YES WE CAN

YES WE CAN

1.- Provide you a gas line even if there is no natural gas in your area.
2.- Move the stove or oven from one place to another.
3.- Move the refrigerator and water line to another place.
4.- Move the kitchen sink from one location to another.
5.- Install an angled wall oven, microwave and warming drawer.
6.- Increase the size of the kitchen – in many cases Yes We Can.
7.- Remove non bearing walls and rewire the electric.
8.- Remove the soffits in the kitchen.
9.- Increase the height of the ceilings – in many cases Yes We Can.
10.- Add additional lighting, and if necessary change out the main electric panel.
11 – Change out a window in the kitchen if you want.

YES WE CAN

The Home Remodeling Battle of the Sexes

By Women Designing Kitchens at Royal Kitchen Designs

For generations design and construction was considered a “man’s job.” But not anymore. Some of the most successful people in the business today are women. Just turn on any home remodeling show on TV and see for yourself. It’s quite obvious that women are the rising stars of the home remodeling industry.

That should really come as no surprise. In most cases, it is the woman of the house who initiates the home renovation project. And, let’s face it, women relate better to other women. (Let us not forget that best-selling book, “Men are from Mars, Women from Venus.”)

Home remodeling can be quite overwhelming, particularly when plumbing and electrical work is involved. Many women become uncomfortable when they are out of their element. Others feel intimidated by male contractors. Working with a female can be quite refreshing. A female contractor is often more patient and willing to take the time to explain the process in a clear, concise manner without all sorts of industry jargon.

Aside from the comfort level, women designers and contractors often have a better understanding of the homeowners’ needs. After all, they are wives and mothers too. They come home from the jobsite to face the same responsibilities as the clients they serve.
They cook for their families and clean-up after the mess.

A female designer or contractor is conscious of the multi-purpose function of today’s kitchen. She can help design a space that provides ample space for food preparation, abundant storage, as well as serving as mission control.

Today’s kitchen must contain some office element. Ideally the remodel will incorporate a message center to post notes, school calendars and activity schedules. A modern kitchen may also serve as a place for children to sit and do homework while mom makes dinner.

Making life easier for the homeowner is a top priority. A good designer will consider maintenance and upkeep in recommending products. Sticky little fingers leave marks all over stainless steel appliances. Avid bakers and gourmet chefs may need the benefits of a butcher block or granite countertop, while a heat-and-eat family may be just fine with a laminate top.

Ease in entertaining is another element to consider. A female designer or contractor often has a greater understanding for the needs of a hostess. Chances are they have hosted their own holiday dinner at some point. They can create an open, inviting space where guests can gather and not be in the way of the cook.

Regardless of whether you choose to hire a female or male designer or contractor, it is most important to find someone who understands your needs and will create the kitchen of your dreams.

Royal Kitchen Designs is a full-service interior design and renovation company specializing in kitchens, bathrooms and luxurious living spaces. The company has been serving Broward and South Palm Beach counties for almost a decade. From custom kitchens and beautiful baths to designer draperies, every Royal Kitchen Designs project receives the royal touch. With over 75 years of combined experience, owners Margie Levy and Eliane Berdah can turn any home into a castle. Call Royal Kitchen Designs at (954) 717-1805 to schedule your complimentary consultation.

Royal Kitchen Designs writes a monthly advice column answering your questions about interior design and home remodeling. Please e-mail your questions to lilmargie38@aol.com or mail to: Royal Kitchen Designs, 5608 Travelers Palm Lane, Tamarac, FL, 33319. For more information visit www.royalkitchendesigns.com.

Why a General Contractor is Too General

By Women Designing Kitchens at Royal Kitchen Designs

Open any magazine or newspaper and you’ll find dozens of ads for home remodeling services. With so many choices, how do you know who to hire? Do you pick an interior designer, kitchen planner or general contractor? Considering the average kitchen remodeling project costs more than $20,000, you do not want to make a costly mistake.

With over 75 years of industry experience, we can safely say that your best bet is to hire a company that offers all three specialties. Finding such a group may not be easy.

There are many suppliers that claim to offer kitchen design services, but all they really do is design around their product offerings. There are also many general contractors who have recently entered the kitchen remodeling business. While they certainly have the construction qualifications, a general contractor lacks the design acumen needed to create a truly functional and stylish kitchen.

