Today’s Bath, Part 1
By: Danny Lipford
In this special two-part episode Danny oversees the transformation of a cramped bathroom that has changed little in decades into a master bath and closet/dressing area that perfectly balances indulgence and practicality.
The two bathrooms before the Today’s Bath renovations.
We started the project with a very dated, very pink master bathroom; a small, bland, poorly designed guest bath; and a good sized, wide open master bedroom to expand into. Our designer Cheryl Kees Clendenon looked at all the rooms and met with us to discuss how to get the most out of the space available. The new plan called for a large luxurious master bath with custom shower and whirlpool tub with plenty of room for a walk-in closet.
The crew demolished both baths so they could start from scratch and basically re-built almost one quarter of the home. When all is said and done, the master bath will be transformed into a luxurious, tranquil retreat. The space we added allowed us to create a peaceful alcove for the whirlpool tub complete with a wonderful tile treatment on the surround.
The multiple shower heads in the custom shower will really create a comfortable shower experience. By adding a new window to the room, we’ve flooded the space with natural light which helps highlight the beautiful nine-foot double vanity along the outer wall.
In the guest bath we moved the entrance 90-degrees to the left and created a world of difference. The new vanity, flooring and fixtures really updated the look.
Learn more about this project at Today’s Bath, Part 2
For more information visit our Today’s Bath mini-site
This was an extensive remodel. I could certainly empathize with the owner, however, with the outdated bathroom, especially that pink elephant of a master bath. My house is about the same age and had a blue tile bath, yeeesh.
I didn’t go to quite the extremes as the show did when I remodeled my own bathroom, but the whole point of this special two-parter is to show you that miracles can really happen! I did want to share a few suggestions, though, if you have a bathroom remodel in mind.
Since we were eliminating an entire bedroom to create the new bath, we had the option of raising the ceiling for a more dramatic effect. Of course, if you aren’t encroaching into another area, you may not have that luxury, but don’t dismiss the idea right away, particularly if the bathroom is located in the center of the house as opposed to an outside wall.
Raising the ceiling height is one of the most eye-popping changes you can give a room, and if it’s a small bath, it can really make a difference. Even in the case of our bath, it was on an outside wall and the house had a hip roof. We were still able to use the slope to create the higher ceiling height.
Be careful, though, when planning this. You still need to insulate the ceiling, but don’t make the mistake of not leaving an air space between the insulation and the roof decking. The attic needs to have unobstructed air flow to keep it properly vented.
Speaking of insulation, you may have noticed that we insulated all the walls in the new bathrooms, not just the exterior. This is a great way to add a little extra privacy since the insulation also acts as a sound barrier. Don’t you just hate hearing everything that happens in the bathroom?
Tearing Down Walls
We had our hands full moving the wall that formed one side of the hallway. It is vital that you check any wall for load bearing before you take it down. This is easily accomplished by taking a look in the attic and finding where the roof bracing is located.
This doesn’t mean you can’t move a load bearing wall. In fact, that’s exactly what we did. The trick is to make sure you build a temporary support BEFORE you remove the wall. In our case, it was simple. We widened the hallway enough so that we could actually build the new wall first, adjust the bracing to this new wall, then remove the old one.
The Merillat cabinets really added a rich touch to the bathrooms. I think the cabinets in the small hall bath were more impressive than the ones in the master. Here’s a great example of creating luxury on a shoestring budget. Most pre-fabricated cabinets come in three categories of quality:
- Basic engineered wood
- Engineered wood with wood veneer end panels
- All solid wood construction
In our bath, we have a basic cabinet, and, since only one end is exposed, that is the only end panel with a wood veneer panel. Don’t be fooled by the look of engineered wood. It may look like particle board, but it isn’t. In fact, you’re getting a really good product that holds up under moisture even better than real wood.
Subtle things like the 45-degree set back of the cabinets in the hall bath accented with the fluted wood pieces really make a statement, and for less than you might think. Most of the larger home centers now have cabinet designers that can create a computer generated design and it won’t cost you a dime.
Simple Solutions with Joe Truini:
Setting Wood Posts in Concrete
To anchor a wood post securely in concrete, drive large, galvanized or stainless steel nails partway into the bottom section of the post that will be embedded in concrete. This gives the concrete something to adhere to and prevents the post from working loose.
Best New Products with Danny Lipford:
Vigoro Weed Stop Mulch
Vigoro Weed Stop mulch has a pre-emergent herbicide included in the mulch to prevent weeds from growing up through the mulch or weed seeds that are blown by the wind or carried by birds from germinating. Weed Stop from Vigoro is available at The Home Depot.
Around the Yard, Tricia Craven Worley:
Cleaning and Sealing Masonry Patio
Patios that are made from porous materials—such as stone, concrete, or brick—need to be cleaned from time to time with muriatic acid, or another cleaner that’s made for masonry surfaces. Once the surface is clean, seal it every two to five years to keep your patio looking good.
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