See How A Serene Palette & Soaker Tub Create A Spa-Like Principal Bathroom

“Who doesn’t love relaxing in a big tub after a long day?” says Toronto designer Shauna Walton, who was enlisted to give this 110-square-foot principal bedroom a much-needed facelift. The young homeowners, who had just bought their forever home, wanted to update the dark space with fresh, minimalist finishes.

This spa-like space features a host of self-care amenities including a generous 94-inch-wide vanity complete with custom dividers for one client’s blow-dryer and curling iron, and a gorgeous freestanding tub. A delicate seeded eucalyptus sprig adds to the zen vibe. “We went with neutrals and natural materials to keep it calming and coordinate with the rest of the house,” says Shauna of the serene palette. “Less is more when creating timeless, restful spaces.”

She removed a huge built-in Jacuzzi tub, making room for a larger stand-alone shower, then added a stunning feature wall behind the new tub with herringbone-patterned marble tile and a ledge for art and bubble bath.

How They Did It

  • Neutral palette with hits of nickel, brass and black
  • Dramatically veined Statuario marble floor tile
  • Graphic abstract art
  • Herringbone-pattern Dolomite tile and niche in shower
  • Simple striped towels

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Take A Peek Inside This Hotel-Inspired Bathroom With Daring Design

Designers Cindy Bleeks and Erin Feasby gave this once-dated principal bathroom the hotel-style treatment their clients were craving. “It’s the perfect combination of luxurious, timeless, urban and cool,” says Erin. Not only did the designers bring in a statement shower with a wall framed in black steel, but they also shifted the doorway to make the 96-square-foot space more usable, added a built-in armoire for towel storage and sourced a furniture-inspired vanity to complement the adjoining bedroom. “The bathroom feels like an extension of the bedroom when the doors are open,” says Erin.

A Crema Delicato marble counter coordinates with white marble floor and shower tile, while a single sink and wall-mounted faucet maximize space on the counter. The end result has a cozy, curated feel, and the clients agree. “They said, ‘Everyone wants their bathroom to feel like a hotel, but I’ve yet to find a hotel bathroom as gorgeous as ours!’” reports Erin.

How They Did It

  • Graphic color palette enlivened with a colorful rug
  • Dramatic black-framed shower wall
  • Furniture-inspired vanity
  • Luxe, coordinating marble counter and floor tile
  • Additional built-in storage unit for towels

Author: Harleen Sidhu


Mark Burstyn


House & Home June 2020


Cindy Bleeks & Erin Feasby, Feasby & Bleeks Design

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You’ll Want To Wake Up Every Morning In This Pretty & Petite Bathroom

Designer Mélanie Cherrier was tasked with transforming a spare bedroom into a principal bathroom that flowed with the rest of the century-old home in Montreal West, and her plan was simple: incorporate old pieces with new accents that have timeless appeal. The 95-square-foot room she created proves that luxury can be found in even the smallest of spaces. A vintage wooden perch is ideal for keeping essentials handy while elegant new panelling gives the white envelope its Parisian flavor.

Imagine waking up to heated Carrara marble floors and starting the day with a sun-drenched shower. Its this pampered feeling that Mélanies hardworking clients wanted, and she certainly delivered. A cleverly placed window lets natural light into the shower.

A white oak vanity and cabinet reiterate the historical vibe and add warmth. “I wanted a soft and serene look that would age beautifully,” says Mélanie.

How They Did It

  • Hexagonal Carrara marble floor tiles
  • White palette warmed up with mid-tone white oak cabinets
  • Lots of natural light, thanks to two windows
  • Elegant panelling and crisp subway tile
  • Warm burnished brass fixtures and accent pieces

Author: Harleen Sidhu


Maxime Desbiens


House & Home June 2020


Melanie Cherrier, Blanc Marine Living

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A Mix of Renovation Materials Shine in Full Reno

Humble renovation materials make for smart upgrades and plenty of storage

As a designer on the architecture and interiors team for Ace Hotel, Matthew Stewart had plenty of professional experience with construction and renovation materials. When he embarked on his first personal renovation project he ran into similar challenges, but with higher personal stakes. The 1,000-square foot condo in a converted 1930s factory building in Clinton Hill, Brooklyn had to be renovated quickly, and on a limited budget. Despite the obstacles, Matthew knew the loft-like space with 14-foot ceilings would be a great place to decompress.

