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Real-World Renovation
By Tracy Dickinson | Photography by Tim Abramowitz
home :: home & garden :: featured remodels

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If you’re like most homeowners, you have a wish list of all the things you want to change to make your home perfect. You may not have the list written down, but you know what’s on it: A walk-in pantry with an extra refrigerator. A huge wraparound deck accessible from a three-season room. Built-in library shelves with one of those nifty sliding ladders to reach the books way up top (of course, the library is two stories high).

But let’s be realistic. You’d have to add on a room to find space for a walk-in pantry; your backyard isn’t big enough for both the deck and the three-season room; and only Disney characters get to have two-story libraries with sliding ladders.
That doesn’t mean you can’t renovate in the real world. You just have to do it wisely—and find the right remodeler as a partner.

When Ben Trannel of CASE Handyman & Remodeling received a request to help update a 1980s bath in West Des Moines, he was faced with this very dilemma.

“The home had been built in the early ’80s. Everything was original, but it was in good condition. The homeowners wanted to update the space and do it efficiently,” Trannel says.

The upgrade also needed to fit the living arrangements in the home. The bath was shared by adults and children, so the work had to be done in a way that would respect everyone’s tastes and needs.

Working closely with Emily Kaldenberg, designer for CASE Handyman & Remodeling, the family was able to achieve the zen look they were seeking.

Kaldenberg recommended resurfacing the existing peach cast-iron tub because it was in great shape and the tub was easier for the kids than a shower would be. By doing that, not only did the bathroom benefit from a more neutral fixture, but money was available for upgrades that were more worthwhile, such as a fully tiled tub surround with no drywall exposed, complementary tile treatment above the double vanity, new sinks, and new custom frames for the mirrors and built-in shelving.

“My favorite features, though,” says the homeowner, “aren’t even visible.” Beneath the new sand-color tile floor, CASE installed a radiant heating system that keeps the floor warm even on the coldest mornings. And the toilet seat is heated, too.

What was originally a typical 1980s Jack-and-Jill bath now has the feel of an Asian-style spa. Dark wood finishes contrast with the natural stone tile, and new brushed-brass faucets coordinate with the existing cabinet hardware. CASE also placed pebble-style inlays in front of the tub and vanity, providing gentle traction and eliminating the need for bath rugs.

“The homeowners were looking for an Asian feel with neutral colors and a bamboo look in a style that would blend with the traditional decor in the rest of the home,” Kaldenberg says. By planning wisely and working with the right team, this West Des Moines home got a zen renovation for a real-world family.


CASE Handyman & Remodeling


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