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The One Room Challenge Week 3: bathroom budgeting tools and the groundwork

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Here we are in Week 3 of the ORC and have entered in what I lovingly refer to as “the boring middle part of a renovation.” But before we dive in, here’s where we’ve been the last two weeks:

If you’ve never done a major renovation before, allow me to share with you what the Boring Middle Part of the renovation looks like:

  • People come to your house a few times a week, but you aren’t sure what’s happening. There are sometimes loud noises.

  • Everything is a mess. Your entire world is covered in dust. There is no more air. There is only dust.

  • You start to worry that this is your life now and oscillate between depression, eager anticipation, and rage-strokes.

But not to fear, because this time is where the VERY important things are happening. Your master plumber and electrician are getting all the groundwork done, which will mean the difference between a beautifully functional bathroom and a beautiful crappy bathroom that you have to rip apart in 3 years to fix after it leaks. Pack your patience and know that while it may be slow, this work is important. Often times the delays are due to waiting for inspections or sequencing of trades (getting people working in the right order, so things don’t have to be done twice).

Here’s what our master bath is looking like this week:

Hot tip - rooms ALWAYS look too small without drywall. We do this for a living every darn day, and it never ceases to amaze me how tiny things look when it's just the studs. How will we possibly fit a bathroom back in here?!?! But we know we can because it was one before. It's an optical illusion.

This can also be the part of the project where the word Change Order may come into play if something squirrelly was found during demolition that has to be remedied. Like I said last week, you can have suspicions about what is going on behind the walls, but you never really know what’s there until you’re into it. You may find you have to replace the pipes in the walls because they weren’t put into code or have eroded over time. Or you need a new cement board behind your tile because what was there was just on drywall, and it’s melting away. Or that wall that nobody suspected was load-bearing is actually holding up half of your house. These are all very real things that have happened in our projects. But blessedly not on THIS project!

If you’ve stretched your budget to its limit to make the project happen and you encounter a surprise that you hadn't planned for, this is the time you will fall apart.


Because I’m going to give you a budget template!

I’ve lost count of how many bathrooms we’ve done for clients, but it is WELL north of 150. I can usually estimate in my head what a bathroom will run without putting it to paper. But we ALWAYS put it to paper anyway, so that we can set realistic expectations for our clients and design to their budget (and leave some all-important wiggle room).

At the link below you can download a budgeting template that is an incredible tool when you’re planning a bathroom remodel. This Excel spreadsheet allows you to plug in the fixtures you’re considering but also be sure that you’re thinking about those non-fixture costs - like demolition and plumbing and drywall – which are the big cost factors in any remodel. The margins are PACKED with tips and automatic formulas to make it super easy. It’s a very common misconception that changing your tile from marble to ceramic will suddenly pull a project out of the red and back on budget, but 9 times out of 10 that’s only going to save you a few hundred buckaroos because the real money is in the labor.

You can use this tool whether you’re hiring out the entire project to a General Contractor, DIYing the entire thing, or somewhere in between. Click Here to download!

I hope you find this tool useful as you plan your next bathroom renovation. Pin it now to use it later!

Now back to the bathroom at hand.

Here’s where we are:

Done / In The Works:

  • Demo

  • Plumbing

  • Electrical Rough

  • Framing

To Do:

  • Build back with drywall and cement board

  • Install vanity, finishes, and fixtures

  • Trim out windows, baseboards, install new doors, and order window treatments

  • Art and finishing touches

See you next week when we’ll share more progress and share a DIY abstract art tutorial!

Quick Disclosure: Some of these links happen to be affiliate links which means when you click the link to purchase something on this page, it won't cost you more, but I may receive a commission for sharing this with you. Which is neat, because I was going to share it with you anyway! You can view our full disclosure policy here.


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