Bath Beauty on a Budget
This small bath got an update with economy—and the environment—in mind
Do what you can where you can. It's a sound strategy when it comes to living—and renovating—green. Mark and Linda Beckelman had already redone the only full bath in their Springfield, New Jersey, home soon after they moved in, more than 20 years ago. At that time, their bank account only allowed for off-the-shelf home-center fixtures and finishes. So this time they wanted a vintage-style redo that would reflect their 1929 house. They also wanted to make environmentally friendly choices—and stick to a bottom line of $10,000 for the gut renovation.
With the help of Patricia Gaylor, a local interior designer who specializes in green projects, the Beckelmans sought out handsome, long-lasting materials, while avoiding the usual bigger-is-better approach to renovation. "By choosing wisely, and limiting the scope of the project, they were able to get what they wanted," says Gaylor. Keeping the room's existing 6-by-10 footprint and the same fixture placement meant no plumbing lines would need to be moved. That allowed the couple to splurge on a stylish concrete-and-recycled-glass countertop and a custom vanity made from sustainably harvested cherry.
Shown: The made-to-measure concrete countertop has flecks of pale green recycled glass. Faucet and towel ring by Newport Brass.
They did end up spending a bit more than planned—sound familiar?—but even at $14,500, plus the 20 percent design fee, they feel the end result is well worth the extra expense. "We love the way it turned out, and we're enjoying it," says Mark. "And saving some cash on our electric and water bills is a good thing too."
Shown: A border of amber recycled-glass mosaics adds a special touch to white subway-tile shower walls. Oil-rubbed bronze fittings echo the home's classic style. Shower fittings and tub faucet from Newport Brass.
A dual-flush toilet conserves water.
The vintage-look sconces take the latest energy-saving compact fluorescent bulbs.
The dated bath featured ugly 1980s oak and plastic laminate.
1. Gutted the space down to the studs. Along with new insulation and moisture-resistant blueboard, the owners added a more efficient exhaust fan to keep mold at bay. To save some cash, they painted the walls themselves using zero-VOC paint ($23 per gallon). Paint: Olympic Premium (custom color).
2. Lined the shower and tub area with $4.50-per-square-foot, made-in-the-USA subway tile. The small band of mosaics contains recycled glass ($36 per square foot). Tile: Dal-tile; tub: American Standard.
3. Chose FSC-certified cherry for the custom vanity and medicine cabinet ($1,400 for both). The countertop ($1,100), made from concrete with bits of recycled beer-bottle glass in it, adds a 21st-century touch. Vanity and medicine cabinet: Terra Cabinets; knobs: Omnia Industries, Inc; countertop: IceStone; towels: Lauren SPA.
4. Installed a dual-flush toilet that offers both a standard 1.6-gallons-per-flush (GPF) mode and a water-saving 0.9-GPF option with a push of its buttons. At $400, it costs about the same as a regular model. Toilet: Toto.
5. Found vintage-style sconces in an oil-rubbed bronze finish ($276 for both) that are Energy Star rated and take CFLs, which use less electricity and have a longer life span than regular incandescent bulbs. Sconces: Rejuvenation.