You don’t need a bathtub
One thing HGTV and DIY host
Matt Muenster gets asked all the time is whether a bathroom renovation needs a bathtub.
Muenster has a “hard-and-fast rule” on this question: If you don’t take baths, there’s no need to include a tub in the project. “It takes up such a huge chunk of real estate in a really small room, and if it’s preventing you from having the shower of your dreams, 86-it,” he said.
As far as he is concerned, there are more important amenities.
Songs and a steamed latte with your shower
In fact, a bath tub doesn’t even make it on
Muenster’s list of top four amenities in a bathroom. After a shower, sink and toilet, Muenster wants music.
And there’s no need to stop there. All kidding aside, “Think about music in the shower, music to start your day. Think about your routine,” he said — and what better way to wake up than with some of your favorite tunes (or news headlines) in the morning.
“Your bathroom is your bookend room. It’s where you start and finish every day. And if you can change something about that, for the better, your day might get better,” he said.
“For me, it’s music and coffee.”
The first time Muenster says installing a coffee machine in the bathroom further completes a dream renovation.
Muenster added a built-in coffee machine in the bathroom on TV, he says social media gave him a hard time. But he defends his decision. “I’m not putting it above your toilet; I’m not masking nor am I blending aromas; there’s not contaminants flying in the air … If you have those kinds of issues, you’ve got bigger issues, anyway. I’m just saying, I want the smell and taste of coffee before I want my first gulp of oxygen in the morning, and if that now becomes part of my morning routine … that’s awesome.”
Wine not a fireplace?
While on the subject of making the bathroom an ideal place to start and end your day,
Muenster says if wine and crackling logs make you happy (and if you have the budget and square footage), building in a wine fridge and fireplace in your bathroom is a great way to make the space go from standard to sanctuary.
(Thinkstock) “You want to just close the door, turn up some music, pour a glass of wine, draw a bath,” he said.
Think small when it comes to amenities
Don’t have it in your budget to add espresso machines and wine bars in the bathroom? There are some smaller upgrades that will make the space feel five-star.
Heated floors and towel warmers are just a few of
(Thinkstock) “Those things rock. You get out of the shower and you’ve got a towel that just came out of the dryer-warm,” he said.
Quality craftsmanship will carry you through the years
Bathroom renovations are not cheap.
Rather than rushing the job, Muenster says these days, renovations on his show “Bath Crashers” run between $50,000 and $70,000. At the very least, overhauling the sink, tub, shower and toilet can creep close to $17,000.
Muenster says he’s seen a lot of homeowners wait another year or two to save up enough money for a quality overhaul.
“What I’m finding is that people are doing a higher quality renovation, they’re adding more amenities than they ever have before, and they’re doing it because they’re waiting an extra year,” he said. “Quality of craftsmanship matters so much in a bathroom.”
The return of investment on a renovated bathroom is incredibly high especially if it’s done right, —
(Thinkstock) Muenster added.
Clean, modern and you
When it comes to trends,
Muenster says think beyond the magazine.
If you’re worried your style is too different from what other homebuyers might want, “Do what you do, do what you love. Don’t paint the walls beige, don’t do travertine tile, don’t do something boring just to be safe, because it is an expensive room to renovate,” he said.
Muenster says just make sure it’s done to quality. “If you do it well, no one’s going to question what you’ve done.”
Expect time and a mess
“The expectations that we set with these shows, we know it’s irresponsible,” Muenster said about the time it takes for a full renovation.
On TV, all home projects happen quickly, but in the real world, Muenster says renovations take a lot more time
typically four weeks. — “In a normal world, plumbers and electricians aren’t working in your bathroom at the same time. They’re phased in; they’re slotted into a schedule. When TV interjects, things get weird.”
If you cut to the studs, you’re looking at a total of six weeks.
“If it’s your only bathroom, you’re going to spend a little more time at the gym. The Porta Potty outside is a little brisk in the morning,” he joked.
And living through a renovation isn’t too much fun. The dirt and the dust don’t stay contained to the bathroom. It will be in the living room, the dining room and every hall in between.
Making a small space appear bigger
If you have a small space, Muenster says don’t expect a renovation to solve a square footage problem, unless you cut into other rooms.
“There’s no David Copperfield magic that’s going to make that thing feel big,” he said.
However, there are a few tricks that can help make the space feel more open.
And look for added storage opportunities in spaces you never imagined.
“I think the key with small bathrooms is efficiency and clutter. If something is sitting on your counter and you haven’t used it in two or three days, it doesn’t belong on your counter. Find a home for it,” Muenster said. “You don’t realize that there are areas between the studs behind your sheetrock. You can sleeve storage into that area and kind of recess it,” he said.
WASHINGTON — HGTV and DIY star Matthew Muenster has renovated hundreds of bathrooms in his career — from petite powder rooms to spacious, spa-like retreats. And over the years, he’s picked up on a few tricks and trends.
Muenster was in town Sept. 23-25 for the Capital Home Show, and he stopped by WTOP to talk about everything from the latest and greatest home amenities to managing your renovation expectations.
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