Pizza, anyone?

When it comes to pizza, I’m a big fan, especially DeLorenzo’s Tomato Pies in New Jersey (you know the one – the pizza I import for special occasions).  But I have a new affinity for the stuff now that I’ve been quoted in Pizza Today magazine.  Writer DeAnn Owens asked me about the best flooring for pizzarias, which was great timing because we had just finished laying the floor for a Shakeys restaurant, so the info was fresh in my mind.

The link to DeAnn’s article is

http://www.pizzatoday.com/Magazines/Year/2011/October2011/34FHflooring052311.html

I’ve also included the article below for those who want to hang out on my blog.

Happy reading!

Floor Dance

Lay flooring with safety and maintenance in mind

BY DeAnn Owens

With so many options available, upgrading or replacing a floor can be overwhelming. But, if an operator can identify the needs of the restaurant, flooring can be a perfect reflection of design and function.

“Restaurant floors should be planned and designed with practicality and safety as the top considerations,” says Restaurant Consultant Aaron Allen.

Allen recommends operators look for flooring that has easy to clean surfaces, high/durable base boards, is accessible to surface cleaning tools, holds up to chips and cracks, is resistant to stains and fading and offers a guarantee or warranty for its lifespan.

“Flooring at the restaurant entrance will have different considerations than flooring under the fry line in the kitchen, where oils are likely to splash and spill,” Allen says. “Carpeting areas with high humidity can result in mildew which may smell; likewise, high humidity can cause wood flooring to buckle and warp resulting in poor aesthetics and trip hazards. Flooring that may need to hold up to heavy equipment or weight strains has unique considerations.”

Eric Peters, a communications specialist with Acoustical Solutions, Inc., in Richmond, Virginia, advises operators to minimize noise.

“Customers appreciate the fact that they can hear each other as well as their servers, but with dishes clanging, servers scurrying about, conversations and sometimes multiple TVs on, it is very hard to hear anything,” Peters says.

To fight the noise, Peters suggests treating the floor with an acoustic floor underlayment to stop noise transferring to lower levels and reduce echoing.

Consider upkeep when choosing a floor, advises Doron Armony, president and CEO of Eden Flooring and Construction, Inc. in Orange County, California. He suggests textured quarry tiles for kitchens because they provide some traction and are easy to clean and maintain. Smooth quarry tile may be required under machinery.

“In high traffic areas of the restaurant, porcelain tiles that resemble wood and come in various colors and sizes are a good choice,” Armony says. “If you mix the sizes and the colors in each row (i.e. one row will have all 8-inch red tiles and the next row will have 4-inch brown tile and the next 6-inch yellow tile etc.), the untrained eye will easily mistake it for hardwood flooring.”

Armony warns operators against hardwood flooring because it is often cleaned incorrectly with water, which creates separation, gaps and eventual buckling. He suggests laminate flooring for dining room areas, but operators should take caution; too much spillage or water can penetrate the laminate and cause it to expand. For industrial use, he recommends concrete because it can handle forklift pressure, is very low maintenance and is easily repaired.

For operators who want waterproof and easy-to-clean flooring, Debbie Gartner, owner of Floor Coverings International in Elmsford, New York, suggests tile or vinyl.

“Tile will look nicer and cost more,” Gartner says. “The grout lines sometimes make it harder to clean, but it also helps if you have tighter grout lines. And, if you seal the grout (and reseal every year), it will last longer and look better. I would choose something with some texture rather than shiny/glossy, which can be more slippery. I would stay away from natural stone (unless it’s a very upscale store) as these are harder to clean and maintain.”

According to Gartner, vinyl offers many options. On the low-end, sheet vinyl and VCT (vinyl composite tile), which are 12-inch by 12-inch squares, are easy to clean but not as attractive. On the high end, luxury vinyl plank or tile offer the look of hardwood or tile.

For operators who want to go green, Allen suggests flooring made of sustainable materials. “Bamboo, unlike typical wood trees, replenishes at incredibly fast rates and is therefore a sustainable material now being used in flooring,” he says. “Crushed coconut is also on the horizon as a commercially viable material.” Then, of course, there are recycled materials, which are being transformed into all sorts of new restaurant flooring options.

