The Washington Post

Valery Tessier, Project Designer at Case Design/Remodeling, Inc. in Bethesda and Falls Church will chat about bathroom remodeling trends and tips | Home Front

May 02, 2013

Valery Tessier, Project Designer at Case Design/Remodeling, Inc. in Bethesda and Falls Church will chat about bathroom remodeling trends and tips. Submit early questions now and join us Thursday at 11 a.m. EST!

Every week, Jura Koncius helps you in your quest to achieve domestic bliss. Got a question about decorating? She's happy to whip out her paint chips and suggest the perfect hue, call a retailer to help track down a hard-to-find accent piece or offer some do-it-yourself. Built on years of reporting experience, Home Front is an online conversation about the best way to feather the nest. We invite you to submit questions and share you own great tips, ideas and, yes, the occasional complaint.

Follow @jurakoncius on Twitter.

Home Front Live Q&A archive Older Home Front Live Q&As

A lot of us are thinking about remodeling our bathrooms. We've got help online today as Valery Tessier, a project designer at Case Design/Remodeling, Inc., is with us today to answer our questions and share tips. Valery has the latest information on surfaces and fixtures and I'm sure she can provide paint color ideas as well. Everyone, share your stories of bathroom remodeling tales, both good and bad.

Hi everyone! I am delighted to be here and I am ready to answer any questions about bathroom trends and offer remodeling tips.

I love my pedestal sink but what do I do about storage?

It highly depends on what you want or need to store.

In a powder room, I would consider these 2 options:

  1. Adding a storage cabinet over the toilet
  2. Look for an accesory that will allow you to conceal toilet paper rolls and that can sit on the floor by the toilet.


Trying to decide if I want to add a tub back to the master bathroom or go with an oversized shower. Besides personal choice, what other reasons are there for a tub versus a shower?

Freestanding tubs are very trendy right now. But before investing in adding a tub to your master bathroom, think about the use it will get. If you currently don't have a tub in another bathroom in the house, I would seriously consider having a tub in the master bathroom for resale value.

Hi everyone! I am delighted to be here today and will be happy to discuss bathroom trends or give remodeling tips.

thank you for taking my question. we are renovating our master bath and it has what I consider a small/medium shower and a whirlpool tub. we rarely use the tub and wonder if we should take it out and expand the shower or keep it for future house value purposes? we have a tub in the other bath.

This is a great question that i often get asked. Since you have another tub in the hall bath, then I think taking the tub out in the master bath is something you should do if you don't use it a lot. It is valuable real esteate that will allow you to explore more design alternatives. We find that most of Case Design’s clients favor a more luxurious shower over having a small shower and a tub in their master bathroom.

I desperately want a powder room on my main floor. Where do I get the space to do this? Does it need to be near existing plumbing?

I recently added a powder room to a house and it was not near any plumbing. We could not find space within the existing home to it this new powder room so we had to add new space. This allowed us to tie in with the existing plumbing through the basement. That is one option. There are often multiple alternatives for such need. I would definitely recommend that you work with a qualified remodeler and discuss with them the best solution for your family and your home.

Hi. I live in a townhouse and would like to perk up my master bath which has no window. The tile (not my choice) is all white -- floors, shower walls -- as are the soaking tub, sinks and toilet. The double sink cabinet is oak. The walls are contractor white. What color would you suggest for the walls? The adjoniing bedroom walls are sage green. Thanks.

Many colors can nicely compliment the sage green. I like Benjamin Moore (BM)'s paint and their color selections. Greys are very trendy right now and can transform and all white, traditional looking bathroom into a contemporary space. One of my favorite greys is BM Husky Grey.

I want to add color to my bathroom but am not sure how to incorporate it. Where do I start?

If you don't intent to fully remodel your bathroom but work with what you have, I would consider a fresh coat of paint on the walls, introducing color through towels and other accessories or replacing your window covering.

Valery, what's your top requested shower accessory or your favorite one?

The handheld and not necessarily on sliding bar. Clients tend to favor a handheld on an adjustable wall mounted bracket such as this one from Kohler.

I've heard a lot about heated flooring, but what are the benefits?

Heated flooring will add to the overall comfort of a space. It is a nice touch to a bathroom where the floor is often colder. I very much like Nuheat products. They are easy to obtain, easy to install and barely ready any energy to run. 

I saw TVs behind mirrors in the master bathroom in this year's DC Design House. Have you done that very often? Is it pricey?

