Bathroom Remodel

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2010 - 2013 Recommendations

Contractor for kitchen and bathroom remodel

July 2013

We are looking for good, and well priced contractor to do a bathroom and kitchen remodel and some minimum work in bedrooms. For bathroom, we would like to remove a wall add some space from the bedroom closet to creat a niche for a two sink counter, add new light fixtures, sinks, faucets, cabinets and backsplash. Then the bedroom needs to be modified to add an IKEA closet. For the kitchen, we want to reface the cabinet, add new counter top with new sink and faucet and new light fixture. A microwave needs to be moved inside a cabinet too, so some mill work as well. For our other two bedrooms, we want to change our existing wood sliding doors to mirrors, and creat bigger opening for a hinged door closet to add mirror sliding doors for that room as well. This is the scope of our work, I am a designer, so the drawings are ready, I need somebody to build it!

Just at the end of a major bathroom renovation (and new deck construction) with Tom Parenteau from Carr Custom Builders. It's been a great experience (excellent quality of work, good organization, really nice and trustworthy workers). Happy to pass on a recommendation -- carrcustombuilders [at] Elizabeth
For kitchen and bathroom remodels I senthusiastically recommend Robert Brown. 510-427-4722. He remodeled our bathroom and reconfigured an awkward part of the house between the main and addition, which included two doorways. He is talented and experienced, reasonably priced, and he is very pleasant to work with. I'm happy to provide a more detailed recommendation for him. Heidi
Due to excellent previous reviews on BPN, we hired Berkeley Construction in Feb. of 2013 for our bathroom remodel and kitchen painting, and it is still not finished, 5 months later. The project is currently running 3 months behind. Many mistakes were made. The ordering of supplies and fixtures were ''forgotten'' numerous times. Excuses have piled upon excuses. Communication between us and the owner has been non existent to very poor. He prefers to relay info through his workers who give nonspecific answers to our questions. Some of his subs, especially the granite fabricator and the second painter, were unprofessional. We actually repainted the trim work in the bathroom ourselves last weekend just to get it done. The painter went back and forth between sanding and painting, and got sanding dust in the paint, yet used it anyway. I regret that I did not get more current info on this contractor. still in limbo
Constantin from CGBuilders did the remodeling in my house. My conditions among other things where a 'good and well priced contractor' same as you are looking for. I was very pleased to work with him. He is a good contractor and for my project was a well priced contractor. You can contact him a 5103055680, info [at] Don't forget to visit his website diana
We would highly recommend Emanuel with Bay Area Pacific Construction. We hired them for a kitchen remodel, 2 bathroom remodels and electrical work; excellent work to code, good communication, very clean/neat, respectful of our home, meticulous work indicative of craftsman-like passion and old world pride, plus they finished the job over 2 weeks ahead of schedule. We cannot recommend this company enough and are more than happy to give references. You can reach Emanuel at 510 484 5765 or online at Greg & Celeste

Bathroom re-tiling logistics

June 2013

We need to have our shower stall re-tiled and we don't know how to go about it- should we hire a licensed contractor, or go with a handy person that we know and trust? And how do we navigate the permit process? Does property tax increase? Just looking for some opinions about how to navigate the Berkeley system. Thanks, anon

Hi. Re-tiling a shower stall (or even a bathroom) will not require permits. The most important part about re-tiling in a wet area is making sure that water does not get behind the tiles. It is important to hire an experienced and good tile person to perform the work. Not sure if the person should be licensed contractor. You should look for recommendations for good tilers. I'm new to the Berkeley/Oakland area and unfortunately unable to recommend anyone. But that's where you should start looking. skys mom
Anon, My name is Mike. I live in North Oakland. Hiring a licensed contractor tends to cost more but the insurance they come with may be worth it. If you have the time you can act as your own contractor and hire a handyman to complete the work. I have both acted as my own general contractor and hired general contractors. If their are no structural changes I usually pull my own permits and draw my own plans. If there are structural changes I will bring in a general contractor. If you need help with the permit process start with the zoning department for the city. I am not sure about the increase in property taxes. If you need an affordable experienced contractor try Angel's Construction in the east bay 415-810-5049. Or if you really want to save money and aren't concerned about the the license try Carlos Mejia at 415-786-2919 - he is a handyman. Hope this helps Mike
Gelu Ilie should be the first and only phone call you make. Gelu is professional, efficient, cost effective,and most of all top in customer service. We had bathroom remodel removing the old vanity/sink, bathtub, tile the floor, and added an electrical outlet. We love our new bathroom so much and it's all thanks to Gelu. It's also inspired us for new projects! We need to save up some money to call again for our kitchen I think. I highly recommend Gelu for any bathroom remodeling project.Contact info is Gelu at(510)506-5073
I would like to highly recommend Gelu Ilie as a person to call if you are interested in a bathroom remodel.Gelu did a fantastic job on our bathroom. He was dependable (arrived at our house when he said he would), responsive to our questions, very patient with our concerns, and offered his professional opinion whenever we asked. Our bathroom looks great and I highly recommend using his services. His contact number is 510-506-5073 Tracy
You might give Robert Robbins a Call. He works by the job and within your budget. His number is 415-545-8542. He has some pretty good ideas even if you decide to go with someone else. Mike