To bring his vision to life he posted his project on Sweeten, a free renovation platform that matches homeowners with licensed general contractors and tracks their projects, and chose his contractor.

concrete peninsula

“After” photos by Pixy Interiors for Sweeten

Guest blog post by Sweeten homeowner Matthew Stewart

I found a place that needed work and left me with some budget to renovate. It was challenging to work full time and oversee the renovation. I tried to keep things simple. 

The goal for my home was to feel peaceful and light, but I had a pretty tight budget for all that I wanted to accomplish. I focused on fairly humble materials for the renovation that I really liked and how to use them expanding on traditional neutral colors. Work is always visually intensive for me and I wanted a minimal, quiet space to serve as a backdrop for art and objects.

Brooklyn loft with cat

Navigating the reno plan

I’ve seen many projects through construction in my professional career. However, it never personally affected my life before. The biggest challenge was: would I be able to figure out the design of the space, hire a contractor, and complete the work in the short window I had before I would have to move in? I ended up having to move into a construction site. It was a lot to have workers show up every morning and not have a kitchen for many weeks. But you forget the hardships quickly once it’s done and you’re enjoying living there. Thankfully, my partner at the time and I were able to help each other through it. He has great taste and helped me the whole way through.

I’ve always liked appliance garages. It goes back to the fact that my grandparents had one in their very modern kitchen from the ’60s.


Mixed-materials kitchen

Mixing wood and laminate as finishes for the cabinetry was an important idea when I was planning the renovation. It emphasizes the volumes and makes the scale a little more human. The countertops and peninsula are concrete, which I like because it can take any form. However, it’s also a natural material for renovation that weathers over time. 

Appliance garage

I’ve always liked appliance garages. It goes back to the fact that my grandparents had one in their very modern kitchen from the ’60s. 

Renovating two bathrooms

I was especially excited about the new bathrooms and having a tub to soak in with a smoked glass panel. From the beginning, I knew the partition would not be clear glass. 

In the other bathroom, the general idea was to make a very small space feel as big and open as possible. The renovation materials are pretty simple, but the details and extra showerhead make it feel more special.

renovation materials of laminate panel and Murphy bed

A Murphy bed and storage

In the guest bedroom/office, the millwork is a combination of knotty pine and laminate, with a painted wood frame. The red laminate panel breaks up the finish and calls attention to the sliding door. They are both closets and shoe storage.

I made the open shelving in the hallway myself using laminated pieces of reclaimed wood. In a way, it’s the heart of the apartment. I knew I wanted to find a spot for these shelves and the hall was just the right fit. It turns a slice of space that wasn’t so usable into a place for display.

Plants were always an important component. All of the artwork is from friends and acquaintances or people in my community.

My Sweeten general contractor

My Sweeten general contractor was instrumental in completing the project and helping me do all of the things I wanted to do. At the outset, I got a lot of high bids. He was the one who convinced me it could be done within my budget. 

He helped me find the millworker who did all the cabinetry. I did all the design and drawings for them, and selected all the finishes. A Murphy bed kit was purchased online and my contractor built the frame, the custom panels, and installed it.

I highly recommend working with design professionals. It’s easy to underestimate the amount of work involved. And don’t get too hung up on specific choices, sometimes it’s easier to just pick something nice that you know you like and move on. 

My new home makes me feel happy and relaxed, and it helps me focus. Living in the space has forced me to declutter and live more simply. And it’s been a good exercise to direct interests for future projects.

Thank you, Matthew, for sharing your renovation with us!