A full-service kitchen remodeling company will offer everything you need under one roof – an experienced kitchen designer to create a well-designed kitchen, an interior designer to create an attractive space that coordinates with the rest of the home, and a general contractor to actually complete the installation.

The kitchen designer plays a pivotal role. He or she will most likely be your primary contact and project manager. To begin the process, the kitchen designer will sit down with you and discuss your budget as well as your goals and visions so that they can create a kitchen workspace that meets all of your needs. Often times they will utilize a lengthy questionnaire to ensure nothing is overlooked.

A kitchen designer also keeps current on the latest trends. He or she has a great deal of knowledge about appliances, cabinetry, counter top choices, back splashes, lighting and flooring options. It is their job to make your dream kitchen a reality.

The next step is to meet with the interior designer. He or she will ensure that the kitchen redesign flows with the rest of the house. They will pay close attention to the color, style, textures, lighting, and flooring. The interior designer will share their suggestions with the kitchen designer who will incorporate them into the overall kitchen design.

Once the kitchen style, budget and décor have been determined, the kitchen designer will provide a detailed design plan. Be sure to avoid any company that does not provide a design plan with sizes and measurements indicated. This can only lead to errors.

A full-service firm will then send in their general contractor to make sure all the measurements are accurate. They will also confirm that all structural, electrical and plumbing issues are resolved before any work begins. The general contractor is responsible for all the work on the project, from demolition to installation.

As you can see, by hiring a full-service kitchen remodeling company you have hired a team of experts that will handle each and every part of the project. In next month’s column will be explore what questions you should ask when interviewing contractors and kitchen remodelers.

Royal Kitchen Designs is a full-service interior design and renovation company specializing in kitchens, bathrooms and luxurious living spaces. The company has been serving Broward and South Palm Beach counties for almost a decade. From custom kitchens and beautiful baths to designer draperies, every Royal Kitchen Designs project receives the royal touch. With over 75 years of combined experience, owners Margie Levy and Eliane Berdah can turn any home into a castle. Call Royal Kitchen Designs at (954) 717-1805 to schedule your complimentary consultation.

Royal Kitchen Designs writes a monthly advice column answering your questions about interior design and home remodeling. Please e-mail your questions to lilmargie38@aol.com or mail to: Royal Kitchen Designs, 5608 Travelers Palm Lane, Tamarac, FL, 33319. For more information visit www.royalkitchendesigns.com.

What You Need to Know to Pick the Perfect Flooring

By Women Designing Kitchens at Royal Kitchen Designs

You walk on it everyday, but most people never give it a second thought. It’s your floor covering…something most people take for granted. That is, until they are faced with deciding between marble, porcelain and ceramic tile. The choices can be overwhelming, especially for those with little experience in the home improvement industry.

Many homeowners think they can simply stop by a home improvement store, pick out a product and they’re good to go. That is not the case. There are many things to consider when choosing a floor covering; important things many homeowners often overlook.

The primary concern for most people is cost, and rightfully so. Installing new tile is expensive, and depending upon what product you pick the costs increase substantially. It’s important to have a good sense of value. It would make no sense to install marble in a $150,000 house because you would never see the return on your investment.

Generally speaking, marble and other natural stones have a very luxurious feel and seem to “fit” better in high-end homes. They also have the price tag to match. You pay more for the tile itself, as well as the installation.

Now, if you want that look without paying that price, you may want to consider a rectified porcelain tile. These types of tile look like marble and are installed like marble (with very fine grout lines), but cost much less. Keep in mind, this type of installation costs more than standard tile installation because the floor must be perfectly level. This is achieved by “floating the floor,” laying a mortar mixture over the concrete slab to create a smooth surface. Be sure to consider this additional cost when pricing your new floor.

Another factor to consider is the size of the tile. Bigger is not always better. With tiles ranging in size from 12” x 12” to 36” x 36” it is important to choose one that fits the room. Just because you have a small room does not mean you must use a small tile. Many times a large tile can give the illusion of a larger room, but that is not always the case. Through our many years of experience as interior designers, we have learned that rooms with low ceilings generally do not look good with large tile.

