Confessions from a home remodel


Why is that there? Is that the way it’s supposed to look? Does it have to be so big/small? If you’ve ever been through a renovation, you’ve asked these or similar questions.

I live in a long low ranch style home that was built in the mid 1970’s and have spent the last twenty years in an ongoing upgrade. It’s a labor of love to take an older home and make it functional in today’s world. But, I am comfortable mixing the old with the new.

My latest project was to upgrade the small bathroom off the master bedroom.  There’s three things you need to know before you begin a remodel project.

  • It will probably take longer than you had planned.
  • It will probably cost more than you anticipated.
  • You will probably be frustrated during the process.

 If you’re ok with these things, it’s time to start.  Here are my tips for a great renovation.



What is your vision? My home is cottage decor. Some years ago on another project, one salesman kept referring to it as country. But, please, cottage is not country!

Knowing your style and how it fits into your lifestyle is the first step in your project. Look through magazines and online boards for inspiration. Have a clear idea of what you want before you engage a contractor.

This was my personal bathroom being refreshed and I knew I wanted lots of crisp, white charm – cottage style.



Of course, you’ll check to know he is bonded and insured. But, also be sure his personality resonates with yours. Talk to him enough to see what kind of suggestions he has for your project. Can you mesh his ideas with yours?

My contractor, Matt, interspersed great ideas every step of the way.

I told Matt that I wanted white/white cabinets. He suggested, instead, to use his custom color of a creamy white cabinet. It would soften the look against all the other white and beige in the room. It was an excellent suggestion that turned out extremely well.



Let your contractor guide you and even order for you, but when it comes to spending hours choosing your perfect colors and look, take a friend. In my case, it was my daughter-in-law who narrowed down 5000 tile choices to two samples. She sent me home with those samples to see which one would be best. Don’t skip this step, please. The samples will look a lot different in your home than they do at the store.

Matt suggested using 10×16 tiles in my shower. It’s somewhat of a non-traditional size, at least to me, but I love the look.  In my hall bath remodel, I used 12×12 tiles in a diagonal pattern on the floor and it looks amazing. Even though everything about that remodel turned out well, it’s the floor that people make comments about.

I typically stick with neutral colors for paint. Then I add a pop of color with my accessories. My suggestion is to buy samples of several paint colors and paint them on a poster board. You can see large swatches of color and move it around the room to help you decide.

The granite choice was somewhat challenging and Matt did take me to his vendor to look around. After discarding many options, I knew what I wanted as soon as I saw it and it does coordinate perfectly with the room.



My career is in accounting which is precise and exact. Remodeling is not either of those. I pointed out every tiny little thing to Matt and I stressed over it in the meantime. It didn’t help that my bathroom remodel started one month before my wedding date.

Thankfully, Matt was nice about all of my issues. But, you really do need a hefty dose of patience to survive a renovation.

I was able to move back into my gorgeous bathroom a few days before my wedding. I didn’t realize how stuck I was in the 70’s until I saw the final results. Before, I had no idea what was in the back of my cabinets. Now, I love the large deep drawers and the roll-out cabinets where everything is organized. And, the new tile makes my shower feel so much taller and more roomy.

I decided to go ahead and add grab bars in the shower/tub since I didn’t plan to upgrade again anytime soon. But I hang towels on the grab bars and refer to them as towel racks. {Smile}

My fashion-minded sister helped me choose great towels, a marvelous shower curtain and pictures that go along with my cottage style.


Now, my “new” bathroom is fabulous and it is my sanctuary. I’m a soaky bath kind of gal and I cherish the time in my big deep tub full of bath salts and warm water. I also spend lots of time on hair and makeup and there’s plenty of space for my multitude of creams and lotions and magic potions.

 Matt orchestrated the perfect remodel for my home and I am thankful for his extreme patience with me. After all the grief I gave him, I hope he will agree to come back and renovate my kitchen. He has already made lots of suggestions for a new layout to expand the area.

And now, I have a husband who can monitor the details while I return to my job as an exact and precise accountant.

Comment below the next project you’ll be working on. I hope my experience and tips will be of some assistance to  you!

Written by: Louise  Pistole

Louise Pistole is a retiring accountant who has recently found her joy in a coastal home with her high-school sweetheart.  After writing business articles for 30 years, she is now writing creative non-fiction articles. Follow Louise via Facebook or Pinterest.


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