Do you hate your bathroom? Do you wish for a simpler way to create a painless bathroom remodel without trudging to different stores to find the perfect products? Well, you are in luck. Bath Simple is a nuts and bolts concept of designing your bath online and having it installed by certifed Bath Simple installers. Kind of like a field of dreams version of bath remodel. You design it and they will come.
What I love about Bath Simple’s concept is the ability to see with your own eyes what your bathroom will look like. The Company provides this amazing virtual design tool so that you can hand-pick a myriad of products to complete your bathroom. Not loving the idea of picking with a virtual tool? No problem. The Company offers free in home consultations. What can I pick? Tile, cabinets, grout, shower doors, the works. And the best part? All the components are delivered to you at your door in one box. So, say good-bye to your old carbon footprint ways of driving from store to store in search of the holy grail bathroom.
Seriously, Anna? I am not fooling you. I spent literally an hour playing with their design tool. And trust me, it can be very addicting since you have several products to choose from. (See here for a generic list of what products you can choose.) And, to boot, you can sprinkle in green bath products as much as you want. The Company offers:
- “water-efficient plumbing, including EPA and Eco-certified low-flow and dual-flush toilets, low-flow vanity faucets and low-flow shower heads
- energy-efficient lighting, including Energy Star light fixtures
- resource-efficient materials and products, including low- and no-VOC paints, adhesives and sealants that are Green-Guard certified, recycled solid surface countertops, recycled ceramic tiles, CARB-compliant wood products.”
Even better, your products come in one box, which consolidates shipping, and reduces contractor time. And I am not done. You can send them back all of your old products for recycling in the same box. The Company partners with local companies to dispose of the old bathroom materials. I know. This sounds too good to be true. So watch me as I go through the steps of creating my master bathroom renovation using their design tool. Don’t squeal with shock that this old traditional gal actually designed a hip trendy bathroom. (Above is my picture of my new virtual master bathroom.) Yes, Bath Simple taught an old dog new tricks.
With Every Creation is a Story:
I am such a sucker for “the story” of why a product or concept was created. Bath Simple was created to make bath renovations painless and less complex. When I asked Founder, John Crowley, how the idea of Bath Simple was conceived, he stated:
“[o]ne day I was sitting on a toilet contemplating why it took so long to remodel my master bath and reflectively drawing upon 30 years of experience developing systems for buildings and a recent session with my daughter at build-a-bear, I hypothesized that the bathroom is an ecosystem of components that could be organized into a menu of fashion forward choices, that would make designing the dream bath fun rather than frustrating and overwhelming and then aggregate all the selections and deliver them together like Santa does every xmas, which would make the contractor very happy. Why? because he could then schedule his elves to do the bathroom remodel in a predictable period of time, on budget, which in turn would make the homeowner very happy. Who would in turn tell the neighbor about this unusual experience of getting their bath remodeled in less than 2 weeks and within budget. And after I flushed the toilet I started to research if anyone was doing this, as it seemed like a cool idea. And there you have it…Bath Simple was born.”
Okay, creating a virtual tool seems a little teensy bit harder than dreaming up the theme on the toilet unless you have an extensive product design background like Crowley. He holds numerous awards and patents and a Master of Architectural and Planning degree from Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Crowley teamed up with Bill Hunscher, an entrepreneur, who found his passion in “building businesses with a focus on vastly improving the way customers are served.” And they had a plan. Taking the nightmare out of bath renovations.
Green Design Options:
However, as happy as I was creating my virtual bathroom, I was disappointed in the website’s lack of clarity on the green elements. I was confused about which products were green or which were not. Such confusion could have easily been avoided by working with a green building/marketing consultant to make sure their message was clear. (Sorry for the shameless plug, but this comment is coming from the heart. While penning Green Talk, I have seen so many poorly written green marketing strategies, which in my opinion compromises the company’s message.) Bath Simple green products are as follows:
- Recycled Content Countertops: The Company offers Caesarstone countertops, which are countertops made from leftover quartz from mining operations and Greenguard certified for indoor air quality.
