10 Ways to Prep Your Home for a Fruitful Chicago Spring

Chicago home remodeling

Breathe in, breathe out. The sun is starting to peak out at least once a week, and we all know what that means. It means Chicago spring is peeking behind the shadows! There’s nothing more enthralling than watching the trees regain life all around the city and seeing the flowers bloom. You can feel Chicagoans reeling with anticipation over the impending gorgeous weather (the tourists will be landing at O’Hare soon). With that being said, one starts to wonder: how can we refresh our spaces to ring in the new season blooming all around us?

Chicago home remodeling

  1. Refresh Your Fabrics

We can liven up our space by changing out darker colors for lighter, more neutral hues. Bright and bold colors are in, and just in time for spring! It’s time to pack up that winter decor. Switching out linens, pillows, curtains, or even accents at least once a year will make your home feel like new. Think of it in a similar vein as packing away your winter coats and bringing out your favorite pairs of summer shorts.

  1. Change Up Your Space

Rearranging even one room in your home always invites positive, new energy! We get so used to the way our spaces are set up, and there is comfort in this familiarity. However, seeing the same setup in your home day after day (especially being trapped inside during quarantine), can become monotonous, stale, and mundane. When was the last time you did a full walk-through of your space? Take a moment and examine each area of your home. Do all your rooms flow well? Are your bookshelves, pantry, and workspaces organized for maximum efficiency? “Marie Kondoing” your space might bring some newfound inspiration.

  1. Plants, Plants, & more Plants!

Bringing greenery into your home adds both life and fresh air. As the trees outside our windows sprout new life, bringing the color indoors naturally makes the eye travel toward windows. Adding plants with vertical height will draw the eye upward toward the ceilings of your home. These details will make your space feel more expansive overall. If you are anything like me and you didn’t inherit a green thumb, here is a list of some low-maintenance indoor plants that aren’t so dramatic: snake plants, cacti (and most other succulents), ferns, aloe, pothos, etc. Don’t forget the centerpiece floral arrangement!

  1. Add “Springy” Scents

Changing out your candles, diffusers, and room sprays from winter scents (i.e. pumpkin spice, anything coffee or pastry-related, cinnamon, etc.) to a lighter scent (anything fruity, floral, or tropical) will add an inviting flair to your home. A pleasant smell is not only an immediate mood-booster, but it’s also an inexpensive way to add a touch of luxury to your space. One of my favorite scents is Mahogany Teakwood because it’s so rich and earthy.

  1. Switch Your Ceiling Fans

If you have ceiling fans in your home, you may not know that most models have a switch that changes the rotation of the air. It is usually a small black switch located on the base of the ceiling fan. In the winter months, your ceiling fan should be rotating clockwise for a warmer space. In the spring, switching the rotation counterclockwise will push air down toward you, making your home cooler (and saving you money on your electric bill). While we’re on the topic of air circulation, if you suffer from spring allergies, investing in an air purifier can be a small price to pay for improving your quality of life.

  1. Invest in Outdoor Furniture

Let’s be candid: no one is interested in sitting outside for prolonged periods of time during the Chicago winter unless absolutely necessary. If you are fortunate enough to have outdoor space, now is the time to take full advantage of it. Invest in some quality, comfortable furniture for your patio, deck, or yard for both you and your company to enjoy. Give your friends and family a place to relax and unwind while soaking up some vitamin D! You can bring extra flair to your space by adding some nice ambient lighting or a firepit if you have the room. This is a great option to make your spring and summer nights both scenic and picturesque.

Chicago deck remodeling

  1. Spray for Insects

Now is the perfect time to spray the interior and exterior of your home for those pesky bugs that come out to play in the sun. During the winter smaller bugs usually die off, and only the strong survive. Spraying at the beginning of the season shift will stop these bugs from reproducing and becoming such a headache in the coming months. Hiring a pest control specialist could also be a viable option that will pay off year-round.

  1. Boost Curb Appeal

The skies are bright and clear – which means we can see everything! Give your yard some TLC. Go ahead and plant those flowers, put those bags of salt away, pressure wash that exterior, and clean out those gutters. The exterior of your home withstood some harsh weather over the past several months. It deserves a little spring facelift, and your neighbors will surely be grateful for your efforts. Upgrading your exterior (replacing windows, siding, shutters, garage doors, etc.) can give you anywhere between a 70-96% return on investment. That’s a lot of bang for your buck! First impressions, aka curb appeal, are crucial when taking property value into account.

Chicago exterior remodeling

  1. Spring Cleaning

The much-dreaded but very necessary step to getting your home ready for the warm weather is spring cleaning. Now is the time to donate those clothes, clean out those cabinets, detail those baseboards, etc. A detail that many often overlook is having outdoor trash bins detailed. Let’s not even think about how germy they might be! Spring cleaning is a crucial step toward not only giving your home the fresh start it deserves but that YOU deserve.

  1. Home Projects

If you’ve been in the market for a home remodel, there’s no time like the present. Since it’s much easier to get out of the house during the spring/summer seasons, now is the opportune time to renovate those rooms that you’ve been dying to refresh. Schedule your consultation with us today by contacting us here or by calling us at 773-610-4551. Let us make your dream home a reality!

Why the Size of Your Project Doesn’t Always Dictate the Cost

Chicago general contractors

Chicago general contractors

Many times, we receive inquiries for smaller-sized projects like bathrooms and powder rooms that the potential client claims “won’t be too expensive”. While it is a smaller space that is being remodeled, the square footage does not always dictate the price of the project. Let’s take a deep dive into some of the fixed costs that come with a remodel no matter the scope of the work being done.

When researching and preparing to renovate your home, you will discover two different pricing methods from design-builders and contractors: fixed pricing and variable pricing. While there are both advantages and drawbacks to both types of pricing, it’s important to know the difference, especially so that you’re able to stay within your budget and avoid unexpected costs that place you beyond your means.

 

Fixed pricing, when it comes to home renovations, generally means “lump sum” within a contract. This type of bid guarantees that a specific amount of work will be accomplished for a specific price, unless, of course, work is added, subtracted, or changed. At Areté, we typically operate under a fixed pricing contract unless changes are necessary to the project. If anything changes along the way, we must complete a change order and charge whatever the difference may be for the additional items necessary for the remodel.

Advantages of the fixed pricing method include:

  1. Clear and accurate total price for the project. (Surprises and unexpected expenses due to small changes almost always happen in home renovation projects, but a fixed price contract should remain relatively close to an estimated price without any option changes from the design-builder).
  2. Timeline incentives. In this type of work, it is to the contractor’s advantage to get the work done in a timely manner so to free up labor to move on to the next project.
  3. Easy bid comparisons. If you’re comparing apples to apples with a fixed price, it’s much easier to compare multiple bids before deciding on a contractor to complete the job.
  4. Easier lending. Banks are typically more likely to lend money for a reno project based on a fixed pricing contract.