This is something you might not realize while looking at the tile in the store. That is why it is always a good idea to take home a few different tile samples to see how they look in your home. The color and shading will appear different under the store’s fluorescent lights than in the natural lighting of your home. By bringing it home, you can also see how the tile looks with your furniture and cabinetry.

Once you have picked your tile you need to pick a grout color. It is important to choose a color that compliments the tile. Some people prefer to pick a color tone from the tile itself, while others prefer a neutral color that blends with the tile. There are literally dozens of different color options, so again we recommend taking samples and seeing how they look next to your tile.

As with most home improvement projects, the choices can be quite overwhelming if you are not educated. We hope this article has enlightened you on what to keep in mind when picking the perfect flooring for your home.

Royal Kitchen Designs is a full-service interior design and renovation company specializing in kitchens, bathrooms and luxurious living spaces. The company has been serving Broward and South Palm Beach counties for almost a decade. From custom kitchens and beautiful baths to designer draperies, every Royal Kitchen Designs project receives the royal touch. With over 75 years of combined experience, owners Margie Levy and Eliane Berdah can turn any home into a castle. Call Royal Kitchen Designs at (954) 717-1805 to schedule your complimentary consultation.

Royal Kitchen Designs writes a monthly advice column answering your questions about interior design and home remodeling. Please e-mail your questions to lilmargie38@aol.com or mail to: Royal Kitchen Designs, 5608 Travelers Palm Lane, Tamarac, FL, 33319. For more information visit www.royalkitchendesigns.com.

Aging in Place

Aging In Place Remodeling on the Rise

By Women Designing Kitchens at Royal Kitchen Designs

Forget Feng Shui, the new trend in remodeling is Aging in Place. Today, many homeowners are asking for remodeling improvements to make their homes safer and more comfortable as they age because they do not want to move or lose independence. The thought is that by retrofitting the home, people can “age in place” and not have to move to assisted living facilities.

According to the AARP, 89% of people over the age of 50 wish to remain in their own homes indefinitely. This can often be achieved with a few minor modifications. With Aging in Place design the overall goal is to make the home safer and more barrier-free, as well as more convenient.

The bathroom is the number one place for accidents in the home, so it is important to make Aging in Place adjustments in the bathroom. Some of the easier modifications include installing grab bars in the shower, changing out the fixtures to lever handle faucets and anti-scald, temperature and pressure balanced tub shower valves, or installing higher toilets with non-slam seats and lids. The services of a contractor are required for other projects, such as upgrading to a curb-less shower (nothing to step over and can be rolled into if a wheelchair becomes necessary) or a walk-in bathtub (with a gated-door and seat).

Changes can be made in the kitchen to make meal preparation and eating easier. Again, there are simple solutions such as installing a lever-handle faucet with pull-out spray or larger cabinet and drawer pulls, as well as those that involve more complex renovations, such as installing pull-out shelves.

There are even Aging in Place considerations to keep in mind when purchasing or replacing appliances. Homeowners should consider a side-by-side refrigerator with slide-out shelves and a water/ice dispenser, a cooktop with controls in the front, a lower, side-opening oven, and a raised dishwasher to avoid back strain. It’s also a good idea to consider a raised front-loading washer and dryer in the laundry room.

There are many other Aging in Place options for the rest of the house. Insider, use non-slip flooring, enhance lighting, and install lever-style door handles. Outside, an attractive ramp or zero-step entrance to the house is recommended. If this is not possible, make sure you have a handrail on the steps or porch. And make sure the entryway and all walkways are well lit.

While the bulk of Aging in Place remodeling is done by homeowners over the age of 55, it is something everyone should consider. These modifications not only make it easier for visiting older relatives, but for the homeowners as well. By making the modifications now, you can ensure that you will be able to “age in place”.

Royal Kitchen Designs is a full-service interior design and renovation company specializing in kitchens, bathrooms and luxurious living spaces. The company has been serving Broward and South Palm Beach counties for almost a decade. From custom kitchens and beautiful baths to designer draperies, every Royal Kitchen Designs project receives the royal touch. With over 75 years of combined experience, owners Margie Levy and Eliane Berdah can turn any home into a castle. Call Royal Kitchen Designs at (954) 717-1805 to schedule your complimentary consultation.

