After putting up with her outdated, ‘70s-style hall bathroom for five years, Karen Gaul-Parry decided it was time for a renovation. To avoid the supply chain delays brought on by the pandemic, she took her time, making sure she had everything in place before demolition began last April.
“The bathroom had a big Jacuzzi tub in it but no shower,” said Gaul-Parry, who lives in Doylestown. “Now that I have an 11-year-old that wants to shower all the time, it was time to get rid of the tub.”
With the help of architect Cara Smith, Mershon Builders and designer Michelle Schaffel of Inspired By Design, she created a 75-square-foot modern bathroom, perfect for her two boys (another son is 8) but also a comfortable oasis for herself.
“I’m the only girl in the house, so my favorite feature is the vanity with the light-up mirror,” said Gaul-Parry, who didn’t have space to fit one into her primary bathroom. “It lights up when you touch it, you can dim it, and it’s anti-fog so it’s always warm.”
Aiming for a classic look, she chose white quartz countertops, custom-made natural ash-stained cabinets, white subway tile with a wavy pattern, a white tile floor with gray veins and black fixtures. She installed floors with radiant heat, replaced the oversize window with one much smaller, added a modern pocket door, and installed Delta pull-down faucets so the boys could rinse out their sinks.
The project cost about $38,000.
Bathroom makeovers were popular this year, with more than a quarter of renovating homeowners taking them on, according to the 2022 U.S. Houzz & Home Study, which surveyed about 70,000 respondents. Almost half wanted to update the style, while a third said their older bathrooms were deteriorating.
“The median spend for primary bathroom projects increased nearly 13% to $9,000,” said Marine Sargsyan, Houzz staff economist. “Projects in the top 10% of spend jumped by 17% to a median spend of $35,000. While the cost of products and materials has increased due to factors like inflation and supply chain disruptions, homeowners are continuing to invest in improving their homes.”
The study found that more than three-quarters of homeowners upgraded their vanity cabinets during a primary bathroom renovation, making it a focal point in many spaces. It’s a part of the bathroom where style meets beauty, Sargsyan said. Top features for upgraded vanities include soft-close drawers and doors, built-in electrical outlets, and built-in drawer organizers.
Before investing in a new bathroom, make sure you have a strong sense of who will be using it and in what capacity, said Michelle Schaffel, owner and lead interior decorator of Inspired by Design, in Huntingdon Valley.
“Do you need a bathtub for children, or do you want a soaker tub for yourself?” she said. “Do you need a separate toilet room, double sinks, storage? How much space do you have to work with? Evaluate your needs and then once you get a better idea, you can have fun selecting all the elements to create a functional, beautiful space.”
Most of her clients request double sinks, lots of storage space, easy-to-clean surfaces, and light and bright spaces.
Many bathroom renovations include high tech, according to the Houzz study. Home system projects include ventilation upgrades and heating installations such as radiant heating and tankless water heaters. Nearly two in five homeowners added high-tech features to their toilets, with notable increases in bidets, self-cleaning elements, heated seats, and built-in night-lights.
Renovators are enlarging their showers, often creating smart showers that can set the water temperature, flow rate, offer aromatherapy, and play music from your cellphone. TVs remain popular in bathrooms, often hidden within the vanity mirror.
“TVs will always have a place in the bathroom for those who want it, but there are others who want a more Zen vibe,” said Rhonda Sacks, of Rhonda Sacks Interiors in Wayne.
While freestanding soaker tubs remain popular, Sacks has also seen a greater interest in tubs with a deck, with space for soap, candles or a glass of wine.
The Houzz study found that a quarter of respondents chose a transitional style, which pairs the classic, time-tested appeal of a traditional look with the clean silhouettes and understated color palette of contemporary style.
“By avoiding the extremes of either style — like the elaborate scrolling and embellishments of traditional style or the most cutting-edge contemporary pieces — transitional style walks an elegant line between the two while carving its own distinct niche,” Sargsyan said.
White is still very popular for bathrooms for its clean, fresh look. While deep blue, gray and green shades with contrasting gold hardware have been popular for vanities, Schaffel doesn’t see the trend lasting. Black is popular now in hardware.
When planning a bathroom renovation, allow yourself plenty of time: 7.4 months for planning, plus 3.7 months on average for construction for primary bathrooms, according to Houzz.
For other bathrooms in the home, planning takes 6.8 months, on average, and construction takes an average of 3.5 months.
Although some items can take five months or more to get, certain manufacturers have shorter lead times and semi-custom items may come more quickly, Sacks said. When renovating a kitchen and bathroom at the same time, it may be quicker to get a kitchen cabinet that can be used in the bathroom.
“I started working on the project a year prior to be sure I had everything in,” said Gaul-Parry.