Variable pricing, on the other hand, means that the design-builder charges for the work completed using a margin, which can vary between 10%-15% for labor on top of the cost of materials. When projecting the overall cost for a project priced in this manner, the contractor may provide an estimate upfront to serve as a guideline, but the bottom line will depend on the market cost for materials and may require quite a bit of re-bargaining if any sort of changes are made to your design and construction plans.

That said, there are quite a few advantages to the variable pricing method:

  1. Fewer consultant costs and delays. Because the pricing is based on the current market, there is no need to make as many decisions regarding the details before you start. Things can begin a little faster and pricing is more “fluid.” Calculating the overall cost can be a little easier in this method as well. Simply put, the cost equates to materials plus margin. That’s it.
  2. Less cost overall. Contractors using the fixed pricing method often include a margin in the lump sum contract anyway, so the variable or “cost-plus” method option may provide a little bit more transparency about these margins.
  3. If for some reason the builder is unable to complete the project, you’ve only paid for the work completed and can more easily switch over to a different contractor at any point in the job.

While both methods can be advantageous to the homeowner, based on your personality, you may be able to see more disadvantages in one method over the other. If you’re more comfortable knowing upfront what your costs are going to be, perhaps a fixed pricing contract is for you. However, if you’re a little more fickle and know your preferences may change over the course of the project, perhaps you’ll prefer to discuss variable pricing.

Now knowing all of this information, it’s important to take into consideration what this means for smaller projects. Just because your bathroom has a smaller square footage doesn’t mean the renovations are going to be cheaper based on the principles of a fixed-cost contract. The reasoning for this is that every bathroom, no matter the size, needs a toilet, sink, and shower/tub. Lighting fixtures, hardware, vanities, and other necessities are also integral aspects of any bathroom design.

You may save on tiles, but that’s about it. The same practices are used for design and labor no matter the scope of the project. A smaller bathroom project could be completed quicker depending on the intricacy of the design, but for the most part, do not expect a drastically cheaper price for a small room remodel.

Discuss Your Project With Our Chicago General Contractors

Arete’ Renovators has been a licensed General Contractor in the Chicago area since 2001 and has worked on numerous projects large and small throughout Chicagoland. Call us at 773-610-4551 to discuss your project.

Remodeling and the Importance of Photography and Staging

Chicago living room remodel

How Do You Shoot An Ongoing Project?

If Arete is starting on a big remodel project, we’ll start with taking before photos. Then we stop by while the remodel is in progress and take in-progress photos. We’re in constant contact with the project coordinator for projects so we’re all on the same page. Once it’s time for final photos of the remodel, the project coordinator lets us know, we reach out to the client, and then schedule a time for final photos.

Chicago living room remodeling

At The Beginning Of A Remodel, What Is The Focus Of A Photoshoot?

The focus is to capture the whole room being remodeled. In the beginning, we like to take plain and not quite detailed pictures of the whole area. This allows someone to see what the area looked like beforehand.

In-progress photos include our subcontractors doing actual remodeling work – like knocking something down or installing something. For final photos, we try to re-create the same angles that were originally shot, as well as capture specific details of faucets and handles that were installed for the client.

How Important Is It To Have Before And After Pictures Of A Remodel?

It’s extremely important because it not only shows what Arete’ can do, but it’s also a good way to showcase the products we offer. We like to take photos of specific details of products used. For example, if Arete uses a Brizo faucet, we can tag them on social media, and we can cross-market with them. It also lets prospective clients know we offer Brizo, as well as many other brands.

Photos help show our products in a functional space that’s lived in, versus on our showroom wall, alongside other faucets. We want our clients to be able to view the product in an actual setting and imagine what it could be like in their space.

Is It Important To Have A Digital Camera, Or Is A Cell Phone Ok To Take Pictures?

We frequently use a cell phone for remodeling photos. For example, if the space we’re photographing is too small and the camera’s lens can’t capture it all, we’ll use an iPhone 11 Pro with the wide angle. It helps capture the entire space that a traditional camera can’t. Phones are also a great way to capture the quality and sizes used in most common social media posts.

How Many Photos Of A Remodel Project Should You Take?

Definitely overshoot. On average, Arete will only use about 12 photos for a project. But to get those 12 photos, we’ll shoot between 60 to 100 photos of the remodel. It’s always better to be safe than sorry, so take as many photos as you can. You may not know you captured an interesting angle until you see the photos later on.

How Important Is Staging When It Comes To Showcasing A Remodeling Project?

Staging is very important because you want to make the final remodeled space look livable. We want people to see the possibilities of the space. If we’ve completed a kitchen remodel and the final result is a modern kitchen, we want to stage the kitchen with modern appliances, a coffeemaker, rugs, and hand towels. We’re also going to be consistent with an overall theme and color scheme. When a client’s space is not already staged with their own belongings, we use BoxBrownie to edit our photos and transform them. They use virtual staging by taking our original remodel photos and adding furniture or other items.

Staging helps give the area a lived-in feel and you can imagine living in the space. This is when photography and staging come together. When you’re taking photos, you must think about how staging will enhance the space you’re shooting. Sometimes a client has their own items that look nice, and we’ll use those items for staging purposes. Other times, we may leave the space empty and not stage it.

How Often Do You Add New Remolding Projects To Your Website?

After projects are finished, we discuss them and consider which ones we’ll add to our website. We actually have three projects we recently completed, and we will be putting them all on our website. We keep our content fresh by adding it to the top of our Project tab and removing our oldest project at the bottom.

What Projects Are You Currently Photographing?

We are currently editing photos of a client we previously worked with when we remodeled their bathrooms. We recently remodeled their kitchen, however – there is a vent that is not pretty and we’re Photoshopping the vent out of the photo, which is a more difficult edit. Other difficult edits are removing reflections from hardwood floors and unnecessary wires. Other projects need simple edits like fixing colors with exposure and contrast. We like having bright photos, but also want them to have distinguished lights and darks without losing certain details.

Discuss Your Project With Our Chicago Home Remodelers

Arete’ Renovators has been a licensed General Contractor in the Chicago area since 2001 and has worked on numerous projects large and small throughout Chicagoland. Call us at 773-610-4551 to discuss your project.

The Importance of Social Media in the Remodeling Industry

Social Media Kitchen Remodel

Why is social media important for the remodeling industry?