Royal Kitchen Designs writes a monthly advice column answering your questions about interior design and home remodeling. Please e-mail your questions to lilmargie38@aol.com or mail to: Royal Kitchen Designs, 5608 Travelers Palm Lane, Tamarac, FL, 33319. For more information visit www.royalkitchendesigns.com

Kitchen Remodeling 101: Concept to Completion

By Women Designing Kitchens at Royal Kitchen Designs

It’s no secret that kitchen remodels are among the most popular home improvements. Not only do they offer a great return on investment, but a newly remodeled kitchen improves the form and function of the home.

If you are considering remodeling your kitchen there is obviously something you don’t like about your kitchen. It may simply be the style of cabinetry or it could be the layout. Whatever the reason, unless you solve that problem you will not be satisfied. This is why it is important to work with a professional who specializes in kitchen remodeling.

With over 75 years of combined experience, we have learned that communication is the key. The reason we have so many satisfied clients is that we actually listen to our customers. We begin with a free consultation. We’ll spend an hour or so in your home talking to you and getting a feel for your decorating style and lifestyle. Plus, we ask all prospective clients to complete a thorough questionnaire. We will show you hundreds of pictures to get a feel for what you like and don’t like. Be sure whoever you hire really understands what you want.

The next step is to measure the kitchen and give a ballpark price. If that’s acceptable, the company will draw up a thorough design plan. This design fee is typically deductible from the price of the kitchen renovation.

Once the design is agreed upon, the next step is to start shopping. If you are working with a full-service renovation company, an interior designer will guide you through this step. They may accompany you to showrooms to help select cabinets, countertops, backsplashes, appliances, sinks, faucets, fixtures, and lighting. The designer will spend hours showing clients all the alternatives available and making color recommendations to ensure the client’s new kitchen is exactly how they envision it in their dreams.

Next comes the waiting period. Depending upon the products selected, clients may have to wait weeks, or even months, until everything is delivered. A professional renovator will not start a job until the kitchen cabinets have been delivered. This way the client’s life is not disrupted, any more than necessary. An experienced remodeler will also set up temporary solutions, such as moving the refrigerator into the garage or microwave in the laundry room, so the client is not without a kitchen for too long.

The typical kitchen remodeling job takes about five weeks from the time the contractor starts prepping the job and demolition until completion. Of course, just because the work is done does not mean that the job is over. A good kitchen remodeling company will guarantee its work and come back and service it if there are any problems.

In next month’s issue will we discuss how to make sure your kitchen renovation really works for you and your family.
Royal Kitchen Designs is a full-service interior design and renovation company specializing in kitchens, bathrooms and luxurious living spaces. The company has been serving Broward and South Palm Beach counties for almost a decade. From custom kitchens and beautiful baths to designer draperies, every Royal Kitchen Designs project receives the royal touch. With over 75 years of combined experience, owners Margie Levy and Eliane Berdah can turn any home into a castle. Call Royal Kitchen Designs at (954) 717-1805 to schedule your complimentary consultation.

Royal Kitchen Designs writes a monthly advice column answering your questions about interior design and home remodeling. Please e-mail your questions to lilmargie38@aol.com or mail to: Royal Kitchen Designs, 5608 Travelers Palm Lane, Tamarac, FL, 33319.

Go Green with Custom Concrete Countertops

Go Green with Custom Concrete Countertops

By Women Designing Kitchens at Royal Kitchen Designs

When it comes to remodeling, today’s homeowner is as much concerned with aesthetics as the environment. That’s why many people are attempting to incorporate “green” decorating into their design. One of the hottest trends today is the use of concrete countertops.

Once found primarily in industrial usage, concrete countertops are quickly becoming commonplace in contemporary homes. Boasting rich color and visual texture, style-savvy homeowners are now requesting concrete over granite and marble. It’s just as durable as natural stone, but much more versatile.

With concrete, you can have any shape or color you want. Concrete is a structural material, so you can vary textures. You can grind it to expose the aggregate or leave it as it comes out of the mold. You can even inlay objects (such as broken, but beloved, pieces of crystal or china). You can also emboss textures or etch images into it. Your options are limited only by your imagination.

