Tuesday, January 2, 2007

BIG Ideas for Small Bath Budgets by Chuck Ross

Hi all, This is an excerpt from HGTV's DIY series online. You'll find the link below.

Big Ideas for Small Bath Budgets
Getting the biggest bang for the remodeling buck.

By Chuck Ross
December 11, 2006/Bathroom remodelers come across them all the time — clients with champagne dreams and jug-wine budgets. Design magazines have given them lots of renovation ideas, but they're shocked when they see just how much all those features add to their project's bottom line. However, designer Jamie Gibbs says that, with a little creative planning, building pros can still give these customers unique spaces that don't break the bank.
Gibbs' New York City-based firm, Jamie Gibbs & Associates, has worked its high-end magic in homes across the United States and abroad. He's also a frequent speaker at industry events, including October's Remodeling Show, held in Chicago. He has a number of tips for remodelers interested in creating similarly stylish spaces at more down-to-earth prices.

Fear the fads First off, Gibbs suggests builders urge caution on fad-conscious clients. "Don't read trend articles," he advises. Instead, to ensure today's bath decisions still look current a few years from now, he suggests aiming for a middle road between traditional and contemporary, which he terms "transitional." This approach provides a cleaner look than classic period styles, without looking cold or clinical.
Second, he says, maintaining consistent metal finishes across all faucets and accessories is a must when aiming upscale, though the components don't all have to be from the same product line. In fact, you may have to pick and choose among a range of offerings, he notes, to find products of the right size and scale for each plumbing fixture. And don't feel you need to drop extra dollars for the latest antiqued metal looks. Gibbs says younger homeowners are finding retro appeal in classic and affordable chrome faucets and accessories.

Targeted spending Working successfully with a tighter budget requires a strategic approach, Gibbs continues. Don't worry if you can't afford top of the line across the board. Instead, save discretionary spending for those key features that will pay off handsomely in added style and comfort — and in increased interest from future buyers. These include:
Mirrors. "Space, or at least the illusion thereof," is the ultimate luxury when it comes to bath design, Gibbs says. Providing a mirrored wall — not just a small medicine cabinet — over a vanity can add virtual square feet to even the smallest room.
Lighting. Providing varied lighting options is one of the keystones of high-end designs. To create illuminating variety in less expensive spaces, Gibbs suggests adding a ledge of crown molding just below the ceiling to house flexible tube lighting, which can be used on its own as a night light or be combined with mirror and ceiling fixtures to develop a balanced lighting scheme. Similarly, under-cabinet lighting could be mounted on the bottom side of a wall hung medicine cabinet to brighten sink spaces. Finally, consider an upgraded ceiling fixture with an added heat lamp for real spa-like luxury.
Showerheads. "Spend your bucks on a good showerhead," Gibbs urges. "That's what people will notice." Distinctive rain-jet showerheads, for example, can create a big visual impact and feel great. However, he warns against spending a lot of money on expensive fixtures before ensuring the homeowner's water won't gunk up the works. Hard water, especially untreated well water, can leave behind flow-blocking deposits, so Gibbs suggests investing in a treatment system first when water quality is questionable.
Radiant heating. If flooring is being replaced, Gibbs suggests considering a hydronic or electric radiant floor-heating system. "It's relatively inexpensive and it feels luxurious to the feet," he says. Similarly, radiant towel heaters can warm the surrounding bathroom space as well as the towels. Both approaches, especially when installed separately from a home's overall heating plan, also can help keep a lid on energy costs by providing heat only where it's needed.

As a "side note" of sorts...

I am going to throw in some notes here for you to consider- if you cannot afford a mirrored wall or simply think it is too much then consider one of these two options:

For an existing mirror that is already glued onto the wall simply frame it with Moulding. Moulding is a great way to "frame" it and create a very inexpensive (approximately $20) yet custom look. If you like this idea please post a comment and I will be happy to instruct you on this option. The mirror I am showing to the left is a ready made mirror. You can duplicate it with nothing more than Moulding from a home improvement store, brass tacks, paint and liquid nails. The home improvement store will cut the wood for you usually for a very small charge (.25 cents - .35 cents per cut). If you want the short cut, post a comment and I'll quote you the price plus shipping for the ready made version...which leads me to the 2nd option.

The second option is purchasing a Framed Mirror to hang above the vanity. You can find beautiful and inexpensive mirrors in a variety of places. Decide on your price range and focus on stores that may offer you a variety of styles and price ranges. Look in the Bargain Basement rooms of large furniture stores. Look in second hand and consignment stores. Places like TJ Max, Marshalls, Home Goods, etc. This mirror is a great style for someone looking for a more contemporary style. Keep in mind, your options are only limited to what you can imagine. I have a beautiful wrought iron framed mirror in my hall bath and the most casually elegant shabby chic mirror you could imagine in my guest room bath. Quite different from each other but absolutely positively perfect.

I also want to throw some ideas that are "out of the box" for lighting in your bath. Don't think typical bath lighting. Look at chandeliers. Look at pendants, who says you can only have one light fixture per vanity? Not me.Why not a pair of small chandeliers flanking each side of the vanity? Think of something creative and show stopping over the master tub. Wow, talk about sexy, talk about romantic. All of you "non-bath taking" folks may find you're back into a nice hot tub of sudsy water if you love where you bathe...luxury without spending a fortune. Wow, who would have thought it possible. I LOVE the chandelier to the left here. I am considering this one for over my Master Tub. I love a good book by candlelight in a hot sudsy bath. I know, Stephen King isn't very sexy reading but what a great yarn he weaves.
On a different note how about an antique or antique reproduction coat rack in lieu of towel rods. What do you think of this one? I love the fact that it is unexpected and has an antique appeal. You can modernize it with a more contemporary style or you can paint this one in a bright chrome finish.

Need a shelf in the bath? A place for those candles or a make-up/jewelry box shelf? Think about something along the lines of what we are featuring on the left. FABULOUS! My girlfriend Suzi used a modified version of this in her bath and it's one of her favorite "rooms" in the house. By the way, If anyone is looking for a gorgeous Townhome in Gambrills Maryland, Suzi is looking for a buyer. I'll be at her home on Friday and I can't wait to see all of the DIY projects she has tackled in her home.

That's it for now. I hope you'll take away some great ideas that you can really be proud of in your DIY projects. Let me know if I can help, just click on "Comments" and I promise I will respond within 24 hours. Thanks for your time.