At Areté, we have two sides – design and remodeling. Interior design seems to take precedence when it comes to social media because people want to see the finished product more so than the remodeling process. Instagram, TikTok, and Pinterest have really popularized interior designers and other creators that specialize in home design, and many people turn to those platforms for resources that will help them design their own homes. However, showcasing the remodeling side of projects can be just as fun as the interior design side. I try to do a good mix of both with our Instagram and Facebook pages.

Our main goal is to build a brand that’s identifiable within the Chicago market. It’s working because people are starting to recognize our logo, and we see people refer to photos on our website or Instagram page. We’re getting more clientele because they see our work on our social media channels.

Social Media Apps

What makes branding so important?

It’s important for clients to recognize your brand. You want to be consistent with your company’s logo, colors, fonts, slogans, and profile photos across all your social media channels. Scheduling posts also has a lot to do with brand awareness. When you are consistent with a schedule, your audience becomes familiar with seeing your posts and anticipate them. You want to be recognized and desired – that’s what branding is all about.

Areté’s branding is also reflected throughout our website. We like to use our social media posts to bring people back to our website. You want a post to tease the audience with a bit of information and have them click on a link back to your website to get the rest of the information and photos. It drives more traffic to our website where a potential client can click around and learn more about Areté, what types of projects we take on, and the different suppliers we have used. It also increases their chances of sending an inquiry.

How can social media be a powerful tool for advertising?

Areté utilizes Facebook ads more than GoogleAds as our primary source of social media advertisement, but both are great advertising tools. I found Facebook ads have greatly improved our lead generation and website traffic. However, a big part of being successful with Facebook ads is being able to budget properly and allocate enough resources into your ads to make people stop scrolling, click on your post to learn more, and take them back to your website.

Compared to Instagram or TikTok, Areté has found Facebook has more of the target audience we’re seeking, which is a luxury clientele. Currently, our audience for most of our Facebook ads is split between men and women who are aged between 45-55. Facebook ads help us pinpoint our demographic living in Chicago and the surrounding suburbs like Highland Park and Winnetka.

Is a company’s website just as important as any other social media?

Absolutely. If your website isn’t reflective of your business and the ideal outlook of your business, it’s a big setback for your company. Your social media can look beautiful and informative, but if a potential client clicks on a link back to your site that loads slowly, has few updated photos, and reads poorly – that’s a big turnoff, especially if you’re going to target a luxury clientele.

Social Media Kitchen Remodel

When trying to gain a social media following, what can a company do immediately to start that process?

Something easy and fast a company can do is get on a schedule with your content. Posting frequently on your social media pages around the same time each day shows that a company is up to date with trends and cares about showcasing its work to its followers. Social media algorithms thrive off of consistency, so maintaining a content calendar is key.

Other ways to gain a consistent social media following are by interacting with your followers, building a local community of connections, and receiving inspiration from other creators within your niche. If you see something is working for a creator that you look up to, study their strategy and try to mimic the same trends they use. You can also use trending audios with short video clips to push your content out to an even further audience. Social media trends move very quickly, so it’s important you stay up to date on what’s new so your followers enjoy your content.

What kind of trends do you see in social media for home remodeling?

Currently, video advertisements are really, really popular – and very effective. I think a lot of that has to do with the influence Tik Tok has brought to the social media industry. Something I’ve noticed with Instagram Reels and Facebook Watch now is that videos are getting shorter and shorter. Currently, the sweet spot for the length of a video on Tik Tok is around seven seconds or less – just because people have short attention spans and want to learn information quickly so they can move on to the next thing. If you don’t catch the consumer’s attention right away, they’ll just continue to scroll on by.

How important is using hashtags on social media posts?

Hashtag strategy is very important in the social media industry. Areté follows certain hashtags on our Instagram page, which makes it easier for us to view content that utilizes those hashtags. When you add hashtags and certain keywords to your posts, it’s more likely those posts will be pushed out to other pages following those specific hashtags, as well. It’s a great way to grow an audience.

It also falls in line with following creators who are in your niche. You see the ideas they are posting, and you may see yourself putting your own spin on it with your own projects. It’s good to keep up with your industry through hashtags. Audiences also use it as a search tool. If someone were to look up #Chicagoremodeling, they could very easily find one of Areté’s posts or videos.

Arete Instagram

What are Areté’s social media goals for this year?

We’re working on being an online educational tool for other professionals within our niche. We want to start making more informative posts about supply chain issues, pricing, interior design trends, and other topics that people we work with take an interest in. We are constantly looking for realtors, architects, and interior designers to connect with for referrals, and if these people look to our content as a reputable educational tool they can use, we could gain their trust and their business. I think social media is a fantastic tool to make those connections.

How important is Pinterest to the remodeling industry?

With interior design, Pinterest is huge. Interior designers love when clients come in with a mood board they created because it typically makes their decision-making process much easier. We currently don’t stay up to date on Pinterest as much as we should as a company, but our interior designers use it individually as a resource all of the time.

How important are sending out Electronic Newsletters?

They are very important when it comes to brand awareness and growing your circle of business. Areté sends out a monthly E-Newsletter to past clients, other contractors, interior designers, and likewise people in the remodeling world. It normally spotlights a recent project, features a testimonial, and gives updates on industry news in our area. You can really make it anything you want, and it does not have to be too long either. We prefer to keep ours around one to two pages.

Monthly E-Newsletters are a simple way of elevating your direct marketing. You can find templates online and fill them with any information you’d like. They allow you to directly reach clients you’ve worked with in the past, other professionals in the industry, and new clients. It’s just another great way to get your company’s name to pop up on someone’s phone screen and stay connected to your clientele.

Arete’ Renovators has been building and remodeling homes and condos in the Chicago area since 2002. Call us at 773-610-4551 to discuss your remodeling ideas.

Differences Between a Handyman and a General Contractor

Interior Design Trends

Interior Design Trends

How important is it to have your general contractor have licenses and certifications?

Having both gives an extra layer of protection to the homeowner. It gives them the guarantee that we were vetted by Cook County. And by that, I mean we submit applications, we have the proper insurance, and business is reviewed to make sure we’re financially stable. We are also regulated on the job cost we bid on, our knowledge of trade labor, and our insurance limits. Because of these regulations, a lot of buildings in Chicago require homeowners to only hire general contractors.

What are the differences between hiring a handyman and hiring a general contractor?

The biggest difference comes down to what we just discussed – licensing and certification. A general contractor needs them, and a handyman doesn’t. A handyman can get a business license. However, there is no regulation or certification that handyman has the skills they’re claiming to have.