KITCHEN RESOURCES: Laminate and douglas fir cabinets: Custom by general contractor. Hardware: Rejuvenation. Concrete countertops: Trueform Concrete. Ceramic backsplash tile: Mosa. Silgranit sink: Blanco. Faucet: Kohler. Pendant lights: Verner Panton

MASTER BATHROOM RESOURCES: Shower fixtures: California Faucets. Sink: Kohler. Vanity: Custom. Toilet: Duravit. Lighting: Rich Brilliant Willing

GUEST BATHROOM RESOURCES: Floor & wall tiles: Mosa ceramic. Shower fixtures: California Faucets. Toilet: Toto. Lighting: Vintage.

Paint throughout in Alabaster: Benjamin Moore.

Sweeten founder and CEO weighs in on what to know before renovating a brownstone.

Sweeten handpicks the best general contractors to match each project’s location, budget, scope, and style. Follow the blog, Sweeten Stories, for renovation ideas and inspiration and when you’re ready to renovate, start your renovation with Sweeten.

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Adding a Second Bath for Convenience

adding a second bath with blue tile

“After” photos by Pixy Interiors for Sweeten

Project: Transform a one-bedroom unit by splitting the master bath into two; adding a second bathroom and an extra bedroom. 

Before: When Jeanne and Philip found out they were having a baby, it was just the incentive they needed to renovate. Changing the layout of their 1,000-square-foot apartment would be more efficient for their growing family. They wanted more space to enjoy while raising their little one—without being on top of one another. Luckily, with the help of Sweeten, a free renovation platform that matches homeowners with licensed general contractors and tracks their projects, they posted their project and found a contractor who could help fulfill their vision of adding a second bathroom and bedroom by splitting up the master bath.

before pictures of the bathroom

They discussed turning their one-bedroom into a two-bedroom and splitting their master bath into two with their contractor. Luckily, there was enough square footage to play with. The previous owner had taken a closet next to the master bathroom to make a large walk-in shower. The couple’s Sweeten contractor would use some of that space to make a guest bath and second bedroom.

After: The couple decided a design-build firm would be a good fit since maximizing their apartment’s limited space would be tricky. Plus, the contractor handled the architectural documents required by the co-op board and filed for city permits. The family’s main goal was to turn the guest bath into an ADA-compliant space. To do so, they had to add a step up due to underlying drains. Without it, the room would not be able to function in such a capacity. An ADA-compliant space follows a federal guideline to provide greater access to people with limited mobility.


“I asked the designer to come up with different looks, then mixed and matched,” Jeanne says. “We wanted to be a bit more forward and get funkier.”

Bonus: A new wall-hung toilet takes less floor space than a traditional toilet would.

Style finds: Toilet: Kohler. Vanity: Fresca. Sin/faucet: Grohe. Medicine cabinet: Robern. Toilet paper holder and a hand towel hook Ginger. Subway tile and herringbone mosaic: Nemo Tile. Flooring Daltile. Rain shower and hand-held system: Hansgrohe.

Give new life to your kitchen. Here’s what you need to know on the renovation costs for a kitchen in NYC.

Sweeten handpicks the best general contractors to match each project’s location, budget, scope, and style. Follow the blog, Sweeten Stories, for renovation ideas and inspiration and when you’re ready to renovate, start your renovation with Sweeten.

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2020 Cost Guide for a Home Remodel in Miami

The costs to expect for kitchen, bath, whole home, and outdoor remodeling in Miami (plus resale value and permit tips!)

modern home remodel in Miami

Whether you own a modern beach-side condo, an on-the-bay house, or a bungalow away from it all on a quiet street, the process of doing a remodel in Miami can be enjoyable—with a rewarding outcome. 

A budget is the start of any renovation, and every project is unique: from materials, adding value and lifestyle to your home, and working with the HOA. Sweeten, a free renovation platform that matches homeowners with licensed general contractors and tracks their project, offers this cost guide to remodeling in Miami to provide a jumping-off point to get you on your way. 