- Packaging: They obtain commitment from the Company to select vendors (as much as possible) who are committed to non-petroleum based packaging materials. They also work with manufacturers to help them reduce the quantity of packaging material as well as increase the recycled content of the packaging. In addition, in the market where the Company provides installations, they recycle all of the packaging.
- Green certifications: The majority of their manufacturers are certified under various green accreditations.
- Paints: Their paints are from Benjamin Moore, and they offer three lines: Natura (zero -VOC) which Bath Simple recommends for powder rooms; Aura (low VOC and the most expensive of the Benjamin Moore line) and Eco Spec (zero-VOC/very durable) for high moisture areas such as full and master baths.
- All Bath Simple’s products are CARB compliant,which means they are in compliance with emissions standards set for the by the California Air Resource Board.
- Built in Cabinets: All Bath Simple’s built in cabinets are FSC certified (Forest Steward Council,) which means the wood was derived from sustainable managed forests. (Note, not all of their cabinets are green. Only the category labeled as “built in cabinets.”)
When I completed my 12 by 12 virtual bathroom renovation, the cost could have easily been over $20,000 just for the materials. What about the cost of installation? The Company explained that installation costs seems to be 1.0 to 1.7 times the cost of the materials depending on the region. However, if you choose a Bath Simple certified designers, they guarantee “complete and on-time delivery directly to the job site.” I was in sticker shock and wondered if I was truly getting my best bang for the buck. The Company further stated:
“By using Bath Simple, customers save time and money in shipping and driving costs, while also reducing their carbon footprint because they can order from the comfort of their home. Bath Simple is extremely price competitive in that there is favorable pricing from suppliers which is passed along to customers. Also, Bath Simple packages show up 100 percent complete, saving time and money.”
To give you a comparison, the 2010-2011 renovation costs for a mid to upscale bathroom renovation in the mid-Atlantic area (where NJ is located) ranges from $16,000 to $53,000. This areas of the country is quite pricey to live in. For Cost vs Value Remodeling Report for 2010-2011 for your area, see here.
My Wish List for the Site:
I love what Bath Simple is seeking to create but I have a green wish and designer wish lists:
Green Wish List
- More green transparency: Provide a list of the manufacturers with any green commitment which includes green efforts about their packaging and certifications.
- Add a green product category: Create a category called “green” so the consumer can easily select green products before I use the design tool. In an ideal world, I would love there to be a designation like a green leaf on products in the design tool.
- A list of what green certifications and what they mean: Many people have no idea what CARB, FSC, or Greenguard certified means. Bath Simple could add a page to their website with green certification definitions as a teaching tool for consumers. Green education is key.
Design Standpoint Wish list:
- Allow the option to create either a shower/tub combo or shower only bathroom. Right now, you have to create a tub and shower. Now, this may be because I couldn’t understand the program. If this is the case, make it more obvious to the end user how to obtain the results that I listed above.
- How about giving me an option to tile the walls if want? Right now, I can only add trim to the baseboards not tile. Some people like to add tile halfway up the walls.
- I would love a recycled glass tile option.
- What about adding cork as an option? When I asked for this option, the Company expressed concern with the glues of the cork substrate. I can understand. Many floating floor cork substrates are made of MDF, which contains formaldehyde glues. However, you would never put a floating floor in a bathroom due to the potential for water damage. The MDF just curls up if it gets too wet. (Been there; done that.) You could easily use glue down tiles in a bathroom, and then seal them.
Overall, I still feel Bath Simple is exactly like its name. Simple and painless. So, stop hating your bathroom and renovate.
Join the conversation:
- Have you recently renovated your bathroom? Tell us about the good and the ugly.
- Would you use a tool like Bath Simple?
- Would you choose style over green products? Be honest. I won’t come find you.
- Play with the tool and tell me what you think.