Also, if a handyman is working by himself and has no employees, that handyman can be workers’ comp exempt, which Chicago buildings do not like. The concern for a handyman that doesn’t have workers’ compensation coverage, is – if they are working in a Chicago high rise and they get hurt in a common area – the hallway or lobby, they could seek compensation from the building’s insurance.

Why is it important that a general contractor has a specific focus, rather than knowledge in a lot of areas, as a handyman would?

A general contractor generally will have more knowledge of construction elements – like how a building is built and what’s located behind your walls, which is very important in order to educate the client on what’s possible and what issues they can expect when undergoing a remodel. On the other hand, a handyman’s knowledge is more surface-level and cosmetic. They know the difference between drywall and plaster, can undertake painting projects, repair hinges, and hang photos. But they may not know the required clearance between countertop and island or how to reroute HVAC and electrical when removing a non-load-bearing wall in a high rise. 

How can you help a client understand if their home improvement project requires a handyman or if a general contractor is needed?

We ask screening questions, which help us understand if we’re the right fit for your remodel. Those questions can include: Do you have in-depth plumbing or electrical work? Are you doing small updates, like painting cabinets or switching out a countertop? And most important is: What’s your budget?

We’re always open and honest with clients. If we’re not a good fit, we’ll tell a client we are out of their budget, or maybe their project is too small for us. If a client doesn’t have plumbing work or electrical work, or if they just want cosmetic updates, like swapping out a mirror, painting cabinets, changing hardware, we suggest a client goes with a handyman.

For condo owners, we’ll warn them to double-check that their building doesn’t require them to use a general contractor – even for the smaller work. If they are in single-family homes, they are usually free to use any contractor or handyman they choose. In the last year or so, Chicago buildings are getting very strict. We’ve discovered that most of the high rises along Lakeshore Drive are starting to require architectural drawings, or permitted drawings, for simple remodels. And they’re asking homeowners to hire general contractors versus a handyman unless your handyman has the insurance requirements and the licensing they want.

It’s smart for the condo buildings because they are regulating who’s coming and going from their buildings and ensuring that you’re maintaining property value and not having issues with a handyman performing work on common or shared plumbing or electrical, which could really be problematic for the rest of your building.

Chicago home office remodel

What are examples of work a handyman would do?

I always refer clients to a handyman if they’re looking to have bedrooms painted or need some light fixtures installed. Depending on budget, I’ll also suggest a handyman if a client is looking for a smaller update where they want to upgrade the bathroom but just replace the mirror, lighting, and tile.

For larger scale, full remodels of a kitchen, bathroom, or anything structural where you are going to move walls, use a general contractor. The same goes for home additions and exterior work like installing siding or doing tuckpointing – use a general contractor.

What are a building’s governing documents?

They are a printed book of regulations that govern all the rules of your multi-unit building and how it is to be managed and maintained. The governing documents detail leasing policies, pet allowances, how many occupants are permitted per unit, and what steps you need to follow for any architectural changes or interior unit changes. They are in place to respect your neighbors and preserve property values because you’re all living communally.

Each building will also have some sort of architectural or construction committee or board of directors that will review your remodel plans and approve or deny them. So even though you’re doing it on the inside of your home and it’s for your personal use – the board or committee still has a right to approve or deny the work you want to do.

Where does a homeowner find their building’s governing documents?

Most homeowners don’t know they already signed something like this upon purchasing the condo. When you buy a condo, the association is responsible for providing a copy ahead of the sale. You sign them, acknowledging you received a copy of the documents and have reviewed them. They’re usually 200+ pages and the majority of homeowners don’t read them until they have an issue. Every homeowner is given a copy and they also have full access to those documents through the building manager as well. These documents are specific for each building. A lot of it is general verbiage and follows the statute on requirements because they’re regulated by the state of Illinois.

Chicago living room remodel

What is the construction approval process?

Before I schedule an initial walkthrough with our estimator, I ask the client to get a copy of either their governing documents or any specific paperwork for construction approval. That way, we can review the requirements ahead of time, and then discuss any building requirements for remodeling during the walkthrough. Unfortunately, there’s no workaround for these building requirements. We want to be as proactive as possible. We don’t want to get into a situation where we’re underway on a remodel and we discover a client needs to provide architectural drawings for building approval. That can be a $2000+ oversight. 

The next step is for us to submit the building approval paperwork, along with licensing and insurance, and meet with their manager. The labor and material proposals detail the full scope of work, including the material selections they want to go with. Buildings usually set requirements on floor underlayment to make sure there’s a noise barrier for neighboring units. They will usually also regulate plumbing to make sure the correct material is being used (PVC, cast iron, copper, etc) and shutoff valves are installed. The building will always ask to be named as an additional insured on the general contractor’s policy, they will be strict about insurance limits, and some buildings will even ask for a bond.

The next step is waiting. Every building’s approval process is different. Some of them must run every application through the board of directors, others have the building manager review and approve. This process can take anywhere from a day to weeks. There are even some buildings that require the homeowner to submit paperwork and won’t speak to a general contractor, which complicates things because the homeowner doesn’t always know what they need to do, and they need help.

What happens during the remodeling process?

Once the project is underway, there are some project milestones where the building will send their engineer or maintenance person to inspect the work. Usually, the inspections revolve around plumbing, electrical, or sprinkler system work to make sure the work matches the building’s requirements before walls are closed.

Arete’ Renovators has been a licensed General Contractor in the Chicago area since 2001 and has worked on numerous projects large and small throughout Chicagoland. Call us at 773-610-4551 to discuss your project.

How We Designed an Abandoned Mansion with No Buyer

Chicago home remodeling

Sweet Like Candy

The Details:

Investment: $350,000-$500,000

Designer: Erin Gross of EGI Design Inc.

Developer: iCandy Realty

Photographer: Neil Sy Photography

Location: Glencoe, Illinois

This gorgeous home located in Chicago’s north shore gave Areté its first major remodeling challenge. The house stood empty for a while before Areté partnered with iCandy Realty to purchase and flip. Both parties were no strangers to flipping homes before, but this was their biggest project yet. Before this mansion was abandoned, it stood as a homeless shelter for veterans in the Glencoe area. Unfortunately, it was never brought up to city code and the approval to open the homeless shelter was never filed in the first place.

The city of Glencoe had to shut the place down and relocate the individuals who were living there to another facility. Because of this sudden shutdown, the house stood on the market for months and was priced well below its actual value. When iCandy and Areté scooped it up, they knew they had a great opportunity to make a substantial profit if they could figure out how to turn a closed-off homeless shelter into a single-family mansion.

