The Process

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Photos of completed projects are…(dare I say?)…”sexy” in much the same way that the magazine Architectural Digest can be a cheap thrill for homeowners. Finished photos don’t provide a true understanding of the total process; the hundreds of decisions, the vital materials and methods of application, the layout and placement of seemingly innocuous elements…all going into the creation of a highly functional yet visually appealing space. While the nit and grit of the process is rarely as entertaining as the finished photograph, it can certainly be far more fulfilling when engaged from beginning to end.Here we have a shower /tub combination in a newer home just outside of Chagrin Falls. We began by removing a builder grade vinyl tub and shower unit. It was beige, plastic, all one piece and easy to clean! But like a cheap fake plant or fluorescent lighting, it literally sucked the life out of the room. We cut it out and shored up wall framing to accept the new installation.

During planning I spent a few hours with the client at our tile supplier’s showroom. With their vision of a traditional “Shaker Style” shower we selected an over sized (4×8) subway tile, decorative strip and colonial cap. The client also selected a porcelain-enameled cast iron tub sourced from our plumbing supply house. While the combination might seem retro in their 15 year old house, the style is classic and timeless, and its appeal indisputable.

Insulation in the walls will limit shower sounds from traveling throughout the house. A vapor barrier and cement based substrate will properly support the tile and limit moisture penetration years from now when the grout becomes loose and in need of a tune up. NEVER trust a tiled shower surround installed over drywall or plaster. With the products available today, those methods are nothing short of malpractice. Over sized corner shelves will accommodate economy-sized bottles of hair product. The shelves have a gentle built-in slope to shed water. A strategically placed hand shower will allow the homeowners to bathe their young grandchildren during overnight visits. A clear penetrating grout sealer will prohibit the growth of mold and mildew without altering the color or texture of the grout or tile. Every detail makes the difference!

The remainder of the space was decorated to the highest standards. A Jerusalem Gold Limestone counter top with under mount sinks and Grohe faucets, Custom KraftMaid cabinetry serve as the vanity. Sconces controllable from either entrance include a built-in nightlight. Money was saved by preserving the existing tile floor (we removed, cut and reset several tiles to accommodate the new footprint of the tub), and replacing the trim kits on the existing recessed lights.

We installed this bathroom and led the client to our preferred suppliers, but the passion and participation of the client made the difference in the finished product. Sure…it’s a process and can occupy many hours of time, but when executed properly the results can be stimulating!

Click here to see photos from another successful bathroom remodel by The Beard Group in Shaker Heights, OH.