I was chatting with a family who decided to redo their powder room themselves without the help of a designer. Home improvement projects happen every day without a designer’s involvement, but it can be a gamble for how they turn out. In this case, the homeowner hired a contractor to bring her vision to reality and the project went relatively smoothly, or so they thought. 

Fast forward to several months later when the toilet started leaking. It’s a bit odd that the toilet started to leak considering that it was brand new, so a plumber was brought in to address the issue. 

After some investigation and several tradesmen later, it was determined that the floor wasn’t level. You guys, this was a full gut job. The powder room was brought down to the studs and the flooring was completely replaced! This was not a cheap project, this was a $15,000 renovation that went sideways.

Well, once it was determined the toilet was leaking because the new subfloor wasn’t level, the only way to resolve the issue was to replace the subfloor. If you’re shaking your head, I’m right there with you. All the new beautiful tile needed to be demolished. The baseboards had to be pulled up and then, of course, the new wallpaper didn’t make it without a scratch and the walls had to be stripped down. The vanity, plumbing fixtures, lighting, and ceiling were able to be reused. 

Once the subfloor was replaced, new tile was installed, new baseboards added to the base of the walls, new wallpaper was hung, then the existing vanity and toilet could be reinstalled.

Should the contractor have done the project correctly the first time? You betcha! Should a licensed interior designer been involved from the beginning, absolutely yes! Let’s look at this situation if a true designer was involved.

The design would have been determined using the clients’ wish list and their dream vision would have been mapped out through floor plans, elevations, and material selections. 

The designer would have helped the homeowner to bid out the project and make sure the contractor’s quote was in line with the work being requested through the drawings. The next step would have had the designer work with the contractor to make sure there was integrity with the design implementation (I.e. the subfloor was leveled correctly) and do site visits during construction to make sure progress was being made appropriately. 

It is highly unlikely that the toilet would have been leaking after the project was completed or that there would be other expensive issues post-installation. The homeowner saved a couple of thousand dollars on the front end by not bring a designer, but she was liable for much more than that by needing to redo the majority of her renovation project. Investing in the help of an interior designer saves so much more headache (think of how long that bathroom was out of commission too) and money than not hiring one. A licensed designer is worth their weight in gold.