I have not done one yet but often get asked about this novelty. Electric Mirror is a company I would look into. They have a good website that will show their different products. You can get them through your local Ferguson Enterprises store.

What is the direction of trends in fixtures for baths? Is brass really out? And nickel - should it be polished or matte finish?

The demand for brass fixtures has dramatically gone down. I was shopping for some brass fixtures not too long ago with a client and we only had a handful of options. We handed up going with a brush bronze finish because style was more important.

As for nickel, brushed nickel is in high demand and many styles come in that finish. polished nickel, not so much. People will go with polished chrome, which is what they are more familiar with.

What do you think of darker bolder colors in the bath?

Dark, espresso-color vanities are trendy right now. I think they are great if you want to accomplish a more contemporary look.

Darker flooring in bathroom is also something I see more frequently as it will hide a lot

When going dark, I would try to stay with neutral tones so that the bathroom doesn't date itself too quickly.


I also want to weigh in on the bolder color question. I have always done my powder room in a strong color. It's a tiny little room with not much light. Right now, it is painted Cactus Flower by Benjamin Moore, a very vibrant color color and one that appeared on the Dorothy Draper color card that Benjamin Moore once created.  I have painted that room other colors in the past, including a citrus green. People are always surprised when they open the door. My next color might be Florida Pink by Benjamin Moore.  Do you all have any other fun colors to share?

I am redoing a bath now that has blue tile that screams '1950's . iplan to replace it with white subway tile in the tub, but wonder if subway tile is so common now that it will look very dated in the future. What do youthink?

Subway tiles are classic! but they can look very contemporary if mixed with a colorful accent border. All-glass and random, where there is a mix of glass and stone, mosaics are good options to consider for a border.

I'm loving the porcelain tiles out there now for the floor. Do you have a favorite brand or manufacturer?

I think what you like is the large format of the porcelain tile. 12x24 or 18x18 tile sizes are hot right now. Large format tile will be more pricey than typical 12x12 tile and may be a little more to install as well. But they can have a huge impact. Look at Daltile, Mosaic Tile or Architectural Ceramics current selections.

Is it all or nothing with a bathroom remodel? Or can I do a little bit to update the look? What would that be?

There are 3 options when it comes to bathroom remodel:

  1. Cosmetic where you replace parts and pieces such as the light fixture or the vanity. fred, a division of Case Design, can assist you with this type of improvements.
  2. Pull and replace where you remove everything and put new products in the same location. We, at Case Design, offer a streamlined approach to pull and replace bath remodeling through our Bath Collection program.
  3. Custom where you hand pick every components and might make modifications to your existing layout. This approach is more personalized to your needs.


We live in an adorable cape cod in DC that was built in the late 40's/early 50's. Both of the bathrooms have windows directly over the tub. We haven't come up with a good solution that offers privacy and protects the window from moisture. Currently we have trimmed a frosted shower curtain to serve as an actual curtain within the shower. Any other ideas? Thanks!

Consider closing up the window and putting in a sun tunnel. Roughly the size of a recessed light, sun tunnels allow natural light into the space. They are great for small and interior spaces. Velux is a trusted company that I have used in the past. You can see their products following this link

We have very little space and no room at all for a tub in our master bath. Our shower is currently very, VERY basic. Is there a way to make a more pleasing shower experience in a very small space? Our house is from 1961.

It is amazing how you can improve your showering experience by simply replacing the showerhead. A multi-function showerhead will provide different types of streams.

Adding a handheld might also be a consideration. If you don't plan on completely remodeling you shower, look into a handhled that can connect to the shower head arm.

If you plan on completely remodeling the shower, then body sprays are often included to make the showering experience more enjoyable.

I'd love to paint my powder room a bright color--maybe an orange or coral. My powder room is along the hallway that joins the dining room, kitchen, and living room. There are no other doors or separation; it's a very open layout. What other colors would complement having a bright powder room? I know that the powder room door will be closed a lot, but I don't want colors clashing when the door is open.

Now this is an interesting question. Do you keep the door of your powder room wide open, closed or just open a few inches? The door to my powder room is always closed so there is no indication it is painted coral (Cactus Flower by Benjamin Moore). Personally, I don't think the color of such a tiny room should determine your choices for the major rooms in the house, no matter how close they are. Other opinions?

