Top Kitchen and Bathroom Remodeling Trends for 2015

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Subject: fancy countertops

I am house-hunting (downsizing from a 102 year old restored bungalo) and finding . Every little smaller housing that fits my needs. Almost all house listings describe kitchens and baths with granite or marble countertops, fancy faucets, jetted soaking tubs, etc. Even the formerly lower priced homes that flippers fix up and then sell at high prices have these glitzy additions. A house should not be glitzed up beyond its character or neighborhood. I say put the fix-up effort into things that make the basic smaller family home a better place to live: good storage, use of space under stairs, code insulation, update the plumbing and sewer lines as well as house wiring and electrical panel. Add cabinets or shelves to utility rooms, and garages, add a high efficiency furnace. Add a pantry to the kitchen. With the demolition of so many basic family homes in cities to builf multi-lot "macmansions" or apartment behemoths that don't fit the character of neighborhoods, the basic purpose of housing is getting muddied by American greed. Families need affordable, adequate-sized, safe, and comfortable dwellings that are located in neighborhoods with adequate community services, schools, and businesses. The middle and lower income families are finding very little they can afford. Lets put value into remodels and support affordable housing. Give me laminate countertops, enough storage, big closets, good wiring with more than one outlet per wall, and a sewer line that works. Then I will have a family home that has lasting value.


Subject: Absolutely correct. Costs

Absolutely correct. Costs are becoming prohibitive, and remodeling costs are becoming absurd as well. Greed and entitlement/keeping up with the Joneses. No way I'm spending $50k on a bathroom remodel for a $200k home. Probably not even $20k. Needs vs wants, and in these uncertain times, my retirement account trumps an overpriced remodel every time.


Subject: Wallpaper

After removing huge amounts of wallpaper from the home we bought ...... I am considering putting wallpaper on the bottom wall portion of a powder room. I can hardly believe I am actually saying that , but the room needs something to add interest. I have been looking at styles with texture and dimension. Is wallpaper appropriate in today's trends for a small powder room? What styles do you suggest that might stay in trend for a few years?


Subject: powder room walls

One alternative to wallpaper is to put beaded board on the lower part of the walls divided by a chair rail or some other type of "ledge" to divide the 2 surfaces. You can paint the beaded board a contrasting color. You could even put wallpaper on the top and beaded board on the bottom. Maybe try a "grasscloth" type of wallpaper.

Sally Myers

Subject: Replacing tub with shower

I want to remove my fiberglass tub and replace with a walk-shower. What is a good economical option for tile or is there any other good option for wall covering? Thank you.

Patrick Servat

Subject: colors

I have corian in my kitchen now. should I leave or change it. Can you paint the cabinets gray if the walls are a beige


Subject: Stainless in kitchens

Stainless steel appliances may look great in home improvement pubs and ads for contemporary kitchens, but they are (1) very difficult to keep clean, and (2) reject magnetic stick-ons. It's not so much a matter of price -- they're just impractical for a busy family. It's amazing they're still popular given these drawbacks.


Subject: stainless

I did not want stainless because of fingerprints, etc. but I did find a Slate that looked very high end and I love it. It does not show the fingerprints and holds the magnets just fine. I bought the GE Slate appliances when they were the only ones out there but now others are coming out with "black stainless". I love it in my kitchen. Better than stainless in my opinion.


Subject: Kitchens

I agree, namancon. Stainless appliances look great on TV shows and magazines. But my kitchen is open to the family room and I didn't want to see stainless from there. I have white appliances and still like them. I had my kitchen completely remodeled in 2001. The granite counter tops I still love. But the beautiful maple cabinets I had put in now seem dated. I can't afford new cabinets every 10-15 years when the styles change. Yes, I could paint and/or get new doors, but even that is not cheap. I have other rooms that need updating. How long will current styles last?

Garrett Kelly
Garrett Kelly

Subject: Kitchen

Hey Patricia, this is Garrett, community moderator. There is information on kitchen trends just below the picture of the two leather sofas. There is a picture of a stainless steel refrigerator with the section. Sorry there weren't more photos of full kitchens. Have a good day!  


Subject: Bathroom remodel

In a 3 bedroom 2 bath house. Neither bath is an en-suite. If remodeling is the trend two sinks or one?

James Figy
James Figy

Subject: One or two bathroom sinks?

Hi Charlotte, having two sinks in a bathroom is great if it fits in your budget and doesn't eliminate too much counter space. However, if few people use the bathroom on a regular basis, it might not be necessary to have multiple sinks. You might put a vanity with two sink basins in the bathroom near the master bedroom where people get ready for the day, but put a single sink in the guest bathroom. For more advice, check out these articles about picking a bathroom sink: and Good luck with your bathroom remodeling project(s)! –James F., staff writer for Angie's List Magazine

Leo A. Paquin

Subject: Bathrooms and Kitchens

I am a remodel specialist and I have one thing that I would like to point out that many consumers do not understand, when they call and you cannot jump right over to there home and do it all for them. When you are a good remodeling company you are ALWAYS BACKED UP. If you want someone that is great and knows what they are doing you need to allow time for that. Try and plan your project at a minimum of 30 days ahead of your timetable. These projects take time to plan and coordinate and a good contractor needs at least that much time. I just designed a kitchen today and the customer started last fall with her plans. She is going to get a really nice job because she was patient and waited for a good contractor, ME.


