Bathroom remodeling tips and trends from 2013
Whether it’s a master bath, Jack and Jill, powder room, guest or kids bathroom, you can’t deny it’s a popular place in the home, visited many times throughout the day. Maybe that’s why, year after year, bathroom updates and remodels are among the top 10 most reviewed home improvement projects by Angie’s List members.
Industry experts say homeowners use the occasion to fix flaws, personalize and pamper themselves. “Clients are really wanting ... a spa-like experience on a daily basis,” says Alan Zielinski, immediate past president of the National Kitchen & Bath Association.
The average cost for a bathroom remodel in 2013 was $18,538, down slightly from last year, according to the NKBA. Bob Slater of A-rated Baths-N-Such in Noblesville says whether you want an old world style or contemporary design, neutral tones, and brush and chrome finishes dominate because they’re easy to decorate around. “They’ve been around forever,” he says.
Slater says homeowners are using paint and accent tile to personalize their space, and are steering clear of anything eclectic or bold: “They are just thinking down the road to resale.”
Member Maureen Purcell didn’t want a contemporary remodel to look out of place in her 1925 Tudor-style house in the Meridian Kessler neighborhood. She says she and husband John pondered many designs, but opted to keep the original color scheme and features, such as an alcove, laundry shoot and inset medicine cabinet. “I don’t think the house is suited for big slabs of 18-inch beige marble or tile,” she says.
The Purcells hired highly rated Phelps & Sons Construction LLC in Carmel to do the work. Owner Tom Phelps and son Matt added two sizes of subway tile in the bath and shower area up to the ceiling. They laid a mosaic tile in a rug pattern on the floor and tripled the size of the built-in medicine cabinet. “When my brother-in-law — who is no fan of older homes or their potential problems — saw the bathroom for the first time, he said it looked wonderfully original to the house,” Maureen says.
Member Jamie Degler of Westfield says she selected most of the features in her four-bedroom traditional style home when it was built 10 years ago, including the big spa tub. Yet she got rid of it during a $20,000 remodel in June, making way for a luxurious walk-in shower, a custom cabinet vanity and a roomier toilet area, designed by highly rated Pro Finishing of Carmel. “It didn’t make sense to keep the bathtub — we only used it a handful of times,” Degler says.
Phelps says replacing tubs with luxury showers, equipped with multiple shower heads and handheld sprayers that operate simultaneously, are among the latest trends. “I’ve had customers eliminate all the tubs, except for one, for resale value,” he says. “I had a lady spend $4,200 on sprayers.”
Degler says she was able to stay within her budget, despite adding a custom-built raised vanity that was stained and glazed to achieve the cream color she wanted. “If we went over on something, I tried to cut back on something else,” she says, adding that the brown and tan colors and accessories were carefully chosen to complement the vanity. “I wanted something I was going to enjoy for many years,” Degler says. “The bathroom is my little spa-like getaway.”
Brian Jenkins, owner of Jenkins Home Enhancement in Greenwood, says another trend can be seen through homeowners like member Ron Vaught, who hire contractors to install materials they’ve already purchased. Vaught says he got a few estimates that included products sold through the contractors who bid on the job to update two bathrooms in his ranch-style home in Greenwood. In the end, he decided to be his own contractor to save money and purchased the flooring, toilets, vanities, sink tops and faucets himself. Vaught says he liked Jenkins’ conduct when he gave his estimate to remodel the bathroom. “I had a lot of confidence in him from the start,” Vaught says. Although the materials and labor cost about $6,500, he says it was about $2,000 more than he thought he’d spend.
Jenkins isn’t surprised, noting that Vaught chose more upscale pieces, a common practice that can blow the budget. He says homeowners who purchase their own materials need to make sure they get the right parts and size. Other times, he says, homeowners underestimate the labor costs. “People have bought big, fancy stuff and couldn’t afford to have it installed,” Jenkins says. “If you’re going to buy the stuff, find your contractor, work with them and they should be able to help you through it,” he says.
Did you remodel your bathroom in the past year? We want to see it! Submit a review on the providers who helped with the transformation at angieslist.com and upload your before and after photos.