With the hustle and bustle in restaurants, operators need flooring to be a safe foundation. “Both ceramic and quarry floor tile will be more slip resistant than the standard (lowest cost) VCT,” says Matt Vetter, president of River’s Edge Project Management, in Hamburg, Michigan. “There are options available for textured VCT designed to be more slip resistant, but in my experience it is very difficult to clean. There are also solid epoxy options available (much like what you would see in a residential garage), but I have not found many health departments that are on-board with this yet. ”

Armony recommends abrasion-resistant tiles to prevent slippage.

“Minimizing the height between different floor finishes will minimize safety hazards (i.e. don’t put ½-inch tile next to 3/8-inch marble without adjusting the height at the seam where the two meet),” Armony says.

Of course, an operator’s budget may have the final word in the flooring debate.

“If budget is the key priority, then I would say some sort of commercial carpet — one with a lot of color variation that will hide the dirt,” Gartner says. Nylons will hold up better than olefins/polyesters. The carpeting will cost less, but will need to be replaced more often.

Vetter suggests balancing budget with style.

“A worthwhile compromise that I suggest often when project budgets are very tight is to install ceramic tile in the lobby (most of my clients do not have any dine-in areas); install quarry tile in the walk-in coolers and around any wet areas, and fill in the rest of the kitchen with VCT,” Vetter says. “This presents the best look to the customer, keeps employees safer from slips, and controls budget.”

To get the most from their flooring investment, operators need to apply elbow grease.

“One, make sure the flooring is installed properly –– any flooring installed improperly will not produce the desired results and will most likely fail,” Vetter says. Two, keep it clean. Any flooring needs to be cleaned on a regular basis — doing so will prolong the life and look.

With so many options available, operators are sure to find flooring that meets their safety, maintenance, design and budget needs.

 

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Irvine Update: Bye Bye Beam and Loving the Purple

It’s been a while since we’ve checked in, which I guess is good and bad – good because we’re busy; bad because I haven’t been keeping you up do date.  Nevertheless, in case you were worried, rest assured we’ve been hard at work in Irvine and on a couple of other big projects (let’s face it, given a choice of sleep or blog, well, you get it).

Since my last Irvine update, we’ve had to secure a few more permits because we added a few more elements to the project.  More on that below.  Now we’re done with all the framing, the new plumbing and electricity are installed and good to go, and it’s time for drywall – and wait til you see the color (no, Sapir, we’re not leaving the house purple).

So where should we start?  How about the family room?

The big news here is that I succeeded in getting rid of that intrusive ceiling beam that divided the original family room from the addition.  This one.

Ceiling Beam

From the photos, it may not seem like a big deal, but believe me, it is. That beam divided the room and made the ceiling feel lower than it really was.  Plus, functionally, it made it hard for the room to work.  We needed a special permit to remove it, but it was well worth all the effort – even the inspector agreed.  With that beam gone, we’ve opened up the entire room, removing the artificial divider and making for a much more comfortable and functional living space.  And, there is a much more spacious feel to the entire room.

On the other side of the room, we finished the structure for the new office.  Have a look.

The city won’t let us install windows on the outside wall because the house sits on a zero lot line (I guess they don’t like neighbors playing peek-a-boo), so to bring in light, we installed five interior windows – four on the wall adjoining the family room and one over the door.  These will be filled with frosted glass that will let in light but maintain privacy on both sides.

  

Thinking about resale, this room could be used as a guest room, nanny’s room (since it’s downstairs, the family has privacy upstairs), or any other kind of bonus room. For now, it will be an office with a door that locks, keeping little hands away from important papers and expensive machines.

Outside the office, you can see the makings of the kitchen workspace.  We call it “Grand Central Station,” because that will become the functional center of the home in terms of the family and its activities.

Think desk organizers, a bulletin or white board, places for all the notes from school and activities, right off the kitchen where the family spends most of its time anyway.  Functionality with a capital “F.”

Here in the kitchen, you see that special drywall I was talking about.  Dig that color.  It’s very high quality and prevents mold and mildew- the Scarlet Letters of resale – from developing.  This is a great example of how thinking ahead can save $$$.

