The “White Trim Syndrome”all over Rain City- There’s a whole lot more to designing homes

Mercer Island and a lot of other nice places are being overrun by “Spec Builders” madly producing these oversize boxes with their wide white trim. Other tell-tale touches of their indifferent computer-driven drafting (don’t call it “design”) are the tapered posts with pasted on faux river rock.

While fronts are abundantly and ineptly adorned, both sides and the back are usually left plain- except for perhaps some lumber yard non-wood wide white trim. Here are some examples:
white trim



Bathroom Remodel

Can you totally remodel a 3/4 bath for only $3,500 in 48 hours? One of my clients recently purchased a house that needed a remodel of the basement level 3/4 bath. I have lots of before and after pictures in my head, of “what is” vs. “what can be”, but it is often difficult to convey that information to my clients.

So, for my client who closed escrow last week, I am going the extra mile.  This morning I ripped out my own basement level 3/4 bath, and am attempting to upgrade it to today’s standards for only $3,500 in two days or less.

Our basement level bathroom had two interior walls. One separated the shower from the toilet to give the shower three sides.  The other separated the shower and toilet area from the double sink counter via a wall and pocket door.  Chopping up a 5′ x 9′ bathroom with two interior walls was way too confining.  The biggest complaint of the users being that the square front door shower was too small and too dark, as the walls surrounding it cut it off from the light.  So first thing the guys did when they arrived this morning, was to knock out all of the interior walls.  It looks bigger and brighter already.

[photopress:sh.jpg,thumb,alignleft]The picture in my head of the finished bath, included a larger shower unit that only utilizes two walls instead of three. The one I see used most often in newer townhomes. Before hiring the contractor, I picked out the shower unit over at Lowes.  The total cost was just under $700.  The plumbing needs to be moved a bit to the right.  The door to the shower being angled on the front provides access from the largest open space in the room, the center, instead of the left or the right.

Finished bath will include replacing the 3″ tile countertop, too much grout to clean.  The floor, which was a rug that would get wet and never seemed to want to dry out, will be replaced with a stone look one piece floor.  All brown wood towel bars and towel rings will be gone and replaced with brushed nickel.  The wicker over the toilet cabinet will be replaced with a white and brushed nickel upgraded version.  In other words, a total transformation!

Can this all be done for less than $3,500?  Good question. As agents we are often frusrated by the inflated prices buyers attach to needed upgrades.  Often a buyer will look at a bathroom like this that needs updating, and attach a cost of $15,000 to the improvements needed.  When we say it will only cost $5,000 max, they really don’t believe us.  So once again, I am putting my money where my mouth is and am out to prove that a 3/4 bath can be totally remodeled for less than $5,000. If I can cap the cost to $3,500, I think  suggesting others can do so for no more than $5,000 will be an honest representation.

Off to Lowes to get towel bars and towel rings and whatever else is needed.  I’ll report the final total cost with a break down in the comments section when we’re done.