The Bathroom Awakens: Online Interior Design Part 2 by KB Home

A few weeks back, I shared that I’d be giving online interior design a test drive and sharing my experiences on the KB Home House to Home blog.

Since then, I have immersed myself in the new world of online interior design and embarked on decorating two rooms at once with two different companies. No small task, I have since realized! I can’t wait to share what I’ve learned so far, and how the companies I’m using have compared.  I’ll start with my Bathroom Refresh with Laurel and Wolf.

You may recall that I’m using Laurel and Wolf for my “simple” bathroom refresh. (this has morphed into something a bit bigger – more on that later) Here’s how things have progressed:

Day 1: The registration process was seamless. First, I took a style quiz (fun!). Turns out I’m “Contemporary Eclectic.” To start the project, I was given the option of a “Classic” package ($299) or “Premium” ($499). Immediately, a very friendly customer service person started chatting with me. She recommended I do a Premium package since bathrooms are complicated, but the only benefit she could give me was that I would be given a “more experienced” designer. Feeling that they should stand behind any of their designers, I decided to roll the dice and stay with the lower-priced option. Let’s see where that gets me!

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Next, an online questionnaire asked questions about who’s living in the home, the bathroom, how we use it, what I like, and what I don’t like, etc. The site guided me in taking photos:

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They also asked that I sketch a quick floor plan. I actually already had this one, so it was easy:

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I submitted a few photos I like for inspiration:

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And also selected the lowest budget option they offered in their multiple choice quiz: Less than $5,000

I hit submit on my projects, and Laurel and Wolf cheerfully let me know that I’d be getting at least 3 design “looks” within the next few days. I can’t wait!

Day 3: Designs have started rolling in. I’m getting email alerts that a new design has been submitted, with an explanation from the designer about what they’re depicting. This is so much fun!

Day 4: I have already received 4 designs from 4 separate designers. I love seeing see how they’ve interpreted my input and inspiration. Some have paid very close attention and put a lot of thought into what would work for my space. There are some great ideas – take a look:

Option 1: I especially love the privacy partition between the sink and toilet in this option:

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Option 2: This designer, specializes in kitchen and bath design, addressed some of my needs really well – adding baskets to the shelves, doing a real CAD drawing of my vanity, and addressing my toy storage needs. I was able to use the L & W chat to ask her questions, to which she gave friendly, practical advice and ideas. Two thumbs up for function. I’m not quite as excited about the look, however.

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Option 3: This design is a throw-away. Did this person even read my brief?

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Option 4: The look of this design is right up my alley. There’s nothing in the room that I don’t like. However, I can tell by the designer’s profile that she isn’t as experienced in bath design. Using L & W’s chat feature again, I was able to ask her questions and do a little brainstorming, and we clicked. She seems to be inside my head with her design suggestions, answers questions quickly and offers new ideas within minutes, even before choosing her as my designer. I’m so excited to get started on this design with Emma:

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Bathroom Refresh with Laurel and Wolf

Day 6: My bathroom project is officially live! Laurel and Wolf created this super-cool diagram of my concept board, with live interactive buttons associated with each element of the room. I can click on each item to give a “thumbs up” or “thumbs down,” and ask questions and provide feedback in the chat window pertaining to each item. This is seriously cool. I jumped all over it with feedback and chat, and Emma’s response time has been awesome.

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Day 7 – 12: Over the last few days, Emma has been my best design buddy, the one I never knew I needed. This being my first experience working with an interior designer, I had no clue how this would go down. But now I GET why people hire interior designers. She has gone 3 rounds on design boards with great ideas at every turn, even creating CAD drawings to make sure everything fits correctly. She’s given me recommendations on decorative items, like a rug, mirrors, light fixtures, etc., and counseled me through several serious (to me, anyway) decisions. For example – is aged brass a trend that’s here to stay? Are subway tiles played out? Should I ditch my shower curtain and spring for a glass door? (yes, and she went so far as to find an installer near me and procure a quote). She even picked out my tile grout (gray), which I can get at my local Home Depot.

Day 14:

We’re getting close to the finish line with my design. Decisions have been made. Boxes are starting to show up at my house, along with workers. As I alluded to earlier in my post, I have completely blown my “less than $5,000” budget. I must say that this has been my own doing. Who wants to hide their new shower tiles behind an old shower curtain? Glass panel, here we come. And since we’re doing this upgrade anyway, might as well spring for carrara marble countertops… right? (You don’t have to answer that.)  The cool thing is, Emma has mostly suggested things that are within my budget, like subway tiles that cost $.22 each, or an old-timey rain shower fixture I ordered direct from China for a fraction of normal retail. The fact that I’m spending more money is completely on my shoulders.

Here’s what my bathroom looks like today. This is real!

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Whew – it’s been a crazy, enlightening, and awesome 15 days. Stay tuned for the next installment in the series, in which I’ll be sharing progress on my Rec Room Update with Decorist.

Some of the great finds that helped the production of my new bathroom are from: Overstock,

Way Fair, Electric Schoolhouse, and Ikea.