photos by R.L. Caron. Courtesy of Diane Torrisi Designs.

In addition to the rain shower, a hand-held shower is great for cleaning and for showering pets and kids. Flat pebble flooring and linen finished tile on walls. All photos by R.L. Caron. Courtesy of Diane Torrisi Designs.

What to do: Paint the room. This is a game changer. It will totally transform the room. I like to work in a beautiful blue and lots of white. For something different, paint the walls a bright white, paint the ceiling a blue and accessorize with sea glass colors.

Recommendation: Benjamin Moore’s Aura® Bath & Spa paint. It’s mildew-resistant and is Low VOC/ low odor so you can return to using your room quickly.  Welcome to your new bathroom. 

But there’s more: If you have a large (outdated) mirror across the vanity, remove it and hang a mirror (or mirrors, depending upon the size). If it’s not possible to remove the mirror, frame it. My favorite go-to source to make a large mirror look better is www.mirrormate.com. Simply measure, order a custom frame and install it over the mirror. Easy.

Finishing touches: New bathmats, new shower curtain, new piece of artwork, update accessories on countertops (but not too many), repair caulking.  Purchase a good set of hotel-style bath towels. Add candles or aromatherapy and you are all set to enjoy.

Spa-like transformation

This bathroom may be older, somewhat neglected and has not been a priority. Until now. Maybe you moved into the home and you still have builder’s grade finishes and fixtures. Or perhaps you are planning to sell your home in a couple of years. You don’t want to go overboard but it’s time to spiff it up for eventual resale and for your enjoyment until that time comes. Remember: When it comes to resale, a bathroom gives a potential seller a hint about the condition of the rest of the home.

Plan to spend: $15,000 to $20,000. Seek the help of a decorator or designer to help with a plan and to source materials.

What to do: Depending upon budget, replace flooring, vanity, countertops, mirror, hardware, faucets, showerheads, hand shower (kids and pets, not to mention cleaning) light fixtures, tile around tub and shower.  Paint walls and trim. Replace toilet with ultra-low flow. Note:  in this case, leave all plumbing in place to avoid additional expense. You are replacing what currently exists with all new and upgraded. 

Recommendations: Again, depending upon budget. White floor tile. Simple white, shaker cabinets. Floor to ceiling glass-enclosed shower (makes the room look larger). White quartz countertops. Shimmering tiles as accent around tub and shower. New sinks. 

Finishing touches: Incorporate a piece of furniture such as a chair, vintage cabinet for storage or basket of shells on the floor.  Add a rug to this bath. Not bathmats. A real rug. It changes the look of the room and gives it a professionally decorated space. Which it is!

Total redo

This is the big one. You are ready to work with a designer to plan your dream bathroom. You are going to take everything out and move the plumbing as needed to accommodate your totally new look.

Plan to spend: $40,000-$50,000.  Or more. There is no limit to what is available on the market and your designer can help you select every element for the style that you select. 

Recommendations: All elements mentioned above. Make space changes to achieve your new look.  Perhaps include a luxurious wall covering. Mirrored medicine cabinets. Custom vanities. Incorporate storage options into the design plan. Makeup vanity. Upgraded lighting/sconces. Artwork.

Wrenda Goodwyn is a Southwest Florida interior decorator, A.S.I.D. associate and certified gold member of the Interior Redecorators Network. She has helped homeowners throughout Southwest Florida with timeless, affordable ways to create beautiful spaces and to solve decorating problems. Her article appears the first Saturday of each month. For more information visit her website at spectacularspaces.com. Call her at 949-1808 or e-mail wrenda@spectacularspaces.com. For more decorating tips, articles and photos, visit spectacularspaces.com/blog