Subject: Bath

I have a half bath that I would like to remodel. I have in mind some things I want to incorporate but am stuck at storage and sink design.
Looking forward to your tips.

Sue Trammell

Subject: Remodeling trends

Sadly we've become a nation of materialistic consumers. We don't need 'en-suites (bathroom), huge closets, massive rooms, specialty items, the latest popular thing (stainless steel appliances), etc etc. the expense/cost is outrageous!!! A stove that's white cooks the same as stainless!! U get the picture. Lower income families can't afford a $40,000.00 bathroom redo. What the heck people. Where are our priorities now days?!! Consider how grandma & greatgrandmas got along & we're HAPPY. Come back down to earth PLEASE!!!

Henry Norcom

Subject: You sound envious

Sorry, but my wife and I both went to post graduate school and have very demanding careers, as such we want and will demand the best. Using your logic we should still be living in mud huts cooking our newly captured meat over a flame. Sorry Susie, but if I have the cash and desire I am going to spend it. Don't like it? Too bad. Stop hating.


Subject: Tile Custom Showers

After a complete reno of my house after Hurrican Katrina, I learned a valuable lesson. Never assume the contractor knows more than you do. Talk to them about the process involved to ensure a water tight job. And, use someone who is interested in maintaining a good professional reputation with excellent customer service (like from Angie's List). My tiled custom showers are not even 8 yrs old, and I am preparing to rip them out and start over because they have been leaking from almost the beginning. When renovating my small home in New Orleans, I converted a small bedroom into a new master bath with a walk-in custom tiled shower and a thermal air massage tub with a heated back and neck rest, high end granite, custom cabinet, and a door to the patio/pool area. . By far, that bathroom gets the most positive feedback of the whole house!

Eileen Haskins

Subject: No bathtub in master

I just renovated two bathrooms. Took the jetted tub out of the master and put in a 7 ft. by 3 ft. shower with jets, rain shower, and hand held. I took out the bath insert in the guest bath and put in a deep soaker tub with tile surround. No worries about selling the house without a tub. And so much more room in the master.

Leslie Ehrhart

Subject: Tub or no tub

I did some work in my master bath and hall bath a few years ago. I am older and have lots of arthritis, so I took out the one piece tub/shower in the master and had a walk-in shower installed. I have kept the tub/shower in my hall bath because lots of people like a tub and it could be a selling factor in the future. Also, my house if "family sized" even though I am the only one still living here. When I sell, a family with children is going to want a tub. So my advice is that if you have the option, keep a tub and have a shower that is safe as you age in place.


Subject: Bathtub versus shower stalls

While considering a bathroom remodel for my home, my husband and several contractors keep trying to convince me to forego a bathtub for a stand alone shower stall. They say it's now a matter of style and will save room in my typical small Florida home bathroom. However, in a state that can be subjected to the powerful forces of nature, common sense as well as friends in the public safety sector state it is essential to have a tub. Clean water to cook or bathe with can be in short supply after a nature event, disaster or otherwise. A full tub of water is essential, not a luxury.


Subject: Florida bathroom

We have lived in Florida for 30+ years. There was one time when a hurricane threatened that I filled the bathtub with water. By morning, it had completely drained! Now we use jugs, and love our tub-less bathroom!

James Figy
James Figy

Subject: Sharing

Marilyn, feel free to share the link to this article with your clients. If you just share the statistics and ideas in the article, please cite Angie's List as the source. Thanks for reading and reaching out!   –James F., staff writer for Angie's List Magazine

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Todd said it best.

An itemized list / cost breakdown, more often than not is used against the contractor when it is shared with other builders who will then beat it.

Good contractors use good people, and good people cost more.  Just the cost of having the appropriate insurance / bond can be the difference between winning a job or losing it ot a 'lower bid'.

It is the rule of three; there is Good, Cheap and Fast.  You can have any two:  Good and Cheap, won't be Fast; Good and Fast, won't be Cheap;  Cheap and Fast, won't be Good!

When comparing bids, it isn't the cheapest or the 'nicest' person you should select.   You should understand why there is a large price difference (it shows there are gaps in your design program or what you have asked for specifically, which means there may be arguments later).  If most of the bids are in line, and one is way high or way low,  you want to know why before dismissing or selecting them.

A price-only decision almost always costs more in the long run. 

Good luck!

No.  Heck no.  Here's a good example.  We very recently needed to find someone to install about 500 square feet of exotic wood flooring (we already have the materials).  We contacted about 12-15 top-rated Angieslist contractors.  Out of the few who did get back to us, we got 5 quotes, 2 of them were literally just over the phone.  They "didn't feel it would be necessary to even see the space". 