The house had great bones, but everything needed to be torn out in order to properly turn this place into a homebuyer’s dream. With the help of iCandy’s development team and interior designer Erin Gross, Areté was able to open up the space and create a beautiful home that any family would be lucky to move into. When you first enter, there is a beautiful winding staircase that welcomes guests into a spacious open floor plan. Each room on the first floor flows freely with the help of white oak hardwood flooring.

A custom-designed wet bar connects the dining room to the kitchen. Gorgeous eggshell cabinets hide the fridge and dishwasher, making the dual ovens the star of the show. A home office is found upstairs with a custom-built desk and bookcase combination. The master bedroom is the real show stopper with a gorgeous fireplace, big windows, and a lovely reading nook adjacent to the space. The master bathroom is a jaw-dropper, too, with a porcelain stand-alone tub and a huge walk-in shower. Below, interior designer, Erin Gross, walks us through the decision-making process of this expansive house flip and how we were able to turn this abandoned shelter into a luxurious single-family home.

Tell me a bit about the design process that went into this project. Did you have a target client in mind when designing?

A lot of the home was divided up before because the veterans had their own spaces within the home. The layout needed to be redesigned, and iCandy Realty’s architect had much of that taken care of by the time I came in. iCandy is an investment firm that sells and flips high-end homes. With the new design complete, it was time to bring in an interior designer and renovation team to do the build-out.

At the time, I had just finished designing Areté’s new showroom. Davor (Areté Vice President) asked me if I would be interested in partnering with them for this project. He talked with me about the need to design for a high-end client which was right up my alley. I gave Areté and iCandy a quote, and we went from there.

What were the challenges of this project?

Not having a specific client to design for was a major challenge for me. In the past, I worked alongside my clients to choose what materials they wanted, any custom items they wanted to be incorporated into the space, and any other details that needed to be worked out. Designing a home with a target niche in mind instead of a certain person is really different. There’s lots of room for interpretation, but we can’t make anything too custom out of fear that it won’t sell quickly. Buyers want a blank canvas, not a home that was designed for someone else.

Another big challenge we had was figuring out what to do with a structural pole in the middle of one of the bedrooms. During the remodeling process, we figured out that we needed an extra support beam in the middle of a room to replace a wall that we had taken out. The architect did not account for this in the drawings, so we were stuck with a random pole in the middle of the space.

After some brainstorming, I had the idea to turn the room into a library. We built the millwork around the pole and installed custom cabinetry with a desk, book shelving, and storage. After it was all said and done, you couldn’t even tell there was a random pole in the middle of the room to begin with. It looked like we originally designated this space for a home library.

What parts were the most fun to design for you?

I absolutely loved designing the fireplaces in the living room and bedroom. The living room fireplace was a stone mosaic that had a gorgeous design. We used white oak marble along the sides and designed the stone mosaic to be really unique. It was one of the more “custom” parts of the design that would appeal to all sorts of audiences. Originally, I wanted to add slabs of quartz to the sides in place of the white oak marble, but quartz melts under high heat.

It’s fine for countertops with hot pans on top of it, but when it is constantly exposed to a direct flame, you will start to have issues. We went with the same design for the master bedroom fireplace, but instead of doing a stone mosaic, we used porcelain plank tile. We used the same white oak marble slabs around the sides.

Did anything stand out about this project for you compared to others you have worked on?

It was definitely unique because of the circumstances. We were on a pretty strict deadline to get everything completed before Christmas, and we were able to reach that deadline. I also usually supply everything, including the contractors, but Areté took care of that side of things this time. It was nice to have a team of people working together handling their own roles within the project.

What’s your “designer tip” on how to tie a space this size together?

We always want to make every room unique, and when you bring a builder in, they have the same goal in mind, too. However, it’s important that there is a common denominator that ties each room in the house together. Since we didn’t have a buyer to refer to, we decided it would be best to have a neutral palette throughout the space. I typically cringe at neutral palettes, but we had to play it safe to appeal to the masses. We added unique patterns, textures, and finishes to each room to give it some spice. Once we decided on all of the design details, I laid out mood boards for each room in front of me to see it all come together. I do the same with other jobs, as well. It’s important that I visualize the flow of each room before seeing it come to fruition.

I know you had to keep the customization to a minimum, but were there any custom pieces you were able to incorporate?

One of the design flaws that I wish came to life was this tufted bench I drew for the kitchen with this really cool arched top to it. It was an attention grabber, and I’m positive that if we had a specific buyer, I would’ve had it built for sure. Ultimately, we decided it was too custom for the space and scrapped the idea. Nonetheless, we had to do something to split up the kitchen because it was just too big for a single family to know what to do with.

I broke it up into zones with a little bar area, sitting area, cooking station, and breakfast nook. I wanted to make the space have individual clusters of seating areas where a family could choose to eat and visit based on the occasion. It felt much cozier this way, and it also gave the potential buyers plenty of room to host dinner parties or have people over for brunch.

Call Arete’ Renovators at 773-610-4551 to discuss your Chicago home remodel project with our experienced team of designers.

Reduced Square Footage Doesn’t Equal Reduced Costs

Chicago bathroom remodel

When it comes to renovating a small area, will it be less expensive?

There is a huge misconception that it will be less expensive to renovate a “small” space. Almost every client that calls us with a bathroom, or a kitchen project will say the words “it’s a small space, so costs should be low.” However, low square footage doesn’t equate to being less expensive. Our pricing model is not necessarily based on your square footage. Regardless of your square footage, you still have the same labor involved to remove a tub and vanity or tile a shower whether the bathroom is 100 or 400 square feet.

Where you may have cost savings based on square footage, is on the material side, like with buying less flooring. However, when it comes to installation, we will still have the same labor associated with the install.

Chicago Bathroom Remodeling

When it comes to bathroom remodels, even though the space may be small, why is it not less expensive to renovate?

Renovation costs for a bathroom don’t fluctuate based on the square footage of the space. They will fluctuate based on the components – is there a toilet, tub, separate shower, vanity, etc. Pricing for a powder room, guest bathroom, and master bathroom will vary because the components are different. A powder room contains just a toilet and a single sink. A guest bath typically has a toilet, vanity, and tub shower combo or walk-in shower. Your master bath will most likely include a double sink vanity, toilet, soaking tub, and separate walk-in shower.

Progressively your cost will increase from a powder room to a master bathroom. Some clients may consider replacing the tile in their bathroom and/or shower enclosure as “simple,” when it’s not. What they may not realize is professionals have to remove your tub, vanity, or toilet to do the work and clients don’t understand that it adds to your labor cost. Labor isn’t exclusive to solely removing your existing floor and replacing it with new tile. There is a whole domino effect.