Upstairs, we’re finishing up the “behind the scenes” work in the two bathrooms.  Here’s the master.  Again, our lovely purple drywall, for obvious reasons.

Shower going in with jets on both sides.  Can’t see them under the plastic, but they’re installed and ready to go.

Dual vanity will go here.

And in the fourth bedroom, we’ve installed a pocket door for privacy in the bathroom.  That’s the framing for the closet you see below, with the bathroom on the other side.

   

So that’s where we are.  New windows and doors are coming this week.  Stay tuned.

Thinking about renovating?  Contact Doron at 949-228-5218 or doron@edenflooring.com for your complimentary, expert consultation. 

Permits Secured and Ready to Launch

Remember my big project in Irvine, the house I pretty much tore down to the studs?  Wondering why you haven’t heard about it for a while?  Permits.  The city and I were doing the Cha Cha for the better part of the last three weeks while I secured the necessary permits for the remodel.

Permits are a vital part of the construction process for major remodels because they
ensure that what’s being built complies with national, regional and local building codes.  Not all remodeling projects require permits, but for those that do, there’s no getting around them, nor would you want to.  Construction done without permits where required can result in significant fines and penalties.  The city might even come in and demo the unauthorized construction – something neither a homeowner nor a contractor ever want to see.

But more important, permits ensure that what your contractor is building is safe. It’s kind of like a checks and balance system, only it works a lot better than Washington does, but we’re still hopeful about that one.

In Irvine, we needed an electrical permit and a full building permit for the construction.  We had planned on leaving the electricity as is, in which case we would not have needed the permit.  But as the scale of the project grew and we decided to put in more lights throughout the house, we upgraded to a 200 Amp panel, and that’s what the permit allowed.

What will that mean for the clients?  Well, suppose they’re having a party one night.
They’ve got lights on in the backyard and throughout the house.  DJ’s pumping some tunes, or maybe there’s a band.  Hors d’oeuvres are warming in the oven, air conditioner’s on, dishwasher’s going, you get the picture. One of the guests decides to turn on the bubbles in the Jaccuzzi and BAM!  Circuit overload and bye bye electricity.   And that’s when the real fun starts: people start falling over each other in the dark, drinks are spilling, food’s flying, glasses breaking – pretty ugly.

That won’t happen with a 200 Amper.  This guy is Superman; really powerful.  The breakers won’t jump, lights and music will stay on and the party will continue well into the night.

The other permit is for the construction, and now that that’s secured, we can start
the framing.  Framing is basically where we build support walls out of wood which will allow us to knock down other walls to create an open floor plan.

You can see what I mean with these photos of the framing in the dining room.   In the original home, a wall separated the kitchen and dining room (where the oven is), and you had to step down to the sunken living room.

 

That separating wall is now a relic of the past, and we decided to lower the dining room floor three feet so that it will be flush with the living room.  What will be left is a beautiful,
open space in which the dining area can be extended out (because this family
entertains BIG).  Plus, the higher ceiling will make the house feel much more spacious.

I know, it doesn’t look like much, but really friends, this is progress.

Here in the family room, you can see another example of framing.  This family room was huge.  Remember this?

We cut down the space a bit to make it more manageable (I do have a 68” TV that would have been perfect for this room but my wife wouldn’t let me give it away), still leaving plenty of seating and entertaining area.  By doing that, we expanded what
used to be the laundry room on the other side, and now we have plenty of room
to make a nice office that can also be used as a guest room.  The wall will go up soon, but here’s the wood frame.

So that’s where we are.  Lots of dust, dirt and wood, but believe me, it will be worth it.

We’ll be finishing up the framing this week which will give shape to the final layout.  We’ll also be installing the new plumbing for the bathrooms we’re building in the master
suite and fourth bedroom, as well as for the kitchen, and we’ll finalize the placement of the light fixtures and exhaust fans.  If you’re a Bob the Builder type, you’ll find this stuff fascinating.  If not, stay tuned anyway because soon we’ll get to the interior design part – colors, tiles, flooring, etc.  The client has some ideas but will be looking for some input from YOU, so be sure to keep reading and don’t forget to share my blog with your friends.

Got a major renovating project in mind in Los Angeles, Orange or Riverside
counties?  Contact Doron at 949-279-2011 or
doron@edenflooring.com for a free estimate or design consultation.