Here were the bids: 

$4000 (sight unseen), $2800 (sight unseen), $2500, $1500, $1450


We didn't "share our budget for this".  Why would we?  We asked them to bid the job.  That's it.  All of them should be well-qualified and they are all highly rated.  We were interested in how THEY value their time/resources - for an apples/apples job. 


Do you still think that you should tell them about your budget?  Your choice.  From my standpoint it isn't their business.  I'm asking them to bid on a project.  Invariably I'll get some very high bids, medium bids and a few more reasonable ones - ALL from "highly rated contractors". 

For this type of job, you need plans and specs from an Architectural/Engineering firm before thinking about contractors - and to get a building permit. Ben's method would work and done incrementally could cost well over $100,000 plus as he says, but this not really the most economic way to approach this big a job. A House Mover or Foundation Underpinning specialty company can usually slide your house onto a whole new foundation, or jack it up on steel beams and hold it there while a basement is dug underneath it, without any intermediate piers. The jacking/move cost would probably be on the order of $30-40,000, and a new basement probably about $40-50,000 - rough ballpark, though I have been involved in some 1000-1500SF single story jobs that went for under $70,000 total. I have been involved in a fair number of these type jobs - and the way the numbers come out, if there is room on the property to move the house, it is almost always nearly as cheap or cheaper to build an equivalent square footage (basement plus ground level) addition rather than add a basement under the house, and that way your new footage is half above ground so worth more on resale, plus you do not lose use of the house for a month or two. Second cheapest is usually sliding house to a new foundation, if property is large enough to do this - though house is totally cut off from utilities for a week to three. Most expensive, and usually only done in tight city environments or with full 2 story or higher houses, is adding the foundation in place, though your utility interruptions should be on the order of hours at a time rather than days or weeks. Talk to an architect - I think you will quickly lean towards the addition option rather than adding a basement - it is just too expensive to deepen foundations in most cases, plus you WILL get cracking in the house and possible water and sewer pipe problems in a move/underpinning job, which is not the case with an addition. This become more likely the case since you want to add 8 feet off the back of the home anyway - so why not just enlarge the addition and do it all that way - MUCH simpler, and MUCH less disruption of your life, and you get much higher resale return on your investment.

Herlonginc's answer stated that it is not the contractor's job to pay for materials and labor to do the job. I say baloney - a reputable, established contractor has the funds (or a business operations line of credit) to "carry" the job between interim or partial payments, each of which should be keyed to completion of distinct easily measured mileposts in the job, and for a homeowner I would say should be in not more than 20% increments for jobs exceeding a week or so. For shorter jobs, then an initial payment, 50% completion, and completion would be normal. His cost of carry funds is part of his cost of doing business, and is figured as part of his overhead.Bear in mind when he is buying materials and paying labor, his materials he typically pays for on a 10-30 day invoice, and his labor typically a week or two after they work, so he is not really "fronting" that much money if you are giving him weekly or biweekly interim payments, on a typical residential job.

If he does not have the funds to buy materials (excepting possibly deposit on special-order or luxury items, which still typically are 10-30 day invoiceable to him) and hire personnel then he is a fly-by-night operation, and he should not be bidding that size job. You should never (other than MAYBE an earnest deposit of not more than the LESSER of 10% or $5000) let the payments get ahead of the approved/inspected work progress - typically payment should be 10-20% BEHIND the progress, with at least 10% retained at the effective end of work until final inspections and completion of the final "punchlist".

That promotes rapid continuation of the work, discourages the all-too common nightmare of contractors taking on more work than they can handle so they leave your job for weeks or months to go work on someone else's job (frequently to start that someone else's new job so he can get the job), and does not leave you out a tremendous amount of cash if he does not finish and you have to hire another contractor to finish the job. Remember, if you have to hire a new contractor to finish the job, he will charge you a lot more than the original bid to finish someone else's unfinished mess.

This may seem cynical, but having started in the construction business about 50 years ago and seeing the shenanigans that a lot of contractors pull you cannot be too safe. You have to remember contractors are like any other people - I would say maybe 10% are outright crooks, another 25% or so will pull a fast one or overcharge if the opportunity presents itself, maybe 30% will do the work but not any better than they are forced to, about 25% are good conscientious reputable workmen, and the last 10% or so are really spectacular - conscientious, fair, and efficient craftsmen. This top 35% are the only ones you should have bidding in the first place. Therefore, only get bids from long-term reputable firms (so you shake out the marginal short-timers with less experience and also generally less ability to finish the job on budget and schedule), only those that have good RECENT references, and preferably with excellent word-of-mouth recommendation from people you know and trust. That way, you are starting right off with the cream of the crop, so hopefully whichever one bids low should be a good choice.

NEVER start with bids, then check the references of the low bidder - why even consider a vendor or contractor who you do not have faith in from the start ? Get references and short-list you possibles BEFORE you ask for bids.

Low bids - that is another matter - commonly the low bidder is NOT who you want, especially if he is significantly lower than several others, which might mean he is desperate for work, made a math error, or did not correctly figure the entire scope of work. You want a reasonable bid with someone you connect with and trust - that is worth a lot more in the success of the job than the absolute lowest bid.