Sunday, June 03, 2007


Now, before you say "Isn't this supposed to be a knitting blog??? And she keeps writing about her bathroom???"

Let's review a few blogging things and their similarities to the bathroom project: We love to brag about FO's. I finally have one. It still needs to be blocked (translation: the grout needs to cure until Thursday before we can use the shower).

I have the obligatory shot in the bathroom mirror picture:

And I'm showing you the details of the project:

And we sometimes talk about our storage options:

Finally, the view from the throne:

Details: We contracted through FH FURR. They are a large, reputable plumbing company in Northern Virginia. We have used them for heating and air conditioning service for many years. We were initially referred to FH FURR by a doctor I worked with who highly recommended them when we'd been through the mill with several other firms trying to handle a pesky furnace.

We decided that, although we love do-it-yourself projects and we've done small bathroom do-overs in the past, we didn't have the time, energy or expertise to take on this type of project. And we really didn't have the time, energy or resources to have someone else re-do it if we screwed it up. We wanted it done right and done fast.

Planning took a couple of weeks-- meeting with the representative to discuss options and fixtures (don't you just love the antique pewter faucets and shower head and handle?), selecting tile at Mosaic Tile showroom in Lorton. Once this was done, we received our final estimate and the project was scheduled to begin within 2 weeks. The Husband and I purchased the vanity, medicine cabinet, storage cabinet and sink from Lowe's. The sink was special order, and although the delivery time was 3 weeks, we lucked out and had it in a week and a half.

Actual work in the bathroom from start to finish was 1-1/2 weeks--6 actual days of work with 4 days of the Memorial Day Weekend in the middle. The company sent us a schedule and they stuck to it. Work included: demolition & removal of old bathroom fixtures, re-plumbing & shower bed preparation (2 days);
tiling & grouting (3 days);
plumbing finish and fixture installation (1 day).

The products we chose are beautiful. The workmanship is excellent. All the workers were courteous, cleaned up after the project, and kept the noise as low as could be expected, considering the amount of sawing, pounding, hammering etc required. The time involved couldn't be beat.

Would I recommend them? Yes. Unequivocally.

The Bottom Line:
One caveat if you're on a tight budget-- make sure you understand what your costs are during the design phase. Let the company representative know what your limit is, ask questions, and make sure you understand everything he's telling you. They want your business, and they have a vested interest in making sure you're happy. They can explain what you absolutely need, and what you can get for the amount of money you're able to invest in the project. If you have some flexibility, they can also help you to understand where you can tighten up the project, and where you can splurge a bit. Of course, the labor costs will always be there.

We knew what we were getting into, and decided to go pretty big on this, enjoy the project, and not stress about what we knew would be a pretty good chunk of change. This is a capital improvement to our home. We did compromise on some aspects that saved us several thousand dollars, but still resulted in what we consider to be a spectacular little space.

When doing a project like this there are a couple of ways you can go-- you can figure "the hell with it, we're going to get everything we can dream of" which can be very dangerous. Fancy shower features can add several hundred to thousands of dollars. It took my breath away. Extra tile features can add hundreds more. These hundreds here and there add up, and knowing where to draw the line is very important. At the same time, there can be the tendency to nickel-dime the project. It's going to cost thousands, and saving $10 or even $50 on something may not be in your best interest if you won't be happy with the finished product.

We could have reduced our costs in several ways- some would result in substantial savings-- thousands, and some in more moderate savings: We could tile only the floor and shower area and paint the rest of the walls (thousands), select a less expensive tile (more thousands-ours was pretty high-end) and eliminate the little stone shelves, go less high-end on the towel bar and tp holder (several hundred), use different sink material, use different plumbing fixtures, etc. For the time being, we're forgoing the glass sliders on the shower, which will cost $1500-2000, because we have another bathroom project coming up. We'll put in a tension bar and get a really nice shower curtain. And we may decide that we like that just fine.

You get what you pay for. We got a lot. And it was money well spent.

1 comment:

Ann said...

OMG - it's so beautiful! love it. Love the tile. and your advice will be well-heeded, I promise. :)

it was great to see you friday, if only for a little bit!