Got Noise? Put a Cork on It.

Did you ever wonder why the floors in haunted houses creak so much?  Probably because they have no cork under them (and you thought they were just trying to scare you).  
 
If you’re thinking of installing hardwood or laminate flooring and don’t want your house to sound like Jason’s coming to get you, I urge you to put down  cork underlayment.  Cork is the absolute best choice for “acoustic control” (reducing noise, that is) – it prevents creaking from the floor boards themselves and, when installed on second floors or higher, it keeps the noise from below from coming through the floor.

How does it do that?  Millions of air-filled pockets inside the material create a cushiony surface that prevents sound waves from travelling through.  That’s why cork is commonly used in apartments buildings, hotels, museums and other high traffic venues where uncontrolled sound would kill the experience.
 
Cork can be used with laminate flooring and almost every hardwood flooring installation, whether you’re gluing, nailing or stapling down the wood.  It can also be used under ceramic tile or to build up a subfloor when there is a height difference in the floors between two rooms.
 
And here’s a few more great things about cork I’ll bet you didn’t know: it’s fire resistant and environmentally friendly.  Cork is stripped from the trunks of cork oak trees beginning when they are 25 years old. 

Those big guys live to be about 200, giving us an abundant supply of this renewable material – an important fact for those of us worried about our carbon footprint.
 
So what’s the downside (isn’t there’s always a downside)?  Price.  Cork adds about $2 per square foot to your cost, making it probably the most expensive of underlayment materials.  I always try to save my clients money wherever I can, but this is one item I say is well worth the additional expense.  There simply isn’t another material out there that controls noise as well, so unless you plan to tiptoe your way through life, I recommend bearing the price.
 
We recently installed a cork underlayment in a client’s Newport Coast home.  He installed hardwood on his second floor and was very concerned about noise from downstairs disturbing him while he’s working in his upstairs office or trying to catch a few winks.  

Here’s a photo of the prep.


 
For best installation, we glued the cork to the subfloor, then glued the wood on the cork. 


 
The wood you’re seeing is Midnight Oak, a beautiful, rich hardwood that never goes out of style.

 

Keep in mind the baseboards have yet to be installed, so we’ll show you the finished project once we’re done.  For now, you can see the beautiful hardwood floor with cork underlayment.  And listen….

Hear that?  No noise.  

Before I go, I’ve got another contest for all you trivia buffs.  What country produces the most amount of cork (hint – it’s not Ireland)?  Send your answers in the comments section or on Facebook.  Winner gets a free cork bulletin board courtesy of Eden Flooring and Construction, Inc.

Is noise in your home driving you mad?  Why not install new flooring with cork underlayment?  Contact Doron at 949-228-5218 or doron@edenflooring.com

Aging with Jets – Botox Sold Separately

Here in Southern California, age has become a bad word and fighting the aging process is pretty much a way of life. From Botox to plastic surgery to super foods and antioxidants, a whole lot of folks out here are obsessed with keeping the hands of time off their faces, and everywhere else for that matter.

Well, I’ve got bad news for you– it doesn’t work. We’re all aging. All that stuff we’re doing to make us look like time-warped versions of our former selves can’t keep our knees, backs and other internal fixtures from feeling the effects of our (I’m gonna say it) – age. I figured that out for myself on my family camping trip this weekend after two nights sleeping on an air mattress – my back sure ain’t what it used to be.

But I’ve got good news too. With 70 being the new 50 (or something like that), people are staying independent well into their twilight years and moving into assisted living or old age homes as late as possible, if ever. That means they’re living, and aging, at home much longer than the generation before them. To do that, though, today’s strong, healthy Baby Boomers are finding they need to modify their living space to accommodate their aging (eek, I said it again) bodies.

And here’s the even better news – it’s not all that bad. In fact, those wild Boomers are catching on fast to a luxurious little secret – spa-like showers are becoming a medical necessity.

What’s that, you say.  Well, as the Boomers are having a harder and harder time getting in and out of bathtubs, they’re getting rid of them and replacing them with beautiful, spa-like showers. And let me tell you, the old-timers sure know how to indulge because one of the hottest features in showers these days is dual shower heads and multiple, programmable body jets.