Bathroom designer needed for finishing details

March 2013

Hi, I'm looking for recommendations for a designer/decorator to help me with my bathroom addition. I have a lot of the big pieces in place -- I have the floorplan (it's a basic Jack and Jill bathroom between 2 kids rooms) but I need help with the finishing touches, for example, the decorative tile border in the shower alcove, which lights to pick, if I want two mirrors instead of one large one what size should choose, help finding a cabinetmaker for the vanity. I feel like this is a pretty small job; I almost want to just buy an hour's worth of design time for a double check on my ideas. I want this to be a fairly contemporary bathroom as well. What I don't need is someone whose main goal is to sell me cabinets. I'm in Walnut Creek and would prefer someone located out this way. Erin

We had help from Alina Druga with Alina Druga Interiors. We were kind of in the same situation as you. We we looking for someone to guide us in the right direction and give us advice for almost every room in the house, on how to update and make our home look more like us. We couldn't afford to have someone do all the work, we were just looking for someone to show us the way. Alina was wonderful; in a few hours she transformed our home with her ideas. Her suggestions helped us make the changes that we needed. She also helped us with window treatments in our office from Hunter Douglas, which we purchased from her, and guided us in selecting finishes and color for our bathrooms. She made sure we were completely satisfied, and was completely wonderful. She is really down to earth, easy to talk to and her fees are also very reasonable. We would definitely recommend her. Her website is, and phone number is (510) 566-5917. Good luck! Monica

Bathroom contractor recommendation wanted

March 2012

We're considering reinstalling a tub (previous owners removed and put in a large walk in shower), hopefully a fairly simple job, minimal demo, maybe some plumbing and a little tile work. Appreciate recommendations for quality, reasonably priced contractor. Thank you! Audrey

We're using Michael Colombo of Miccolo Construction (michael [at] 510-848-8188. He also did our kitchen. He does great work and is very honest and careful.
I used Will Perez and Luis Arreola for several projects in my home and they are excellent carpenters. Neat, reasonably priced, efficient, honest, smart, and thorough. They did carpentry work and repaired a difficult plaster ceiling for us. The work came out fabulously. I recommend them highly. You can get in touch with Will at 415-806-3859. Ellen
I can only say that Marius Construction has proved to be a real lifesaver for me and for my neighbors. He is prompt, his workers are quiet and well-mannered, and above all he sticks to two things like Crazy Glue: A-the price he quotes is the price you pay and B-he completes the work on time. All this plus he is an artist with a vision at a modest and fair price. He's on the web and you can check his ratings on several sites. Susan
Contact Eric Sterken--he's everything you'd ever want in a contractor. He does great work, he listens and communicates well, he's reliable and honest, he's reasonably priced, and he's a joy to have around. These are rare qualities in contractors, as you may know. He's a FIND! Also, his wife runs the business and she is also very sweet, and very competent. He loves doing bathrooms, kitchens and decks, and has built quite a few whole houses. They are E Builders: Cynthia
I can very highly recommend Seth Melchert as a general contactor for new constuctiuon and remodel projects. We have hired him over the years for everything from bathroom remodels to a newly constructed studio on our property. He is very thorough and has high quality standards as well as easy to work with. He can be reached at Master Buiders (his company) at: 510-654-2746. Roger
Hi Audrey! I highly recommend you contact Sorin Feraru with Feraru They remodeled our bathroom not long ago and did an amazing job. Sorin was always there for us with his knowledge and advice. His team is very well trained, skilled, and had great respect towards our property. The project went smoothly from beginning to end and the price was within our budget. Call Sorin at 510- 228-7366
I highly recommend Eco Logical Builders. They did a complete remodel on our bathroom--gutted a very sad,tiny bathroom with lots of leaky issues--now we have the most gorgeous functional bathroom ever. They are very reasonable in price, delivered on time and were very customer focused. I would also recommend them for kitchen remodels as well, as they are full on with all plumbing and electrical. Eco Lgical is also a Green Certified Builder. Contact info is Willie at 415-823-5525. website: Kelley
Eric Sterken, of E & J Builders has a lot of experience with these kinds of jobs, and also with rebuilding decks, in case the next poster is reading here, too! He's personable, honest, and very easy to live with (minimal noise, cleans up at the end of the day, understands that you need to live your house, too). Let him give you a free estimate. Nice reviews on Yelp, too. signed M
Our landlord hired Mike Rudd to redo both bathrooms in our house (new tile, new floors, new counter, paint). He was a careful worker, very affordable and considerate! The work has held up well. I've recommended him to friends too. His email is handyman [at] Phone: 510-703-1657 License #908064 Kristine

Sink, Bathtub, and Tile Work - separate? Together?

