The Inside Outside Guys: When is it time for a kitchen or bath remodel?

Photo by: Getty/Guido Mieth

By: Ken Calverley and Chuck Breidenstein

DETROIT, June 17, 2022 ~ Don’t think too hard on this one. What are typically the two most expensive rooms in your home?

If you answered “kitchen” and “master or main bath,” you would be correct.

Total costs of new homes are rising quickly and many markets are seeing $300 per square foot for the package that includes land, utilities, permits and the finished home.

On a cost-per-square-foot basis, spaces like the bath and kitchen require a disproportionate amount of the budget.

As an example, simply upgrading counter tops in the kitchen of the average new home, around 2,500 square feet, easily can add a dollar or two per square foot to the total cost of the project.

A nicer faucet might start at $500 and go up very quickly. Solid metal pulls for doors and drawers might easily run $10 to $20  apiece.

But these are the rooms you spend a lot of time in, either to socialize during food prep, or to escape after a long day. They are also the spaces that usually have the highest return on investment when the home is sold.

So when is the right time to consider remodeling these rooms?

Darian Bobby, co-owner of Atlas Home Improvement in Whitmore Lake, gives us some tips to consider for bathrooms specifically, but his advice can be applied to kitchens as well.

The first consideration is the space no longer meets your needs. You may have a basic kitchen that served you well when you didn’t really cook anything; but since you and your spouse have discovered the joy of food prep, you now require a deep island sink with cutting board and a five or six burner gas stove and double oven.

Most main baths were constructed with a tub and shower combination that can become an unsafe entry and exit as we age. Many people find they don’t even use a tub after a certain point in life.

Injury and disease can also contribute to changing needs in these spaces.

Along a similar train of thought, few of these spaces were built with designed lighting. Task lighting in either space is a huge issue, whether using a sharp knife to chop veggies or a sharp razor to eliminate stubble. Standard lighting often casts us in shadow while working and can create a hazard.

Bright overhead lighting can create veiling reflection on a shiny floor causing people to pause and falsely assume the presence of water.

Good design in a remodel should consider lighting needs in the space.

Storage is also a big consideration. All too often in kitchens, much of the cubic space in cabinets is poorly divided and, in many cases, difficult to access. Professional organizers tell us this leads to duplicate purchases and un-safe reaching to acquire food or utensils.

Bobby cites the typical old tub or shower that is littered with shampoos and other product making the space cramped and potentially unsafe.

Typical signs of aging are also another indication we might need to remodel. These can include fixtures that are chipped and stained or ceramic that was a beautiful and stylish in 1950, but just doesn’t fit anymore.

Cabinetry that no longer operates correctly due to old hardware or is scratched and dented from long use may be another indicator.

Or how about this? You attend a seasonal gathering at a friend’s newer home and realize that, after nearly 40 years of use, your kitchen or your bathroom really needs a face lift. It is simply outdated.

The good news is that companies like Atlas can phase such projects, replacing the old tub shower with a larger and safer shower, then doing the rest of the room as your time and budget allows.

Kitchens no longer require a full tear out of the cabinets. Instead you can simply have new counter tops installed with new cabinet facing and hardware.

It’s a lot easier on the schedule and the budget and, when executed by professional like those you’ll find at, you’ll think you stepped in to a brand new space.

One you’ve earned. One your home deserves.

For housing advice and more, listen to the Inside Outside Guys every Saturday and Sunday on News/Talk 760, WJR-AM, from 10 a.m. to noon or contact us at

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