   

Whether it’s his and hers or double the fun (hey, they did bring us Woodstock, among other things), Boomers aren’t settling for just one shower head raining down on them. They, and many others, are creating the most relaxing, stimulating shower experience at home with water coming at them every which way.

Here’s a jet shower we built recently for our clients in Laguna Niguel. They went for a single, hand-held shower with double jet system. With these systems, we install a diverter, so the client can choose where the water comes from: the shower head, the jets, or both.

Here is one of the jets and the diverter closer up.

 

We also installed the tile in this shower, a soap niche and beautiful glass doors to finish off that spa look.  Nice.

Check in later this week for an update on Irvine, a beautiful, maple floor installed in the Hollywood Hills, and more.

Until next time, if you’re contemplating your 10,000 mile tune-up, don’t sweat it too much. Luxurious aging begins with jets.  Botox sold separately.

Want to create a luxurious, spa bathroom in your home? Contact Doron at 949-279-2011 or doron@edenflooring.com

“Cause you’ve got, functionality…”

Don’t remember that one by the great Lloyd Price?  Well, maybe it didn’t go exactly like that.  But everyone wants rooms with functionality (personality too, for that matter).  Funny thing is, we often don’t understand how unfunctional a home is until after we’ve lived in it for a while.  Yet with home values down throughout Southern California and much of the country, the last thing many homeowners want to do is sell their home because it’s not as functional as they thought.

That’s where I come in. With some creativity, a little faith in your loyal home remodeling expert and some great materials, I help clients reorganize a single room or an entire house to make it work better for them.

Case in point: my recent project in Laguna Niguel.  Overall, the clients liked the home and loved the location, but the rooms just weren’t meeting their needs.  We did a lot of cosmetic upgrades to the home, which I’ll show you another time, but the real challenge was transforming the kitchen and second bedroom into rooms that had, well, “functionality.”

Sorry I don’t have the before photos for this one – you’ll just have to use your imagination.

Let’s start with the kitchen.  The biggest problem was that the washing machine and dryer had been installed right there in the epicenter of home.  Not only did they cut down on the valued workspace, but they also broke up the flow of the room.

We got them out of there, and in the open space that was left, we built these great, functional cabinets and relocated the fridge to where the washer and dryer used to be.

 

Then we built a 21-inch pantry where the fridge used to be, and put in the microwave and oven with warming drawer underneath, and cabinets up top.

With the washer and dryer out and the fridge moved over, that left a big working space where we put in granite countertops.

 

That big hole there is where we put a cooktop.  I installed a hidden hood under the cabinet with a fan.  You can’t see it, which makes it all the more aesthetic.

The clients didn’t like having two small sinks, so we put in one large one.

And we built a large island for added workspace.  The island has a built-in trash receptacle and lots of cabinet space.

 

Here’s the granite.  Notice how we finished the edges.  That’s good craftmanship.

You see the big, open space between the sink and the post?

There was a wall there, but it made the kitchen feel closed up and kept the light out.  We took the wall out, giving a much more spacious feel and bringing the light in.  The pole is structural, so we had to leave it, so to give it a designer’s touch, we refaced it with wood paneling.  Here it is from another angle.

The backsplash is made from edged subway tile.

 

It comes in a lot of colors and finishes.

For even more  of a modern flair, we raised the ceiling and installed recessed lights.

 

The other room we remodeled was the second bedroom, which the clients wanted to use as an office.  That meant they didn’t need the closet anymore.  We took it out and replaced it with upper and lower shelves with pull-out drawers that will be used as filing cabinets.

On the other side of the closet, I put in an art niche with glass shelves and lights to showcase the art pieces the clients will put there.  An elegant touch, wouldn’t you
say?

 

 

And there you have it.  A kitchen and office that have a lot more functionality and style than before.

So what’s going on in Irvine?  Glad you asked.  Permits.  Often when we do major construction work, we have to get permits from the city to ensure that our building is up to code.  So that’s what we’re doing.  Building will continue next week.

Next time around I’ll try to come up with some more contemporary tunes – I may have to ask the kids about that.  Until then, stay tuned and stay functional.

