As a designer, I am often the first contact for a homeowner who wants to remodel their master bathroom.

And no matter where we start the conversation, it comes around to that uncomfortable question of cost. Usually it’s preceded by the word “just,” as in “I just want to flip the shower and the closet,” or “I just want to add a bump-out under the overhang,” or “I just want a higher ceiling in that one area.”

Because someone, somewhere, has said (for whatever reason), that the job shouldn’t really cost that much. Because you’re not really changing anything, because the building industry is in a slump and needs the work, because your neighbor did it himself for $6,000, because there are fairies that do the work for free….whatever the reason, it often feels like homeowners have been set up to be absolutely shocked by the real cost of a bathroom remodel.

So here’s the cold reality: it’s tough to remodel a master bathroom for less than $40,000.

And even worse: $40,000 is just a start–it’s easy to walk that number up to $80,000, if you start throwing things in and saying “While we’re at it, we might as well_____________ (fill in the blank). Add a tankless water heater: Add $2000. Add a steam shower: Add $10,000. Install new flooring in the bedroom, too: add $2550.

Of course, you can always find someone to do the work for less. If you are lucky, that person will be a responsible, talented builder/contractor on their way up, who is still charging 1970’s prices and doesn’t yet realize it. (Grab them and put them to work.)

If you’re unlucky, though, that person will underbid your project because their idea of a quality job is not your idea of a quality job. You wanted to actually rebuild that whole shower and float all the walls? Isn’t cement-board just as good? And what’s wrong with leaving the existing drain, even if it’s no longer in the middle of the shower?

To address this conundrum, we’ve decided to start posting project prices on our website under the FAQ tab. We don’t want to violate anyone’s privacy, so we’re going to blur several project costs together to get a sort of average–for a “typical medium-level bathroom,” for example.

So Let us know what you think. Besides OMG!

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