Reno 911: Karen's Bathroom Remodel

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AT reader Karen has kept us updated on her bathroom renovation these past few months. While she's endured ups and downs with the project (city codes! Finding the right contractor!), the end result is well worth it. Karen was kind of enough to do a Q&A and share some photos of her new bathroom...take a look after the jump!

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New tile floor and new cabinets!

Tell us a little bit about your bathroom!
My bathroom concept came after years of reading lots of home magazines and books. I took the ideas that I found over the years and executed my vision. I knew that I would be taking out all of the existing 80's condo bathroom and turning it into a modern clean bathroom. I felt that if I was going to do a bathroom remodel, I wanted everything to be new. The old bathroom had a very closed in feeling. With removing the old cabinets & linen closet, I opened up the vanity area. The new cabinets gave loads of extra storage space with pull out drawers. I wanted to have enough storage space so I did not have to have anything on the countertop. I replaced a door that leads into the shower area with a pocket door to give a much better flow to the bathroom. All 3 doors in the bathroom were replaced with glass imbedded doors. I replaced the old tub with a deep tub that gave a feel of being in a walk in shower. A frameless shower door completed the modern look. ½ Flush Full Flush toilet was installed.

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What motivated you to remodel your bathroom?
Since my condo is now over 20 years old, I knew that it was time to give an updated look to my bathroom. Everything in the bathroom was starting to look warn, so that helped me get motivated after living in the condo since 1992.

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Pocket Door to Shower and Toilet
How did you find and decide on a contractor? How do you think he/she did--craftsmanship, stayed within budget, etc? I found my contractor through Angie’s List. I meet with my contractor the first time for over 1 hour going over my ideas and looked at his past work. I contacted a few referrals of his that gave him a good recommendation. I chose this contractor over another one as he said he understood what I wanted to do. I felt comfortable with him as the pictures he showed me of past work were in line with my vision of what I wanted to do with the bathroom. The contractor did stay within budget as I paid for a lot of the materials upfront (tile, countertop, toilet, all bathroom fixtures). The contract was very detailed so I knew what each sub job would cost. The subs that the contractor brought in were very professional.
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Detail of shower shelf
What was the biggest obstacle in your project? My biggest obstacle was that my original idea of putting in a walk in shower could not happen cause the pipes in my condo were 1 ½ inch & the city of Los Angeles require a 2 inch pipe. I did try to get my 2 neighbors below to allow me to come in & replace the pipes, but one of the neighbors would not allow it. I had to change my plans for the shower area in the end, but I am very happy with the results.
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If you could do it all over again, what would you change?
I would have architectural plans drawn up. I learned a lot about construction during this time, as I had to over see most of the project. A lot of the time it was very stressful cause what was to be a 6 weeks project took about 3 months to complete. It was also hard cause I have only 1 bathroom. I am thankful that I had 2 very understanding neighbor’s that allowed me to showers at their place during that time.

What advice can you give other people who are thinking about a remodel project?
If you are planning to do any sort of remodel in you home that requires a permit, always make sure that your city code allows your changes with regards to plumbing, electrical and structural. Have everything detailed on what kind of materials you want your contractor to use. Also make sure in the contract with your Contractor that he/she will be on site during the remodel to approve each subs work. Always pay for work once it is complete, never when each sub starts. Always have a second plan if your original plan does not work cause of some unknown issue that might arise once the remodel starts.

Any future projects for your home?
The final project left in my home is my Kitchen. Hopefully that will be done in the next few years to finish off my home.

Thanks, Karen!

[ Photos from Karen Jones ]

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