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Monday, October 14, 2013

You Don't Have To Spend A Lot Of Money

It seems that many of our recent newsletters have been about expensive projects, like bathroom remodels and pricey updates to you home.  Not every project has to cost a lot of money; there are many things you can do around your house that are well within even the smallest budget.  For example, you can for:

Less than $100
~~update the paint in a room (or multiple rooms)
~~new bathroom accessories, like a new shower curtain and plush towels
~~new window treatments: inexpensive sheers, drapes, valances
~~reupholster your dining room chairs (this is an easy do-it-yourself project)
~~enjoy the outdoors with a new chiminea or patio fire pit
~~splurge on new small kitchen appliances like a coffeemaker, toaster oven, or electric skillet.  Today's models take up less space and do much more than older models
~~new artwork or wall mirror
~~update your d├ęcor with a new tablecloth and runner, placemats if you use them
~~new bedspread and shams (and don't we all need new pillows!)
 ~~rent a pressure washer and make the exterior of your house and your deck look brand new

Less than $500
~~new gas logs for your fireplace
~~purchase a room-sized area rug.  If your carpet is worn out and stained, a new rug is much less money than new carpet
~~if you have boring recessed lights in your dining and living rooms, consider replacing one of the room's lights with an eye-catching chandelier. Home stores offer a wide range of inexpensive, but nice-looking, ceiling fixtures these days
~~for a few hundred dollars, you can replace the kitchen faucet set, add new cabinet door handles and update old lighting fixtures with brighter, more energy-efficient ones
~~upgrading to a new toilet in a bathroom is a valuable addition for not a lot of money.  Some municipalities even give you a rebate for replacing an old toilet with a new water saving model
~~update your closets with new rods and shelves

Less than $1000
~~a new front door
~~new stone backsplash in your kitchen
~~replace an appliance or two
~~a comfortable new sofa or recliner for the family room
~~recarpet your staircase.  Patterned carpets are great for a staircase---the print hides stains and wear, and is a wow factor in your highly visible stairwell

Less than $1500
~~replacing your garage door boosts curb appeal and improves a significant portion of the front of your home for little money
~~new wrought iron balusters for your staircase
~~sleep better with a new mattress set
~~new carpet and pad for the family room

Less than $2500
~~if you have a small kitchen, new granite or quartz countertops
~~replace the carpet on your staircase with real hardwood stair treads and risers
~~new carpet and padding for your bedrooms
~~new hardwood floor for your family room or kitchen

National Karastan Month
If new carpet is on your list of "things to get done before the holidays" you will be happy to know it is National Karastan Month.   All Karastan carpets are eligible for 24 Month Zero Interest Financing plus you will receive a rebate up to $1000 on your purchase.  Come in today and see our large selection of Karastan carpets and live beautifully!

Word to the Wise
We just got a call from a panicked appliance repair company.  Their technician had moved the refrigerator in a client's home and had scratched the hardwood floors.  And of course there is no easy (cheap) solution to this type of damage.  Please...... when it is necessary to move your refrigerator (or anything else really heavy) first place protective floor mats (bed sheets will also work) over your hardwood floors along the path you'll be using.  Then lay quarter-inch plywood over the protective floor mats.  Place the refrigerator onto an appliance dolly.  Strap the appliance to the dolly and roll the refrigerator over the protective mats and plywood sheets.  These extra steps will definitely save you an expensive repair or the replacement of your hardwood floors!

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Dreaming Of A New Bathroom?

Are you considering a bathroom update?  Maybe you are tired of the dated look and fixtures that were popular when your home was built years and years ago, or you want to make your bathroom more functional and practical, or you want a spa-like retreat where you can relax and unwind.  Sometimes our clients remodel because they have a leak, and walls need to be torn out for the repair, so why not upgrade the bath at the same time.  Or maybe you are putting your house on the market soon, and you know that updated bathrooms have one of the highest returns on investment (93%) when the house sells.

Regardless of your situation, many of us want a new bathroom, but we don't know where to start.  We have compiled a list of the most common questions our clients have about bathroom remodels to assist you in planning the bathroom you've been waiting for.  Hope this helps!

1.What are some of the bathroom design trends?
  • Large tile.  We rarely see the traditional 4" x 4" bathroom tiles used anymore.  Look for tiles at least 12 x 12 or 13 x 13.  Rectangular shapes (for example 12 x 24) are being used on the walls, sometimes installed vertically, sometimes horizontally.  Texture and shade variation is also very much on trend.
  • For color, neutrals are the top color schemes used in bathrooms: whites, off-whites, beiges and bones. Grays and then browns are next in popularity. Sepia tones (reddish brown) and golds are also popular.
  • Large, walk-in showers are very desirable. They can have a rainfall showerhead that is mounted into the ceiling over the center of the shower. They may also include multiple body jets spaced along each side wall.
  • Spa-themed bathrooms with whirlpool or soaking tubs. Some issues to consider when choosing a whirlpool tub for your spa bathroom include how many jets you want, what space the tub needs to fit into, and that these types of bathtubs are about five to ten times more expensive than a traditional tub. If you have room, it's nice to put the whirlpool in a small, recessed alcove or on a raised platform to separate it from the rest of the bathroom.
  • Larger vanities with double sinks.  A standard double vanity is sixty inches long; we are seeing more clients make space for a seventy-two inch vanity.   If you're willing to spend a little extra for custom work, you can have any length (and shape) that you want.
  • If you have to share your retreat, you may want a toilet that is separated by a half-wall, or even its own tiny room.
  • Today's lighting options include chandeliers instead of standard overhead light fixtures, wall sconces, can lights installed in the ceiling with dimmer switches, and an overhead light source in the shower.
  • Plenty of cabinet space and shelving.
  • Plumbing fixtures that are practical as well as beautiful. Brushed stainless steel and nickel fixtures blend in with almost any type of decorating, and are subdued enough to avoid drawing attention.
2. How do I know what I want my bathroom to look like?
This is either the fun or the agonizing part of the process.  We recommend websites like Pinterest and Houzz where you can see literally thousands of pictures of bathrooms.  You can create boards and idea books of the bathrooms that you like.  Vendor websites, new subdivision model homes, and manufacturer showrooms (Ferguson, PDI, etc.) are also great sources for ideas.  We are here to assist you every step of the way, however, most of the design decisions are truly personal preference.  And remember a picture is worth a thousand words----if we can see it, we can help you find it!
Click below to see our favorite designs!
       3.What types of tiles can I use in my bathroom remodel?