March 2012

Hello, We need some work done in our bathroom (1916 home). The sink & bathtub need replacing, and we would like new tiling done on both the floor and 'tub surround'.

If you needed this work done, would you hire a plumber to do the sink & tub and then someone else to do the tile work? Or, one contractor to do all 3 parts of the job?

Do you have recommendations for a contractor and/or plumber and tile work person you might hire? Anyone you've had great luck working with, did a fantastic job, and didn't charge an arm & a leg? How many bids did you get? Any other information or recommendations for this job (or these jobs?) Thanks very much. Needing a useable bathroom

I know an excellent plumber whom I have used for years. He is reliable and his prices are always really fair. He just remodeled our bathroom. He can do the tile as well or he can recommend other contractors. My house was built in 1914. His name is Robert Esposito. Flowmechanic [at] or cell#510 725-9763 good luck! Stacey
Our long-time contractor Lowell-James Hicks recently did a major bathroom and kitchen remodel for us in our 50+-year-old Berkeley condo. The plumbing, the excellent tile work, the bamboo floor, etc.

He is licensed and insured in California. He has, over the past twenty-plus years, done for us more than a dozen moderate-to large projects which included everything from framing and finish carpentry to electrical, plumbing, tile, roofing, and HVAC maintenance. He is a craftsman and an artist, two qualities which show prominently in his work. Whenever we have recommended his service to our friends, the reports have come back with an abundance of thanks and praise. He is fast accurate, clean, reasonably priced, smart (a member of Mensa), and, perhaps most importantly, utterly dependable. His contact information is: Lowell Hicks fcleffer [at] 510-612-9988 John B

I would like to recommend Gelu Ilie to anyone who is looking for a trustworthy contractor with multiple skills and timely, quality work at a reasonable budget.

Gelu was a stranger to me, introduced by a friend of mine who was very happy with his work. He proved completely trustworthy, did extra work for free, made asthetic suggestions that improved the project, which included total renovation of two bathrooms, and the creation of a beautiful bonus room out of a messy home that had nothing but deferred maintenance since the 1970s.

He worked very well with the licensed electrician as they ripped out and rebuilt walls and ceilings. He installed a new dryer, light fixtures, did an enormous amount of tile and grout, put up sheetrock, built cinderblock fences and mortared them beautifully, built wooden fences where he took the wood and bevelled it special at the top to match the existing fence; he cleaned up well every night, so that we actually lived well with major construction, he was unfailingly polite and scrupulous and left all extra supplies rightfully to me since I paid for them. What else can I say? He can give you my phone number if need be. I am a satisfied customer and hope to redo my kitchen employing Gelu within one year. Call Gelu(510) 506-5073 or Wendy S

Gelu Ilie installed tile in my kitchen and family room. He did a wonderful job and all the tiles were placed evenly. We couldn't decide on the tile color. We selected the same style but different shades for the kitchen and family room. The two rooms connect. Gelu had a wonderful idea on cutting the tile so the transition would look good. He also recommended a diamond patten setting instead of going straight across which really adds to the distinctiveness. He is very artistic. Here is his website where you can see his work: R.M.
I would like to recommend Gelu Ilie. I found his number on BPN. The house I bought in Berkley was built in 1925. Together with my husband, we decided to make some changes in one of our bathrooms. I've called two other contractors who were not able to address my questions. I also called Gelu and he was able to help as well as give me ideas. We then decided to remodel the whole bathroom. We changed the bathtubwa,new cabinets, and sink. I went with him to different tile stores to find what we liked. Gelu did a wonderful job, he cleaned up after himself everyday, and his work is very professional. His price was also great and a lot less than many others. Our bathroom is now very beautiful, new, and we are very pleased with Gelu's services.Call now Gelu (510)506-5073 or visit: www.gelu- Christine B
We recently had our bathtub/shower and bathroom floor tiled by Gelu Ilie (510)506-5073. Our house is old and he dealt with issues as they came up. He also replaced the bathtub at the same time. We were so happy with him and the quality of his work that we hired him to tile the kitchen floor. He was professional, a hard worker, honest, prompt and a delight to be around. I would hire him again if needed and highly recommend him. Signed: Mary Mary
Hi, we just completed a bathroom remodel using Marius Adamache. It was quite extensive as we had bad wood rot issues. Marius, his business partner Dan and all of his workmen were wonderful to work with. Marius will come promptly, assess your situation and give you very reasonable pricing, depending on what you want to do. He is straightforward, honest and always checking on progress and troubleshooting any unforeseen issues. He has a large enough team of skilled workmen that he can always have someone come quickly to deal with a particular issue. He even had someone to fabricate granite at our home-no worries about someone getting the measurement wrong. Marius' workmen were quiet, clean, considerate and polite.Their workmanship is excellent. My dog's first stop this morning was to poke her head in our new bathroom to see if any of Marius' guys were there. Like it says on the refrigerator magnet 'I wish I was the kind of person my dog thinks I am.' Well Marius and his crew are those kind of people. I would absolutely ask him to coordinate your bathroom work. Donna

