I am a member of a couple of Interior Design forums and groups. In these groups, we provide each other support, mentorship, and learning opportunities. In one of my groups, a member shared a new renovation company that has recently started up in New York. This company provides bathroom renovation packages. Since I design and manage a number of bathroom renovations, this intrigued me. So what exactly was this company in New York doing?
Bathroom Renovation Packages
Let’s start off with what this company in New York is presenting. The company is called Block. This company was started by two entrepreneurs T. Luke Sherwin and Koda M. Wang. T. Luke Sherwin co-founded the mattress company Casper, and Koda M. Wang was the chief customer officer at Rent the Runway. As you may notice, not one of these gentlemen has Interior Design or renovation experience. Here is what Block offers:
- Explore their 2 package designs to get an instant quote.
- Share some photos of your bathroom.
- They prepare for your renovation.
- The ‘Rapid Build’ begins.
Their two packages are called Contemporary and Classic with an option to go ‘custom’.
I think we can almost all agree that having package pricing is great for the consumer. I mean, you know what the bottom line is, you know what you’ll be paying, and you know what you’ll be getting.
The Pros of Bathroom Renovation Packages
I don’t think anyone can disagree that this concept looks great. You basically pick out a package (a look) that you wish for your bathroom, you send in some pictures, the Block team does the rest of the work for you.
For those who struggle with making choices, this is the perfect fit for you. There are basically two or three options for each look. It’s like looking at a menu from a restaurant and picking and choosing your sides to go along with your main course.
Pricing – we can not forget about pricing. Block states on their website that they deal with major brands. They also state on their website,
…we specialize in bathrooms, we are able to get favorable pricing and have visibility into availability — thus allowing us to procure high quality materials at efficient timelines for our customers.
Seems like a win right?
Cons of Bathroom Renovation Packages
Let me first state that this blog is not intended to bash this New York company’s business. I do think there is a market for this type of model. As with everything, there are pros and cons, so here are my cons that I see with bathroom renovation packages:
- While some people may enjoy the limited choices, others do not. If you are looking to personalize your space for you, a renovation package like this would not be a good choice for you.
- You are not getting a say as to who will be coming to work in your home. While Block does state that they vet all of their trades, it is Block who decides who will do the work – not you.
- While there are two packages, with an option to go ‘custom’, the wording, “..work will be up to “Commercial Standard” would be a bit alarming for me. In a residence, I don’t want commercial standards as when I hear those 2 words, I think of ‘builder grade.’ No thank you.
Bathroom renovation packages: Are we really that different?
As I spend time with on Block’s website, I am trying to figure out how their company would be different from any Interior Design firm (like mine). They have right on their website:
Block simplifies the chaos and costs of construction by bringing design, sourcing, and management all under one roof.
Listed in their footer of their website.
Isn’t that what Interior Design Firms do?
A Closer Look
Let’s take a closer look at the four steps for a bathroom renovation package that are listed on Block’s website.
- Step One – Get a free estimate.
- Most Interior Design firms will provide a free estimate for your bathroom renovation.
- I know we provide a free estimate based off your wants, needs, and wishes.
- Step Two – Share Your Photos & Schedule a Consultation. This is where Interior Design Firms will differ from Block.
- As an Interior Design Firm, we will actually come to your home, take our own photos (knowing what/where/how to take photos that will assist us with the rest of the process), and will already have met you to determine your needs (in Step One). We also take the measurements!
- A relationship is being developed (and so is the trust factor).
- Step Three – Your Renovation is Prepared. An Interior Design Firm will do the exact same work as Block advertises.
- We will create your design, handle all permits, detailed drawings, and help you select the finishing materials (including procuring them).
- Where we differ is that Block does everything virtually online, we do it in person. We pick up the phone and deal with our local suppliers.
- Interior Designers get great discounts (and I know I share those with my clients) on products. While Block may get deep discounts for buying in bulk, our Interior Design pricing is second to none!
- Step Four – Rapid Build Begins. As stated on Block’s website, your bathroom will be built without interruption by a licensed and insured contractor from our vetted network.
- An Interior Design Firm will also carry this out. For my company, we create the Construction Calendar, attend on-site meetings, and ensure the design on paper is turning into a reality.
- Most Interior Design firms take care and attention to vet the trades they use to carry out the work of their projects. I know all trades on my sites need to be licensed and insured. I also know that all trades need to sign a Trade/Designer Agreement with my company. Let’s face it, the trades are really representing my company when they are on site!
So are you saving money by having a bathroom renovation pacakge?
I actually don’t think you are. When I look at their ‘standard’ Classic Package starting at $15,900 for a full gut, I think I can do better. Wait – I know I can do better! Let’s take a look.
This bathroom below was a full gut this past summer (June 2018) and the price for this bathroom was $13,683.90. The timeline? 3.5 weeks.
Bathroom Renovation Packages
- If you are looking to carry out a bathroom renovation for a ‘standard bathroom‘ with no weird wall angles, that has a simple bathtub/shower combination, toilet and standard vanity size (24-30 inches), you bet it can be done for under $15K. It’s totally do-able.
- Working with an Interior Designer will allow you to create your personalized ‘Renovation Package’ – not give you one of two choices.
- Interior Designers will be able to manipulate your budget. If you wish to splurge on a nicer shower faucet, then perhaps you pull back on the pricing of floor tile (or in another area). With our extensive knowledge, we can manipulate the budget all.day.long.
My Final Thoughts
While I could easily advertise “Main Bathroom Renovation Packages starting at $15,000, I don’t. Why? Just look above! That one ‘standard bathroom’ came in under $15,000! I also am not a firm believer of ‘cookie cutter’. We have enough of that in our lives.
When we purchase a home, it is most likely the biggest investment we will make. Why would I want what everyone else has? Can you imagine if all of the homes looked exactly the same (inside and out)? We would be living in a vanilla world – and I don’t like that! I love personality. I love working with different styles and creating spaces designed for my clients.