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WV Design Team: Bathroom — to redo or make do?

By By Elizabeth Yeager Cross
WV Design Team
The bathroom’s new shower features Mirabelle chrome hardware on neutral field tile with an accent tile pattern in Carrara marble.
Small pieces of white Carrara marble laid in a geometric pattern provide the “wow factor” in the shower.
The original shower, while fully functional, was an acrylic insert with opaque sliding glass doors.
New Minera by Cambria quartz countertops were placed on the existing vanities, and mitered beveled trim was added to the mirrors.
New Minera by Cambria quartz countertops were placed on the existing vanities, and mitered beveled trim was added to the mirrors.
Coordinating faucets in a gleaming bright chrome finish for the his-and-hers sinks match the new hardware in the shower.

There are certain aspects of every home that will forever stay on your “redo” list.

Even if you have built the home of your dreams, sometimes cuts have to be made in the budget.

Often the cut is made in a room that gets constant use: the bathroom.

Just ask yourself, “Is my bathroom a redo or just a make do?”

n Does it fit my current needs?

n Does it maintain the décor integrity of the rest of my home?

n Does the space make me feel happy or frustrated?

n Do I have a reasonable budget to achieve my goal?

Take the case of one of our recent clients who had a large-square-footage bathroom with great bones, but attention to detail was missing.

The bathroom contained classic white cabinetry for his-and-her vanities, a large, deep soaking tub and a private water closet.

The original shower, while fully functional, was an acrylic insert with opaque sliding glass doors.

While building, the homeowners, in the interest of saving money, opted to use the insert instead of a custom tile shower.

Fast-forward 10 years and three children later, and the shower was in need of an update.

After gutting the shower area only, we were able to build a 25-square-foot shower base without completely blocking off the view of the whole bathroom. While wanting to enhance and enlarge their shower experience, the clients did not want to create a visual barrier that was obtrusive and out of place to the original design.

To achieve this goal, clear, frameless shower panels and door were used to create a sense of visual clarity and openness.

The clients’ second goal was to maximize the shower experience with more faucet heads.

The original design had a single short head. If you are a parent and are accustomed to putting your kids through the “Jiffy Wash” as my family once called it, sometimes more than one shower head is needed.

The new design called for two shower heads, a hand shower for easy cleanup and a large rain head to create a spalike atmosphere.

With a knowledgeable plumber, this was easily achieved and the client was ready for tile installation.

When choosing tile for an enlarged shower space, you may find yourself with a dwindling budget.

The key is to choose a classic and clean field tile that will carry your design through the fads of time and save you money while doing so.

Your accent tile, however, can be your show-stopper.

Typically, an accent tile is installed in either a block design or a runner along the perimeter shower walls.

This design incorporated a white ceramic field tile for the walls, floor and ceiling, but used an intricate geometric Carrara marble for the insert.

This accent tile is not only beautiful but is an elegant update to the previous one-dimensional shower. Because the field tile saved a vast amount of the budget, we were able to splurge a little on an accent with “wow factor.”

To make this shower more custom for the client, a large bench seat was installed along the back wall and topped with a matching solid Carrara marble slab.

Coordinating Carrara marble thresholds were used to support the new glass door and panels.

Soap dishes were installed to hide and hold all personal toiletries and preserve the slick, updated design.

Other areas that needed a new look were the faucets, acrylic countertops, the existing lighting and contract-grade mirrors.

Coordinating faucets for the sink and tub areas were ordered to match the new hardware for the shower in a gleaming bright chrome finish.

The new quartz countertops were selected for durability and classic lines that complemented the vanities and the new shower.

Lighting is critical in a bathroom for functionality, so we chose contemporary crystal fixtures over the vanities that provided the lighting needed for makeup application and shaving.

Ceiling lighting was needed for overall general illumination. A special recessed can light with a built-in exhaust fan was needed for the new shower.

The plain wall mirror was enhanced by the addition of mitered beveled mirror trim which came at a low cost but gave a high-impact finish.

These simple additions brought a more custom look to complete the overall vision.

A good designer and skilled contractor can save you thousands of dollars and countless hours of frustration when doing a bathroom face lift.

Many parts of the original floor plan were saved, including:

n Cabinetry/vanities

n Flooring

n Woodwork and trim

n Soaking tub and perimeter tile

n Large his-and-her mirrors

In order to make a remodel run smoothly, here are a few steps to take:

n Care needs to be given to existing floors and finishes. Cover your floors and stairs with heavy paper and plaster.

n Drape and tape off areas to hold dust to a minimum.

n Organize your essentials and prepare. Having all materials on site before demolition helps to prevent delays and keep the job timely.

n Plan to use another bathroom during the construction.

Everything will be out of place for your normal routine. You will definitely be inconvenienced during a remodel, but in a few weeks you can be enjoying your new space!

Don’t be intimidated by the hassle of renovating your bathroom because in the end the reward is much greater than the risk!

Don’t just make do, redo!

Elizabeth Yeager Cross is the owner of Yeager Design & Interiors in Scott Depot. You can follow YDI on Facebook, and Yeager Cross can be reached at 304-760-8914 or by email at

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