For Los Angeles homeowner Meg Moreta, a 43-year-old dietitian, it was her long battle with stage 3 ovarian cancer.
Among her first projects were painting some rooms and clearing away years of clutter.
She also wanted to gut and redo the master bathroom, which held memories of hard times.
"The bathroom was just that gross place where I was sick," she said. But Moreta's desire to remodel the master bathroom, and her daughters' bathroom as well, was tempered by her need to avoid unnecessary stress.
She didn't want to find herself standing in a fixture store, for instance, overwhelmed with myriad choices in faucets. She didn't want workers in her house for weeks or months. And she didn't want to be waiting around for subcontractors to show up.
Then, last summer, Moreta spotted a truck on the road emblazoned with the name One Week Bath, and she was intrigued with the idea of a remodel done that quickly.
The idea slipped her mind until three weeks later when she spotted another One Week Bath truck parked in the driveway of a nearby home.
A couple of weeks after that, while searching the Internet for information for her mother's remodeling project, she came across One Week Bath again.
"This is a sign," she recalled thinking, and e-mailed the company.
A few days later, designer Lisa Tanner came for a visit, took photos and sought to determine how serious Moreta and her husband, Luis Moreta-Sainz, a physician, were about going forward.
Tanner studied magazine pictures that Moreta showed her of the looks she was after -- a traditional style for the master bath and a vintage crisp white look for the kids' bathroom. The smaller bathroom could be remodeled in one week, the designer told her, but remodeling the master bath, which has both a shower and a bathtub, was considered a two-week project.
On her second visit, Tanner brought design catalogs and boxes of samples -- tiles, granite, knobs, etc. -- for the couple to choose from.
All were in the styles Moreta had requested, which simplified the process and helped prevent the selections from being overwhelming.
For the master bathroom, the couple selected a dark-stained double vanity with Craftsman-style doors and legs. It looks like a piece of furniture. For the counter, Moreta first wanted dark granite, but Tanner persuaded her it would be too dark, so Moreta chose something lighter. She selected a tan, stone-like ceramic tile for the walls, as well as for the bath and shower surround, and a band of stone and glass accent tiles. Other touches included knobs and fixtures of brushed nickel, sconces and a mirror with a dark metal finish.
For the kids' bath, Moreta wanted all the surfaces except the walls to be white so the bathroom could evolve with the girls -- Gabrielle, 7, and Madeline, 5 -- as they grew. She chose white subway tile and white wainscoting as well as a white-tile floor with a vintage look. Chrome fixtures added metallic accents.
After the selections were made and before construction began, Budgee Hill, technical sales manager, came out to make final measurements and work out any last details.
On the Monday the small-bathroom remodel began, One Week Bath parked a construction trailer in Moreta's driveway, where it would remain for the week, and set up work and storage areas in the garage and backyard. A portable toilet was set up outside for the workers.