If you think about a 400 square foot master bathroom vs a 200 square foot master bathroom – they have the exact same components. Both are going to have a shower, vanity, tub, and toilet.

In a bathroom, what are some of the more expensive projects?

A common bathroom update that clients tend to not consider as a more expensive alteration is converting a tub shower combo into a walk-in shower. There is a lot of labor involved starting with demo and re-framing the entire space. Even though the plumbing lines remain, you’re removing a tub, reframing the enclosure, building the shower base, and then there is the expense of the tile. And even though the plumbing is there you still need to make adjustments to accommodate the new shower.

What about renovations on a powder room?

A powder room is simpler because it is only a toilet and a sink so costs will be much lower. You are typically aren’t working in a large space so the client isn’t considering a change in layout in a powder room. Powder room renovations are typically replacing existing fixtures.

Does this same concept apply to kitchen remodels regardless of square footage?

The same concept applies because you have identical components, regardless of if you want to renovate a small galley kitchen or a large open kitchen. You will have some savings on the material side for a smaller kitchen because you will need less cabinetry and less flooring, but labor is labor.

Be ready to discuss what components in your kitchen you want to keep. If you only want to switch out your sink, fixtures, countertop, and backsplash – and want to keep your appliances, cabinetry, and have smaller upgrades – you’ll keep your costs low.

A client also should consider the work they want to be done and the trades that would be involved in handling that work. For example, if you want to relocate your dishwasher, sink, and move your microwave to the kitchen island, you will drive your costs higher because electrical and plumbing are expensive trades and big cost drivers.

Even if you don’t know exactly where you want to put things in your kitchen, you should come to a contractor knowing what you plan to move or rearrange and know what you want to keep or replace. Have a list of your needs and wants. Our job is to help you achieve your vision and educate you on what’s possible within the constraints of your space and investment.

If someone has received quotes from other contractors, what do you discuss with them?

Arete is here to educate clients – especially if they have already received quotes from other contractors. Our pricing tends to be more mid to high range, so if you have already received a couple of quotes, it’s important to ask if another contractor (s) included allowances for material such as tile or countertop, or did they price out actual costs based on their specific material selections?

We price material based on the client’s actual selection. If a client receives a quote with an allowance, it is highly likely you will get hit with a change order later on. Some contractors use allowances as a way to offer a lower price upfront to entice the client to sign, and later through change orders, they will recoup the difference.

Currently, giving quotes with allowances is tricky, with everything that’s happening with material manufacturing and supply. It’s not uncommon for suppliers to unexpectedly send price increases up to 25% on material costs they originally quoted. Material supply is a very delicate situation right now.

What is a change order fee?

A change order is any work above and beyond the initial contract you signed. Typically change orders come from unexpected findings after the demo is completed. It is impossible to forecast what will be found behind the walls. There are things you just won’t know or see until walls have been opened up. A change order can also come from the client changing their mind. You may have initially planned for a standard walk-in shower, but the client then decides they want to add a shampoo niche. The additional cost to build the shampoo niche would result in a change order.

How important is it to have a budget?

I always like to get some sort of budget from a client. I know a lot of people are hesitant to give that, but it’s important because – even if we’re not the contractor you select, Arete tries to provide you with alternatives. I believe most people have a realistic budget. You can always do your renovation within your budget, but it’s all about how you do it.

If you only want to spend $5,000 on a bathroom remodel, then you’re probably going to have to buy all the material on your own. You’ll have to be your own general contractor for the majority of the work, and bring in an electrician and plumber for the trade work.

It all comes down to how hands-on you want to be. Do you want to be the GC, project manager, and designer or do you prefer to just hand over your wants and needs and have one company manage all aspects from start to finish? Both options come at a different price.

Chicago bathroom remodel

What about renovating an existing bathroom floor into a heated floor?

Heated floors are really tricky because there is no room for error. There is lots of testing that goes into it because as soon as you get that tile down, you have to make sure the floor heat is still operational and not leaking, otherwise you’re ripping the floor back up for any repairs.

Heated floors are very tedious down to the length of nails you use on the subfloor. You need to be very careful of nail placement so you don’t puncture any pipes.

HGTV and the DIY YouTube channels make it difficult for remodel businesses because it looks so easy on TV. At Arete, we would rather bring the client to our job sites that are in process, or recently finished, to show them proper examples. If you’re thinking of a remodel, we suggest clients talk to our prior clients that had a similar project. Contact us here or call us at 773-610-4551 to discuss your potential project with our Chicago home remodeling experts.

How a House Flip Turned Personal

Custom Dry Bar

The Party Never Ends

 

The Details:

Investment: $350,000-$500,000

Designer: Erin Gross of EGI Design Inc.

Photographer: Rayne Troxell

Location: Albany Park, Chicago

 

 

House flipping is a very common practice these days, and it’s something that Areté President and Vice President, Igor and Davor, enjoy doing in their spare time. During their next hunt for a flippable property, they stumbled across a fixer upper located in Albany Park. The house had great bones, but the interior needed a lot of updating if they were going to be able to make a profit off of it. They called their trusted interior designer and good friend, Erin Gross, to come in and design a modern space with a neutral palette that would appeal to the general buyer. After some much needed upgrades, the house sat on the market for three months before Davor decided it would be a good idea to keep the property for himself and his growing family. Once this decision was made, he began to add some custom features to make the place feel more like home. Knowing he loves to host, we were able to create a space that is perfect for both socializing and family weeknight dinners. We installed brand new hardwood flooring throughout the house along with a brand new kitchen island, cabinets, backsplash, and appliances. We built a custom dry bar for him to display his impressive bourbon collection that leads out to a private deck equipped with a grill and outdoor television perfect for entertaining guests. Below, Davor walks us through his decision to keep the house for himself and other updates he added to make the place feel more like home.

 

How did you come about this property? 

Originally, Igor and I purchased this home to flip it. We remodeled the entire home with no specific buyer in mind. It stayed on the market for about three months until we realized that a lot of buyers weren’t interested in the location of the home. The backyard was bordered with a large parking lot to a local grocery store. The lack of privacy made many potential buyers feel insecure with their purchase. However, everything else about this home was great. My wife and I were looking for a home at the time, and I figured this would be a good opportunity to move into a bigger space. All I had to do was add some trees along our fence line for more privacy. 

 

From an investment standpoint, what parts of the home were you looking to remodel first?

