Home improvement tips | VailDaily.com

Home improvement tips

Steve Boyd

When we purchased our house 18 months ago my wife, Tania, and I knew that we would need to improve on several areas of the house – specifically the bathrooms and kitchen. We’ll write more on the kitchen in later columns, but for now let’s focus on what we did to improve our bathroom. We decided to tackle our guest bathroom first. Our first order of business was to address our lack of lighting in the space. Low lighting may be great for a romantic night, but not for a morning shave. Since we do not have a window to the exterior we decided to install new can lights above our tub, vanity, as well as a fan & light combination. We also installed a new vanity light for maximum wattage with each group of lights having a separate light switch to conserve energy and allow for flexibility for our guests.Once we had our lighting design resolved we needed to address the plumbing fixtures. The almond tub and surroundings needed to go. After some minor investigative work we were lucky to find a framed section of wall in our bathroom that could be easily removed. This allowed us to increase our tub from 60 inches to 72 inches with very little additional costs. We decided to go with the largest tub we could fit into the space. With our tub selected, we selected a new shower valve, toilet, lavatory and lavatory faucet to match the design of the tub and placed our order. It is important to have the plumbing fixtures on-site or readily available since many of these items need to be installed prior to repairing the walls. You do not want to have an unusable bathroom for several weeks why you wait for the fixtures to show up.After we determined our lighting and plumbing needs we addressed two other areas that needed drastic upgrades: the cabinetry and flooring. The linoleum flooring from 1986 needed to go the same way as the shag carpet from the 70s: to the dump. We also needed to replace our cabinets to allow for more storage and a higher grade cabinet with more modern design. The new cabinetry design allowed us to remove another stem wall which opened up the floor plan and gave the bathroom a more open-air feel.We were finally ready to start on our bathroom. While I was ready for the amount of dust, debris, and sweat needed to finish the bathroom, my wife was amazed at the amount of work that was required on such a small project like ours. While much of the time is spent on the installation of the new plumbing and electrical systems it is amazing how much time you spend driving to the local stores to find a special tool that you need to have.While I was working on the new bathrooms, my wife spent countless hours looking for the floor and wall tile. After finding the tile, it was her job to find somebody to install the tile. Since tile is a finished product I firmly believe you should find a professional with a good reputation to install it. This is money well spent, since you will save the time and aggravation of learning a new trade. You can see the difference in our tile. It looks great. Our project took about four weeks from start to finish, however we enjoy every minute of our new bathroom. – Steve Boyd, Jr PE is the owner of McBoyd Construction Solutions LLC in Eagle. Steve is a licensed Professional Engineer in the State of Colorado and provides general contracting, owner representative and engineering services to a wide range of projects located throughout the Western Slope including The Little Nell in Aspen. Steve can be reached at (970) 390-1497 or shmcboyd@centurytel.net.

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