Tub/shower install--bathroom with slanted ceiling

Oct 2011

We are looking for a contractor to install a basic, modern tub/shower combo in the space where a club-foot tub now sits(with a shower attachment) in our upstairs bathroom. Our house is over 100 years old and the bathroom has a slanted ceiling with a skylight in it, installed many years ago by the previous owners. The shower curtain set- up that we now have is quaint, but a mess. We are on a tight budget but hope there are some contractors out there who have dealt with similar situations. Karen

Our house is 90 years old built in 1921. Most of the walls and ceilings in our home are slanted from what I believe to be settling due to the age of our home. A portion of our master bathroom use to be a triangle shaped closet prior to our remodel. Our contractor, Amir was fantastic, came up with solutions that worked and stayed within our budget. Call Amir of Integral Home Improvements at (510) 904-2786. Berkeley Home Owner

Two bathrooms, two issues; one fixer?

Oct 2011

Hi all, Both of our bathrooms are in need of some repair. If one person (contractor? handyman? plumber? tiler?) could do both jobs, that might be great! Otherwise, if you have recommendations for either, we'd love those!

Bathroom 1: built only 6 years ago, but the roof is leaking during the rain. Not sure if this is work only for a 'roofer', or if a 'contractor' or other professional could do this.

Bathroom 2: Needs a sink replaced, bathtub replaced, floor and wall tiling re-done.

Both of these are TINY bathrooms, if that makes any difference. Any and all recommendations welcome and appreciated! (Any you'd stay away from, on the other hand?) Thank you. Time to get it done!

Andrew Nardinelli did an outstanding job with our bathroom and kitchen remodel. He is particularly talented with tile design and install and very competent with plumbing. Shortly after we began working with him, we realized that the bathroom tile we had selected was much too expensive. He redesigned the tiling using a large amount of inexpensive tile and a small amount of expensive tile for decorative insets and edging. It turn out gorgeous - actually better than we had originally envisioned. He has handled two small but kind of complicated roofline/gutter issues for us, so I suspect he could easily handle a small roof repair. Sometimes, though, the big time consuming challenge is finding the exact source of the leak, not actually making the repair. I believe his phone is 510 219-9653. His email is andrewnardinelli [at] Laurie
I would highly recommend Amir of Integral Home Improvements (510) 904-2786. We used him initially on our rental property to complete a bathroom remodel. He gutted the bathroom, reconfigured the space with new plumbing, new fixtures and great title work. We recently used him to give a our master bath a mini- remodel that included a new window, fixtures and paint. Amir did an excellent job. Jess, Oakland
In regard to your two tiny bathrooms remodeling I wholeheartedly recomend Constantin. He can do any of the work that is require in your bathrooms including roofing, all the bathroom fixtures instalation, plumbing electric... He is a general contractor and he did several projects for me, first, and then for several of my friends. I am really happy with his work and that's why I keep recommending him. Give him a call at 510-305-5680 or email him at info [at] By the way, if you want to see some of his work go to Diana
Juan Manuel Diaz is your man. He has done several recent projects for us, including tiling a shower (after framing and sheetrocking it to create the space), opening up a doorway, finding the source of a pesky leak, and finding a cheap and creative solution to a drainage problem. He does great work and is very creative with solutions for tight spaces. (Your bathroom can't possibly be smaller than our bathroom.) He's a real artisan with tile and plaster -- he has done a lot of work for my mother-in-law over the years, and she recommends him highly too. And he's friendly, responsible, and very easy to work with. You can reach him at 415-678-9591. Jennifer M
Call Sorin Feraru with Feraru & Associates Building and Design. He just finished a major remodel for our house. He is reliable, trustworthy and very professional. And you get all that at a reasonable price. Sorin took care of our remodel from beginning to the end and worked along with us as a consultant. He was always in contact with us and answered his phone, or called us right back. Things went smoothly and the remodel was finished on time. Sorin's crew builds dust barriers in the house so the dust doesn't spread to the part that was not remodeled. Also they left the job site clean at the end of each working day. We highly recommend Sorin Feraru. Please call him at 510-228-7366 or go to his web site