The manufacturer we work offers two types of concrete countertops: polished concrete and terrazzo, featuring bits of broken glass. Both are excellent environmentally-friendly options. In fact, the recycled glass used in the aggregate is actually bottles and glasses collected from local restaurants and stores. The recycled content in the concrete can range from 30% to 70% by weight or volume. What a wonderful way to recycle.

Not only is concrete more versatile than granite and marble, it’s much more flexible. Concrete countertops can be created in any size and shape, with a variety of edge options. The largest slab available is five-feet by nine-feet and can be up to 12-inches thick. This is ideal for those homeowners interested in making a bold statement.

Like granite, the process begins by making a template. Back at the shop, our manufacturer first builds all the forms to size. Then they mix the concrete, pour it into the forms and let it set. Once it is ready, it is polished and then installed. The actual installation is similar to that of granite, using wood supports. Finally, a sealer is applied to make it more scratch-proof and stain-resistant.

Concrete countertops require very little maintenance. Washing your countertop with mild soap and water is the best method of cleaning. For maximum protection and beauty, apply a wax or sealer monthly.

In addition to countertops, concrete can be used for bathtub surrounds, sinks, and even tiles. All applications are environmentally responsible. So, if you’re thinking about remodeling and would like to make your home more eco-friendly, consider the many uses of concrete.

Royal Kitchen Designs is a full-service interior design and renovation company specializing in kitchens, bathrooms and luxurious living spaces. The company has been serving Broward and South Palm Beach counties for almost a decade. From custom kitchens and beautiful baths to designer draperies, every Royal Kitchen Designs project receives the royal touch. With over 75 years of combined experience, owners Margie Levy and Eliane Berdah can turn any home into a castle. Call Royal Kitchen Designs at (954) 717-1805 to schedule your complimentary consultation.

Royal Kitchen Designs writes a monthly advice column answering your questions about interior design and home remodeling. Please e-mail your questions to lilmargie38@aol.com or mail to: Royal Kitchen Designs, 5608 Travelers Palm Lane, Tamarac, FL, 33319. For more information visit www.royalkitchendesigns.com

Confused About Cabinetry? Here’s Help

By Women Designing Kitchens at Royal Kitchen Designs

Whether you’re remodeling a kitchen or bathroom, one of the first decisions you need to make is what type of cabinetry you want. The options can be quite confusing. Before you make a costly mistake, carefully consider your cabinetry choices.

Imported cabinets from Asia are slowly entering the U.S. market. Although readily available, there are some points to consider before purchasing this type of cabinetry.

Price wise, cabinetry from Asia is the most cost effective. But, as the old saying goes: “You get what you paid for.” These cabinets are often made with different types of wood so you do not get a uniform look, plus the finish is usually poor. On top of that, the quality of hinges and hardware is usually inferior. While at first glance these cabinets may look nice, over time you will notice the flaws and the product may actually fall apart.

Of course there are plenty of pluses to purchasing cabinetry from Asia. You can’t beat the price. These cabinets are typically a fraction of the cost of custom cabinetry. Manufacturers keep costs down by offering only select sizes and colors. These cabinets come in kits which need to be assembled. While that may be great for do-it-yourselfers, it will mean additional expenses if you need to hire someone to construct and install.

Another option is stock or semi-custom cabinetry. These are the products you see at the big-box stores. Because of their enormous volume, these stores are able to offer quality cabinetry at value pricing. These cabinets are usually made in the United States, so the craftsmanship is superior. You are getting quality construction with fine finishing.

While the quality and selection is great, the issue is often service. The stores specialize in sales, not service. Their staff has been trained to help you pick the products you want to create your space, but they do not specialize in full-service remodeling. You will need to hire contractors to put the project together, and those costs can quickly add up.

Another issue is that because these cabinets are manufactured in another state, there can be problems in shipping. Some pieces may be on back-order and others may come damaged. This can mean additional time and aggravation.

The final option is custom cabinetry. In this case, the homeowner works with a professional kitchen and bathroom remodeling company to design cabinetry to complement the space. A reputable designer will provide a creative, functional and beautifully designed room.

