lbravi

Material choice overload

lbravi
November 30, 2019

Feeling overwhelmed with bathroom material options. Do I start with the countertops, floor, or cabinets first?

Comments (24)

  • PRO
    Patricia Colwell Consulting

    Floors , then cabinets I like to do 12 x24 tile for the floors and the shower walls IMO the fewr materials used the better and also the longer you will like the space .

  • lbravi

    Thank you! Countertops before the floors, or vice versa?

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  • PRO
    Patricia Colwell Consulting

    BTW I like porcelain tile and always floor first .

  • live_wire_oak

    Start by hiring a designer. There’s way more decisions and knowledge needed than what you just listed.

  • lbravi

    We’ve hired multiple designers, all saying something different. It’s been a nightmare.

  • live_wire_oak

    Why are you hiring more than one? And why are you still searching for multiple answers on a forum?

  • smitrovich

    Start with the floor and work your way up.

  • lbravi

    We’ve had to hire multiple designers because they insist on pushing their own personal style on us despite multiple request to avoid specific styles (mid century modern and traditional). I’m searching on a forum because I won’t loose thousands of dollars, and I respect hearing what has worked for others when specific style concerns are not the topic.

  • mackdolan

    Designers take their clues from their clients. Indecisive and particular is a bad combo, and it comes from a client, not a designer. Going through a half dozen pros says that the issue isn’t in the other side of the equation.


    You need to get in touch with your home’s style first. And then understand your own preferences within that style. If the two clash, then you have a bigger issue. It takes a giant amount of money to overcome the bones of a home. Which is why a pro would tell you to not even try,

  • smitrovich

    You have lots of great inspiration photos saved. Did you show those to your designer and discuss what you like about them?

  • lbravi

    Please do not make assumptions about our experience, and please be respectful and only comment on the question presented.

  • lbravi

    Great suggestion to share our saved photos with the current designer. She’s always in a rush, but we will suggest we highlight - few important ones with her. Thank you!

  • live_wire_oak

    Stop listening to so many people is the first step. That is what is putting you into overload. Too many cooks spoil the broth. Listen to your house tell you what it wants. Listen to your designer interpret and mediate. That’s it.

    Develop the art of self reflection and examination. Don’t add any inspiration pictures without writing several sentences about what it is that appeals to you in the photographs. Go back and do that for all of your pictures right now. If you can’t remember why you saved a picture, then get rid of it. If you can’t come up with two sentences that describe a feature and an emotion or mood that it generates in you, then that image gets jettisoned as well. If you can’t articulate what it is that you like? No one can help you to pull together something that you will like.

  • PRO
    Patricia Colwell Consulting

    I agree to show your designer a few of your favorite pics not all of them that IMO is overload for them. Asking a bunch of strangers for ideas is really not helpful it is like asking your family only worse. As a designer I like to know my clients style and yes sometimes I tweak that for a better outcome. Live=wire has a good suggestion about thinking about what you like about each pic you post narrow the choices that is always a better way to go.

  • cpartist

    You have 39 bath photos and honestly I can't figure out what is cohesive about them. You are all over the place. You need to do what Live Wire suggested and really think through your style.

    And yes, your style should absolutely mesh with your house style and age. What is your house style and age?

  • lbravi

    Again, what are people doing going through my photos on here when this discussion thread simply asked the order by which materials should be chosen? Not that it should concern you, but I work 80 hours/week and don’t have time to write comments on the photos that I save for my personal projects. I am well aware of why I saved each photo.

  • mackdolan

    I rest my case, ladies and gentlemen. When someone says that everyone they‘ve worked with is a problem, yet they have zero personal focus themselves, the common denominator isn’t all the other “problem” people.

  • Nancy in Mich

    I would start with the one material that you have seen that you want the most, then see if you can come up with a plan for the rest of the materials that will go with it. For instance, if there is a countertop that you have seen that you love and want, choose that and go from there. What vanity goes with it, what floor tile (since the counter and the floor tile are on the same plane, you will see the floor tile when looking off the edge of the counter, so they had better look good together!). Then move on to see what shower tile works. Since paint has limitless possibilities, I would choose that last. Then, go for the "jewelry" in the room. Drawer pulls and towel bars and plumbing fixtures.