Great Contractor for Tub/Shower Remodel

Sept 2011

Can you recommend an affordable and reliable contractor to do a simple tub/shower remodel in our modest home and ONLY bathroom? We just need a new tub/shower with either tiles on the walls or a tub surround if the space permits. We're also desperate for the job to be done quickly and reliably - we're expecting our second child in November! Thank you much! Tubfanatic

For a great contractor, call Robert Leitz at Decade Construction. I used him for a small job and he's excellent. They are also green and also certified to do no-lip shower installations. You can get an excellent sense of him and how he works by looking at the photos and videos on his website: Best
I suggest you give Dan Martinez Construction a call. You say you want it done on time - Dan's guys show up EVERY DAY and get the job done on schedule. (I know, shocking.) He is reasonably priced. You can call 510.893.0485. Feel free to say I recommended them. Dawn

Bathroom ventilation

Aug 2011

We need to install a ventilation fan in our bathroom. (Condensation is causing paint to peel and moisure to build up on the walls and ceiling.) This will require cutting through a wall or the ceiling in addition to installing the fan itself. The house is old (1908). I'm not sure whether I need an electrician, an HVAC specialist, a handyman or someone else. Who is the right person for this kind of job and do you have any recommendations? Thank you for your advice. Sarah

Try a general contractor such as Eric Sterken. He's licensed and insured and has done jobs like the one you are describing. He's the nicest guy, prompt, detail-oriented, and a most amazing contractor. You can reach him at 510-710-1985. Rosie
Because a bathroom fan uses electricity, we STRONGLY recommend that you ONLY employ knowledgeable and licensed electricians. We live in the EastBay and we own income property, where, of course, it is absolutely necessary to follow all housing codes and all building codes ! When we need electrical work done, we employ Fighting Amish Electric. Fighting Amish Electric: Daan and Inder = 510.847.5577 Other than the very odd name for their company ('Fighting Amish' is meant to be a joke, because the Amish do not fight), these two brothers are really knowledgeable of codes and regulations, they know and work with good local distributors, and they're really careful. Please, NEVER employ anyone but a licensed electrician to do work that includes electricity !
We installed a fan 1 year ago. What we did was get a contractor. When we replaced our roof, we'd learned that owner of Collins Roofing had a brother who's a contractor. Anyways, he had someone come in to cut the hole and install, we ordered the fan online ourselves, and then he had an electrician come in and wire it for us. The handyman person came back to patch the ceiling up a bit. anon

Contractor for bathroom remodel?

Aug 2011

We live in Walnut Creek and are looking for a reliable and efficient contractor to remodel our two bathrooms in our ranch house. The bathrooms are in their original 1960s (with 1980s touches) state and we're planning a simple & clean update for both, as they're not huge rooms. Any recommendations would be appreciated. Thank you!

We recently remodeled our bathroom and used Mircea Ilie Construction as our contractor; Mircea did a great job- provided a quote and a contract and stuck to his price and schedule. He made some excellent recommendations for design improvements. His workers were skilled, courteous and efficient. He also advised upgrading the house's plumbing and electrical systems and provided reasonable quotes for doing that. His pricing is very fair, and he is honest and extremely competent. His office phone number is 510-538-8109 and cell is 510-459-5502 BonnieK
Mircea Ilie just finished my new bathroom. He did a wonderful job, kept to a budget, was on time and all workers he employed were top notch. He was recommended to me by a designer friend who has used him for several jobs but there are also other reviews here on the BPN. His number is 510-575-5434, I will definitely use him again and good luck on the job! satisfied customer
Mark Shure of Shure Design@ construction is quite frankly one of the best kitchen and bathroom contractor specialists in the Bay area. He is located in the Berkeley area. He designs for his clients kitchen cabinets (among other things) and builds them himself in his shop, which is located next door to Truitt& white lumber also located in Berkley. His shop like his work is spotless, I know because I have been there and noticed all the quality tools, even his vacuum system in his shop are top of the line. Take it from me he is the best cabinet maker and finish carpenter I have been in contact with, it was a real pleasure working with him. You may reach him at (510) 540-1952 William

Difficult to add bathroom to detached studio?

June 2010

We are looking at houses in Berkeley (currently live in SF) and finding some with detached studios. I've heard that it may be difficult to get permits to add a bathroom to them because it might be considered a rental. If it is doable, what are the approximate costs? Thanks! Confused

You can add a Half-Bath to a detached studio. Showers, Bathtubs, and Stoves are the no-no's. These are seen as indications of rentals. The difficulty in adding a Half-Bath is not in procuring the permits, but in running new plumbing - both water lines and sewage to new plumbing units, often quite a distance. Good Luck - hope you find a house you like.

