Remodeling a Miami condo bathroom…from Pennsylvania

Remodeling a Miami condo bathroom…from Pennsylvania

When Angie’s List member Nancy Vernam and her family first bought their Miami condo, they knew one of the projects they’d need to tackle was a bathroom remodel.

What they didn’t perhaps expect, however, was the dramatic way that spurred the urgency of the project.

“The milestone event that happened was when someone was in the shower, saw a rather large spider on the lower shower wall and reacted by squashing it firmly with one's foot,” Vernam says. “The spider died instantly and at the same time, we now had a rather large area of tiles that were pushed into the crumbling 1986 sheetrock! The area was temporarily patched, and the search for a suitable contractor began.”

The challenges surrounding the bathroom upgrade were numerous. Vernam actually lives full-time in Pennsylvania, which made the search for a Florida contractor difficult. In addition, she also had to familiarize herself with local building and remodeling requirements and draw up a remodeling contract that would satisfy the homeowner’s association, as well as settling on the design itself.

From afar, Vernam began putting the pieces of her plan together. She decided to go for an updated yet classic look that would stay within her budget and also ready the condo for sale a few years down the road. 

When formulating her final design ideas, she says, “I resisted the urge to figure out what went well together on my own. Instead, I took advice from people who had done many more projects than me.” 

She took advice from local professionals in her area, and also sought out tips from associates at Home Depot and Lowes, as well as other customers in the aisles browsing for bathroom remodeling products. 

Then, she got organized.

“I created a spreadsheet list of the major items that would be needed, like the floor and shower tiles, faucets and drains for the shower and vanity, the vanity itself, the toilet, exhaust fan, lighting and even the towel racks,” she says. “I got the measurements of the bathroom that need the remodel. Then, I looked at my existing bathroom and wrote down everything I saw, went online and got prices, keeping measurements in mind.” 

Throughout this process, she was mindful of the bathroom’s small size, searching for items that would allow for as much clearance room as possible.

With all these considerations in mind, Vernam ordered the necessary supplies and had the small bathroom completely gutted, replacing all the drywall, updating the plumbing and electrical, installing new porcelain tile, shower and new glass shower doors, along with adding a new light in shower, a vanity and a toilet. 

“In the end, all of the construction dust, all of the research, all of the money created a revitalized space that makes our condo a better living environment,” she says.

The family also has a safer condo as a result of newly grounded outlets and other up-to-code improvements, and they will save on utility bills as a result of energy-efficient upgrades.  

“It has only been a month now since we finished the project, but I have to say that every time I look at that space, I feel a small surge of happiness!” she says.


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"We contacted [the plumber] and they came out and snaked the drain." (Photo courtesy of Angie’s List member Katrina Oscarson of Gibsonia, Penn.)
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A Gibsonia, Penn., homeowner and her family put up with very slow-draining showers for a long time. This is, until their basement flooded by broken terra cotta pipes that they hadn't realized were damaged.

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