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How We’re Renovating our Bathroom to Maximize ROI


We’ve lived in our Chicago home – a fixer-upper on a great block – just shy of six years. In that time, we’ve renovated every single room in the house, that is, with the exception of our first-floor bathroom. That room has seen a few surface remodels in the years prior to our ownership, but it’s still in need of a totally new configuration and all new finishes top to bottom. Throughout this post, I’ll be sharing the raw and real before photos of our bathroom. Demo Day, we’re coming for you!

While we have no intention of moving, it’s a well-known fact that kitchens and bathrooms sell homes. This should come as no surprise! With that in mind, we’ll be making conscious decisions to ensure that our choices maximize the return on our investment for when we’re older, more grey (than we already are!) and ready to sell our home. (And when that time comes, we can utilize the simply smarter home search on Homes.com to relocate somewhere warmer!)

Prioritize Layout

The current bathroom layout is cramped and crowded. It features a stand-up shower shoehorned into an awkward corner, and the toilet is not only located uncomfortably close to the wall, but it also partially impedes the door of the shower. The current floor plan needs serious help, and we’ll need to focus on reconfiguring things, quite literally, from the ground up. Since the bathroom shares its back wall with our indoor workshop/pantry space, we’ve decided to take at least 2’ of space from that room, which will allow for a full-size standup shower as opposed to a corner unit. Hooray! We’re confident that this change will not only improve the way we and our guests use the space, but the larger shower will be a more desirable feature in the long run.

Incorporate Classic Design Elements

Built in 1887, our home is more than 130-years-young! We try to be respectful of its bones and ensure that our design aesthetic meshes well with the permanent elements of the structure. While our home is by no means ‘period correct,’ we’ve been mindful of details such as doors and moldings that offer a nod to the 130 years’ worth of history. We also tend to select finishes that are timeless and classic, as opposed to following the most current trends. Our preference is to choose finishes that lean classic for the more permanent portions of the home, such as the aforementioned tile and trim molding. Being choosy about these finishes from room to room lends an overall cohesive feel to the entire home, which visitors tend to notice and appreciate.  However, we think that every space needs a detail that’s unique to it (I love a good splash of quirk!), which leads me to

Don’t Forget Your Unique Touch

Having fun with finishes like paint and wall sconces – i.e., things that can be changed easily down the road – can lend a special, memorable quality to a small space like a bathroom without feeling too permanent. Thinking […]

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