The designer will work with a local craftsman to build cabinetry custom-designed exclusively for your home. Not only does this allow you to optimize the space available, but you will be able to select the type of wood, the finish and the hardware used. In addition, the designer will help you select the countertops, sinks, faucets, backsplashes and appliances to complete the project.

With custom cabinetry, not only are you getting exactly what you want down to the finest detail, but you get the satisfaction of knowing that is being built locally. If there are any problems they can be correctly quickly.

Custom cabinetry does cost more, but the result is incomparable. The result is a hassle-free experience and the sense of tranquility in knowing that things are done right. This is our specialty, so if you are considering remodeling your kitchen or bathroom, let Royal Kitchen Designs design custom cabinetry to meet your every need.

Royal Kitchen Designs is a full-service interior design and renovation company specializing in kitchens, bathrooms and luxurious living spaces. The company has been serving Broward and South Palm Beach counties for almost a decade. From custom kitchens and beautiful baths to designer draperies, every Royal Kitchen Designs project receives the royal touch. With over 75 years of combined experience, owners Margie Levy and Eliane Berdah can turn any home into a castle. Call Royal Kitchen Designs at (954) 717-1805 to schedule your complimentary consultation.

Royal Kitchen Designs writes a monthly advice column answering your questions about interior design and home remodeling. Please e-mail your questions to lilmargie38@aol.com or mail to: Royal Kitchen Designs, 5608 Travelers Palm Lane, Tamarac, FL, 33319. For more information visit www.royalkitchendesigns.com.

Convert Your Closet into a Powder Room

By Women Designing Kitchens at Royal Kitchen Designs

Today everyone is looking for ways to add value to their homes. Kitchens and bathrooms consistently deliver the greatest return on investment. So imagine the benefit of adding a half-bath to your home. It can be done…and for a lot less than you think.

In many situations a closet can be easily converted into a powder room. The first step is to assess if you have the space needed to accommodate a toilet and vanity. If you can reconfigure the area, your home may be a candidate for a closet conversion.

The next, and probably most important step, is to check with a plumber to see if it is feasible to connect the plumbing fixtures to an existing water line and drain. If that’s doable, then you can begin the conversion process.

Since this is a complex project, you will want to make sure you are working with an experienced home renovation company. Because you are starting from scratch, you need someone with a strong sense of design, as well as construction expertise.

You will need to seek permitting from your city for this project. Once the plans have been approved, it’s time to purchase your supplies. With over 75 years of combined experience, one thing we’ve learned is that you do not want to start a renovation project until you have all your materials in hand. We suggest you have your vanity, toilet, sink, faucets, tile, lighting and mirrors delivered before you knock your first hole in the wall. With all supplies at the ready, your project should be completed in a timely and cost-efficient manner.

It’s also important to make sure your contractors are ready to go. By working with a full-service home renovation company you can be sure there is no downtime with your project. Every step is carefully planned and scheduled.

The first step in converting the closet into a powder room is to tear down the walls and frame out the new space. Once this is complete, a licensed plumber can cut through the slab and connect the plumbing. After the rough plumbing is in place, it’s time to install the tile. If you are using wall tile, it is important to make sure the electrician has already installed the wiring for the outlets, light fixtures and exhaust fan, if needed. The vanity can then be installed, along with the mirror. Then it’s time to bring the plumber back to connect the plumbing; this includes installing the sink, faucets and toilet. Hook up the lights, paint the walls and your new half-bath is finished.

Converting a closet to a powder room is definitely not a do-it-yourself project. This is an extensive renovation. All work should be done by professional plumbers, electricians and general contractors.

You should expect to pay about $6,900 to complete a closet conversion. That is really a great price, when you consider that a typical powder room renovation costs about $4,900. In either case, the homeowner will recoup the construction costs with the added equity in their home.

Royal Kitchen Designs is a full-service interior design and renovation company specializing in kitchens, bathrooms and luxurious living spaces. The company has been serving Broward and South Palm Beach counties for almost a decade. From custom kitchens and beautiful baths to designer draperies, every Royal Kitchen Designs project receives the royal touch. With over 75 years of combined experience, owners Margie Levy and Eliane Berdah can turn any home into a castle. Call Royal Kitchen Designs at (954) 717-1805 to schedule your complimentary consultation.