Want a room with more functionality? Call Doron for great ideas and a free  estimate.  949-228-5218 or Doron@EdenFlooring.com

 

Seven Hot Bathroom Trends in Irvine Remodel (so far)

Recently, Christopher Solomon of MSN Real Estate identified the 13 top
bathroom remodel trends
.  Calling the bathroom “the new den,” he wrote that today’s emphasis is on luxury, with more and more people looking to their bathrooms to relax and luxuriate after a hectic day.

In other words, those fabulous, super posh bathrooms in the Wynn and other high end hotels aren’t just for vacations.  Today people are incorporating the “wow” factor in their homes, and getting more value out of their homes while they’re in them and when they sell.

The master bathroom in my Irvine project is undergoing a major remodel.   Let’s see how many of the top 13 trends made the cut.

#1 – Large, airy showers.  Well, it wasn’t before, but it will be soon enough.

 

We’ve literally torn out the entire bathroom AND knocked out the wall
separating the adjoining room to make space for what is going to be a large,
glass encased shower with hinged doors.  I know, not very luxurious right now, but just wait.

And look up at the ceiling.

That’s right, what ceiling?  See that strip of wall paper?  That’s where the old ceiling was.  We’ve knocked it out entirely straight through to the attic so we can create what will be soaring ceilings.  Now THAT’s airy.

 # 2 Noisy Jacuzzis replaced by soaking tubs:  We’ll leave the Jacuzzi for outside, we’re going for serene experience.

# 3 – Let the light in: According to the article, people want their bathrooms brighter and more sun filled than before.  We’ll be extending the skylight to bring in more sun and we’re thinking about that octagonal window too.

#6 – Walling off the loo: One of the biggest trends in both new construction and higher-quality remodels, says Solomon, is “privatization of the toilet,” in other words, giving it its own room.  As you can see, we’ve moved the toilet from its old location to one that makes more sense spatially.  You’re seeing the framing for what will be the new toilet room, only this one will have a door that swings out – a little more modern plus all the privacy and added space you could want.

 

#8 – Smarter storage: Additional storage consisting of small drawers with dividers is the latest in stashing your stuff.  We’re thinking of putting in a nice linen closet plus a tower with shelves that are easily accessible.

#9 – Dueling vanities: Increasingly, homeowners are asking for his-and-hers sinks and vanities, Solomon says.

 

No more back-to-back washing for Mr. and Mrs. Homeowner.  A new dual vanity will go on the right hand side:

# 12 – Good tiles: Lame linoleum and glazed tiles are out, porcelain and stone tile is in – and so is glass for that matter.  We’ve been looking at some beautiful stone tiles in warm earth tones that are durable, easy to clean and won’t break the bank.  No firm decision yet, but we’re definitely headed in this direction.

So there you go, seven out of 13.  What made Solomon’s list that didn’t make
ours?  Steam baths, small coolers and flat screen TVs, (at least, they’ll have wireless and a computer), grab bars in the tub and showers (clients aren’t there yet),
and heated tiles.  But you never know…we’re not done yet.

Until next time, enjoy a little luxuriating of your own, in your bathroom, or wherever you choose.

Oh, and by the way, the world’s biggest wine cellar is the Cricova Mines in Moldova.  Congratulations to Derrick in Los Angeles who came up with the answer.  A bottle of wine is on its way.

If you’re thinking of a bathroom remodel with some of the top trends, contact Doron for a free, in-home estimate at 949-228-5218 or doron@edenflooring.com.

Getting the Home You Want and the Money to Fix it Up

Have you ever seen a fixer upper that you knew had a lot of potential but you just didn’t think you had the budget to both purchase it and make it the home you knew it could be?  Then I’d like to share with you one of real estate’s best kept secrets (well, maybe not a secret, since it’s been around for years and has put homeownership in reach for many who couldn’t afford it otherwise, but it was new to me until not that long ago).

FHA 203k loans are home loans backed by the U.S. government. Simply put, they let
you purchase a home and finance up to $35,000 in renovations and repairs in a single loan.

Why is that important?  Renovating with an FHA loan means that you can do the work in your house without dipping into your savings.  Imagine being able to remodel your home to make it exactly what you want – and not going broke to do it.  There are some limitations, mind you.  203k loans won’t let you put in a resort-style pool with swim-up bar and cabanas covered in palm leaves.  But you can get that beautiful new kitchen or
bathroom you’ve longed for, or make your home environmentally kind by using green
appliances and materials.

