Remodeling your master bedroom suite
On average, $69,173, according to 2002 figures from Remodeling magazine, an
Value added: 75 percent of the remodeling dollar comes
back at resale, according to Remodeling.
Popularity as a remodel target: When asked what they'd
remodel if money was no object, 7 percent of homeowners wanted to remodel or
enlarge a bedroom, according to a survey by the National Association of Home
New trends: Rooms have a lot more space, with sitting areas
and big closets, dressing areas and even snack areas. "This is not your
grandparents' bedroom anymore," says Rich Trethewey, plumbing expert for
the PBS series "This Old House." Homeowners are knocking out walls
to an adjoining bedroom to create a larger suite, add a closet or enlarge the
In the main area, look for: recessed lighting, Internet
access, entertainment systems and remote control ceiling fans and lighting.
In the master bath, hot items include: a giant tub or shower with
multiple spray features, extra vanities, extra outlets, heated towel racks and
heated flooring. Also, countertops in solid surface materials and granite.
Features to consider: "If you're going to renovate,
how do you get the most bang for the buck," says Tom Silva, general contractor
for "This Old House."
If two people are sharing a master suite, consider putting closets
and bath on one side of the suite, in close proximity so that one partner can
dress without disturbing the other, says M M "Mike" Weiss, certified
graduate remodeler and chairman of the Remodelors Council of the National Association
of Home Builders. Also, if you or your partner is on the tall side, think about
raising some or all of the counters.
Remodeling suggestions and helpful hints: "Start
early in the process picking, or looking at, fixtures and things you want,"
says Don Sever, certified remodeler, and marketing committee chairman for the
National Association of the Remodeling Industry. Too many times, homeowners
wait until the design is complete, then decide they don't want a standard-size
tub or shower. "And the price goes up because they are paying for the design
twice." The moral: Have a good idea early on of what you want.
And don't neglect the closets, says Julius Lowenberg, president
of NARI. Often, homeowners craving a large suite will sacrifice the closet --
or the area simply becomes an afterthought. Instead, "plan your closet
carefully for your style of living," he says. Consider: his-and-hers closets,
shoe racks, pullout drawers and shelving.
New products: Mini-meal stations that include built-in
cabinets, coffee makers, toasters and even small dishwashers. Also convenience
lighting, stereo systems and televisions or fireplaces in the bathroom.
Special problems: What's the average number of bedrooms
in your neighborhood? And how will it affect your home value if you suddenly
go from a three-bedroom house to a two-bedroom?
"If it's well-planned, that can be the selling point of your
house, as well as anything else you redo, because you can make it a focal point,"
says Mark A. Brick, president-elect of the National Association of the Remodeling
Biggest mistake: Enlarging the suite without enlarging
the closet. "[And] a lot of times they just don't put in enough light [in
the main area]," says Lowenberg.
Also, not thinking things through before you buy, says Brick.
Too many times, homeowners in search of a "good deal" end up with
something they can't use.
Professional or DIY: "To tackle a master suite or
a master bathroom, or any major project, you don't have the expertise to do
it," says Lowenberg. Plus, do you really have the spare time?
Deciding to act as your own contractor can present a whole new
set of problems. "I think the biggest disappointment the do-it-yourselfer
will run into is trying to get [a subcontractor] on a timely basis," says
Darius Baker, certified remodeler and a committee vice chairman for the National
Association of the Remodeling Industry. "A homeowner will not get the attention,
time-wise, [from subcontractors] that a contractor will" because the homeowner
is a one-time job, while a contractor provides work regularly.
-- Posted: July 1, 2003