Do I need a designer? So gun-shy!

regmosesJune 5, 2012

We are embarking on a bath remodel. Our space is awkward, small, and a window seems to be right in the way of our plans. I'm hoping this hyperlink posts the simple mock-up I made of my master bath.

After looking at this info, my question is, should we spend the extra money in our meager budget to hire a designer? The closest one I can find is 100 miles away, but it looks as though (from her online page), she would provide us with the plans necessary to be our own General Contractors. Does this space have a hope of looking cohesive, beautiful, and much less awkward WITHOUT hiring someone? It's hard to tell how many of you have dealt with designers or just replaced existing fixtures or relied on your own ideas.


Nice tile shower

largest vanity possible, one sink

Maximum storage space (laundry basket space very imp.)

Small budget, with a few luxuries

I will post a blue-print type layout soon. Having trouble getting ours to post.

We will be doing some of the work ourselves. Hubby has been a DIYer for years now. We're never reconfigured a bathroom, and definitely not one with these limitations. We're feeling really gunshy. What do you think?

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It might give you peace of mind if you have many priorities and are nervous about making a mistake. You might also be able to negotiate a fixed fee with one just to do a layout for you and then you could go to the tile store and select your own materials - use photos here or on Houzz for good inspiration. We did hire a designer because like you, I was nervous to screw something up. That said, while it was somewhat helpful and while they refined my layout and started me down the road for a color palette and tile selections, in the end, I felt like I spent so much time revising the selections that I pretty much did that on my own. Another option would be to post your dimensions here and solicit some advice from the gardenwebbers - some area very talented at assisting in design! Good luck!

    Bookmark   June 5, 2012 at 3:53PM
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My short answer to your question would be no, I don't think so.

If you are not planning on moving plumbing fixtures and drains, and possibly even if you are, I believe that you can get just about all of the help that you need right here on GW. That, along with previous DIY experience, is probably enough to make this bathroom work for you. Although the layout is somewhat awkward, the room has great potential and it's nice that you have both space for a separate tub and shower and a window for natural light. There are many very knowledgable and helpful people here so if you are able to post your layout, with dimensions, you'll start getting some great ideas.

We recently completed a year-long to-the-studs masterbath reno in which every single drain and water supply line was moved. We acted as our own GC's and were very hands-on throughout. My husband and I designed the room ourselves but, prior to demolition, we hired a designer to create a rendering to help us visualize the final design and fine-tune any design flaws. I also thought that I'd want assistance in selecting materials so that we'd have a cohesive room but, in the end, we felt quite comfortable making our own selections because we had a clear vision of what we wanted the room to look like. We were very up front with the scope of the job and negotiated a flat rate for just these services. This rendering and the layout that she created fell short (FAR short!) of what would be considered building plans but they met our needs and allowed us to feel confident going forward with our design. You may find that hiring a designer on a limited basis like this may be helpful.

    Bookmark   June 5, 2012 at 4:06PM
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Are the toilet and vanity in your mock up located in the same place as in the current bath?

    Bookmark   June 5, 2012 at 4:35PM
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I have never thought designers were worth the funds. Seriously, you are going to do the work yourself, but are thinking of someone else drawing it. Save yourself some money, and get some graph paper. Measure out the room and draw it to scale.How much detail depends on you, that is one small bath so you could tape them together on the kitchen table 1 block be 1" or 1 can be 2" or 3" whatever.
from the pic it looks to be 60 to 66 inches wide, at the tub, so that would be 2 sheets taped together, length appears about 11 feet so it would need 3 sheets, all thats missing is the space for your current shower, cut it out of another and just add on. and thats at 1" per 1/4 scale, from 6 pcs of graph paper. Now cut out pieces for your bathroom on same scale. mark where window is, move things around untill you like it with nothing overlapping, and all spaces accounted for like toilet needs to have 32" side to side (by most codes)if you are putting up any type of seperaion wall beside it. I would personally completly do away with the tub, Or ask how to find out if the walls are load bearing, and stretch it out 6" wider if possible in any locations.
a few inches would Drastically change your options. what rooms are behind the wall at the sink?

    Bookmark   June 5, 2012 at 5:51PM
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My answer to you would be NO WAY..GW will help you....plain and simple...

    Bookmark   June 5, 2012 at 7:00PM
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Another vote for GW. We rock! :-)

    Bookmark   June 5, 2012 at 8:19PM
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Thanks for the votes of confidence GW-ers! Perhaps that's all we need. I received some awesome help picking out a backsplash tile for my kitchen from this site, so I'm leaning toward the no-designer option anyway. Second-guessing myself is (unfortunately) my style.

Treasuretheday - Thank you for highlighting the positives. We, in fact, plan on ditching the useless tub and going for a shower-only plan. We HATE the current layout with the toilet stuck out in the middle of the room. DH practically hits his head on the cabinet every day getting off the darn toilet.

This bath was a remodel 15 years ago or so (previous owner) and the layout is not working.

