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Remodeling Your Bathroom 101: An Interview with DreamMaker Bath & Kitchen

By Kristen Bosse

Tell us a little bit about your company and its foundation.

We have been a residential remodeling company since 1998. In 2002, because we loved remodeling baths and kitchens, we acquired the DreamMaker Bath & Kitchen franchise. We have found DreamMaker to be an excellent group--giving us professional training and support, with a unifying factor of a working Code of Values. The franchise also allows us to give cost-saving value since we have national buying power with our vendors.

What are some of the services your company provides?

We sometimes call ourselves an "all-inclusive" remodeling company. Just as you would expect an all-inclusive vacation to provide you with all you need for the whole time, we provide the complete package of remodeling: all of the design and selection services, all of the materials, all of the labor, all of the measuring and ordering, and all of the coordination of any trades people involved. This allows our clients to experience an extraordinary amount of convenience for what often is an overwhelming venture. With our proven systems, it also ensures a project that is completed in a timely manner.

What are some common reasons why someone should renovate their bathroom?

It is outdated. It is crowded. It is too small. It is unsafe. It is not a relaxing space. The bathroom is also not the place for most do-it-yourselfers to remodel. There could be some serious consequences of not knowing exactly what to do in this room, such as mold, leaks, frozen pipes in winter, etc. Hire a professional!

Do you have an average estimate for someone who is thinking about remodeling his or her bathroom?

For an "update" with a quality new tub/shower combo or a new shower with easy access and glass doors, you might be looking at around $8-$10,000. For a total renovation with new vanities, flooring, lighting and tiled shower, you might budget around $17-$20,000. Of course this all depends on the quality of products chosen for the project. Every home and homeowner seems to be unique.

What is the standard remodeling process, from start to finish?

After the initial call from the homeowner, we try to set up an appointment in the design center to meet each other, look around at various products that we have to get an idea of budget and also to look at photos of past projects. This usually gives us both the feel if we want to move to the next step or not. Then one of our consultants may schedule an in-home consultation for more details and to get a look at the complete decorating style and look of the home- and for any potential structural challenges.

If the project requires much planning, design and work on our consultant's part, he may ask for a design retainer to cover his time and expertise required for a design. A second design center appointment is then scheduled for a design review. The homeowners and designers may meet several times for this stage, depending on the scope of the project. Soon the project comes together within the budget desired and the contract is signed.

From this point, materials will be ordered and final details nailed down. Before the project starts, a "pre-construction" meeting is set up between the consultant, the lead carpenter in charge of the project and the homeowner. They will cover all the necessary details, so once the job starts, it can run smoothly. When all the materials arrive in our warehouse, the actual project can now begin! The lead carpenter is now in charge of this project til it is completed. When the homeowner is happy that all aspects of the contract have been met, they will sign a "certificate of completion," so everyone knows the job is done and done right.

What are at least three things every homeowner should ask their contractor before remodeling their bathroom?

Can I talk to a few of your past clients? What kind of people will be working in my home? When is the deadline for making all of my product selections (before it will delay the project)?

If you could offer advice to someone who is remodeling their bathroom for the first time, what would it be and why?

- Be sure you educate yourself on the care and maintenance of some of the products you are choosing. For instance, you may LOVE Carrera marble for a vanity top, but did you know that even your soap dish may scratch it?
- If it is your only bathroom, be sure to ask how long you will be without a working bathroom!
- Be sure to empty out all areas that will be worked on: closets, vanities, etc. This will help the carpenters to start their demolition without having to wait for you to do this.
- Don't change your mind mid-stream! If you think you want a change in product or scope of the project, try to think all of this through before they start. Even ordering a special tile or faucet can take WEEKS.
- Don't order/purchase plumbing products yourself to save money. Let the professionals do this. They know the sizes and all the necessary parts.

Can remodeling a bathroom help with energy usage in the home?

Bathrooms can save energy with water-saving plumbing products, with energy-efficient lighting and efficient bath fans. One can also use radiant heated floors which can cost only ten cents a day!

What is the best way for people to get in contact with you or your company?

Call: 616.632.2284 (We service the Greater Grand Rapids Area). Website: www.DreamMakerGR.com
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Kristen has written impressive content including press releases and feature stories...

Phone: (203) 913-0483

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