Eleanor Ensuite Reveal

Earlier this Fall we began our Eleanor Ensuite Project aka my (Erika) Ensuite Project with construction by L&R Home Improvement (RI). If you follow us on Instagram you can see the progress and stories of this project over the past 3 months and hear all about the great countertop debacle of 2020.

December 14, 2020

Erika Twohig

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Modern colonial- Large scale home renovation 

My husband and I bought our 3 bedroom 1.5 bath colonial in October 2018 knowing that we wanted to convert our extra long bedroom (formerly 2 smaller bedrooms years ago) into an ensuite. We shared a bathroom with our kiddos and quickly realized how much of a wasted space the other half of our bedroom was. Do not get me wrong, we used the space as a home office during Covid but this space was destined for more!

In our previous home we converted a 4 bedroom 2 and half bedroom colonial into a 3 bedroom with a larger ensuite and laundry on second floor; we saw an amazing ROI on that renovation! Home Buyers are seeking an ensuite as well as laundry on first or second floor, within our price range ($450-$575K in RI), so we knew it was an investment worth making!

The Steps we took before executing our project:

  1. Value: We reached out to our Real Estate agent who knows our town and neighborhood extremely well and found that adding another bathroom to our house in our neighborhood would add about $40K value on top of the equity we already gained in the few years we have been here.

  2. Financing: We already had a HELOC available on our home and new that we gained even more equity so we refinanced that HELOC to a lower rate and higher available credit. Our good friend Jennifer Nunes talks more about financing home projects here. We had a good idea on how much our bathroom would cost but it actually cost more than I had planned so be sure you secure, at minimum, 10-15% more than your project cost!

  3. Design: Before your contractor can quote your project, you must have a layout and most of your plumbing and electrical selections as that adds to the cost, Julie and I worked out a layout that maximized our space without losing the existing windows (I love the symmetry on our exterior and the natural light these windows provide!) We then realized we could not use our initial layout due to the joists and the stack placement in the basement – this prevented placement of the toilet where I initially wanted it. Despite the initial disappointment of having to change the layout, I am extremely happy with where we netted out with the second layout. Once we had a layout we knew would work, I got to work on making my design. selections so that we could get the most accurate quote. Two sink faucets & two mixers in the shower will add cost to your plumbing! Our materials including the glass door came to about $12K.

  4. Quote: My initial estimate for this bathroom was $20K-$25K based on projects we have worked on and other renovations we have done. What I did not take into account – there is absolutely no existing plumbing in this room nor is there a wall separating the two rooms. Building material costs have also gone up dramatically (thanks, covid). We got our construction cost including plumbing and electrical: $18,000. Whoa! We are now at $30K! A few things that impacted our project cost: all new plumbing, new heat (toe kick), electrical (added 3 new lights/fans plus new grounded outlets), and labor & materials for construction (both have increased). Our contractor handled demo, framing, plastering, tile work, shiplap ceiling, cabinet installation, painting and finished carpentry. Please note that we only got one estimate from our trusted contractor and subs. We trust their quality, promptness and expertise. We always stand by “you get what you pay for”. If you do not have a trusted contractor, try to get a minimum of 2 quotes.

  5. Decision Time: The total cost for our bathroom was coming to $30K….$5-$10K above our projected budget! Looking at the ROI based on the value after the project, the cost and personal enjoyment; we decided to move forward.

Bathroom Selections

For the final design I went with classic finishes like a marble hex tile floor paired with a handcraft white subway tile, with a modern layout. The plumbing fixtures are all warm polished nickel mixed with warm brass lighting, accessories and hardware. A warm wood vanity was a must and I had initially commissioned a custom vanity but we had to readjust our priorities due to incremental costs: reconfigure the heat (+$650) and adding shiplap to the ceiling (+$1,200). I ended up going with Schrock Semi Custom cabinets from Douglas Lumber in a natural Hickory finish. Below are all the source links and semi-final photos. As in all projects, especially with this being my own, there are small details to finish like window treatments and shelf bracket touch-ups.

We have just started using most of the elements below and love them all so far! We have not received our Ruggable so I will do separate review, however our clients have them and love them!

Sink: Scarabeo Rectangular White Ceramic Trough Undermount Sink

Faucets: Bowery 1.2 GPM Wall Mounted Widespread Bathroom Faucet in brilliance polished nickel

Vanity: Schrock Elston Rustic Hickory in a Natural finish – we bought a 48” base and a 36” drawer base via Douglas Lumber


Light Fixture: Finis 1-Light LED Bath Sconce

Floor Tile: Carrara White Hexagon 11.75 in. x 12 in. x 8mm Honed Marble Mesh-Mounted Mosaic Tile

Shower Wall Tile: Handcraft White 2.5 x 8 Gloss Ceramic use Pickle+Board15 for a 15% discount!

Counter Top Stone: Artic White Quarts sourced and installed by Supreme Stone

Shower Curb & Ledge Stone: Fantasy Brown ( check with your local stone supplier or fabricator

Toilet: Cadet 3 Tall Height 2-piece 1.0/1.6 GPF Dual Flush Elongated Toilet with Slow Close Seat in White

Bidet: Tushy Classic Modern Bidet Attachment White & Bamboo, we have two Tushy’s in our home and love them!

Shower Fixtures: Kohler HydroRail Pressure Balanced Shower System with Shower Head, Hand Shower, Hose, Shower Column, Valve Trim, and Rough-In in Vibrant Polished Nickel

Glass Door: Special Order from Greenville Glass in RI – call VIn! We selected a pivot door in the clearest glass with Polished Nickel hardware.

Paint Color: Benjamin Moore A La Mode 2109-70

Hardware: Atlas Homewares Bradbury 12 Inch Center to Center Handle Cabinet Pull

Towel Hooks: Faceted J Hook – Threshold™

Hand Towels: Bazaar Anatolia Turkish Hand Towel Set of 4 Peshtemal Towel 100% Cotton 45×20 Light Weight Thin Quick Dry Hand Hair Gym Face Bath Tea Kitchen Dishcloth Set Decorative Bathroom Towel (Black)

Rug: Kamran Coral Rug

Bath Towels, Stool & Curtains: Found at Home Goods

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