Budget Bath Revamp
Contractor's surplus and some stock finds gave this shoestring redo a high-end look
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."
Vanity and sink: Home Depot Expo
A more interesting curved profile was nailed right on top of the plain strip that already wrapped the room. White paint cleaned up the moldings and existing radiator cover.
Wall and trim paint: Benjamin Moore's Cream Yellow and White Dove
Cracked tiles and an old laminate vanity made the tiny bath seem dirty.
The footprint, layout, and tub stayed the same in the roughly 40-square-foot bath, while the sink and toilet were swapped out for new.
1. Created a useful shelf for toiletries in dead space between the window and tub, an unavoidable gap, as the tub's only feasible location blocks the casement's unusual inward swing.
2. Restored the tub in place, given the room's tight quarters and low, sloped ceiling, which rises from 4 feet to 7 feet at its highest point.
3. Maximized space between fixtures with a replacement vanity 13 inches deep instead of 15 inches deep, like the old one. Building code requires 2 inches between it and the tub and 21 from tub to toilet.