2007 - 2009 Recommendations

Bathroom Remodel - Who do I need?

Nov 2009

We need to fix and remodel our relatively small 1980's master bathroom (need to repair persistent leaks that have damaged the subfloor; windows need replacing, etc.) I want to get a separate bath and shower out of this. There's not a lot of space (or money) to work with, but I have devised a simple plan based on my own research. Do I need a bathroom designer? A design-build contractor? A contractor? Advice and recommendations welcome. Anon

If you have a contractor who specializes in bathrooms, I don't think you need a bathroom designer. In fact, I used one when I redid my master bath and I can honestly say, my contractor and I came up with a much more workable and cost-efficient plan. The contractor I highly recommend is Scott Montgomery. His phone number is 925- 382-4112 and if you prefer to correspond through e-mail his address is michael.montgomery4 [at] Please contact him - I know you will be thrilled.
I think you can get by with a good contractor who specializes in bathrooms. I highly recommend Jim Zwaal (google him on Berkeley Parents for contact info). We started our bathroom remodel project looking to work with a designer and it just seemed to add a lot of unnecessary expense. Jim has a good eye and had a lot of great aesthetic suggestions. He's very practical and good w/ a budget. We were very happy. Sharon
A design-build contractor would be good, but if money is really tight the way to go is to make your simple plan readable and co-ordinate the subcontractors yourself. You can even submit your own drawings for a permit. There are classes you can take at the Building Education Center to help with such a process. If you would like a consultation during the process, fell free to call me (510-601-1150).
I have remodeled several homes over the years, and used a few different contractors, but Greg Watson, in El Sobrante, is the best I've ever worked with. He does excellent bathroom and kitchen remodels, and what I like is that he's licensed and insured. He just did a bathroom and family room/office for us, and he had lots of cost saving ideas. You'll be lucky to get him to do the work if he isn't too busy. His office is 510-223-1541, and cell phone is 510-453-5638. MJBD
If the bathroom is relatively small all you need is a contractor with a bit of imagination. And since you have a plan too that is a recipe to save some money. I am sure that the contractor that I know can help you with your bathroom. I am very happy with the work he did for me. You can call him at 510.305.5680 or email at info [at] His name is Constantin and is a trustworthy contractor. diana
I had my bathroom remodeled by a great contractor who worked together with my designer. But if you have a limited budget and a lot of imagination I think you can skip the designer. Contractor's name is Sorin Feraru and you can reach him at 510 228 7366 or go on line to see some of his work at He helped me a lot with my bathroom remodel, not to mention I saved money and time due to his experience and great ideas. The project turned out wonderful, on time and it was worth all the money. Also, he provides a great customer service.I won't be hiring anyone else but him, for my future remodeling projects.

Bathroom Designer for bathroom remodel

March 2009

Hello, we are about to have our 1970's pink tiled bathroom remodeled (full tear down/remodel) and are looking for recommendations on designers to help us provide a sketch to our contractors, as well as help us with materials selection/purchasing. We are working with a very limited budget for a designer ($1000-1500), so any recs for affordable, great designers would be most appreciated. Thanks! Catherine

I'm in the process of remodeling a very old bathroom with the help of interior designer Francis Combes. He is a very telented designer who was able to help me pick out all the components I need, such as the tile, fixtures, color, faucets, and design elements. He was able to modernize our bathroom with hardly any additional cost. His plans were well done and understandable for the contractor. Best of all, he was very reasonable and professional. Check out his website at A very satisfied client
We just finished a bathroom remodel that we love! We got help from Isabel Tsang at Albany Cabinets and Design (; 510.526.2288). She was very helpful in working out the design and suggesting resources. She has a showroom in Albany, which I found very useful when trying to talk about style and consider different options. I always felt like she listened to our needs and opinions, but wasn't pushy about using the businesses that she has relationships with. And she would definitely fit into your budget. Good luck. Ruth
I am an Architect who specializes in small remodels and am flexible about how to facilitate a project. A budget as small as yours will buy some good professional help, getting a design and input on related matters, but is insufficient for a remodel that requires a building permit. Some remodels only require plumbing and electrical permits. I call these ''upgrades''. AB
I highly recommend Bonnee Elterman. You can reach her at bonnee.elterman [at] or 510-593-3466. She helped us with a kitchen and living room update/remodel, but she has quite a bit of experience with whole house remodels, and I wouldn't hesitate to have her help you with your project. She's great at making excellent design recommendations within your budget constraints. Feel free to contact me if you'd like to hear more about our experience working with her. Kara
Hi Catherine, I highly recommend interio designer Benjamin Dhong. He had helped me with my office space last year. I really love his style. He is very easy to work with. He truly cares about his clients and pays attention to details. In fact he was featured in SF Chornicle on 3/8/09. Here's the link: You can check his website too. ( His email: ben [at]; or phone# (415) 595-2582 Have fun w/ the remodel... Lan

Where to start on complete bathroom remodel?