Here’s a breakdown of typical starting costs across Miami, Florida, focusing on four categories: kitchen, bathroom, deck additions, and permits compiled from Sweeten general contractors and Remodeling’s Cost vs. Value report:

  • Full home renovation: $100 – $250+ per square feet (psf)
  • Low-end kitchen remodel: starting at $150 psf or $15,000 (based on a 100-sq-ft space)
  • Mid-range kitchen remodel: $325 psf or $65,000 (based on a 200-sq-ft space)
  • High-end kitchen remodel:  $650 psf or $130,000 (based on a 200-sq-ft space)
  • Low-end bathroom remodel: starting at $300 psf
  • Mid-range bathroom remodel: $570 psf or $20,000 (based on a 35-sq-ft space)
  • High-end bathroom remodel: $630 psf or $63,000 (based on a 100-sq-ft space)
  • Basic wood deck addition: $40 psf or $13,000 (based on a 325-sq-ft space)
  • Concrete patio addition with roof, electrical, plumbing, and a cooking area: $50,000  

How much a home remodel in Miami costs per square feet

If you’re renovating a house in the Miami area, expect costs to range from $100 to $250+ psf with $175 psf as the middle range. If you’re aiming for a budget that is in the upper-middle range, Miami-based Sweeten general contractor Adrian said you can expect to pay over $200,000 or about $200 psf. However, several elements affect this, like square footage, the state of the original home, and how expensive your tastes are. “It has all to do with the finishes,” Adrian said. By finishes, he means the elements you can see such as tiles, faucets, and kitchen countertops. With materials, plan to add to the timeline for installation and materials and labor costs. Using higher-end finishes will push your budget upwards by at least $50,000, he said. 

The budget for renovating an apartment can be higher than house renovations. “If you’re doing a house, often you can work on the weekends,” said Adrian. In a condo, there are tight rules about when construction work can and can’t be done. These hours are put in place by the homeowners association (HOA) for each building. Often, this means only working within an eight-hour or so window Monday to Friday. This extends the timeline of a project, thus increasing the budget. HOAs might also charge a condo owner a fee to remodel their apartment. 

Disposing of trash adds to the cost of condo renovations. With a house, a general contractor can park a dumpster out the front. For condo remodels, general contractors will likely hire a separate contractor to come and lug construction trash away. This involves negotiating tight hallways and elevators as well as timeframes given by the HOA.  

How much a kitchen remodel in Miami costs per square foot

  • A kitchen renovation in the best value range can come in at as low as $15,000 for something that is around 100 square feet, according to Hancen, a Sweeten general contractor in Miami. To get a new kitchen at this price, it needs to be a rip-and-replace job, meaning a layout of the kitchen must stay the same with pipes and appliances remaining where they are.

Homeowners should look at materials like pre-made shaker-style cabinets and appliances from big-box stores like Home Depot. “I’ve also noticed a trend for concrete countertops,” said Hancen. “These can be cheaper than quartz, but they take more to maintain,” adding that a sealant needs to be applied annually. 

  • A mid-range kitchen remodel in Miami costs on average $65,000, according to the Cost Vs Value’s 2020 report from Remodeling magazine. This works out to $325 psf. Almost 60 percent of that cost is recouped in the value it adds to a home. The example kitchen the report gave was 200 square feet with laminate countertops, semi-custom wood cabinets, and a stainless steel sink with a standard single-lever faucet. It also contained a built-in microwave, dishwasher, and custom lighting. Other than the addition of a kitchen island, the layout, such as where the oven and dishwasher were installed, remained the same as the original design.

Sweeten general contractor Domenico, also servicing Miami, recently completed a kitchen renovation in this price range. It included a countertop made from Dekton, a stain-, scratch-, heat-, and UV-resistant material. The cabinets were custom with self-closing doors, which took $40,000 from the budget. The appliances were GE. 

  • High-end kitchen renovations in Miami came in at around $130,000, adding the same amount of value to a home’s resale value—60 percent—as a mid-range kitchen remodel, according to the report from Cost Vs Value. The example Remodeling gave of a 200 square foot kitchen came in at $650 psf. This included custom cabinets, built-in sliding shelves, stone countertops, and imported ceramic or glass tile backsplashes. The appliances were also upgraded, including a commercial-grade cooktop and vent hood, plus designer faucets and a water filtration system.

