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  • Home Remodeling
  • Residential Remodeling
  • Bathroom Remodeling
  • Kitchen Remodeling
  • Basement Remodeling
  • Deck Installation
  • Window and door replacement
  • Fireplace Refacing

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Show a print version

 

Bathroom makeovers: Relaxing retreats for less

 

The same remodeling trend that has turned kitchens into living rooms is transforming bathrooms into spas. Nearly 30 percent of the 121 million adults who recently completed a home-improvement project were involved in a bathroom remodel.

 

Yet bathroom remodeling is among the toughest to get right. Locating everything efficiently and making it stylish and safe is a lot to ask of the roughly 50 square feet that now define the average bathroom. For some, the solution is enlarging the bathroom to make room for a whirlpool, separate shower, and two sinks. But even then, it's easy to try to cram in too many amenities. If you're like most remodelers, you'll have to reconcile the luxury you want with what your budget allows.

 

Fortunately, manufacturers are making lavish bathrooms more attainable with lower-priced whirlpools, glass sinks, and other high-end fixtures. American Standard, Kohler, and other well-known brands are also pushing coordinated bathroom "suites" designed to make it easier to match the sink with the faucets and towel bars. As American Standard's Web site boasts, "our new Town Square Suite makes designing the perfect bathroom virtually stress-free."

 

How much luxury could we squeeze into a modest-sized bathroom without breaking the bank? We sought design and remodeling help from the major home centers, since that's where most bathroom remodeling products are sold. We also compared four bathroom suites. But as we found, they all fell short in at least one critical area.

 

 

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We ended up with a workable plan, though our shopping trips revealed that some sources are far more helpful than others. Here are the details of our store encounters, based on the steps a successful bathroom remodel should follow:


1. SET A REALISTIC BUDGET

 

Our goal: Update a 1960s-style, 9 1/2 x 5-foot bathroom for $15,000 or less. While that's more than the $10,000 national average, it's less than the $25,000 homeowners spent on high-end bathroom projects.

We wanted a whirlpool, separate shower, two sinks, stone countertops and floors, and translucent glass tiles. Since we couldn't fit all that into our current layout, we considered annexing a small, unused bedroom nearby. Additionally, we wanted to enhance the view.

 

2. LOOK FOR WAYS TO SAVE

 

At $12,900, including $6,100 for products and $6,800 for labor, our final plan was a good compromise that included the whirlpool, stone counters, and translucent glass tile we wanted. Because annexing the bedroom wouldn't have added enough space for a separate shower and a second sink, we saved by keeping our existing layout--a single glass sink and combined tub and shower. We also saved by earmarking different items from different stores. Here are some other ways you can put more luxury into your next bathroom remodel for less:

 

Don't move the toilet. Our experts agreed that the added cost to move a waste line often negates the benefits.

 

Consider stock items. As with kitchen cabinets, stock and semicustom bathroom cabinets, vanities, and stone vanity tops offer lots of style and finish options in standard sizes, which lower the price. You can also save on plumbing items by choosing from a home center's in-store stock. Though most stores have a suggested retail price, some stores and Web sites such as HomeClick offer discounts on these items.

 

Use tile judiciously. Tiling the walls above the tub and shower is a must. But we chose to paint the other walls to allow more money for the translucent glass tiles in our plan. Alternatively, consider tiling only halfway up the wall behind the toilet and vanity. Or use pricier glass tile only on the most visible wall in the tub and shower area and use glass-tile inserts on other walls. Also be sure to shop around; quotes ranged from $12 to $21 per square foot for similar glass tile.

                        

 

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We service Roxborough, Littleton, Lone Tree, Centennial, Highlands Ranch, Castle Pines, Castle Rock, Ken Caryl, and surrounding SW metro communities.


 

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