be flexible to save money
Photo: Megan Chaffin

Be Flexible to Save Money

Sometimes staying flexible is the secret to renovation success. It's how Winnetka, Illinois, homeowner Catherine Karabas was able to afford her bath's overhaul on $4,000. The upstairs bath in her 1921 Tudor Revival is small, but what bugged her was its look, complete with a rust-stained tub and cracked tile floor. "It was like a gas station bathroom," she says. Catherine was already redoing the kitchen and downstairs baths when she asked contractor Charlie Schumacher to squeeze in tweaks to the one upstairs. When he offered her a stash of marble tile—left over from another job—at half price, she said yes, even though yellow wasn't her first choice. Schumacher's other money-saving idea, of keeping the 18-inch-deep tub and having it professionally cleaned, was a winner too. Now the room is her golden-toned retreat, says Catherine. "Perfect for my long soaks."

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