The first question we needed to answer was whether we wanted to remodel the current layout or scrap it and start from the studs. Ultimately, we decided to demolish the interior and turn a 1500 square foot single story home into a 2700 square foot two story home. We figured adding a couple extra bedrooms and bathrooms in an upstairs addition would be good to increase profit. We also kept the front porch and added a back dack to extend the living space to the outdoors. 

 

How would you categorize the look of your home?

I would say it’s contemporary. We didn’t want to go too modern or too unique with the design when we were planning to flip it, so we kept it safe with a contemporary look. There aren’t a lot of colors or patterns throughout the home, but it has a timeless look with a simple, luxurious feel. 

 

Did you run into any problems with the remodel?

There weren’t any major problems with the remodel itself, however, we did have a tough time designing the place while trying to completely change the layout simultaneously. It is difficult to design the look of a space without being able to walk through it and understand the physical aspects of the home. You really can’t order your materials for your kitchen until you frame it, and even then, you will still probably have to make some adjustments with the remodeling and design. We were really trying to coordinate what could fit and what could not fit in the space. We also had to decide how much we wanted to update the exterior. From the outside, the home looked really traditional, and we knew that the inside wouldn’t exactly match the traditional feel the outside gives. Ultimately, we kept the traditional look with the front porch while the inside turned contemporary. 

 

Once you decided to keep the home for yourself, did you customize any parts of the design to your liking?

My wife has always wanted to have a fireplace in the home. That was her design “must have” when we decided to keep it. Before, we had a really big open family room, but we partially closed it off by adding a half wall with a recessed fireplace. We wanted the warm, welcoming fireplace to be the first thing you see when you walk into our home. We also wanted to create two separate family rooms with two separate vibes. The front room is supposed to be a relaxing, chill space where you can sit and read a book, play the guitar, or enjoy the fireplace. Whereas, the back room was for watching TV, couch surfing, and playing with our son. Additionally, my design “must have” was a custom bar that would really wow people when they saw it. I have a pretty extensive bourbon collection, and I needed a designated area to showcase all of the bottles. It also leads out to the back deck that we customized with a privacy fence, outdoor TV, and grill area. We wanted the look of a pergola while still being able to enjoy each other’s company within the privacy of our own backyard. 

 

If you had to do it all over again, are there any aspects of the design that you would change?

Well, for starters, I would pick a home that I didn’t want to originally flip. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a fantastic home, I just really wish a lot of it was more customized to me and my family’s needs. I would’ve liked to have added more pops of color and texture with our bathroom tile selection, as well as unique finishes in both the bathrooms and kitchen. I also think I would’ve chosen a different cabinet color for our kitchen. White was just the safe choice at the time. I also would’ve added more color with the kitchen island and backsplash. However, overall, I really love the layout of the space. The only change it needed was a half wall for the recessed fireplace, but that was only a minor addition. All in all, keeping this home was a great decision for me and my family.

 

Before and After Home Renovation Tour

Chicago kitchen remodeling

Before and After Home Renovation Tour

Cool, Calm, and Collected

Chicago kitchen remodeling

The Details:

Investment: $250,000-$350,000

Designer: Ivana Stojanovska

Location: Oak Park, Illinois

In the past few years, Areté has really tried to expand business out to the surrounding suburbs of Chicago. Oak Park is one of those suburbs that we have kept our eye on. It is full of old Victorian-style homes that need just a little help staying up to date with the 21st century. Areté recognizes the importance of keeping the integrity of these homes while still catering to the modern needs of our clients. And, with that being said, we also recognize just how important architecture is to the history of Oak Park.

As the home of architect Frank Lloyd Wright from 1889-1909, Oak Park is the center of the Prairie School of Architecture, containing the largest concentration of Prairie-style homes in the country. Other important Prairie School architects worked in Oak Park, including John S. Van Bergen (born and raised in Oak Park), Tallmadge & Watson, and E. E. Roberts, who also made his home there.

Oak Park experienced a surge of residential development throughout the first part of the 20th Century, and its residential stock today comprises a wide range of styles. These include Victorian, Queen Anne, Prairie, bungalows, American Foursquares, Classical Revival, Tudor Revival, and numerous apartment buildings ranging from two-flats to large courtyard buildings, many embellished with architectural details of their period.

When a client came to us looking to renovate their English-style single-family home in Oak Park, we knew it would be a great opportunity to break into the market. The client’s main priorities were to turn the entire first floor into a modern living space while still keeping the charming features of the original architecture. You won’t believe the before and afters of this space below.

For starters, the home’s layout was very closed off. The dining room, kitchen, mudroom, and breakfast nook all had dividing walls between each room. The flow of the space started from the living room…

Oak Park Remodel1

 

Which then led to the dining room where we knew we wanted to expand the kitchen to. As you can see, the interior was a bit outdated with the floral wallpapers and salmon curtains.

Oak Park Kitchen Remodel

We decided it would be best to knock out the wall that separates the dining room from the kitchen(the wall behind the China cabinet). The wall is lined with cabinets from floor to ceiling, so we made sure to incorporate more storage elsewhere throughout the remodel. If you’re wondering where the fridge is, don’t worry, we asked that question, too. They had one, it’s just located out of the frame, close to where the photographer was standing.

Oak Park Kitchen Remodel

Once we decided it was best to knock down the wall between the dining room and kitchen, we also thought it would make sense to knock down the wall between the kitchen and the breakfast nook(the wall behind the stove). This wall created unnecessary separation between the two rooms and made the space feel a lot smaller than it was.

Oak Park Remodel

With two walls down and a love for demolition on the brain, we figured, hey! Why not knock down the old addition of the mudroom while we are at it. It basically served as a sunroom in the summer months and a “landing pad” for snowy boots and burly coats during the winter months.

Oak Park Remodel

(Not pictured: The snowy winter boots). Now that you have a good idea of how the original layout was spaced, you’ll be able to make sense of the after photos. And yes, there is a refrigerator in these pictures.

Chicago kitchen remodeling

Seriously, is this even the same house?! With the removal of three walls to expand the kitchen space, structural support was needed. In order to incorporate the beams as a design feature, the client opted for exposed beams that complimented the original architecture. The kitchen features a huge prep island with two dishwashers, as well as a deep stainless steel farmhouse sink. The brand new oven with extra stovetop burners was also a must-have.

Oak Park home Remodel

There’s the beautiful refrigerator we were looking for earlier…

Oak Park Remodel

Now, instead of having a living room, dining room, kitchen, breakfast nook, and mudroom in their separate areas, the living room flows smoothly into the dining room and kitchen area. The arched walkways keep the character of the home while still adding some type of division between all of these spaces. But, as you can see, this old English-style home has a much more open layout for our clients to enjoy.

