Styled, Staged & Sold

Bringing you the latest home design and staging trends. From REALTOR® Magazine.

A Decorator’s Personal Guide to Surviving a Home Remodeling Project

Whether an experienced do-it-yourselfer or a first-time remodeler, a remodeling project can be intrusive and overwhelming to every aspect of a person’s life. That's why hiring a professional can save time, money, and a lot of unnecessary stress.

Our 1969 master bathroom was cramped and outdated!

Recently, my husband and I decided to finally remodel the last room in our home that remained untouched by my interior decorator hands –- our master bathroom. My vision was to transform our 1969 master bathroom into a modern, stylish space, but I didn't want to do anything too custom as we may look to sell our home in a few years. The design and décor needed to appeal to potential future buyers.

The first step of the renovation was deciding whether or not we could knock down the wall between the master bathroom and our guest room closet to maximize the space and upgrade to a double vanity and larger shower -- the most important elements of the project. Once my talented carpenter determined we could, I was off and running with the design.

The entire bathroom was gutted to provide a blank canvas for the new layout and design.

As my own general contractor, I managed every element of the project and deciding on the design elements was particularly daunting, since this was a project for my family and me. I ultimately decided on a modern, spa-like design with an earthy color scheme -- dark espresso, glass tiles, and a stone shower floor.

The actual renovation involved taking the original bathroom down to the studs and building from scratch (remember, this shower had lasted 44 years!). Working with a talented carpenter, excellent vendors, and my own knowledge of renovation projects helped the process along to final completion just a few weeks before the New Year.

The final reveal, pictured below, features a frameless shower door, which opens up the space, accent glass tiles on the walls and floor, modern eight-inch faucets, and jeweled light sconces fixed to the wall-to-wall mirror. We also added a silent ceiling fan for additional air flow and circulation in the space.

The new master bath features a modern, spa-like design with an earthy color scheme and includes an espresso, double vanity, glass tiles, a stone shower floor, frameless shower door, and jeweled light sconces. Photo Credit: Patti Stern, PJ & Company Home Styling, LLC

4 Tips to Getting Through Any Home Renovation

Throughout the process, I kept a journal and noted some key tips and advice for all home owners when taking on any renovation project including:

1. Have a written plan. Be sure that you are absolutely clear with your interior decorator, contractor, and carpenter -- whomever you are working with -- regarding the remodeling job and have a written plan and contract.

2. Plan ahead. Make sure you have all of your design plans and materials for your remodeling project ahead of time (including windows if applicable). Sometimes, though, things do have to change once the remodeling starts. For example, I opted for one large mirror instead of two as originally planned. Be flexible and plan for an additional 10- 15 percent above your budget for "just in case" scenarios.

3. Don't skimp where it’s important. When putting in a shower floor, for example, make sure your contractor is using the right materials to prevent leaks, mold, and mildew. Sometimes spending a little bit more on better quality items will save you money in the long run.

4. Think about the big picture. How will your remodeling project affect other rooms or even future plans for your home? Will a wall being knocked down impact another room? If so, you may have to consider painting or repairing any walls in the impacted space. Are you thinking of selling your home in a few years?  If so, you'll want to make changes you'll enjoy now but that also will appeal to potential buyers in a few years.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Patti Stern is a principal of PJ & Company Home Styling, LLC , and an interior decorator and accredited home stager. She and her team offer decorating and home staging services for individuals, real estate professionals, builders, and others in the industry. For more information visit or


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