The Budget for Faith & Mike's Master Bathroom Project

The Budget for Faith & Mike's Master Bathroom Project

Faith Durand
May 30, 2013

Name: Faith and Mike
Type of Project: Master Bathroom Creation
Location: Columbus, Ohio
Type of building: 1920s, multi-level, single family home

The Renovation Diaries are a new collaboration with our community in which we feature your step by step renovation progress and provide monetary support towards getting it done in style. See all of our Reno Diaries here.

In the past couple of weeks we've introduced you to Faith and Mike, who are taking on the ambitious project of creating a master bath from what is now a sleeping porch. And now, it's time to talk about the budget. 

From Faith:

All right! The budget. Breaking down the budget for this project is a little tricky, because it was part of a much larger investment in a full home renovation. I'll break down what we hoped to spend on materials, but I'm leaving the labor costs empty for now because our contractor didn't itemize by room. (Can you imagine a contractor actually itemizing by room? The mind boggles.) To make up for the vagueness, I'm going to tell you what we learned about financing a project like this. Hello there, renovation loan!

Financing Our Renovation

What's a renovation loan? In our case, it was a mortgage that also allowed us money to renovate. We found a great deal on a house that needed a lot of work, but was still in a great part of the neighborhood. Since there was a lot of room for improvement, the bank allowed us to roll the cost of the renovations into our mortgage.

These mortgages are not something you're going to find advertised at national lenders like Chase or Wells Fargo. They tend to be very local, very specific to your area. We got our loan from a bank that is based in our state (Union Savings), and they were great to work with.

In the final tally, after all the work was done, we ended up with a monthly mortgage payment that is 20% less than what we were paying in rent! For us, a renovation and construction loan made a lot of sense, and it explains how we were able to do such major projects on this house.

To read more about the renovation loan check out my longer post about our financing in my kitchen renovation series: 

 Faith's Kitchen Renovation: How We Financed Our Kitchen 

All right. Back to the bathroom! As seen in the previouslies, we decided to create a master suite upstairs, which at one fell swoop tripled the value of our house. That's my little joke. But seriously: there are almost no master suites in our neighborhood. You have to read the fine print on the expensive houses around here. They say they have three bathrooms and then you discover two of them are in the basement

What We Did Ourselves:

Because the project was large and mostly financed by the bank, we needed to have a contractor run the project. But we did all of the demolition ourselves. We knocked down a lot of walls, pulled up flooring, and bashed plaster.  

Budget Specifics:


    We used a terrific contractor for our project: Tom Eastwood of Cornerstone Construction. As for the rest:

    • Demolition: This was all us! I have the scars to prove it too. 
    • Construction, Framing, and Drywall: Our contractor. 
    • Plumbing: The plumber was subcontracted through our contractor. 
    • Electric: Ditto. 


    Our design costs were high for the entire house, because so much work needed to be done. We worked with a lovely and civic-minded couple, who shared our modern sensibilities and really helped us visualize how the home would all come together:

    • Tim Lai and Eliza Ho of Lai Architect

    It's hard to itemize the design costs, but I think it's fair to say that for the bathroom it was between $1000 and $2000. 

    • Underfloor heating mat, including thermostat, The Tile Shop - $400
    • Floor tile: Penny Rounds in Moss, The Tile Shop - $330 ($5/sf) 
    • Shower glass - $800
    • Robe hooks - $8


I'll return to the labor costs in our final breakdown and try to give you more detail of how those costs shook out. But the total materials cost that we were planning to spend out of our pockets: $3,935. 

Check out the full series (so far) and be sure to join us next week as Faith and Mike get started on their reno. 

(Images: Faith Durand)

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