How much a bathroom remodel in Miami costs per square foot

  • At the low-end, expect a solid rip-and-replace bathroom with no behind-the-wall surprises to come in at $15,000. Contractor Hancen specializes in bathrooms for the Miami area. At a squeeze, a very basic 50-square-foot bathroom can be completed for $300 psf, he said. However, this is contingent on the layout staying the same and having no issues like leaks or mold discovered once the project begins. If you’re after this price, stick to a prefabricated vanity and ceramic tiles, which come out to about $2 psf. When it comes to faucets, toilets, and bathtubs, the brand American Standard is a good example of affordable, quality products. “These are the most well-priced materials I’ve seen and the most popular,” said Hancen.
  • The next step up is a mid-range bathroom renovation. The average cost for this type of bathroom remodel in Miami is about $20,000 and about $570 psf, according to the Cost Vs Value report. The example bathroom the report gave was a 5’ x 7’ space and involved installing a new porcelain-on-steel bathtub, ceramic tiles, and a lit and recessed medicine cabinet. A renovation in this vein can add about $11,000 to a home’s value.
  • There’s a large jump both in price, size, and outcome between an upscale and a mid-range bathroom renovation. The average price in this category is around $63,000, the Cost Vs Value report found. For this budget, you could expand your bathroom to around 100 square feet and can play around with elements like a freestanding soaker tub and a shower with recessed shelves, a frameless glass enclosure, and body spray fixtures. You’re also likely to afford a double sink and double-mirror vanity with custom drawers, and wall cabinets.

The cost of tiles can add up. On a recent project, Domenico’s client picked out a tile that had the appearance of wood and cost $20 psf. Another client wanted a wave pattern created out of tiles. “It was more difficult to install adding to the labor costs,” he said. “Occasionally, breakages happen, so that also needs to be covered.” 

The good news is this is an investment with about 60 percent of the budget added to your home’s sale price. 

Adding outdoor space to your home

In Florida, there is plenty of sun and envious weather to take advantage of by renovating or adding an outdoor space to your home. Many Miami residents will use these spaces as an additional living space and even kitchen. 

  • Recently, Sweeten contractor Adrian added a 900 square foot patio to a house that had a budget of $50,000. “It was essentially another room to the house without the walls,” he said. It had a tiled roof supported by four columns, which was necessary so the structure could withstand a powerful hurricane. The flooring was Cuban tiles and there were fans and lighting so electrical work was required. Adrian’s project is also around the average price of a major patio remodel in Miami. According to the Cost Vs Value report, over 50% of the budget will be recouped when your home is sold.
  • If you went for a simple wood deck addition minus a roof and electric and gas hookups, you could recoup close to 75 percent of the budget in the bump it gives to your home value. The average cost of this type of project is $13,000 or $40 psf in the Miami area, according to the Cost Vs Value report. For this price, you could get a 16′ x 20′ deck with a built-in bench and planter with stairs and railings.

Permit costs

The cost of permits, from a typical building permit to electrical, mechanical, and plumbing permits, are calculated in different ways. Some permit costs are calculated by square footage. Some are calculated by the value of a project so an exact figure can take some time to figure out. That’s why general contractor Adrian puts an estimate in the initial budget. For example, with a $250,000 renovation, he puts a budget placeholder of $1,500 for the main building permit with an additional $500 each for plumbing, electrical and mechanical, if the project requires it. 

Miami-Dade county covers a huge amount of land and almost three million people. Each city—such as Miami South and Miami Lakes—in the county has a building official who issues permits for projects located within that city’s jurisdiction. Residential permits typically take 30 business days to process. 

All of these numbers are a launchpad so you can begin creating an initial budget. Sweeten’s Renovation Checklist is a downloadable roadmap to organize all of the moving parts of a renovation. (Don’t forget to include your “must-haves” and “nice-to-haves”!)

Remodeling your home in Miami? Sweeten can help!

