Inch by Inch

Working on a long-term timeline, St. Louis Hills homeowners have remodeled their entire home inch by inch, and the recently completed master bathroom was worth the wait.

By Shannon Craig
Photography by Anne Matheis


There are a million and a half ways to go about home renovation. And some of them don’t even cost a million and a half straight out of the gate. 

For a pair of St. Louis Hills homeowners, a long-term timeline and a great deal of patience have allowed them to remodel their home from, as they tell it, “one inch to the other.” Their recently completed master bath, one of the last major renovations on the property, depending on whom you ask, is a beautiful, and textbook, example of their inch-by-inch approach to home improvement.

“In 2014 we started discussing the bathroom,” interior designer Nancy Barrett, says. “We finalized the design in 2015, but the bathroom was not completed until 2016. It was a long, well-thought-out process.”

Barrett, owner of Beautiful Rooms LLC, was first discovered by the couple in 2010, and completed a few projects with them long before the bath was on the radar. As the homeowners tell it, they’ve trusted Barrett for years due to her impeccable color sense and abundance of practical and beautiful ideas, which were vital to the completion of their bright, modern and unique bathroom space.

“Function is always the first consideration,” explains Barrett, who had a rigid existing structure to deal with. A curved exterior wall lined with classic St. Louis glass block created a unique challenge for mirrors and cabinetry. “Of course, the form is what makes the room gorgeous!” she says. But, “the existing mirrors were very low. So I found mirrors that could overlap the glass block by mounting to the wall in the middle and provide standing-height viewing.” 

The glass blocks provided streaming natural light on their own, but it wasn’t enough for daily functional needs. “My clients wanted more lighting, so instead of all single pendants, I chose a cluster of three for the middle to increase the lumens.”

Beyond the gorgeous lighting solutions, the diagonally set ceramic tile floors, reminiscent of barn wood, and the slick Cambria countertops and laminate cabinetry, the couple are most excited at the practical functionality afforded by a concealed space for their full-size washer and dryer. “It’s in what had been the linen closet,” the homeowners say, “and not having to go down to the basement for laundry every day has been the smartest thing.”

Remodels and renovations on a stretched timeline can have their own challenges — especially if, like these homeowners, you choose to renovate your own master bathroom last — but this long-time-coming refresh is certainly an argument for a thoughtful, steady process with a designer you trust.

“Working with Nancy for this project and others, I know that she can always take my ideas one step beyond,” says one of the owners. “I always know that it will be done right because she knows us and she knows her stuff.”

Interior Designer, Nancy Barrett, Beautiful Rooms, 636-519-4090
Contractor: Shea Construction, 314-270-9333
Tile: Virginia Tile, 314-995-9900
Granite: StoneTrends, 636-537-1607
Plumbing: Henry Kitchen & Bath, 314-773-3636