Top 5+ Bathroom Remodeling Requests On Cape Cod

We remodel a lot of bathrooms here on Cape Cod and that provides us some insight in to what homeowners want when they remodel. Below are the top 5+ requests from Cape Cod homeowners who are looking to improve their bathrooms.

bathroom31. Bead Board Wainscot: This is a timeless look that when done right lends an air of elegance to a bathing space. Notice the emphasize on done right? I've seen far too many bathrooms with cheap bead board paneling from the big box stores slapped up on the walls and finished with a flimsy molding. To be blunt, it's cheap to install...and looks it. We use a product made by Nantucket Beadboard for our wainscot. (At some point in the future, I will put up a post about installing and finishing beadboard.)

2. Pocket Doors: I personally love pocket doors. In my dream home paid for by the shares I own in Facebook*, I would make just about every door into a room a pocket door topped by a transom window. (To do this requires 10' ceilings.) I really like how you can slide a door out of sight, as it makes a room seem larger and more open especially in a bathroom that is tight for space. Some people don't like pocket doors as they have had problems with them and I cannot blame them, as I have seen some atrocious installs over the years. And yet, pocket doors can be be trouble free if done right. The secret is patience and taking the time to plumb and level the door at installation and using ALL of the hardware supplied by the frame manufacturer.

Cost: Professionally installed beadboard, capped with trim and baseboard  will add $1200-$1500 to a typical bathroom remodel. (Finish painting is not included in the above figure.) 

* I don't own any shares in Facebook. Although I wish I did!

3. Tall Everything: The days of stooping over and brushing your teeth at a 24" high sink are over. Just about every vanity we have installed in the last few years, finishes between 34" and 36" in height. Much more comfortable for many users. Toilets are also available in what is now known as comfort height. (AKA. chair height.) We also install shower controls and shower heads at a tall height for ease of use. One thing I usually do at the planning stage is to ask my clients to share with me, what heights would be comfortable for them. This small request can make a big difference when they start using their newly remodeled bathroom.

Cost: Upgrading to tall everything usually costs 15% or more over standard height items.

4. Tubs into Showers: Many of our projects involve converting a tub into a showering space. This is an increasing trend as many homeowners are electing to stay put and make their house on Cape Cod, a "Forever home." In doing so, many homeowners are looking at how to create one level living by having all of the main rooms on the same level. (Usually the first floor.) Often times, we replace the 5' foot tub with a step in shower of the same length and width thus creating an easily accessible, safer and spacious showering space.

Note. Converting a tub to a shower on the 2nd floor is rare because the Massachusetts building code requires upgrading the existing 1-1/2" drain line to 2" drain line for a new shower install. This often requires opening up a significant portion of the floor to locate and tie into the main drain. Thus can be pricey.

Cost:Professionally installed tub to shower replacement including new controls, shower head, etc. and repairing the walls around the unit, usually start at about $3100. (First floor only.)

5. Tile and Glass: Along with converting the tub to a shower, we're seeing more tile shower surrounds and clear frameless glass doors. The tile will often have a decorative element and many projects will have the tile all the way up to the ceiling as well as on the ceiling. One suggestion we make, is to have a solid surface or cast iron base rather then tile for a cleaner look and to provide for easier cleaning. The glass doors which can be bypass or swinging doors allow you to see the tile work and adds a rich elegance to the bathroom. We often specify the 3/8" or 1/2" thick glass, especially for the bypass doors as the thinner glass rattles when you slide it from side to side.

Cost:Professionally installed shower surrounds with tile and glass. Usually the most expensive part of any bathroom remodel. $8,000 and up.

+. Laundry Center: We have had quite a few bathroom remodels that istackable-washer-dryernvolve taking a space within the bathroom or from an adjacent room or closet and converting it to a Laundry Center. Because of space constraints. Most of them require the use of a stacked washer/dryer instead of a conventional side by side washer/dryer. Creating this space, added significantly to the cost of the bathroom remodel and yet, every client we have done it for, has said it was well worth it! Cost:Hard to pin down as many factors involved. $1800 for a basic relocation to $4500+ for a complex install. Does not include stacked unit which can run $1200 to $4500.

There you have it, the top five+ requests for features in a bathroom remodel from your fellow Cape Cod homeowners. It's my experience that any bathroom that has any or all of the features above makes the overall project far more worthwhile!

If you have any questions about the projects noted above, send me an email to

Remodeling Costs On Cape Cod

We frequently get inquiries about the cost of remodeling projects here on Cape Cod. Given that every house, project and homeowner is different, it can be challenging to provide a specific number without going through the process of looking at every aspect of a project which is time consuming. Design, selecting products and fixtures, calling suppliers and trade partners. Which can on average take about 8-12 hours on a small bath remodel!

Enter Remodeling Magazine , which is one of the best trade magazines for Remodelers and for the last 23 years, has undertaken the research, leg work and math on an annual basis on the costs of a wide range of projects. Below are some examples of projects that we extracted from their data. These are similar to projects that @design REMODEL has completed for clients across Cape Cod.

1. Basement Remodel  $66,675 2. Bathroom Addition  $40,753 3.Bathroom Remodel  $17,460 4.Minor Kitchen Remodel  $19,885 5.Major Kitchen Remodel  $58,982

For the most part, we have found that the project costs compiled by Remodeling Magazine are consistent with what we and others in the market are charging. While there is variation from project to project, the averages are right in line with reality.

In many ways, the costs of remodeling have followed a similar trajectory of the cost of purchasing a new car or truck. Costs have escalated as manufacturers add new features, use new materials and add higher labor costs, research and development and regulatory compliance, it all adds up!

It's not all unusual for a new fully loaded SUV to cost upwards of $60K much like the Major Kitchen remodel listed above at about $59K. Yet, after 5 years, most vehicles are heavily depreciated and you are ready for a new one. The kitchen on the other hand, is only one quarter into it's life expectancy of 20 years!

Note: The costs above are averages for New England and are for projects considered "midrange" in scope and cost.

“© 2011 Hanley Wood, LLC. Complete data from the Remodeling 2011–12 Cost vs. Value Report can be downloaded free at

Bathroom Remodeling: Layouts That Work

Here is a link to a nice article about bathroom layouts that work. Some good tips on improving the cramped spaces that are downfall of many a bathroom. I would suggest however that all of the layouts shown, could be dramatically improved by changing the entry door to the bathroom to a pocket door if the budget and structural considerations will allow it.

We have suggested to many of our clients that they install a pocket door and WOW! What a difference it makes!