April 2007

Hi all We need to do a complete bathroom remodel. Can anyone give advise on how to start? Would it be best to hire a designer first and then a contractor? Or has anyone had success with a design/build contractor? If so does anyone have any recent recommendations for a contractor, designer or both? Archives are a couple of years old. Thanks. julie

We had our master bathroom remodeled in 2006 and Jason White did a great job! It was a part of a larger project but he made some design recommendations in the bathroom that really changed it from good to great! For example, he recommended putting in radiant heating. It's on timer so that when I walk in in the morning, the tiles are toasty warm and so is the entire bathroom! I was still pumping for my baby then (6am, before the baby was up) and nothing relaxed me more (could almost get 8-10oz!) than pumping in a warm bathroom. He's currently designing a master bathroom and doing the work too. He's really excellent, listens to you, makes recommendations and understands your budget. He knows where to get good deals and is probably one of the best tilers I've seen. Call him at 510- 866-5516 and let him know that Susan recommended you. Love my new bathroom!
We recently did a re-model of our bathroom. We had a good contractor who was decent and got the job done ''on time on budget''. Our house is kinda old, so making the best of it was basically as good as we could do it with new flooring, toilet and cabinets.

What made a really big difference was adding a few decorative bathroom furniture pieces we got from an online furniture store.

The biggest thing was adding a new vanity sink and mirror set that replaced the old school one we had in there. Here is a link to the one we bought: It is a metal and marble one; the existing plumbing attached easily and was hidden once we put a few things on the bottom shelves like extra TP and some accessories.

The cool glass sink gives off a custom decorator touch, but without the custom price tag.

Overall keep an eye on your contractor, keep them honest and look all around, especially on the web for checking out ideas and contractors as well.

Check this link to check out a contractor you are thinking about using before signing anything. Many times after you sell your house prior work will need to be validated that it was done by licensed / insured contractors, so be careful what you do and who you use. It's worth paying a little extra t get it done by the right contractor. Scott

2004 - 2006 Recommendations

Need a reliable and affordable contractor for bathroom remodel

Oct 2006

Hello. We're fairly new to the Richmond area and we're starting to plan a bathroom remodel in our small home. We're open to suggestions on good, reliable, and affordable contractors (w/ or w/out permits) and places to go for fixtures. All postings are dated, so hopefully someone out there has recently gone through a successful remodel. Thanks in advance Elaine

I have someone absolutely great to recommend for your bathroom remodel (and he does other stuff, too!): Gabriel Ortiz Kobban (cell: 510-228-7924). Last year, we re-did an existing bath and added a new one. He and his crew did a great job on both. Also, I was very pregnant when we started, and they got everything done in time for our baby's arrival. His pricing was very reasonable, too. He also was really helpful in finalizing scope to fit in our budget. He is a licensed contractor, and he managed the inspections with the city. Also really important is that he's bilingual (Spanish and English), so he could communicate well with us as well as with his Spanish-speaking crew. He lives in Oakland. Feel free to call me for more details: 415-846-2207 Laura

Need help with designs for bathroom remodel

Aug 2006

I need to take three bathrooms in my 1924 Berkeley house down to the studs to remodel them. I need help with designs - it's overwhelming. I'd like someone who can come to the table with ideas/designs and move things along.

I had help redoing me entire house including 3 bathrooms. Jeanette Patterson decor[at] 510-271-0191 Jeanette helped the entire way. She was easy to work with and worked at various budget levels depending on how much we were spending on each bathroom. She did the designs I found the labor. She can help with as much or as little as you need. For example, to save money I did the leg work after she picked out the items. I can't say enough great things about her! Jennifer
Hi - Beverly Wilson in Berkeley (510)524-0990 is an excellent bathroom designer. (She also does kitchens.) Beverly designed 2 of our bathrooms & our kitchen/dining space (essentially half our home) as well as my in-laws kitchen. We have a 1906 Berkeley Bungelow home which was added onto in 1915 (kitchen & bath) & again in the '80s (masterbed & bath). She did a great job with our kitchen & bathrooms making the house flow better & making the home look more cohesive. I'd be happy to show you her work, if you're interested. Just contact me via email. Good Luck. deborah
JB Turner and Sons design and remodel kitchens and bathrooms. They do excellent work and have many references. The designer Marilyn Gardunio was featured in the latest Oakland Magazine. They are located at 3911 Piedmont Ave Oakland, CA. Phone #:510-658-3441 Good Luck!
We are currently working with Samantha Sullivan of Atmosphere Design Collaborative on a bathroom remodel (in our '30s house with an '80s addition). She is friendly and extremely experienced. Her ideas are in keeping with our style and budget--but she has come up with looks and solutions that never would've occurred to us. In Walnut Creek, 925/935-9147 Sarah in Montclair
I used Sara Jaffe (Sara Jaffe Designs) for our master bath/closet remodel. I had strong ideas of my own, and she respected them as well as coming up with lots & lots of great ideas I never would have thought of. She does all aspects of the design (including electrical, HVAC, plumbing, etc.) and gives you a finished set of plans that can be taken to the city for permit approval. She is excellent at what she does, and she happens to be a pleasure to work with. We are using her for another project now! Please let me know if you want more information. Her contact info:, 510.834.8716 j.s