Another advantage is that 203k’s may be easier than getting a mortgage plus a second
renovation loan – and you know how much paperwork and hassle multiple loans can
be (plus they give the banks more opportunities to say “no”).  Dealing with the FHA may mean that you’ll get a lower interest rate than you would on a regular loan. These loans may also require a lower down payment – between 3.5-10% – than a conventional loan, for better or for worse, depending on your situation.  For someone with shaky credit, this may be the way to go, since 203k’s have a lower credit requirement.  And since you’re looking at homes that need work, you may be able to negotiate a really good deal, especially when the seller knows it needs work and isn’t willing to put the money into it.

Of course, like anything, 203k’s have some disadvantages.  First, they can take longer to secure, sometimes up to 45 days.  You might also incur costs such as having the home appraised and getting an estimate from an approved lender for the renovations you intend to do.  Finally, because 203k’s have safety guidelines, you might have to pay for repairs and improvements you hadn’t planned on (and that aren’t nearly as much fun), such as replacing faulty wiring or removing lead paint.

All in all, 203k’s are a good solution for some people, especially those want to purchase a home but can’t afford one that is turn key, as well as for those who really want to create something truly their own.  If you think this is for you, talk to your real estate agent.  If you don’t have one, or if yours isn’t fully versed on 203k’s, let me know.  I can recommend some great ones.

I thought I’d share with you today a staircase we did recently in Irvine – I think it’s just beautiful.  The homeowner had old, worn-out carpeting on the stairs and wanted to pull it out and do something a bit more dramatic, but he didn’t want the expense of hardwood.  Stairs are a high traffic area, so I often recommend installing laminate, a multi-layered, wood-based flooring system that is strong a durable, resists scratches much better than wood, and can typically stand the wear and tear of kids and pets that would be no match for hardwood.

The client chose a rich, 12 mm red ancient pine laminate which we put only on the tread, leaving an elegant contract between the tread and the riser.

 

Beautiful.  And see how wonderful the stairs look against the wood banister.

 

Cutting the laminate for the treads is hard work, but so worth it.  I just love it!

Here’s just one more view.

More next time about our big Irvine remodel, where some behind-the-scenes electrical rewiring and plumbing is taking place to get ready for the new bathroom and recessed lighting that will go up through the house.  Thought I’d spare you the photo of hanging wires and toilet pipes.  Stay tuned.

To get a beautiful, durable staircase like the one you see above, contact Doron at 949-279-2011 or doron@edenflooring.com.

Beverly Hills Wine Cellar + Getting Framed in Irvine

I’ve always appreciated a fine bottle of wine now and then, so when my client in Beverly Hills asked me to install flooring in his newly built wine cellar, I grabbed a bottle and did a little bit of research first.  That’s because the climate inside a wine cellar is different from the rest of your home.  It’s a lot more humid and typically cooler, so the flooring needs to be able to withstand these conditions.  It also has to be able to bear the weight of the wine bottles and racks, which can easily get up to several tons. This was my first-ever wine cellar, and I had to get it right.

I suggested to my client choices that work well in wine cellars: cork, porcelain tile or stone, sealed cement and hardwood.  He decided to go with the strong, exotic look of Tigerwood, a Brazilian species known for its, well, tiger-like appearance.  Tigerwood is a dense, heavy wood that wears well, so it’s a good choice for the wine cellar environment.

We started off by sealing the cement, then putting down a moisture barrier.  After the wood acclimated for a week, we spread a layer of glue, put down plywood, another layer of glue and finally the Tigerwood.

Et voilà!

 

A beautiful wine cellar that would be the pride of any connoisseur.  Now all that’s needed is to sit back and enjoy a good glass of red.

But of course when you run your own business, you never really sit back and relax, so it’s back to Irvine and our full-home renovation.  Things are moving along right on schedule. We’re done the demo and are now into Phase II, the remodeling.  We’re starting in that big, fourth bedroom upstairs.  You remember, the former studio with the soaring ceilings.

