Diary by ASID Designer Anne Kellett
Most people are familiar with the old aphorism, “Measure twice, cut once.” And I agree with the basic principle it counsels. But lately that saying has come to be representative of my personal Murphy’s Law…at least the first half anyway. Unfortunately, “Measure twice,” is what I need to do on this project. Now I don’t live in a world of Monday’s or anything, but “Kellet’s Law of Measuring” was in full force when I went to measure my client’s house. Once again I forgot a single critical measurement. Let me explain.
No matter how many measurements I take on my initial visit – it always seems like I miss something. In this case, I practically measured the entire upstairs and created a very decent CAD drawing of the space in question. I was feeling pretty good about it as a starting point BUT when I began reviewing the toilet choices; I realized I’d forgotten to measure the rough-in distance for the toilet’s soil pipe!
Now I’ll bet you didn’t think designers dealt with icky things like that but we do! And in this bathroom, in order to fit both a tub and a shower, I need to find the most compact (while still a “comfort height”) toilet available. I located the perfect model and it required a 10” rough-in. But with Kellett’s Law reigning, I had no clue what the existing toilet’s rough-in was. So I added that task to my to-do list for the next visit.
My design process is very organized. I find having all my homework done prior to meeting with my clients speeds the process and allows my clients to enjoy the fun parts of their remodel. I always begin with space planning focusing on function to meet the client’s needs. And this bathroom project is no different. Once I have a good plan, I begin thinking about the aesthetics. Then I’ll gather specifications for individual parts of the project. That stage of my process finds me pouring over product catalogs and spending a lot of time researching on the Internet. Then I hit the streets to see it all in person.
I like to narrow the list of possible products before I meet with my clients for a second time. That helps me prevent the options from overwhelming them. Once they have made some decisions, then I refine the floor plan and the elevations to reflect their specific choices. That’s the sweet spot in designing – when it really feels like it’s coming together.
These clients want a walk-in shower AND a tub in a space that used to house a tub and a closet. There’s no way to move the toilet without breaking our budget so fitting all this into a small space while maintaining accessibility is the real puzzle. Let me just say that it’s a good thing walk-in tubs are shorter than regular tubs…I know because I measured!