Ceramic and porcelain tiles are the most popular type of bathroom tile. Most are economical, durable and come in an enormous variety of colors and styles.  There are many choices of   floor tile, coordinating or contrasting wall tile, and borders and mosaics.Natural stone (travertine, marble, etc.) is also a popular choice (but expensive!)  as a bathroom tile. While marble has always been a favorite for creating a distinctive vanity top, many home owners are now using stone tiles on their bathroom floors and walls, creating a sumptuous home spa look in the bathroom.  Be aware that natural stone requires special maintenance products and periodic sealing.
4.How long will the job take?

Bathroom remodels can take as little as one week and as long as three weeks.  The complexity of the tear out, installation details and size of the bathroom are all things that effect the range of time you can expect your bathroom makeover to take.  

5.Will I be able to use my bathroom during the remodel?

No, the bathroom should be considered off limits for the entire time of the installation.

6.I want to have my tub removed and have a bigger shower.  What do you think about that?

This is definitely a trend we are seeing.  Some people feel that a shower is easier and safer to get into and out of as we age.  Bathroom designers and realtors tend to agree that removing the bathtub is acceptable as long as there is at least one tub remaining in the home.  A prospective home buyer usually wants a bathtub somewhere in the house. 

7.What is the process?

An Enhance Design Consultant will meet with you in the showroom to discuss the scope of your project.   We will assist you in our Design Center with tile selection and will schedule appointments for you to visit our vendor partners for fixture and hardware selection.  Next an Estimator will come to your home and your quotation will be prepared.  Once all the details are finalized you are well on the way to making your dream bathroom a reality!

8.What is a frameless shower door?

A frameless shower enclosure is made up of 3/8" to 1/2" tempered and polished safety glass. This glass has greater strength and does not require heavy metal framing around it. Expect to pay $1,300--$2,000 for your frameless glass door.

9.What is the cost of a shower niche and bench?

Shower benches range from about $325-400.  A shower niche can range from $150-200.

10. I want my shower to have a flat entrance.  Is that possible?

Yes.  It is called a curbless shower.  A curbless shower is one that has a consistently level entrance, with no lip or change in elevation from the outside to the inside. There are some installation details that must be taken into consideration for a curbless shower that will add to the cost of your project.

11. How much does a bathroom remodel cost?

        In 2012 a major bathroom remodel cost an average of $26,052.  An industry             average price   per square foot for a professionally done bathroom remodel                 ranges $175 to $225 per square foot on the low end and over $600 per square           foot for a luxury bathroom. For a 5 x 8 bathroom (40 square feet) that is a
        range of $7,000 to $24,000. 

Why such a big range?  Because there are many components to a bathroom remodel, and each item has a wide range in quality and price.   For example, a toilet can cost $100 or over $5,000, tub prices range between $125 to over $10,000, and even something "simple" like shower heads vary from $5 to $10,000. 

12. How much is the shower here in your showroom?

The shower in our Design Center as you see it is approximately $3500 to $4000 installed.  This includes the porcelain tile, decorative border, "river rock" shower floor, shower niche, backer board, new pan and liner, and the required waterproofing.  (This design does not feature a glass door.)

13 . What do I need to purchase?

Normally our clients provide the fixtures (toilet, tub) and hardware (showerheads, faucets, and drains), mirrors, medicine cabinets, towel bars, and toilet paper holders.  Other items that you may choose to provide are the vanity, sinks, and storage cabinets or shelves.   We can provide the countertop and sinks if not included with your vanity.  Enhance provides the installation labor, as well plumbing, electrical, shower doors, and painting.  This list is not totally encompassing, but should give you a good idea of what else you will need to shop for.  (Note:  we cannot begin the demolition of your bathroom until all of the materials that you are providing are on the job site.)

14.What can I expect different items to cost?

The NKBA breaks down bathroom remodeling costs like this:
·  Installation: 20%
·  Cabinetry and hardware: 16%
·  Fixtures: 15%
·  Faucets and plumbing: 14%
·  Flooring: 9%
·  Countertops: 7%
·  Walls and ceilings: 5%
·  Lighting and ventilation: 5%
·  Design fees: 4%
·  Doors and windows: 4%
·  Other: 1%

These figures are guidelines, not rules, and each project is different. Using these percentages and a bathroom remodel budget of $20,000 you will spend by category:
Installation (labor) $4000
Cabinetry and hardware $3200
Fixtures $3000
Faucets and plumbing $2800
Flooring $1800
Countertops $1400
Lighting and ventilation $1000
Walls and ceilings $1000
All other $1800

Also set aside a minimum of 10% of the budget as a contingency fund (in case of unforeseen structural problems, for example.)