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Preventing Bathroom Renovation Pitfalls: An Interview With Designer Lori Gilder: Part 1 of 2

Lori Gilder is an award-winning Architectural Interior Designer known for her clean, architectural lines and comfortable California Modern style. She has been a featured guest of multiple HGTV shows and as a contributor to television, print and digital media platforms. Her award-winning firm, Interior Makeovers Inc., specializes in custom solutions for homes and vacation properties throughout the United States, Canada and Mexico.

Designer Lori Gilder Explains Why Planning Ahead Is Key to Preventing Bathroom Renovation Pitfalls!

What are some of the budgetary pitfalls someone can experience? How can these be prevented? 

Thoughtful planning, creating a wish list that prioritizes which features you’d like to include in your remodel, and asking for several quotes before embarking on the project will all help you avoid any major budgetary pitfalls. Among the tasks that will make you feel confident that you’ve done your due diligence are:

  • Hire a designer.
  • Draft a comprehensive floor plan.
  • Source the products and materials you’ll need.

Then have reputable general contractors quote the job based on your wish list. Once you have quotes in hand, you can always work backward to develop a high/low budget.

Prevent Bathroom Renovation Pitfalls: have reputable general contractors quote the job based on your wish list

How can you ensure that there are no surprise up-charges during or at the end of the renovation?

You should make sure to plan your entire bathroom design before ever starting demolition. Ask your general contractor to provide a comprehensive budget of your project – which lists out every line item. Then make certain you are absolutely clear on what is and isn’t covered before you sign on the dotted line of your contract.

However, the reality is that no matter how well prepared you are, there will be unforeseen issues lurking behind your walls. So the smart thing to do is to set aside a contingency fund of 15% to cover these unexpected costs.

What do you advise about buying products online?

Purchase all of your plumbing supplies directly through local suppliers and showrooms.

In a word – don’t. My company certainly doesn’t. We purchase all of our plumbing supplies directly through local suppliers and showrooms.

Once we place the order, specifications are prepared for the general contractors, plumbers and electricians. This ensures that rough-ins (the basic lines before final connections are made) are right, and that we can address any and all service issues.

We find this type of personal service is paramount to ensure a smooth renovation process, translating into less stress for our clients.

What are the plumbing considerations that should be anticipated? 

Advanced planning when you are renovating a bathroom is imperative, but you still always have to expect the unexpected.

If you live in an older home, you will likely need to replace pipes, which can be corroded, leaking, or extremely brittle.

Obviously, if you are changing up the layout of your bathroom and relocating fixtures, recognize that you’ll need to replace the old plumbing with new lines.  

Prevent Bathroom Renovation Pitfalls: expect the unexpected

What are some of the other “hidden” issues, such as problems under the tile or mold?

Once demolition begins, you may uncover asbestos, mold, and/or lead paint. Be prepared! Once disturbed, you must deal with these toxins immediately, and have them removed by a professional remediation/abetment company. 

How should you (together with a designer) approach the space to maximize use? Are you stuck with the layout you had before? 

Prevent Bathroom Renovation Pitfalls: Select a designer who sees  your project as a collaborative process

Select a designer who sees your project as a collaborative process.

As designers, we work to assess our client’s lifestyle needs, budget constraints, and their personal style. A big part of planning a remodeled bathroom is to look at the existing floor plan. If it’s clumsy and dysfunctional, it’s our job as designers to communicate how to improve it, working with you to plan, design, and create your dream bathroom from beginning to end.

What are some of the newer innovations that someone should include in any bath renovation? 

Some of the great new features that you might want to add to your bathroom remodel are:

  • Vanity cabinets with optimized interior drawer space that provide easy access to daily supplies, including a plug for your hairdryer and a charging station for your cell phone and other devices.
  • If your budget allows, consider installing a smart toilet in your redesign. While these models can be expensive, this technology can help reduce typical plumbing issues, provide instant cleaning and automatic flushing, and save water!
  • Radiant floor heating keeps your feet, the air in the bathroom, and the fixtures warm, keeping you toasty all winter long.
  • Small kitchen appliances are finding their way into the master bathroom. Small refrigerators and beverage centers for drinks or storing certain medications are easy and convenient.  When it comes to enjoying your morning cup of java, why run downstairs when you can design a freestanding or integrated coffee station in your master ensuite?
Prevent Bathroom Renovation Pitfalls: Plan in advance!
  • Stay current first thing each morning with a hidden television: a framed or frameless LED mirrored television positioned over the bathroom vanity. The tv completely vanishes when switched off and shines brightly when turned on!
  • And, of course, you’ll want to enhance your quality of life with a MrSteam steam shower, complete with aromatherapy, chromatherapy, and piped-in music. These features can be integrated into any size shower. I guarantee that they will change your life!

What are some that you might consider “fads” and not worth someone’s time/money?

Here are a few bathroom remodel features that I wouldn’t waste space or expense on:

  • You don’t need a brass finish on every fixture or fitting in the bathroom. Mixing metals is more fun than ever and will make your design feel timeless. Blend brass with a warm rubbed bronze or blackened steel for warmth and interest.
  • Chevron patterned wall and floor tiles have had their day. Don’t add them unless you want your bathroom to feel dated.
  • Oversized tubs are being downsized or (depending on space) removed altogether, to be replaced by larger steam spa showers. 

Replace oversized tubs with a steam shower.

If you know the pitfalls of remodeling your bathroom in advance, it’s to be hoped that your construction project will go smoothly and easily – and that you will absolutely love the end result!

In Part 2 of this interview, we’ll discuss how great design choices can enhance your life and create a terrific home spa!

Steam Shower Buying Guide

Topics: Health & Wellness, Bathroom Remodel