Otislilly - We have a mock -up (or two), one on graph paper, but I'm having trouble getting them in a format that will post, either on photobucket or directly to the site. Any suggestions on posting something that isn't being recognized as an "image," but a document or PDF instead?

dvarnell - your experience really rings true to me. I know myself and I would be revising a lot too. That's why I hate to spend my limited funds on a designer, but I'm willing for a finished product I'm very pleased with.

I'm going to work on a posting a mock-up tonight. Wish me luck!

    Bookmark   June 5, 2012 at 8:51PM
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GW was a tremendous help to me during my recent bathroom renovation (not DIY), but still I was kicking myself for not hiring a designer. I found the whole experience extremely stressful, and I was nearly paralyzed with every decision. Some people are excited by this sort of thing. . .I, on the other hand, would rather be poked in the eye with a sharp stick! That said, it actually did all come together and we could not be more pleased with the end result. You have DIY experience on your side, and I can vouch for the excellent advice and support at GW --- you'll be great!

My wish list was much like yours, and I had a fairly small space in which to work with a fixed window and door. Search "Happy Dance" for photos. Good luck; keep your chin up!

    Bookmark   June 5, 2012 at 9:30PM
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Thank you lizb! I checked out your reno. and can see why you're so pleased. It's a great space! I am happy to see you're liking those towers on either side of the sink. I think those are going to be a MUST for me with such little storage options there.

I finally posted a layout - it's just in a different thread.

Thanks for the well wishes and encouragement :)

    Bookmark   June 5, 2012 at 9:58PM
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Can you try taking a picture of your mock-up and posting that?

    Bookmark   June 5, 2012 at 10:19PM
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I did. It's called MB Layout, with the name of this thread in parenthesis after that. Thanks for your willingness to take a look!

    Bookmark   June 5, 2012 at 10:20PM
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Run it through your scanner as a photo, import to pictures and snag it from there

    Bookmark   June 6, 2012 at 2:14AM
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I posted my layout - took a pic of the document.
Anxious to hear your ideas :)

Here is a link that might be useful: Layout thread

    Bookmark   June 6, 2012 at 9:36AM
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I am in the midst of a master bath and kitchen remodel now. My designer experience:

1. Hired designer #1 to draw out the bath ($300). Decided to move forward with the project but designer said she would not do anything else unless I bought the cabinets from her. NEXT!

2. Hired designer #2 and gave her the drawings. She was to help me by the hour... shop for tile, cabinets, etc. However, she became to busy to give me any time at all. Told her to send back the drawings, which got lost in the mail. Now I have nothing to show the contractor.

I gave up. I put the dimensions on paper, took pictures and I am now trying to get this done on my own with a contractor. I've found the contractor, tile folks, and cabinet folks all very helpful. Not sure how much the desinger would have helped anyway.

    Bookmark   June 6, 2012 at 5:14PM
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Sarah Brennan

When we started our master bathroom this year on our newly built house that my husband GC'd, we debated on hiring a designer like we did the kitchen, or just do it ourselves. Well, silly us, thinking it was a small space how hard could it be?? We'll do it ourselves!

We regretted not hiring one almost the whole way through. Mostly because it took us FAR longer doing it without one, since we kept second guessing our decisions or we'd fall in love with one tile, but then it wouldn't match anything else and we'd feel like we were back at square one. Also, when there was an issue, like our slate came in looking like garbage, we had no one to rely on for help, or advice on an alternate supplier. We had to muddle our way through. And we just didn't realize how MANY decisions there would be and had no idea if everything was going to come together and not clash! BUT.....

Now that it is well on its way to being finished ( a couple more weeks!) I am very glad we did it ourselves. Its such a great feeling of pride looking at it, knowing I helped put this all together. And its so much more my style than if we had had someone else do it. Plus we saved a lot of money sourcing our own materials. For example, the faucet I fell in love with for the tub was almost $900 through our supply house but I found it online for $150. There are definitely a few areas that probably would have been improved with a professional, but overall I am so happy with how its turning out. We just scoured Houzz and the boards here for ideas and suggestions and it FINALLY fell into place. I attached a few pics, but as you can see its still under construction. The rest of the shower will be slate as well.

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    Bookmark   June 29, 2012 at 10:37AM
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Annie Deighnaugh

I think it depends on what you are unsure of. If you are unsure of color, tile selection, layout etc. then GW is definitely your design consultant. If however you are unsure regarding the DIY aspect, you may want to talk to a remodeler who you can pay by the hour as a consultant and who has experience with doing this kind of thing. S/he can advise you on feasibility...they have seen and installed many well as "if you move this pipe then this air duct has to move" issues, what other trades may be needed, like a licensed electrician, may spot issues you weren't aware rotted wood, can tell you some code issues you may need to consider like GFI outlets and so on. That way you can get more bang for your buck than you will out of a designer who can't help with the "how to" side of the project. I don't know whether a remodeler would be willing to do depends on how busy they are. But it may be worth a shot. (Of course our remodeler has done a lot of that kind of stuff for that it's all part of pricing a job, and then if he doesn't get the work, he's out.)

Also in my opinion, designers are really good at spending your money for you, whether you have the money or not. A remodeler is likely to be more practical from the "git 'er done" POV.

    Bookmark   June 30, 2012 at 12:55PM
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