A Chat With Nicole Oertel on Her Recent Bathroom Remodel

Nicole Doumato

A Chat With Nicole Oertel on Her Recent Bathroom Remodel

This blog post is a little bit of a detour from our regular content! Having recently undergone a full bathroom remodel, we thought it would be fun to interview Nicole Oertel on her design process and get the inside scoop on what it takes to curate a custom remodel in your home.  Keep reading for more.

To get started, tell me a little bit about the design process for your bathroom remodel!

My entire bathroom remodel was a custom design. Meaning there was no roadmap ahead of me except the creative design ideas in my head. Above all, it was really about going with my gut when it came to selecting colors and textures. Although I’ll be the first to admit, it was scary. But in the end, it was so worth it. My initial decision when approaching this space was not only custom, but super custom. I didn’t want to do something I knew would please the masses. Which is ironic because that is typically the approach we take with the homes that we are selling or flipping. That’s not to say those designs don’t have a purpose or aren't amazing. However, they typically lean heavily on neutrals which allows a buyer to come in and customize everything to their own taste.

But, for this bathroom, I went with what felt right to me. I wanted a space that felt organic but also fresh, and warm but not dark. I also wanted airy and bright but nothing that conveyed an artificial feeling. It was more about bringing the feeling of natural elements in from the outdoors. Knowing the bathroom would have all of these somewhat contradictory elements, I think we nailed it and accomplished my goal! I will say this though, at certain steps of the process it was absolutely scary. I often found myself insecure with some of my selections. But seeing everything come together when the space was completely finished, reaffirmed my choices and saw my vision brought to life!

Selecting tile for a bathroom remodel can be overwhelming, what are the biggest elements to consider during the selection process?

Outside of design, color, and texture, the biggest thing to keep in mind is budget. Tile can get really expensive, really fast! However, if you have a smaller space, you have more room to decide where to allocate more of your budget and what elements can be more cost-efficient. I made the personal decision to allocate most of my budget to tile, because I knew that I would be incorporating some color, especially in the shower.  But during the decision-making process, I couldn’t commit to a color! When selecting tile, I kept waxing and waning between colors that would bring me to an all-white bathroom, it’s almost an occupational hazard! Part of the problem was that I had selected a bone color floor tile. After careful consideration, I decided to switch the floor tile to more of a terracotta and I’m so happy I did! It gave the exact pop of color I was desperately yearning for. Yet it kept the room on par with the organic feeling I had outlined. Once the floor tile was selected, everything began to fall into place.

I would say, if you’re selecting tile for a bathroom remodel but color and texture are not your thing, don’t be afraid to ask for help! Especially if your design concept is custom. I was so scared that I had hodge podged this room together with the colors, textures, and shapes but I trusted my gut and it turned out exactly how I envisioned it. At times it certainly felt like towing the line between success and complete failure. But it’s all part of the creative process!

The last time we talked, you mentioned how involved it is to select a sink for a remodel, can you give me some more specifics?

Ok, so who knew picking out sinks could be such a process?! Round, oval, square, square with rounded edges, and size! I realized that remodeling a smaller bathroom meant first picking a vanity. One that fit, but also being cautious of not selecting one that was too big. The idea was to optimize counter space without a complete takeover. I fell in love with my Kohler sink. In fact, I plan to create a separate blog post on this topic, so stay tuned!

What is your biggest piece of advice for anyone planning to remodel their bathroom soon?

Make sure before you demo your bathroom that all or most of your materials have been ordered and are in stock! My remodel took much longer than expected because we hadn’t picked anything out before we started knocking down the walls. If you’re planning on a custom-designed space, order your tile and pick out your vanity in advance of the demo. It only takes a day or two for the walls to come down, but once they do, it should be time to put them back up! If your tile is on backorder for two weeks and your vanity is on order for 6 weeks, before you know it three to four months have gone by.

Any last words on remodeling?

So much of our time at home is spent in our bedrooms and primary bathrooms. If you’re debating a remodel and you have an allocated budget go for it! In the end, it’s worth the tranquility it will add to your time living in that space and the value that will be added to your home when its time to sell.


For more information on listing your home for sale in Lake Forest, the North Shore, the 'burbs, or the Chicagoland area, you can reach out to The Oertel Group Here!


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