Royal Kitchen Designs writes a monthly advice column answering your questions about interior design and home remodeling. Please e-mail your questions to lilmargie38@aol.com or mail to: Royal Kitchen Designs, 5608 Travelers Palm Lane, Tamarac, FL, 33319. For more information visit www.royalkitchendesigns.com

Converting Your Master Bath into a Home Spa

By Women Designing Kitchens at Royal Kitchen Designs

Today’s homeowner is choosing to invest in their home, over the volatile stock market. There’s a growing trend of homeowners remodeling master bathrooms into a home spa, with soaking tub, steam shower or even a sauna. And it can be done for a lot less than you might think.

It’s a fact: kitchen and bathroom renovations offer the biggest returns on investments. According to an article in Forbes magazine, a homeowner can expect to recoup an average 102% of their investment for a bathroom renovation. Not to mention, with the real estate market in a slump and the economy at the lowest level in years, homeowners can take advantage of some great deals nowadays.

If your home has a stand-up shower, or even a full-size bathtub, you can easily convert that to a Jacuzzi tub. But this is no do-it-yourself project; you will need the service of a home remodeling specialist. This project requires a licensed plumber, master electrician, and a carpenter, not to mention a designer.

The first step is to determine what size and style tub will fit your needs. Do you want a simple soaking tub or a hydrotherapy tub equipped with everything from a sound system to fiber optic lighting? The choices can be overwhelming, so this is where the experience and talent of a design professional comes into play. They can help you pick the product that fits not only your bathroom, but your budget.

Once you’ve picked the tub, your designer can help you choose your new tile and fixtures. If you are not renovating the entire bathroom, you will need to make sure the products you pick coordinate with the existing features.

With those elements decided, it’s time to begin construction. After the shower stall has been demolished, most likely you will need the plumber to move the drain. Generally, a shower stall drain is in the center, while the drain is offset in a tub.

Once that is complete, a new cement slab is poured. The Jacuzzi must be fitted into the cement to avoid movement once it is filled with water. A carpenter will need to build a frame out of specially treated wood and durarock (greenboard). This not only supports the Jacuzzi, but the tile that is adhered to it.

If there is space, you might want to consider installing a larger ledge on the front side of the tub. Not only does this look nice, it’s an important safety feature. The ledge allows an older person to sit comfortably and then turn around and slide gently into the tub, as opposed to having to step into the water and possibly loose their balance. We also recommend installing grab bars.

Once the tub is in place, the plumbing fixtures are installed. This could include a rain shower head, hand-held shower, faucets and more. Depending upon what type of tub you have purchased, you may need an electrician. Finally, the tile is installed. It is important to make sure that your tile is designed for a bathroom and is not slippery when wet. A designer can help you make that determination, and can help select decorative tiles to create a custom design or mosaic.

Another option for the home spa is a steam shower. Often times this entails less labor and cost than installing a Jacuzzi or soaking tub because the plumbing does not need to be relocated. There are many options for steam showers, from pre-fabricated enclosed fixtures to custom-designed spaces with floor-to-ceiling tile and glass. The nice thing about a steam shower is that most often you can still take a “regular” shower in the same space. Again, this is a project for an experienced home remodeler.

While neither of these projects is cheap, both can be completed for less than you might think. Many manufacturers are offering great deals as incentives for homeowners. And remember, statistics show you could recoup your entire renovation investment.

Royal Kitchen Designs is a full-service interior design and renovation company specializing in kitchens, bathrooms and luxurious living spaces. The company has been serving Broward and South Palm Beach counties for almost a decade. From custom kitchens and beautiful baths to designer draperies, every Royal Kitchen Designs project receives the royal touch. With over 75 years of combined experience, owners Margie Levy and Eliane Berdah can turn any home into a castle. Call Royal Kitchen Designs at (954) 717-1805 to schedule your complimentary consultation.

Royal Kitchen Designs writes a monthly advice column answering your questions about interior design and home remodeling. Please e-mail your questions to lilmargie38@aol.com or mail to: Royal Kitchen Designs, 5608 Travelers Palm Lane, Tamarac, FL, 33319. For more information visit www.royalkitchendesigns.com