An example of a modern "full bath" box from Bath Simple
When the time comes to remodel a bathroom, most of us are inexperienced novices. We might look at samples, read remodeling blogs and mags, and talk to some storeowners and contractors, hoping everything will come out all right in the end. For us ingénues, the idea of a "bathroom in a box" — where nearly everything is taken care of, from fixture choices to installation — seems appealing.
John Crowley (former Director of the Innovative Construction Technology program at MIT) and Bill Hunscher founded Bath Simple to demystify the remodeling process for homeowners. They break each bathroom renovation into five steps:
Research fixtures, fittings, and finishes on their site.
Schedule an in-home consultation to finalize product choices and measurements.
Order your materials, which ship to you in a big box.
Recycle your old bathroom by shipping it back in the box.
Install the new bathroom using one of their certified experts or your own contractor.
I gave the site a test run, plugging in average stats for a full modern bath — with vanity, shower/tub, toilet, flooring, tile, and fixtures — and came out with a materials cost of about $8,000 (not including taxes, shipping, or installation). Prices could be more for a bigger bath with higher-end fixtures and less for a smaller bath furnished with budget items. To get a better sense of final costs and what you'll have to budget for your contractor/installer, see their list of what's included and what's not.
Bath Simple operates out of Berkeley, California, and they work with a network of design consultants and installers across the country. They offer free in-home consultations and can ship sample boxes on request.
Any first-hand experiences with Bath Simple? Add them in the comments.
(Re-edited from a post originally published 2.22.2011 - JEL)