    If you fell in love with the design of a faucet, though, you would be starting with that shape and how to showcase it best. What vanity and top complement it and make it stand out? See, in my mind, it all depends on the one thing you love the most.

    Sometimes, it is the one thing that you are stuck with. In my bathroom, I was going to be using a certain solid surface shower because it was the one that fit my needs the best, so then I moved on from there, working on things that went well with it. I had a counter top that I loved and was planning to use, but in the end, I had to go with a wood one in order to avoid an issue with needing to carve a stone or quartz top with a curved edge to hold the side of my sink just right. So I lost my quartz counter. So, sometimes it is a functional priority that ties you to one product and you chose things around it.

    I am not a designer, just a homeowner who took 5 years to save for and plan a bathroom gut remodel.

  • lbravi

    Thank you!

  • mxk3

    That is such great advice, Nancy.

  • Nancy in Mich

    When juggling all the possibilities, it helps to decide what one thing will be your "anchor." Then go from there. Other things that may become anchors even though you do not love them might be the need for super anti-slip flooring, needing room so the bathroom can someday be wheelchair accessible (that is how I ended up with a 16" deep counter on a 14" deep custom vanity base that I had to design myself). I kept reminding myself that I needed the floor space for a wheelchair, maybe. That meant a very narrow vanity that MUST have an open bottom where a wheelchair could pull up. I looked at every vanity I could find online, every European counter-sink, anything I could think of that could possibly work. I spent hundreds and hundreds of hours on this the last year of planning and finally decided to design it myself. My contractor is a carpenter with excellent skills and exacting work, so I simply designed the vanity with consultation with him. Choosing the sink to put in it was at least a hundred more hours. What finally decided it for me was that ONE sink had that old-fashioned drip edge that raises up to make sure any stray water does not fall off the sink and down onto the counter.

    Getting that sink meant dealing with this sink-counter interface

    I would like to see them do that with granite or quartz! But I decided that the ability to keep drips off the counter was more important to me than my quartz, so the decision was made!

    Sometimes, the oddest little thing will get in the way of a choice! It could be the depth of a floor tile and how it butts up to the hall flooring, the ability to have room for a big enough front edge of stone in front of a sink (because the fabricator for your stone insists on 3 or 4 inches), or the need for the same margin behind the back sink edge and the wall, or the clearance for a faucet handle to work without hitting the wall. With every item you add, the complexity increases. Reading this forum for a few years (okay, months, if that is all you have!) will give you insight into things you never knew you had to take into consideration. Who knew that fabricators will not cut the stone closer to the edge than those 3 or 4 inches? Designers know all that, but you still hear times when they miss some little detail. Drawing things out will help. Like, remember that the faucet height determines how low the medicine cabinet doors can go, and that determines how much room for lighting if you are putting it above, and whether you have to remove an existing soffit (we took out one, plus removed a lowered ceiling above the shower). I remember with my kitchen backsplash that I did not know that I had to have my decorative tiles the same depth as my field tiles. My contractor said, "no, will not work," and I had to track down a tile that would. It is all in the details. And do not erase/delete your second or third choices until everything is installed. You never know when you need to go back to your resources and make a change.

  • chispa

    A very good quartz fabricator would have easily been able to fabricate the counter for that sink, but the hard part would have been finding the very good fabricator. I have one in the LA area! He did a curved quartz molding around our shower entry with a carved profile.

  • PRO
    CK Hoffman Design

    I start with cabinets and counters, then tile backsplash, and the rest from there! Hope this helps!

    Monorail Silver - Master Bath Remodel · More Info


  • live_wire_oak

    The starting point on any renovation is the overall style of the home. It rules the appropriate material and design choices. Choosing terrazzo floors for a center hall Colonial would be just as bad of a choice as would be choosing convoluted glazed cabinets in a Mid Century Modern home. A room design is cut from the same bolt of cloth as the whole home. That is where you start. With authentic materials.


    If you don’t have the time for the months and years of DIY design time, then listen to the one designer who gets the style of your house.

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