2003 & Earlier


I recommend Jim Zwaal for bathroom remodeling. Jim is in the middle of remodeling my bathroom, and so far, he has been very meticulous and a provider of great/practical design ideas. I got Jim's name from this list and I have not been disappointed. Jim can be reached at 510-652-8258. Cathy

I second the recommendation for Jim Zwaal for bathroom remodeling. Jim did our bathroom from the ground up last spring/early summer, and was a godsend. He's meticulous, skilled, personable, creative, and reasonably priced. The bathroom is unrecognizable as the mildewy hole it used to be, and we remain very satisfied. Wendy

I can recommend a contractor named Jim Zwaal, who has done a lot of work for my parents in berkeley and can do big and small jobs. He is scrupulously honest, does excellent work (and takes pride in his work) and is very reasonable. He works on his own. His home number is 652-8258. Karen

For the person asking about bathroom remodeling - Bob Bernal is a great person to call. He's in El Cerrito. Donna
I've used Springwood Builders for work on our house. The owner, Karam Khalsa, is a wonderful person who stays open and honest with you, which is highly valued in the contractor world. Toby
David A. Thompson is a Licensed General Contractor who has been doing residential remodelling in this area for 18 years and can provide numerous glowing references. He is dependable and a pleasure to work with, and can help with design. The one drawback is that he is often booked ahead though so it's best to contact him a while before you need the work done. He can be reached at (510) 843-5100.
Ronald Rivers, ph 510-2906036, is a general contractor who renovated my home and is now working on renovating a friend's 4-plex, unit by unit. He is reasonably priced and lives in Berkeley.
March 1999

I love our remodeled bathroom which is quite small, but turned out quite lovely. We had wonderful help on both our kitchen and our bathroom from an architect: Ann Marie Celona 420-1128 She is brilliant and easy to work with, unlike several others we consulted. Our contractor for the bathroom was Jesse Young 527-8143 who I also recommend very highly. Very high quality work. I have seen several other jobs he has done and they are superb. I am happy to let anyone look at the work. Sherry

For bathroom remodeling, I recommend Alameda Structural (in the phone book in Alameda.) We just moved and had two bathrooms redone including structural, tiles and floors and we were very happy with their work. Randy
A friend of mine had her bathroom remodeled by Steve Schliff of On the Beamcontracting company in El Cerriro (Tel: (510) 832-0144) last summer, and is very happy with the job. Though I don't know if Steve is accepting new jobs at the moment, it is worth talking to him for an estimate. Marie-Josie

I've known Steve for the past two years, in his capacity of coach for my daughter's softball team. Seeing how well organized, on top of his job, and in control of the team he is, I would trust him with any contractor job!

Sept 1998

We have a lot of confidence in Mark Manske and Steve Tiffin, who have recently formed a contractor partnership after working for over 15 years each for other contractors. They've done a variety of work for us, very competantly and VERY reasonably (they significantly underbid the major contractors). We used to rent Steve's house, which had a beautiful kitchen that Steve and mark did together. They do all the work themselves which eliminates dealing with multiple sub-contractors. Mark's particular specialty is tile work. They are both very pleasant, timely and honest. They rely on word of mouth for their business, so they will make sure you are happy and satisfied with their work. They will also work with you on how to reduce costs if that's an issue. You can reach Mark at 526-4428 and Steve at 655-1591. Good luck! --Raissa + Denis

About the bathroom contractor. We just had an addition of a new bedroom and were very happy with our contractor. His name is Joe Jensen and his phone number is 524-4665. Unlike many other contractors we interviewed he only takes one job at a time and only has one, very nice, employee. Kirk. He was fair honest and very reliable. He specializes in cabinetry as well. Good luck! Elizabeth
Regarding your request for a contractor for your bathroom, we highly recommend John McCrane Construction. He was the general contractor, recommended by our architect for a kitchen remodel. He worked on several other smaller jobs for our house too and was terrific. He is bright, has high standards, is ethical, and conscientious. Denise