St louis Kitchen remodel Portland Terrace Cooley -A (6)

In 2017, American homeowners spent more than $300 Billion on home renovations. So, if you’ve been kicking around the idea of a new kitchen or bathroom remodel or any other home renovation projects, you’re already right on trend.

Whether you are sprucing up to sell or if you plan to stay in your home, considering what’s hot in design trends will help you get the most value for your St. Louis remodel dollars.

By the Numbers – 2017 St. Louis Remodel Returns

  • Midrange major kitchen remodel cost $64,590 with a 57.4% ROI
  • Upscale kitchen remodel cost $126,257 with a 60.1% ROI
  • Midrange bathroom remodel cost $19,554 with a 60.7% ROI
  • Midrange bathroom addition cost $45,176 with a 58.2% ROI
  • Upscale bathroom remodel cost $61,429 with a 57.8% ROI
  • Upscale bathroom addition cost $83,454 with a 51.1% ROI
  • Midrange master suite addition cost $122,786 with a 62.5% ROI
  • Upscale master suite addition cost $253,822 with a 60.1% ROI

Information provided from

Decoding St. Louis’ Remodel Return Data:

The good news is, according to, St. Louis’ return on investment on all things remodel, is about even with the national average.

The “not so good” news, is that the return on your remodeling dollars spent seemed a bit low to us. In our experience, the ROI can be much higher than the data suggests. Since the numbers didn’t agree with our firsthand experience, we decided to dig to for a better understanding of the numbers.

First, we began by asking questions about the scope of the projects. So for example, what is included in a “mid-range kitchen remodel” and how is an “upscale bathroom” project defined? And, here is a sample of what we found:

The midrange major kitchen remodel is described as a renovation to a 200 sq. ft. kitchen with a functional layout of 30 linear feet of semi-custom wood cabinets. It includes: an island of 3’x5’ and (this is where we realized we have problems) LAMINATE countertops; a stainless sink, faucet, and suite of appliances. Lighting, painting, and flooring also included.

The upscale bathroom remodel is described as an expansion of a 35 ft bath into a 100ft bath within an existing footprint. It includes: relocation of fixtures, use of a 42×42 neo angle shower with ceramic walls, a shower caddy to include body sprays and a frameless enclosure, double sinks with stone tops and mirrored medicine cabinets with lighting, a freestanding soaker tub, a separate room for the toilet, diagonal pattern on the floor tile with larger scale tiles and ceramic baseboards

Click here to find all the project descriptions

Reading through the background data on the project descriptions, it became obvious why the ROI was much lower than expected and did not match the experience of our personal real estate transactions and those of our clients.

  • The materials used in the mid-range projects to derive the data are things like, laminate countertops and cultured marble shower walls.
  • Although these materials can save you money, they are not the materials that people crave when doing a kitchen or bathroom remodel for themselves.
  • The allowances for the upscale projects were much more generous, but the design elements did not follow the most popular trends.
  • Another missing element — DESIGN. It is difficult to account for a great design that pulls all the elements together and makes you want to live in the space.


How Do You Game the System (Maximize Your Value) When Remodeling:

In a word — EMOTION.

You have to make someone feel something when he or she walks into your space. To clarify, you want them to feel a good emotion. Nostalgia, Joy, Excitement. You want them to feel connected to the space, and use the word home when verbally describing your new kitchen or bath. We call them #NothingOrdinary designs. Negotiating the price of a home with someone who is already emotionally connected to it drastically changes the playing field. It no longer is about dollars and cents so much as the dreams of raising their children in the home, or the meals they will cook for family and friends and the happiness that they can envision themselves having in that new space.

kitchen remodel hood

Tips for Getting an Emotional Buy:

  • You can use materials that are more affordable, but we challenge you to think about the swoon factor. When looking at the cost of one material vs. another, consider how much impact it will have visually and will it make a potential buyer, well, swoon?
  • Use a talented team of designers and installers.  High-quality craftsman can make cheap things look high-end and experienced designers know how to best use your budget, they know where to save and where to splurge.
  • Don’t keep it too neutral. Color is key, everyone wants it but is afraid to execute when they can’t test drive the end product. We suggest using soft shades of grays, blues or creams to stand out amongst the world of all white kitchens and baths. Bring to life everyone’s favorite Pinterest kitchens or baths and you are sure to create an emotional connection … SCORE!!
  • Never forget function. All spaces can be functional and creatively thought out no matter the size or budget. You will know (or feel) instantly when you walk into the space, whether you nailed or failed. Read these tips on how to create the perfect kitchen space plan.
  • Spectacular photos of your kitchen or bathroom that are staged properly with real food and fresh flowers will sell your home before anyone enters. Create “Pinterest-worthy” images of the kitchens and baths. The images will have people stacked 100 deep at the door on Day 1 of your open house!
  • If it’s the challenge of a small kitchen keeping you up at night, take time to read our small kitchen remodel tips.