Post your project on Sweeten and we’ll match you with vetted local general contractors to provide estimates for your remodel in Miami, plus we’ll support you throughout your project duration. Meet with your contractor to develop an accurate budget, and you’ll be on your way to the home you’ve always wanted.

Renovating with aging-in-place in mind will prepare you for the future or if your home is multi-generational.

Sweeten handpicks the best general contractors to match each project’s location, budget, scope, and style. Follow the blog, Sweeten Stories, for renovation ideas and inspiration and when you’re ready to renovate, start your renovation on Sweeten.

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8 Bathroom Vanity Style Ideas

If you are thinking about redoing your bathroom—whether it is a minor refresh or an extensive update—choosing the right vanity is essential. It can be a nice focal point for your design as well as a functional item that will keep you organized.

We pored over some of the bathroom renovations done by contractors in Sweeten‘s network, a free renovation platform that matches homeowners with licensed general contractors and tracks their projects, and found some common motifs—designs that keep coming up in recent bath transformations. Here is a look at some of the classic vanity styles that might inspire you as you plan your next renovation.

Similar to exposed plumbing vanities in the fact that they are largely known for their space-saving qualities, pedestal vanities are making a resurgence, or so many believe. However, we would argue they never really went away. They have always been a classic option when it comes to updating a square-foot-challenged bathroom. They come in a range of designs—from contemporary to traditional—allowing them to blend into many different design environments.

When you are thinking about a bathroom model, one of the main ways to ensure that your new space will work for you is to consider how to reconfigure the layout to maximize space and storage as well as to make it suit your lifestyle. This is an opportunity to get clever and rethink the traditional vanity format.

For example, in one of the bathroom renovations featured above, you will notice that there is room for two sinks but the homeowners elected to install only one in favor more counter space—an unconventional decision but one that worked for them. In another renovation below, you will see the sink is placed in the corner with a long narrow “runway” countertop running along the wall, yet another example of out-of-the-box thinking.

The exposed plumbing trend probably started as a way to save space in small bathrooms but is now a design statement. These out-in-the-open water and waste traps come in two basic types: the European P-trap and the standard U-pipe, both named for their shapes. While there are usually only these two basic styles, sink traps do come in all different finishes to suit your design aesthetic: chrome, brass, oil-rubbed, copper, stainless steel, brushed nickel, among others. Plumbing has never looked so good!

It might not be the first thing you think about when deciding on a vanity for your bathroom but your choice of an undermount, vessel, or vanity top sink can drastically change the look of your space. An undermount sink is flush with the counter, giving it less chance of debris to be caught in between. A vanity top sink is just as it sounds, one placed on top of the vanity itself. It is considered a more modern-day choice but can be used effectively in any bathroom style, from rustic to contemporary. A vessel sink is usually (but not always) exposed on all sides and sits atop the vanity. It is more sculptural in appearance and doesn’t have faucet holes, making it necessary to mount the fixtures on the wall or counter.

White goes with everything. Basically, you can’t go wrong with a white vanity. But don’t be mistaken, not all white vanities are created equal. There are so many styles to choose from—from classic two-drawers, one-cabinet configurations to two long drawers with open storage space underneath. But to truly make a white vanity your own, consider the hardware you select. Do you fancy classic knobs, contemporary pulls, or none at all? Choose your favorite!

Wall-mounted or floating, vanities are great for so many reasons. First, they are non-traditional so always a nice option for those who like to try something different. Second, they instantly make the space appear larger and give you extra room underneath if you like to place storage bins or baskets (however, these Sweeten renovators opted for a more streamlined look). Floating vanities are also easier to clean around and provide more square footage for radiant heat. Lastly, they can be placed at any height you desire, freeing you from the confines of the standard 30″ to 36″ vanities.

Many people are enamored with double sinks—and for good reason, and really one big reason: SPACE. They provide extra “breathing room” for larger families, or just for couples who like their own space. Even though double-sink vanities often take up more counter surface,  we bet you will find the trade-off is well worth it.

Has this inspired you to remodel your own bath? Then you might want to check out how long bathroom renovations typically take here.

