To renovate bathroom, don’t just replace shower – Arkansas Online

The keys had barely changed hands when my daughter said, “First, we get a new shower.”

Paige and her fiance, Adam, had just moved from Texas to Colorado into their first house together.

She would be starting a new job in a month, and getting married a month after that. As if a major move, a new house, a new job and a wedding weren’t enough, she wanted to rip out the old shower in the primary bathroom and put in a new one — like yesterday.

“I’ve had better showers in college dorms,” Paige said. “It needs to go.” I knew that determined tone well. (Where did she ever get that?) Being in Florida, I hadn’t yet seen the house or the shower, only pictures, but I couldn’t argue.

“Well,” I say, treading lightly lest I’m banished from any further home design contributions, “replacing the shower will likely involve more than just the shower. You might want to first have a plan for the whole bathroom.”


I suggested she talk to a Denver interior designer I knew who lived close by. Karlie Adams and I go back 20 years, when she helped me pick finishes for a house I was building in Colorado.

“Mom, I just want a decent shower. Do we really need a designer?”

I drop the subject.

Paige and Adam called a contractor. He sized up the job and said, basically, “You probably should do more than the shower.” At that, Paige and Adam threw in the bath towel.

Though Paige and Adam can readily tackle most structural issues around the house, design decisions leave them as frozen as the North Pole in January.

“Do you think Karlie could help?” Paige asks. My heart turns a cartwheel. Not long after, I fly to Colorado, and meet Karlie at the house.

As she walks the house, she streams interior design ideas for each room, dozens in all, and an overall direction for the house. I take copious notes.

When she gets to the primary bath, we all take a deep breath.

Karlie speaks first. “I tell my clients, though it’s often not what they want to hear, that it’s better to gut and start over than to just put in a new shower.”

I can tell by their expressions that Paige and Adam know she’s right. “So that’s what we’ll do,” said Paige, the brave. “What’s another house project?”

After Karlie left, Adam said, “Our to-do list just got a lot longer, but at least we won’t be wasting money.”

And that’s the point. Later, I call Karlie to talk about her best advice for younger couples tackling a new house:

◼️ Don’t seek instant perfection. “One of my big beefs with home improvement shows is that they set new homebuyers up for failure,” she said. “People watching these shows think everything comes together so easily, then feel they need to have perfection instantly, when, in fact, they need to take their time.”

◼️ Start with the bones. As tempting as it is to run out and get fun accessories, tap the breaks and get the backgrounds (floors, walls and window coverings) right then slowly move inward. “That may not seem so gratifying at first,” she said, “but it’s more prudent. People would rather buy toss pillows at Pottery Barn when they really should replace their baseboards.”</…….



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