I just completed a Master Bathroom Remodel project for a client and the end result was beyond my expectations. My client and I couldn’t be happier. The transformation from before to after was a step by step process and the end result truly captured my client’s style and personality. For me, it’s taking what is, seeing it’s full potential, and transforming it – similar to a caterpillar transforming into a magnificent butterfly in all it’s glory and this is my purpose in life. I’d like to share my process for how I worked on the design project from concept to completion.
Bathroom Remodel Project: Millbrae Condominium built in 1978
Client has owned his condo for 8 years and decided to finally jump in and remodel his master bathroom so that it is more up to date reflecting his style.
Problem: Master Bathroom is very small, outdated, and doesn’t get a lot of light. There is no exhaust fan and not a lot of air circulation.
Solution: Remove the wall separating vanity from shower and toilet to open up the space. Add an exhaust fan to draw out excess moisture and stale humid air improving the quality of indoor air. Replace all bath fittings and fixtures so it is up to date. Add tiles to shower wall and replace floor tiles. Incorporate additional storage with a shower niche, custom cabinet shelf above toilet and wall niche by vanity. Keep existing door and move to the front of vanity so that there is a separate entrance from the master bedroom to the master bathroom.
The Design Process
The first step in my design process is to have a short 30 minute phone call with the client. During the phone consultation, my goal is to find out at a high level, scope of work involved, client’s budget, timeframe for project (when the client wants to start on the project and when he wants it completed), if the client has already hired a contractor, and if it is a project I can take on. I then send a more detailed design questionnaire which lets me know additional information such as client’s design style, what the client likes and doesn’t like about the bathroom to be redesigned, how the client wants the newly designed bathroom to feel like, material and color preferences, and more etc.. I then review the questionnaire and schedule a time to meet the client and see the space in person.
2. Estimate and Letter of Agreement
Once I have met the client in person and have seen the space, I prepare an estimate of how many hours I anticipate the project to take. If the client approves the estimate, I send over a letter of agreement to be signed and collect a deposit before any work begins on the project.
3. Measurement & Before Photos
The work on the project begins. Detailed measurements of the bathroom are documented and before photos of the bathroom taken.
4. Space Planning
I start drafting the existing floor plan as well as the new proposed floor plan. My original idea was to remove the wall separating the shower and toilet from the vanity but also to expand the shower wall out so that it is in line with the vanity and toilet wall as seen below. This would create one straight wall. I also envisioned recessing any cabinets for a clean and contemporary look. That was the idea.
However, after opening up part of the shower wall, it was determined that the shower could not be expanded because there were plumbing lines in the way which was also connected to the guest bathroom. In addition, any cabinets could not be recessed into the wall because the toilet or sink vent lines were in the way. The final floor plan included removing the wall separating the vanity and the toilet/shower and moving the existing door in front of the vanity to create a separate entrance from the master bedroom as shown below.
5. Design Concept
Before researching design ideas and coming up with a design concept, I want to make sure I really understand the essence of who the client is- what his likes and dislikes are, what his style is, how the space is used, lifestyle, etc… This is why the questionnaire is so important. I review the client’s answers so I can think from the client’s perspective and truly understand what makes the client who he is. I also asked him to send me photos of bathrooms that inspire him from Houzz or Pinterest so I can get a better understanding of what aspect he likes about each bathroom design. After reviewing the client’s ideabooks, I start researching ideas to come up with a design concept. The client mentioned he wanted to replace everything and bring it up to date which includes replacing all bath fixtures and fittings, replacing tile, lights, etc… His favorite color is blue and he loves plants and wanted his bathroom to feel clean and invigorating. Here are before photos and a partial list of what will be replaced and/or removed.
After coming up with a design concept, I collects samples to show the client. I also create a mood board to show the client a 2D visual of our vision and what his new bathroom would look like. If any changes are to be made, I make those changes and send the client a revised design for his approval. Below is the final mood board for the master bathroom remodel.
I also worked with a cabinet showroom to design a custom bamboo vanity and a custom cabinet shelf. A basic 3D rendering really helped us visually see what it would look like!
Here are a few in progress photos during construction.
Throughout the design process, I guided the homeowner assisting him in the design concept, drawings, selection of materials, and inspection of work to final completion. The newly remodeled bathroom looks much larger, brighter, and has a contemporary look and feel. My client and I are very pleased with the end result and we couldn’t be happier! It was truly a collaborative process and I enjoyed working with him to transform his bathroom into one that reflects who he is.