Affordable bathroom remodel takes searching for deals

  • By Debra Smith Special to the Herald
  • Wednesday, January 9, 2013 12:08pm
  • Life

The kids were grown and Diana and Steve Hale weren’t using their house in the same way.

The guest bathroom was too big and the master bath too small. There was no bathroom on the bottom level of the house, leaving anyone entering with muddy feet from the yard with a long, carpeted trek to the powder room.

The Lake Stevens couple decided to overhaul both bathrooms and add a third. And here’s the kicker: They wanted the rooms to be beautiful and one-of-a-kind while still keeping the budget in check.

The result is — there’s no other way to describe it — cool. Take the new bathroom downstairs. The door is opaque glass embellished with a red-leafed maple tree design, a $75 find on Craigslist.

Inside, the walls are painted a color called “Iguana” (it’s perky, not dark), the shower is shaped like a half-circle and the floor is stained concrete with a drain for easy cleaning. It’s a functional room that still manages to be fun and funky.

The project designer, Kelly DuByne of Distinctive Interior Designs, provided some tips on how to accomplish your own bathroom remodel without breaking the bank. DuByne worked closely with Darcy Mertz Design on the project.

Use remnant pieces for flooring and countertops. Flooring and countertop companies generally order these materials in large amounts, and they are often willing to get rid of the extra from various projects at a reduced price.

Even high-end products can sometimes be found for a song. DuByne suggests calling businesses that sell these products and asking.

Reuse the same mirror but frame with wood or trim pieces for an updated look. And here’s another idea: In this project, DuByne used second-hand mirrors with personality.

Use prebuilt cabinets and change up the look with some fresh paint. In the downstairs bathroom, DuByne used an inexpensive cabinet from a big box store for the sink. You wouldn’t even recognize it with the fresh coat of Berry Chili Beans paint — sorta reddish pink. That allowed the homeowner to splurge on custom cabinets for the two upstairs bathrooms.

When everything’s done, pick up new accessories such as towels, curtain and rug. It gives the space a new look. It’s the finishing touch. And it’s fun picking those things out. Get out of your comfort zone. Mix and match instead of buying the entire set of something.

Homeowner Diane Hale played a big part in making the project successful. She found many of the fixtures and accessories — including tile, a vintage mirror, that lovely glass door and even a toilet — by trawling garage sales and Internet sites such as Craiglist, and

Both the homeowners and the designer made deliberate choices about where to skimp and where to splurge.

All three bathrooms feature a mix of reused and discounted items, and a few higher-end features. The master bath, for instance, has gorgeous custom bamboo cabinets made by Architectural Cabinets in Arlington. The floor is a relatively inexpensive linoleum product called Marmoleum.

Here are a few more things to keep in mind. The typical cost of a bathroom remodel in the U.S. is $16,000, according to the National Kitchen and Bath Association. If you plan a bathroom remodel, expect to spend 5 percent to 10 percent of the home’s value.

Steven Moore of Budget Bath USA, a member of the National Kitchen and Bath Association, provided a few more tips for saving money. He suggested buying your own fixtures, bathtubs and vanities because you can find your own deals.

Save money by doing your own demolition (although it’s hard work) and painting. If you can avoid relocating any fixtures, that can save a few thousand dollars too.


Distinctive Interior Designs

Kelly DuByne


Darcy Mertz Design


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