another bathroom remodel story

A friend and I were talking yesterday about a bathroom remodel I did.  She couldn’t remember the ‘before’ look and I knew I had pictures somewhere. This remodel was completed about a year and a half ago, and I’m still proud of the amazing aesthetic transformation and improvement of  quality of life for the end users.

When the homeowner bought the 1940s house from its original owner, the bathroom wasn’t even wired, meaning there was not a lot of ‘getting ready’ for dinner after dark!  He immediately had lighting put in, but other than that, few changes were made initially.  Here are the BEFORE images:

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Notice the cabinet and window IN the shower.

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The homeowner was undergoing back surgery just after the completion of the remodel, so he wanted to change the single hand-held shower (there wasn’t an overhead shower), to a multi-functional jetted tub / shower for therapy.  I omitted the tall linen closet and moved linen storage into an adjacent hall closet, making enough room for a large jetted tub for the tall users’ comfort.  Structurally, very little else was changed.  All fixtures were upgraded, and new finishes were installed on the floor and walls.  I closed up the window, which faced an alley, for privacy and water-tightedness and added a huge skylight.  I put a lot of thought into the light plan, adding several layers of artificial and natural light for relaxation or stimulation.

Take a look at the outcome:

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The toilet I specified was on backorder, so this isn’t the final toilet. Since all of the plumbing fixtures were upgraded to high-end Kohler pieces, the toilet was upgraded to a comfort height, more aesthetically appropriate fixture.  This ‘mediocre but perfectly fine’ toilet was donated to a very grateful person.

Bathroom remodels aren’t cheap, but the changes can be life enhancing and can hugely increase home value.


finished bathroom remodel

I embarked on this bathroom remodel earlier this summer in a cute, 1930’s bungalow here in Missoula.  The homeowner was new to the process of renovation construction and it was one of those experiences where it seemed the world was against us.  The end result is BEAUTIFUL and I was so pleased to deliver the homeowners the bathroom of their dreams.  Here are the beginning photos, the beginning square footage was about 40 SqFt:

claudia before 2 (Before)

Claudia before (Before)

There were several ‘must-haves’ in this project, which originally started as a Universal Design project.  I re-worked the space so that we stole the closet from the adjacent bedroom (exterior wall corner behind the shower above), made that space a two-person shower, swiveled the toilet 90 degrees, and moved the sink from the middle of the room to the immediate left of the entrance, on the same wall as the shower.  The musts were natural stone, in-floor radiant heat, towel warmers, and a complete aesthetic overhaul.

Here’s a look at my initial brainstorming sketches, working out the space plan.  I was so happy to take over that closet.  That opened things up immensely and got us to 49 square feet total.


There was no good way to get the drain slope right for a universal, barrier-free shower and line drain.  The space was too small and we were faced with cutting 4″ into the floor joists.  It was a consideration because a shop teacher built the house and there were huge joists and about five times more of them than needed.  However, it wasn’t a sound solution, so we put a low curb at the entrance of the shower with a frameless, Euro door.  Take a look at the finished outcome:






Claudia bath1

No details were overlooked.  Careful consideration went into my light plan and all finishes are in oil rubbed bronze. I loved the warmth but crispness of this marble against the rich natural walnut vanity.  The homeowners love blue, so I integrated some sparkle into the glass accent tile and blue pearl granite countertop, curb cap, and shelf on the half wall.  We had some fun with custom glass on the shower door, vanity light, and we obscured the bottom half of the window for privacy.  It all came together for an organic, fresh, luxurious and WARM (literally, via the floor and towel warmers) environment.

A project like this requires precise coordination, especially due to the size of the work space.  Construction always has a few hiccups which can be frustrating at the time, but it’s all in the delicate balance of patience and pushing forward.  I’m glad to have been able to design, advocate and assist in this spectacular remodel!


festival of trees


Every year, I donate design time, a tree, and ornaments for  Mountain Home Montana’s Festival of Trees to benefit teen moms, their babies, and the Community Medical Center Foundation.  For the live auction this year, I decided on a dwarf evergreen topiary-type tree, still in a planter, with instructions regarding replanting the tree for the winning bidder.  I named my tree, ‘Home for the Holidays, and am happy with the outcome, especially since I had help from some of my favorite industry partners.  Tracy Roy, at Pierce Flooring, donated a beautiful Karastan rug valued at over $500. Heidi Heitmann, from Insured Titles put together a beautiful home-themed gift basket, Echo Home Furnishings and Habitat Floral Studio generously donated gift cards, and Independent Roofing  gave a beautiful assortment of handmade truffles.  My tree fetched $650 from a very generous tree purchaser and I’m glad to be able to help make this worthwhile event a success!