My Home Remodel, Part 3: A Dream Bathroom

When Bart and I carved out space in our basement for my home office, a guestroom and walk-in closet (see Part 2 of this series), we knew eventually we’d be constructing a bathroom adjacent to the guestroom. The main floor of our home has a tiny bathroom and I had visions of a much-bigger, spa-like experience in the basement.

My coveted soaker tub with quartz surround. We also have a double shower with frameless door to the left of the tub.

The existing basement included a working shower and toilet, just kind of out in the open (because who needs privacy?!), so some plumbing was already there. I had dreams of a soaker tub in which I could relax with a glass of wine, so I designed the rest of the bathroom around that tub.

We live in a small town and one of the benefits of that is we used a friend who is a contractor for this project. Our friend and the plumber did all the especially loud and dirty jobs while Bart and I were on a retrofit work trip that we extended into a vacation. We returned home to the plumbing—mostly PEX from Uponor—installed and the framing for our bathroom completed. (Funny story: We actually unknowingly returned from this work trip with our daughter Clare on board. Many months later as our contractor was finishing up the basement hallway, stairs and pantry we created—also in the basement—I teased the contractor that it was time for him to “move out” so we could make room for baby!)

Our dog, Belle, showing off the vanity and make-up area.

We installed all Kohler plumbing fixtures and I chose quartz countertops for the vanity, my make-up area and to surround the tub. Because this is the basement, we installed underfloor heating beneath the marble tile floor. We also installed a Panasonic WhisperGreen Select ventilation fan. It features a condensation sensor to prevent mold and mildew. It is also incredibly quiet. After it was first installed, I had to put my ear up to the ceiling to listen if it was working. Now I just know that it is.

A fun story from this remodeling phase was how I sourced the lighted mirror in my make-up area. For a couple years during my career, I edited a residential remodeling magazine and made friends with a number of residential remodeling contractors from across the U.S. while attending NAHB and NARI meetings and events. Beyond LinkedIn, I remain connected via Facebook to some of these remodelers and I happened to see the mirror in a post a remodeler friend shared. I immediately messaged her that I needed that mirror! She connected me to her distributor who connected me to a distributor in Iowa and the mirror now graces my dream bathroom. I love it every single day—and Clare, who now is 3, loves “putting on her make-up” in this mirror, as well.

I should note Bart loves this bathroom, too. The entire time I was picking finishes for this bathroom, Bart sort of rolled his eyes. I don’t think he could see the vision but I’m grateful he didn’t have much to say about it, at least verbally. As soon as the bathroom was complete, Bart moved his toiletries into the space. Today, he is much more open to my ideas for our kitchen project, which is happening as I type.

In Part 4 about our remodeling project, I’ll cover the exterior upgrades we made to our home, which include new siding and a roof over our deck facing the lake. See a “before” photo of our home’s exterior in Part 1 of this series.

Read the previous posts in my home-remodeling blog series:

About the Author

Christina A. Koch
Christina A. Koch is editorial director and associate publisher of retrofit.

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