The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

February 26, 2014

Bathroom break

Don’t forget ‘the necessary room’ in home makeovers

By Lisa Shrewsberry

BECKLEY — “Wait until you see my spectacular bathroom.” These are words you’ve likely never spoken straight-faced, and chances are you haven’t grasped the potential of one of the most important rooms in your home. That, or maybe you’ve shied away at mental calculations of the steep cost of a bathroom remodeling project.

Interior designer Jeannie Richmond says bathrooms are the perfect spaces to tackle when the weather’s still too iffy to venture outdoors.

“Bathroom improvements can add value to your home,” she reminds.

But don’t expect things indoors to be naturally balmy. Planning and a good dose of patience are necessary prerequisites to a successful bathroom overhaul.

“Many people think because it’s a smaller space that it won’t take long,” Jeannie reveals. “You can’t fit two trades in at once, like a plumber AND a tile-layer.”

From a completely gutted space, like the remodel shown here, expect and prepare for a good eight weeks of downtime to your dream bathroom.

British researchers have shown that people spend, on average, one-and-a-half years of their lifetimes lingering near the loo, with women averaging a month longer than men. A month more barely qualifies the ladies to make all of the executive decisions on the bathroom’s appearance, although she’s generally who holds the pocketbook. The best compromise, even in a small space, is to provide his and her sink space, with an option of a vanity area in between.

Another his and hers consideration is the shower and/or tub area. Although the space was relatively small, Jeannie planned a custom-built glass frameless shower with tiled tub to replace the old fiberglass unit. Jeannie was also able to use her design expertise to find elegant tile at a discount and use decorative tiles sparingly — in just the right places — to enrich the look without fattening the budget.  

“We were able to completely redo this bathroom for about three-quarters of the cost of the average bathroom remodel. A designer will have the eye for selecting quality materials. We know how to get you an expensive look on a budget. We know where to skimp and where not to skimp.”

If you’re considering a popular spot in the home to make new, don’t discount the necessary room, and contact a designer to help attain beauty on a budget. Why not make the one room in your home it would be hard to do without so nice you can brag about it?

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Bathroom redo rules

1. Plan a budget. “There are literally thousands of choices out there. A designer can help you stay within budget and can narrow down the choices to the best ones for your room,” said Jeannie.

2. Determine your layout. Try to avoid relocating fixtures — plumbing is expensive to move!

3. Don’t overlook lighting, including sconces, light bars, overhead, recessed and track.

“I like recessed with wall sconces installed at eye level to light your face evenly,” suggests Jeannie.

4. Don’t forget ventilation. “Mold and mildew will quickly destroy your new renovation, so purchase a good vent. Watch for CMF and sone ratings. The higher the CMF, the better for pulling out humidity. The lower the sones, the quieter it will be.”

5. Know that bathtubs are optional. “Many of my clients have taken out their tubs completely (for showers). My rule of thumb is to keep one bathtub in the house. There may be a time when you or a future owner will need it.”

6. Define your style. “Purchasing magazines and bath books will give you many ideas. Select ones you are drawn to and those you do not like. You should see a theme develop which will help you and a professional select appropriate materials.”

7. Be particular about the details. To add luxury to a bathroom, install a sound system, a television and/or a chandelier.

For more design tips, visit or call 304-255-6808.