Sweeten handpicks the best general contractors to match each project’s location, budget, scope, and style. Follow the blog, Sweeten Stories, for renovation ideas and inspiration and when you’re ready to renovate, start your renovation on Sweeten.

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How Long Does a Bathroom Renovation Take?

A step-by-step guide and timeline for a bathroom renovation

grey large format tile in remodeled bathroom

How long does a bathroom renovation take? In general, our Sweeten contractors say that the construction period for a bathroom project will average about two to three weeks. Overall, expect the renovation to take between six weeks to three months for the planning, execution, and wrapping up loose ends. If you plan to move plumbing or electrical, be prepared to apply for city permits and board approvals, the biggest culprits for lengthening renovation timelines. Sweeten, a free renovation service matching homeowners with vetted general contractors, breaks down a bath renovation step-by-step.


While the attention is usually on the most visible construction phase, a lot needs to happen before picking up that sledgehammer. Here, the details on each box that needs to be ticked before you break ground on the project.

STEP 1: Close on your property (1-3 months)

While some renovators already own, a significant number of homeowners are in contract or preparing to close on a property when they begin planning a renovation. You should wait until you have closed on the property, with keys in hand, before doing anything. If you’re in a hurry, wait until you’ve at least signed the contract before beginning the design process.

STEP 2: Post your project (1-3 days)

First things first: Post your project to Sweeten and begin soliciting bids. On the Sweeten site, add the details about the space you want to renovate, your inspiration photos (optional but useful for our matchmakers), and any other information that would help in finding your perfect contractor. This guide is a practical read about what information to supply your contractor with so that he or she can provide an accurate bid. You will receive 3-5 matches within three days, and you can check out the contractors’ profiles online. Now’s your chance to take a look at reviews from clients and photos of their past projects to see whether they might be a good fit, and indicate who you’d like to be introduced to.

STEP 3: Schedule site visits and solicit bids (1-3 weeks)

After you’ve previewed the Sweeten contractors’ profiles, decide who you’d like to set up a meeting. An on-site visit is the best way for a contractor to understand the scope of the project, the physical possibilities, and limitations of the space, and for the two of you to see if you hit it off. After you schedule your on-site visit, check out our blog post about how to prepare for the meeting. You should expect a written bid within 5-7 business days after your visit.

STEP 4: Level bids and choose a contractor (1-2 weeks)

Once all the written bids have come in, it’s time to compare and contrast, which Sweeten client services can help walk you through. This primer on leveling bids might come in handy. If you have follow-up questions, now is the time to ask. You can also schedule time with a Sweeten project advisor to walk you through the various bids and weigh in on the selection.

STEP 5: Sign contract and finalize construction schedule (1 week)

Once you’ve decided on a contractor, he or she will put together a contract for you to review. This will typically include a description of the work to be done, an outline of costs, as well as the timing of payments throughout the project.

STEP 6: Obtain permits and approvals (ranges widely)

Of all the steps where hiccups or delays might occur, this is it. Obtaining the correct permits and board approvals have held up many a renovation, but don’t be daunted: our contractors are well-versed in navigating these processes and can advise you on how best to achieve your renovation goals with the least amount of hassle. If you’re moving plumbing or gas lines, you’ll need an architect and additional DOB permits. Sweeten homeowners have reported obtaining approvals in as little as two weeks—but it’s more common for it to take a couple months. If you live in a stand-alone house, you won’t need to worry about building board approvals, but you’ll still need the requisite city permits for any electrical or plumbing work to make sure that everything is up to code.

STEP 7: Source materials (ranges widely)

If you are responsible for sourcing all or some of the materials in your renovation, be sure to place the orders as soon as the design plan is finished. Certain items have long lead times, and you don’t want that tub to hold up the entire renovation. If time is a concern, look at what’s currently in stock and ready to ship. Speak with your contractor about timing the product delivery to coincide with time of installation.

STEP 8: Tell your neighbors (15 minutes)

Be a good neighbor and warn yours that a renovation is beginning imminently. Tell them what to expect and how long the project is slated to last. It’s always easier to stomach the disruption when you know there’s an end in sight! It doesn’t hurt to bring some sweets, a bottle of wine, or a gift card for a local coffee shop.