Oak Park Kitchen Remodel

Remember that wall of cabinets we knocked out? To make up for the lost storage space, we added this white custom cabinetry that also serves as a pantry (pro tip: the microwave can be secretly stored here, as well). To also account for the lost mudroom, we added an extra sink and more cabinet space to keep those snowy boots and burly jackets out of sight.

Oak Park Bath Remodel

The first-floor bathroom was also updated in neutral colors and patterns to brighten up the small space. Unfortunately, we were not able to get before photos of the bathroom, but trust us when we say it got the update it deserved.

Oak Park Bathroom Remodel

We love the contrasting colors of the floating vanity and mirror, but we love how the white hexagon tiles contrast against the maple hardwood floor even more!

Oak Park Remodel

Other updates included repainting, the addition of a curved mantle above the fireplace, and updates to the office space. The color scheme of this gorgeous remodel makes anyone feel cool, calm, and collected when they step into this space. We were happy to have made our clients’ wishes come true with this welcoming open floor plan while still staying true to the integrity of this wonderful Oak Park home.

Call Arete’ Renovators at 773-610-4551 to discuss your Chicagoland home remodeling ideas with our designers. We have been building and remodeling homes and condos in Chicago for nearly 20 years.

A Wet Room vs. Traditional Bathroom In Chicago

Chicago bathroom remodeling

Chicago bathroom remodeling

What Even is a Wet Room?

A Wet Room in Lakeview

The Details:

Investment: $40,000-$60,000

Designer: Ivana Stojanovska

Photographer: Rayne Troxell

Location: Lakeview, Chicago

Both wet rooms and traditional bathrooms add functionality to your home. They provide a place to get ready in the morning and a way to unwind at the end of the day. While these spaces have similar features, such as toilets, sinks, and mirrors, the way they are set up and function can be very different.

When a client contacted us looking to install a wet room instead of a traditional bathroom, we were excited to take on the challenge. The work that went into this wet room was extensive, but both the client and our team were elated with beautiful results. Below, we dive into the differences between the two so you can make a better-informed decision for your own bathroom remodel.

Appearance

Wet rooms and traditional bathrooms have a variety of designs and layouts. While there are many ways a bathroom can be laid out, a wet room is a little different. A wet room is designed for showering and bathing without a barrier separating it from the rest of the room. Unlike a regular bathroom, there is no curtain, splash panel, or shower door so the water could reach the space around it.

The space is entirely waterproofed so you don’t have to worry about water containment, however, this client wanted a slight barrier between the shower and the toilet. We installed a glass panel that hangs from the ceiling to save space. Wet rooms contain all of the elements of a traditional bathroom, but they are really built to take advantage of the space.

Space

The amount of space you have to work with may influence your decision for creating a wet room or traditional bathroom. Stall showers installed in conventional bathrooms can be as small as 30-inches square, with most measuring 38 inches or larger. While you do not need a specific size, anything in a wet room placed near the showerhead or body sprays could become wet. This includes things like toilet paper, hairdryers, and makeup. Therefore, it is best to create a wet room area where other fixtures and items will be out of the way of the spray.

In most cases, wet rooms allow for great flexibility of movement, which is an advantage. There is no curb to step over or door to navigate, which makes the wet room an ideal setup for people who have disabilities or trouble with mobility. Wet rooms are gaining popularity with homeowners who want to age in place and have disabilities. Because there is no curb, door track, or barrier to entry, it is easier for people that use mobility aids such as wheelchairs.

Traditional bathrooms can be modified to make them accessible, with curbless showers or additions such as walk-in tubs, roll-in showers, grab bars, and transfer seats, but wet rooms are typically easier and may be less expensive than modifying an existing room. Think of it as an open floor plan, but for your bathroom.

Installation

While traditional bathrooms and wet rooms may seem similar on the surface, the installation process is actually quite different. For one, there are fewer fixtures involved in a wet room. The other major difference lies in how the wet area is treated. In a traditional bathroom, the area is separated or contained, usually by a door, panel, or curtain. While the walls outside this area may be waterproofed, they do not need to be. So, drywall 1 or a cement backer board, which are not normally meant for wet areas, may be used.

In a wet room, the entire space is treated with the same waterproofing material. Vapor barriers 2 and a specific type of backer board are used throughout. There is no curb and thus no need to caulk 3 and risk leaks over time. The flooring in a wet room is another unique aspect. The floor must slope to the drain everywhere, which means tile is often used for most if not all of the floor.

If you use a different type of flooring, you’ll need to switch to a smaller tile in the pattern as you approach the slope of the drain. These differences are not major and will not impact installation time. It can take a while to waterproof a wet room, but it also takes some time to create a shower tray and install shower doors. In the end, they both require about the same amount of time to install.

Investment

Wet rooms cost about 20 to 30% more than a typical bathroom installation. You’ll need to spend a lot of time and money waterproofing the area. There are also some similarities between wet rooms and a typical bathroom installation, including materials for fixtures, valves, and tile. The main difference is the type of materials used to finish the wet areas. A wet room requires a special membrane and different types of tile, which can make it more expensive.

In any bathroom renovation, the biggest driving cost is size. According to Fixr.com, the average price of a bathroom renovation is $125 a square foot, so the larger the space, the higher the total expenses. For a 144-square foot traditional bath, the cost will be about $18,000 for materials and installation. The same is true for a wet room, but with the added expense of completely waterproofing the space before the finishing materials can be put down.

So, the price is closer to $150 a square foot, which means that a 144-square foot wet room would cost about $21,600. Obviously, if you had more customization to the space like our client did, the price will also increase based on the design of the wet room.

Maintenance

In both spaces, the degree of upkeep you need to perform is tied largely to the materials you choose. Using natural stone or specialty metal finishes in a traditional bathroom means more maintenance than using porcelain and chrome. Despite their many benefits, wet rooms still have some maintenance cons.

Extra ventilation is sometimes necessary to prevent mold and mildew growth. This is because the room is so waterproofed that people may not fully dry after usage which can lead to mold growth. However, if you do get water in places you do not want it, it can be mopped up easily due to the design of the room.

Resale Value

Wet rooms and traditional bathrooms have about the same resale value. Bathroom remodels currently recoup between 55 and 70% depending on the level of quality of the materials. Because wet rooms often use higher quality materials and are considered a luxury addition, they may recoup slightly more at the time of resale.

However, most homeowners want to have at least one conventional bathroom in the house. Therefore, remodeling the only bathroom to become a wet room may harm resale rather than improve it. If you are planning on reselling in the near future, we recommend taking into account your target buyers before installing a wet room.