Home Improvement April 19, 2020

Planning the First Renovation on My New Home

Outdated Basement BathroomWhat was the last thing you procrastinated on?  Or even delayed because there were more interesting or easier things to do?  Well I have found the first major procrastination for my new 70s home.  Our downstairs bathroom.  It makes me cringe every time I think about it and almost every time I step into it.

It is not that it is a terrible bathroom.  It just feels terrible; cramped, outdated, dark and smelly.  It is still a functional design and almost everything still works.

So why do I feel this way?  It is not my first bathroom reno, but there are a multitude of new things (career and kids) in my life and this is more complex because it possibly sets the design for all the other updates we plan to do.  So where do I start.  Lots and lots of investigating, analyzing and planning.

First, Investigate.  Measure the room and the ones around it.  Figure out where the supply and waste plumbing lines are located.  Identify electrical items (lights, outlets, exhaust fans, etc.).  Last find the HVAC vent.  Knowing all of this helps with understanding how complex a renovation may end up being.

5'x11' Bathroom Layout

Second, Analyze.  After taking a full inventory of what exists today, ask if it is functionally what is needed?  Is it big enough and is it a standard layout?  If it is, then things get a whole lot easier.  It’s straight to planning and picking out the new materials.

If not, then you have what I do or at least what I think I do.  And this is the point that I want to make in this section, unless you are really looking at what you have and what you need, you may end up spending a lot of money unnecessarily.

Finally, Planning.  Like a lot of things, the key to a successful remodel is knowing what you need and when, getting things completed in the correct order and then finishing the components on time.  This is where having a solid plan around your renovation will come in handy.  You’ll easily be able to determine if your falling behind and if other adjustments need to be made to get you back on schedule or budget.

In the planning phase, you’re also checking with the local governments on any necessary permits, talking with the trades about scheduling work and getting estimates on cost/time and identifying your finish materials (tile, vanity, sink, shower door, etc.)  In this phase you also really get a sense of what everything is going to cost and then can reassess what items are in your budget.

Possible New Bathroom Layout

So is this what I really want?  I am not sure yet.  As you can see, this would require some real effort, and at least a plumbing permit will be required.  Also, it may not happen for a while, but you will notice the addition of a bathroom.  Like I mentioned earlier, everything around remodel this is complicated, and I haven’t brought up the fact that I will have to replace my septic tank before the city will issue a permit (but that’s a different post).

Yes, I’m still in the procrastinating phase.  But now, at least I have been able to think through a few of the hard pieces, and maybe I do not need to change the current layout.  Who knows though?  This new one would feel grander at the end of the day though.

Anyway, thanks for your time.  If you’d like to connect or share your thoughts, I can be reached via email @ craig@craigtheagent.com.

Also, a big thanks to Home By Me for providing free access to their home modeling software.  It’s really easy to use and pretty need when you are reviewing the design in 3D mode.