Note: While most of the steps under “Construction” are your contractor’s responsibility, it’s important to understand what should be happening when. The most important steps you’ll be in charge of here are making scheduled payments to your contractor (outlined in your contract), and keeping your schedule open for several hours a week to answer questions about details or changes that come up over the course of construction.

STEP 9: It’s demo time (1 day)

Out with the old! Now that you’re done with the paperwork, it’s time (for your contractor) to pick up that sledgehammer. Be sure to protect the items that are staying with tarp or plastic. Depending on how large your bathroom is, and how extensive the renovation, this shouldn’t take more than 4 hours.

STEP 10:  Reroute plumbing and electrical (1-2 days)

Now that you’ve stripped the space down to the studs, it’ll be easy to get new plumbing or electrical where it needs to go. Consider whether any plans need to be altered now that you can see what’s behind the walls.

STEP 11: City inspections and sign-offs (1 hour on-site)

If you needed city permits, you may need inspections and a sign-off before closing up the walls, and a final sign-off as well. (Check out what the city has to say about plumbing permits here, and electrical permits here.) While it may take the inspector an hour to do his job at the site, scheduling the actual appointment could take days or weeks.

While a master plumber is typically allowed to sign off on pipework for water lines in the case of a no-show by the city inspector, an inspector must examine and approve any work on gas lines. You are not allowed to close up the walls and move onto the next phase of the project before this inspection happens.

Note: With electrical work, inspectors generally are scheduled for visits once the project is 100 percent complete, and they will check the electrical panel, junction boxes, and outlets. Sometimes, because of city bureaucracy and delays, your electrical inspection may be rescheduled two or three times. Check with your contractor or architect about what your project requires.

STEP 12: Installation – floor tiles (½ – 1 day)

To prevent having to redo the flooring if you decide to reconfigure your space in the future, make sure that the flooring is consistent throughout the space, even if some of it will be hidden.

STEP 13: Installation completion (1-3 days)

Installation of everything else, including the tub, vanity and sink, toilet, and any built-in shelving. Tiling, lighting, and hardware usually come last.

STEP 14: Clean-up (1 day)

Typically, contracts allow that the space is left in “broom-swept” condition. However, you may want to hire post-construction cleaning specialists to make sure that your new floor is spic-and-span clean. For a bathroom renovation, you may still want to have the service clean your entire home since construction dust has an annoying tendency to settle in the most unlikely places.


The finish line is in sight. But don’t forget these last—but important—steps.

STEP 15: Final walk-through with contractor (30 minutes)

Review the work with your contractor: try all the drawers and doors, look closely at the edges and grout lines, and make sure everything is working the way it should. If there are any problems, point it out and add them to the punch list. The contractor will either fix it on the spot (if it’s minor) or set up another time to return. Sweeten’s founder + CEO, Jean Brownhill advises to keep notepads in each space, and do not speak to your contractor for two weeks during this time, but take notes of what needs fixing as you live in your new home.

STEP 16: Punch list items (1-5 days)

Depending on what the items are—anything from straightening a cabinet door to waiting on installing that last out-of-stock item—it could take anywhere from a day to several weeks. When it’s on the long side, though, that is usually due to backordered items. Otherwise, your contractor should be able to return and fix everything in a few days.

STEP 17: The final payment (10 minutes)

You’ve been making installments throughout the renovation, but when the last item on your punch list has been addressed, it’s time to pay the remaining percentage to your contractor.

This timeline provides a detailed look at the various aspects of renovating and a range of how long each step should take. While some factors may be outside of both your and the contractor’s control, the key is isolating the steps that you think might be obstacles in advance, and allotting more time to get them done.

Wondering how much remodeling your bath will cost? Check out our guide on bathroom renovation costs.

Sweeten handpicks the best general contractors to match each project’s location, budget, and scope, helping until project completion. Follow the blog for renovation ideas and inspiration and when you’re ready to renovate, start your renovation on Sweeten.

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