   

The clients are really after maximizing space and value (aren’t we all?), and with only one full bath and one ¾ bath on an upper level with four bedrooms, we decided to turn that big room into a suite with a bathroom of its own.  Thanks to the sink in the room and another bathroom on the other side of the wall, the plumbing is already in place, which makes the construction easier and less expensive for the client.  Their preteen will be using that  room, but once it’s done, it will also make a perfect, private guest room, or a nanny’s room if they were to resell to a family that needs one.  Options, versatility, that’s the name of the game.

With the sink and wardrobe gone, what you see below is the framing for what will be the bathroom and the laundry room which will be built on the opposite side of the bathroom.

We decided to move the laundry room upstairs to make room for a first floor office.  Don’t worry, we’ll insulate the walls real well so Mr. Preteen doesn’t get woken up
to the sound of his socks drying.  But more about that later.

   

With such high ceilings in this room, we’re making a loft over the bathroom and
laundry room which will be a fun place for Junior to hang out and read, listen
to tunes, or simply daydream…

We’re also working on the framing for the new living room space, which, if you recall, will have an expanded kitchen and extended dining room.

Until next time, grab yourself a glass of vino and enjoy life.

By the way, speaking of wine cellars, do you know where the biggest wine cellar in the world is located?  Post your answer below (no cheating all you Google-holics).  Winner gets a bottle of wine compliments of Eden Flooring and Construction, Inc.

Cheers!

Have you ever considered a wine cellar of your own?  Contact Doron at 949-279-2011 or doron@edenflooring.com.

New “Zestimates” Formula – Did Your Home Value Go Up or Down?

With the recession still taking its toll on the housing market, those of you who bought your homes at the height of the bubble might not want to think about what they’re worth right about now.  But just in case you’re curious, or if you were fortunate enough to buy low and are throwing caution to the wind, Zillow, the real estate data company known for its popular “Zestimates,” has revamped its formula for developing estimates, and you might be surprised at what you find out.

According to an article on Friday’s MSN’s real estate blog, Zestimates have gone up in some areas and down in others.  Writer Teresa Mears reports that one homeowner found that his home in Phoenix had dropped $100,000 while an investment property in San Francisco had increased by more than $67,000.

The Zestimate for the Irvine project I’m working on went up more than $20,000 with the new formula – I guess nobody showed the folks at Zillow what the house looks like right now.

The fluctuation in values is due to Zillow’s adding 25 million more properties to its database (3/4 of all U.S. homes can now be “Zestimated”) and changing the formulas used to calculate home value.  The new Zestimates are said to be more accurate than those determined with the previous formula.

Zillow reminds visitors that Zestimates aren’t true appraisals of a home, but a starting point to determine a home’s value based on whatever data is available to the company’s number crunchers at the time.

Now don’t you want to see what your home is worth?  Come on, you know you want to.  Go to www.Zillow.com to get your Zestimate, and let us know if your home’s value increased or decreased.

Also, what do you think about Zestimates – are they worthwhile or a waste of time?  Post your thoughts in the comments section.

Now back to the Irvine project, because revamping Zestimates isn’t the only way to raise the value of your home.  Tomorrow is the sixth and hopefully the last day of demo – there’s not much else to take apart.  Remember the nice, neat-looking kitchen?

What a difference a week makes.

That wall on the right side is coming down tomorrow, so we’ll have a big, open space  with lots of room for cabinets, workspace and a convenient island with seating for the entire family.

You’ll notice we pulled out lots of walls and parts of the steps and ceiling.

In a remodel of this magnitude, that lets us see the full potential of the home, showing us where we can raise or lower floors, raise ceilings, and remove unnecessary walls and beams.  Maximizing your living space; that’s what it’s about.

We’ve pretty much finalized the plans with the architect and engineer, so we know that everthing we want to do will be structurally sound and will work.  Once we’re done with demo, we’ll start with building the office off the family room.

In my next post, I’ll share another major home renovation I did recently, this time in Laguna Niguel.  You’ll be amazed at the before and after.

Have you got an area in your home whose space isn’t being maximized?
Shoot me an email with a photo and tell me what you think you can do to
make it work better.

Contact me at doron@edenflooring.com or 949-228-5218.

Until next time.