By Debra Smith Special to The Herald
Deborah Binder wanted some place to relax, and the dated bathrooms in her home just weren’t doing the job.
The Edmonds woman is a cancer survivor. When she and her husband, Gaetan Veilleux, bought a home two years ago, part of the deal was she would get a relaxing, spa-like bathroom.
She ended up redoing all three of the home’s bathrooms with the help of Emerald Design Kitchen and Bath of Everett. She also had a little luck: She entered a contest at a home show and won enough high-end countertops for all three bathrooms and her laundry room.
“She came in with a good overall feel for what she wanted,” said Karen Fugate, owner of Emerald Design and the designer. “Plus, she has beautiful taste.”
Binder wanted the remodel to stand the test time; the results feel rich and classic. The designer shared some wisdom that might come in handy on your remodel.
1. Tiles are going bigger. The tiles in the master bath are porcelain and 12-by-24 inches.
That reflects a trend toward the use of large tiles, particularly in bathrooms. It’s not uncommon to see tiles that are 18-by-18 inches or even 24-by-24. Some people shy away from tile because they assume the grout will stain or become discolored. That’s not the case if you choose an epoxy grout.
2. Go beyond granite. There’s no doubt that Binder lucked out when it comes to countertops. She won $5,000 in countertops from Cambria, a company that makes an engineered product made of quartz and resin.
The product is comparable to granite in quality, but it doesn’t need to be sealed. The color offerings number in the dozens, and the product is far more consistent in appearance than granite.
3. Do away with the shower curtain. Fugate encourages her clients to consider clear glass shower doors. This makes any bathroom feel bigger. It also allows beautiful tilework inside the bathroom to add to the visual appeal of the room.
Fugate places a wet-rated can light above the shower. It’s a nice practical touch but it also draws the eye and further enhances the feeling of spaciousness.
4. Get rid of the tub. People often assume getting rid of a bathtub will somehow hurt a home’s resale value. If you keep at least one tub in the house, that’s not true, Fugate said. Most people never use the bath, and would be better served with a large shower.
That’s exactly what Binder opted for in her 13-year-old son’s bathroom. Doing so made a small space feel larger.
5. If you want a soaking tub, go smaller. The old master bath featured a massive soaking tub with jets. Like most of Fugate’s clients, Binder wanted something smaller. The reason: Most water tanks aren’t big enough to supply the huge tubs with hot water.
A smaller, well-made tub can be just as comfortable, more affordable and take up far less space. And the water stays hot longer.
6. Go higher with cabinets and showerheads. If you own an older home, chances are your cabinets are a bit lower than a contemporary home. As people have gotten taller, so has the countertop level.
Fugate recommends also taking a look at the showerhead heights. Many builders put them in a little lower than is comfortable for taller folks. It doesn’t cost much more if the tub is coming out to adjust the height upward a few inches.
7. Replace wall-to-wall mirrors with framed mirrors. Most builders install mirrors that stretch the length of the wall above the bathroom vanity. A simple way to add some class and individuality to a room is to replace that wall-to-wall mirror with something framed.
It doesn’t have to be expensive. Binder finished the frame on her powder room mirror herself. The result is charming.
8. Keep what you can out of the landfill. Binder didn’t want to see still-good cabinets, fixtures and other items go straight into the trash. She took special effort to list them on Craigslist and find new homes.
In some cases, she made a bit of cash. Her polished brass fixtures were picked up by a dealer who ships them to Ghana for resale, where gold-colored fixtures are all the rage.
Emerald Design Kitchen &Bath
The company continues to work with clients, despite a fire in November that destroyed the showroom in a brick building at 1814 Hewitt Ave.
The business has insurance and is working through the claims process, said owner Karen Fugate. It’s been tough on the business. Eventually, they plan to re-open a showroom.
In the mean time, Fugate and two other full-time designers continue to take on new projects. They’re working out of her home, just like when the business started nearly two decades ago.
Contact Emerald Design Kitchen &Bath at 425-258-2600, or go online to www.greatremodels.com.