Eliminate the Negative In their Alexandria, Virginia, home, Patrick and Lynnette Camus also had a character-laden bath -- but hardly one they wanted to keep. "It was filled with heavy Victorian hardware and fixtures," Patrick says of the 4 1/2 x 7 1/2-ft. room. "We wanted to bring the room up to date, and spice it up visually so you wouldn't focus on its small size." Patrick designed the room in layers: the floor, the counter and the upper area defined by a simple picture rail molding. What makes the bath stand out is the way ordinary materials are used in extraordinary ways. Most everything came from the local lumberyard except the glass countertop. It proved more of a test. Because of the sink cutout, it had to be produced by a glass shop. Rather than cold-call glaziers out of the phone book, Patrick surveyed a few general contractors for their recommendations, and collected estimates that went as high as $2,500. Final price: $1,000. The couple reused simple white tiles from the bath as a border around new marble floor tile. This required a good deal of thought to make the grout joints align, but the result draws attention to the floor and makes it more than a surface to walk on. The project was demanding. Patrick remembers, "The hardest part was living with it -- or more exactly, without it; it's our only bathroom. We house-sat for two weeks, so then we had access to running water and a toilet. Beyond that, we lived without a bathroom sink for four months, because we did the work over weekends and nights." Lynnette agrees, saying, "It was a difficult to do in our spare time; we were taking baths with plastic wrap on the walls, all the while telling ourselves how great the room would be when we finished it." What It Cost
Doing all the work themselves allowed Patrick and Lynnette to afford some high-end items.
Flooring $150
Cabinetry (cherry plywood) $100
Sink $110
Glass countertop $1,000
Mirror $200
Plumbing fittings $650
Tub n/a
Toilet n/a
Light fixtures $165
Paint/wallcovering $50
TOTAL: $2,425
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