Total renovations of 30- or 40-year-old bathrooms in Santa Fe account for a good chunk of DMC’s bread and butter. It’s not just about updating faucets and floors and showers; it’s also usually about going to a more clean, contemporary look. “Definitely,” said owner Douglas Maahs. “For us it is. Our customers seem to really want less stuff, cleaner lines, cleaner finishes.”
That shows up pretty dramatically in today’s color palette: cool, neutral grays with crisp whites. However, those choices are never made without reference to the house itself. “If there’s a lot of wood, we’ll go with warmer neutrals to complement the house,” he said. “Our philosophy is to make it look like it never happened. We try to stay within the confines of the design of the home and incorporate fresh, new design into that.”
The remodeling of bathrooms built in the 1980s and 1990s “seems to be a big window in the Santa Fe market,” Maahs said. “It’s getting rid of jetted tubs and deck tubs and a lot of freestanding tubs, even with our older clientele; they’re finding that they would much prefer that that freestanding tub look a little more contemporary, for a little more of an open feeling.
“People are really tearing out the old Jacuzzi tubs and wanting a simpler technology that is a little more bracing, including the new bubble-tub technology and the warming-tub technology.”
DMC often converts the old, standard 60-inch bathtub in the corner to a walk-in shower. “The philosophy of the real-estate agents is to keep at least one tub in the household. Whether that’s the main bedroom or the secondary bathroom, we do try and leave one. But some of our more mature clients really don’t care. They say, ‘We want the convenience and we don’t do soaking,’ so we eliminate tubs. That trend is growing.”
If it’s possible, Maahs will alter walls to enlarge the bathroom, but the majority of time the remodel happens within the existing space.
Countertops are a big deal in bathrooms. They provide practical space for storing and setting things, and because they occupy an expanse, beautiful new countertops will elevate the whole room by several notches.
Solid-surface tops are still king.
“There are so many varieties of granite and quartz and the newest are porcelain countertops,” the contractor said. “Porcelain is able to infuse a lot more movement into the top, much like natural granites and marbles.”
By “movement” he means the color variations within the veins that run through the material. “It wasn’t always as easy to do with quartz, but with the porcelain technology and inks being embedded in the material as it’s formed, they’re coming up with amazing stuff, and it’s quite thin. The new countertops in my showroom are a half-inch thick.”
Like much else in the construction world, prices have increased because of trade duties and COVID-19 difficulties and transportation costs. But Maahs said he can still do custom countertops for between $100 and $150 a square