Although the national trend is to spend, local design preferences can vary drastically. At Karr Bick Kitchen and Bath, we continuously have our eye on international and national trends and our finger on the pulse of the St. Louis market.  Here is what some other local experts say “sells” well in St. Louis.

What St. Louis Realtors Have to Say About Your Remodel:

“My clients want big, bright kitchens and hearth rooms,” says Coldwell Banker Premium Homes Realtor, Kim Carney. “Grey and white is what many clients like. White cabinets, Danby marble tops and brass hardware are looks that buyers are loving.” And when it comes to flooring, Carney says “I’m still loving the dark hardwood floors and the grey wash.”

Heidi Oakley, Realtor with Berkshire Hathaway Home Services, reminds us that although dressing your space is fun, spending money on the less fun aspects of design is necessary as well. “A marketable home is a well-maintained home,” says Oakley. “Buyers want to know the age of the roof, HVAC systems, water heater, etc.” But the fun stuff matters too. “The pretty updates catch a buyer’s eye, and hopefully their offer,” explains Oakley. “Kitchen and bath updates are key. Updated tile work sells well and new technology in that industry has made many previously ‘high-budget only’ looks affordable.”

kitchen remodel white cabinets

Paint Color and Remodeling in St. Louis:

Color is also important. Although painting is a simple and relatively inexpensive way to refresh your home, choosing the perfect hue is not always so simple.

Architectural Digest helps narrow it down with their most popular paint color of the year posts. Check out the 2017 lists for Benjamin Moore and Sherwin Williams colors here:

Wondering what goes into creating the colors of the year? PPG paints explains that process and gives you a look at their biggest hits.

For a truly local look, check out St. Louis designer, Victoria Dreste.  After many years designing award-winning rooms in St. Louis, Dreste has compiled her own palate of signature colors. Choices include neutrals like Cloud, Vanilla Cream, and Trianon Grey along with Medium tones such as Nottingham Green, and deep, saturated colors like Hibiscus and Blazer. “Keeping things neutral with accents of medium or saturated tones will create a space that is balanced yet interesting.”

Heat Up Your St. Louis Remodel: Tips On Selecting Gas Fireplaces:

If you really want to heat up your home’s look, focus on your fireplace! Although the crackle of a wood-burning fireplace will always have its appeal, gas fireplaces are quickly becoming a favorite.

“There is a safety factor that is nice with gas fireplaces,” says Forshaw Fireplace Retail Sales Manager, Kathy Rhodes. “With gas, there are no sparks or potential for flue fires.” Switching to a gas fireplace can be as simple as selecting a set of gas logs for your space. However, energy efficiency-minded homeowners will appreciate the newer direct vent gas fireplace options. “The direct vent inserts will work like a furnace,” explains Rhodes. “Furnaces have UL listed efficiency ratings between 80 and 90%. The direct vent gas fireplaces rank around 86% efficient.”

Cosmetic updates to your fireplace surround and mantle are endless. The Forshaw showroom has over 65 fireplace options and surrounds to see in person. A fresh look or energy efficient upgrade helps pad your home’s value.

Marble Fireplace

Improve The Curb Appeal of your St. Louis Remodel:

Don’t get too cozy in front of that fabulous fireplace, because it’s time to move outdoors! Even with its scorching highs and chilly lows, St. Louis is still home to some fabulous days to be enjoyed in a well-designed outdoor space.

“Homeowners continue to gravitate towards low maintenance products such as decks and railings made with composite and PVC materials,” explains Pat Leahy, President of Outdoor Living Inc. in Kirkwood. “We’re also selling a lot of aluminum deck rail because of the skinnier and more open style rail options.” Leahy also says that sticking to well-known deck material brands helps your resale value later. And on the horizon, “There is a relatively new option in deck materials made by Zuri which is a PVC deck board with a woodgrain foil wrap and an acrylic cap,” says Leahy. “It’s a durable product and it’s unique because it has a very realistic wood look.” With any of these products, proper installation is key.

exterior accent light fixture

To Bathtub or Not to Bathtub During Your Bathroom Remodel:

If all this renovation talk has you exhausted, it’s time for some relaxation in a well-designed bathroom.

“Giant showers are taking precedence over bathtubs these days,” says Jenny Rausch, Designer, and Owner at Karr Bick Kitchen and Bath. “Tubs still have their place, but tubs are a more personal choice and therefore more resistant to trends.” Rausch explains, “I like to unwind and watch TV in my tub so I prefer a large soaking tub without the motor sound of a whirlpool or air bath. But many people still prefer the therapeutic effect of bubbles.” Freestanding tubs also offer a sculptural element to your bathroom renovation design and manufacturers have responded to demand with many different style options.

bathroom remodel white, bathtub

As you can see, the opportunities for renovation are endless. Making your space uniquely you, while boosting your equity in the St. Louis market is an attainable goal. At Karr Bick, we’d love to help you navigate the journey in making your St. Louis #nothingordinary dream come true.