We have one full bath in our 90 year old house and two half baths. The tub in the main bath is ugly and old. We are thinking of putting in a glass walled shower. Is this okay? We would have no tub in the house.

Your situation is unique and owning an old house is a priviledge. If you plan on staying in the house for a while, say another 10-15 years,  I would go ahead and remodel the bathroom to your liking.

I had limited time and budget to remodel my daughter's bathroom - floor, vanity and toilet and initially called a one-person handyman, who later canceled on me. I called Case and the customer service rep referred me to Fred, Case's handyman service - they were less expensive than the one guy, did a great job and finished on time. Now that I know about Fred, I tell everyone. I feel like Fred is Case's best kept secret!

Thanks for sharing your experience.

I have a small master bath in my townhouse - I've seen walk-in closets that are larger! I am thinking of going with a pocket door with frosted or ridged glass in order to save on floor real estate and to let light in. Are there any other tips or tricks to make the tiny bathroom seem larger?

This is a very common problem. Pocket doors do wonders! They are true space savers. You should consult with a professional remodeler such as Case Design before tackling the work to make sure the wall is not load bearing or that there are not hidden mechanical in the wall. 

A large mirror also helps make small spaces seem bigger. And although vanities offer great storage, they can make a small space feel even smaller. Consider a pedestal sink if you can find storage elsewhere.

I have lovely mirrors in my bathrooms, but no medicine cabinets and I could use a place for toiletries. Are there any in particular that you recommend?

I love Robern's products! They have a great website and you will see that the options are numerous. It can be overwhelming so I recommend visiting your local Ferguson Enterprises showroom. Have one of their professional consultant assist you in finding the best product for your needs.

I have two small bathrooms, neither of which has any storage. My husband doesn't care for the standing-above the toilet shelves. Do you have any other suggestions as to where I can store towels and toiletries?

I also do not like those kind of shelves above the toilet either. Have you thought of large wicker baskets - the kind you can get at World Market or the Pier 1 Imports? You can put rolled towels in them. Some of the baskets have lids, which would make them good for storing shampoos or extra TP or other bath products. In one of my small guest bathrooms, I have a wire trolley from the Container Store that fits under the sink and I can keep my hair dryer and brushes in there plus extra soap, etc.

What are some of the latest trends in cabinet finishes? Is white in or out? What about vanity top surfaces? Can you put marble in the bathroom?

I do a lot more of wall mounted vanities than before. It somewhat is the best of both world for small spaces. It offers storage and can make the space look bigger.

White is not out. There are many shades of white that appeal to clients with a more classic-style home.

As for countertops, quartz is very popular. Granite too. Marble is often asked about but given it's porous nature, people are often concerned about possible makeup stains.

Valery: What is the most popular paint color for bathrooms?

Cool colors are big right now. Greys and light blue/nickel-tone.

I have a fairly large first floor powder room (about 36 square feet). It has a sink and toilet (the idea was to allow a wheel chair in as our parents are getting older). Right now its hunter green, but it needs change. Any ideas?

What about a grayish blue, such as Benjamin Moore's Glass Slipper. Or maybe go bold with Benjamin Moore's Dary Royal Blue. Farrow & Balls Orangery would be cool. 

We are considering taking out the only tub (standard size) in the house and replacing it with a whirlpool tub. Would this negatively affect resale value? I've bathed small children in a whirlpool tub and it is not easy. It is a house/neighborhood that would attract young families as buyers, so I don't want to turn off a lot of potential buyers who need or want a normal tub.

Deep tubs are not always kids friendly. If you plan on being in the house for long time, then I don't see that affecting the resale value as much as if you were planning on moving in 5 years.

Great chat, Valery. Thanks a lot for joining us. There is a lot of very useful information on bathrooms and remodeling them. Thanks also to all of you for joining us and for the great questions. See you next week when we have author, food stylist and former Martha Stewart Living editor Susan Spungen as our chat guest to discuss outdoor entertaining.

Thanks for all the great questions. I really enjoyed chatting with you all today!

In This Chat
Jura Koncius
Jura Koncius is a Washington Post staff writer who specializes in home and design. Read her daily twitter feed @jurakoncius for the latest in decorating trends, shopping, decluttering, organizing and DC retail.

Home Q&A archive
Valery Tessier
Valery Tessier is project designer at Case Design/Remodeling, Inc. in Bethesda and Falls Church.
Recent Chats
  • Next: