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

Ten Tips For A Better Bathroom

Everyone loves a good top ten list! Read on and enjoy our “Must Do” for bathroom remodeling, Pocket Door 1. Install a Pocket Door. Most bathrooms are so small that doors can sometimes make them even smaller. Converting the swing door into a pocket door always opens up the space visually as well as physically. Warning: Pocket doors should always be installed by a professional as the installation often involves dealing with structural components of your home.

2. Venting? Always, always, always ensure your bathroom is properly vented. Many homes lack venting in the bathroom, resulting in black spoor-like stuff growing from the ceiling. Also many homes have undersized fans that often sound like an F15 on a takeoff roll. When it comes to venting, our favorite is a remote fan with light. The fan motor is installed in a location away from the bathroom many times in the attic, which reduces significantly the noise you will hear when the fan is on. This style of fan will have a 6″ grill in the ceiling which in the center, has a small halogen light that you control with a dimmer. The actual fan is controlled by a timer with push button presets ranging from 10 minutes to 60 minutes.

3. Comfort Height Toilets are just so much better! Comfort height or chair height toilets are much more comfortable for users. They are about 2″ taller then the old standard. If you have young children, you may want to have one toilet in your home that is at the lower height.

Beadboard 4. Painted Beadboard lends an elegance and look to a bathroom that is classic and clean. For a long time, I did not like beadboard in a bathroom. Why? Because beadboard usually consisted of 1×6 pine milled with a tongue and grove and beaded on the edges and center. As the beadboard was wood, it was subject to moisture changes. The nice tight paint job looked great until the heating season when the beadboard shrank and showed cracking in the paint. The beadboard would look awful until the humidity of summer rolled around.

Enter stage right, a product made by Nantucket Beadboard Company in the form of 4′ x 8′ and larger sheets of bead-board. Manufactured from premium medium density fiberboard, the sheet beadboard is much more dimensionally stable and less prone to movement. ie a tighter paint job. We also like it because it installs much faster then the piece by piece method of wood strips. If you want to install the beadboard in your bathroom, make sure you purchase the moisture resistant grade rather then the standard grade.

5. Heated Floors. Quick Quiz. Can you name the healthiest, safest kind of heating system? If you said radiant heat, give yourself an A! Yes, we’re big fans of radiant heat, especially in the bathroom. Nothing beats stepping out of a shower onto heated tile on a cold winters morning. Our preferred brand of radiant heat is Warmly Yours. They have a system that is well thought-out and easy to install. The running costs of radiant are minimal for a small area such as a bathroom. AD ALERT: With every complete bathroom remodel, we will supply and install at no charge a complete underfloor heating system!(10/11 This promotion has expired.) Call or email for more information. To find out more about radiant heating visit

6. Handheld Shower. One feature we suggest to clients who are upgrading, is to include a handheld shower in addition to the standard shower head. Handhelds are more flexible then a fixed shower head and allow you to do everything from bathing the dog to cleaning the tub or shower, as you can put water where you need it.Very Important: Be sure to install a handheld shower system that has a wall mounter diverter. We have found the diverter that is mounted into the fixed shower head, is either too hard to use or too high. One system we often install is made here in America by Symmons. (Symmons.Com)

Crown_Point_Vanity7. Taller Vanities. Like the toilets we mentioned above, vanities have grown up which is a godsend to those who spent many a time stooped over at sinks designed for the vertically challenged! The taller height is more comfortable to use. Don’t forget however, to have a stepstool handy for the little un’s.

8. Flow in Sink. Is a type of sink you can have with a solid surface product such as Corian or Swanstone. The countertop material flows into the bottom of the sink creating a seamless bowl making for easy cleaning.

9. Hooks. Sometimes towel bars can be just too fussy and formal. Big hooks to hang towels allow you to hang and run and you have more hanging space. Some we have used, can be found at Be sure to use the large ones to allow towels to hang freely so they may dry.

10. Creative Storage. One example is recessing mirrored cabinets in locations other then over the sink. Another is creating a space for a 20″ wide and 24″ deep linen cabinet when we have removed a 60″ tub and replaced it with a 36″ shower. One trick we have done in the past, is to recess a cabinet into closet of an adjacent room keeping the face frame of the cabinet flush with the bathroom wall.