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How much did that bathroom cost?!

I have wanted a claw foot tub for over a decade, dreamed about remodeling my almost 100 year old bathroom since I moved in, and been actively planning my remodel for a year. Does it always take so long to do a bathroom? Absolutely not, but as designers we see all the newest and most exciting products which makes us our own worst clients.

I'm going to break down the process and the budget to show you where the money went and how I made my selections.

Given that my home was built in 1924, and has many of the original features (too many to list here), I didn't want to go modern with the design because it wouldn't fit with the architecture or era of the home, that doesn't preclude bringing in modern accents with the accessories. A cast iron, claw foot tub is in keeping with the era and it so happens that I love the look. I found an American made tile company that specializes in restoration of historical homes and buildings as well as new construction replicating an historical look. I was able to custom color one of their patterns to my specifications which allowed me to personalize the space. Working with my local Ferguson showroom (this is not an ad), I rounded out the rest of the fixture selections.

* Tub, enclosure and vanity = Signature Hardware

* Toilet = Kohler

* Sink faucet = Rohl

Given that the floor was a mini splurge, I knew I could balance out the budget by using Dal Tile white subway tile for the walls and because I bought good quality towel bars when I first moved in, I'm reusing them.


  1. Update the layout and the finishes

  2. Make sure there's enough storage

  3. Timeless finishes so I don't have to remodel again in my lifetime


  1. Space can't be enlarged

  2. Poor lighting

  3. Old home might have water or termite damage

  4. Awkward layout

If you read my Design eBook,, you'll recognize how important flow and adequate access is to me as a designer. If you look at the original layout on the left,, you'll notice that there's not a lot of room between the sink and tub. It was less than 24" and felt tight and awkward. By changing the locations of the different plumbing fixtures, it allows for much more clearance and almost 4 feet to step back and get a better view in the mirror, This definitely helps with the obstacle of an awkward layout. I also added 2 sconces on either side of the medicine cabinet which will help with the obstacle of poor lighting. Having can/pot/ceiling lights for a bathroom is never going to be sufficient and a sconce placed above a mirror casts strong, unflattering shadows. Having the sconces on either side gives flattering lighting that helps while shaving or putting on makeup.

People are going to baulk when they see how much I spent on construction. If you've heard as many horror stories as I have, you wouldn't. I've worked with this contractor for over a decade. He is always learning the greenest, most cutting edge building science. He cleans up the jobsite every day (and if you're living in the space during construction, you realize the value of this) and is conscientious. Despite how much I trust this contractor, I will NEVER ask for his advice on a design related question. He will tell me what is "industry standard" or whatever is the easiest for him to accomplish. I love asking him about building practices and the latest requirements - this is a topic I value his expertise in. The construction price includes the Schluter waterproofing system which is a German based system that is leaps and bounds above the industry standard of hot mop waterproofing. This will help with the need to not have to remodel in my lifetime. Going back to my analogy between interiors and clothing, think of it in terms of investing in a great quality, classic piece of clothing vs buying a fast fashion piece.

If you are thinking of remodeling your kitchen or bath, I would love to talk with you about how my design services and project management might help you make your dream a reality. If there are other topics you’re interested in learning about, or if you’d like more information and a personalized interior design consultation, please contact me at or view my services online.

Learn more tips in my free Interior Design eBook here

Always look for the Silver Lining


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