Bathroom Renovating- Planning a full gut job versus a partial remodel

When we do bathroom remodels we typically do gut jobs.  Most are over 20 years old and we remove everything: the tile, fixtures, plumbing, cabinetry.  With the room completely empty we are able to renew the mechanicals, improve the layout and built a completely new bathroom with no limitations.  Occasionally though, we are faced with the challenge of the partial bathroom remodel.  Such was the case with our recent project, Berwyn Bath.

Our clients originally called us in to install floor heat.  The thought was to tile right over the existing tile and leave the rest alone.  And then we began discussing the bathroom and it’s function and look.  The original bath was nice- large, unoffensive with a scheme of white a blue.  There was a door at the end of the bath that connected to a second bathroom.  My client actually liked this door as she used it as her route to the laundry room.

berwyn bathroom from frontView of the original bathroom looking at the door to the 2nd connecting bathroom.

One major CON for me was the shower size.  Itty bitty for a bath so big.

berwyn bath original shower

Another problem was the under-used vanity area…

vanity makeup

The two sink bases were OK, but the corian tops were a little tired.  As for the cabinetry, the white color wasn’t a problem, but the big sink cabinets and lack of drawers weren’t very functional.  Also, the tri-plex medicine cabinets, while full of storage, were creating seams in all the wrong places.

original bathroom vanity

After reviewing the PROS and CONS of the bathroom we explored SEVERAL different layout options.  In some versions we kept the cabinetry, in some we changed it.  We looked at expanding the shower, removing the tub, and even building a whole linen armoire.  We really kicked the tires to explore our options and provided cost estimates to our clients’ to help them decide which plan was best for them.

berwyn bath original floor plan


large tub, small shower, toilet and bidet, door to 2nd bathroom


berwyn bath plan 1


Large shower, close off door to 2nd bathroom,

2 new vanities (1 in new location under window,)

built-in linen cabinetry.  remove tub

privatize water closet with toilet and bidet.


berwyn bath plan 2


Large shower, close off door to 2nd bathroom,

keep sink vanities as they are and replace countertops

built-in linen cabinetry.  remove tub and replace with make-up vanity desk

Keep toilet and bidet in original locations.


berwyn bath plan 3


Large shower in new location, Keep door to 2nd bathroom,

keep sink vanities in their locations but update cabinetry and countertops

Keep tub.  Built-in Linen cabinet in location of old shower

Remove Bidet


We had several discussions with our clients to determine what was really best for them and what they needed.  Ultimately we came to a few big decisions… 1. The door to the 2nd bathroom could go, but the bidet needed to stay.  2.  The expense of removing the tub and replacing it with something else wasn’t valuable to them, so the tub would stay.  3.  Built-in linen cabinetry was beautiful, but more than they wanted to spend at this time, so we would do a furniture armoire instead.  4.  Vanity cabinetry would be updated and tailored to their specific storage needs.

This is the final plan…

berwyn final floor plan

With the space planning figured out, we were able to finalize the fun stuff: tile, cabinetry, countertops, lighting, hardware and paint colors.  Then I handed over the reigns to the construction team and dad and the boys went to work turning our plans into reality…

Day 1

berwyn bath day 1

2nd week

shower framed

3rd Week

shower tile begins

4th Week

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

The bathroom is done now and let me tell you it is fabulous!

But we couldn’t have gotten there without figuring out the floor plan first.

Full Reveal Coming Soon!

  1. Although I would have loved to see the result of the extreme makeover – a private closet for the bidet and toilets really interests me more than just leaving it out in the open – I’m glad that you were able to work with the owners to get them the remodel they were wanting. I like the original paint for the bathroom, but it is in need of a change. You know exactly what you are doing and I love the confidence you display in handling these remodels, Naomi! I’m sure the end result looked amazing and I’m going to see how it turned out!

  2. Leslie

    The feature tile chosen for the shower is so simple and chic at the same time – love it! Cannot wait for the full reveal!

  3. Robin

    I love that you showed the whole process, it’s a nice reminder that a lot of thought and planning goes into what makes a room work. You can’t have all form and no function! And even without the final reveal it is already looking fantastic!

  4. Leah

    such a treat to see the process! of course, cannot wait to see the result. i know it will be awesome!

  5. Laura J

    You tease! We want to see it all!! And please don’t forget to give us the details on that accent tile — GORGEOUS!

  6. Love hearing about the “journey, and seeing how you incorporate their needs/ wants. Very excited to see the end result!

    • Naomi

      Thanks, Celine! The journey is the hardest part. Glad you liked hearing about it!

  7. Thanks for talking more about the process and not just the pretty. Its good to know that several versions of a plan are discussed and revised before you end up with the winner. I love the space!

    • Naomi

      Glad to hear you liked the process talk, Elizabeth. We always do several versions… sometimes its just 3 edits, sometimes its 10. It’s really different for each client.

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