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.

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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

Project One – Irvine

Hi, everyone.  Welcome to the first project of my blog.  Bear with me on this, there’s a lot to take in.  It’s a pretty big project but the house has lots of potential and the clients are letting me go wild with my imagination – a contractor’s dream.

This is a 3,300-square foot home in Irvine with four bedrooms and 2.5 baths.  It was built in 1975 and if you’ve seen some of the older homes in this part of town, you know it’s boxy and dated looking.  Have a look:

The living room and family room are sunken.

Dining room viewed from sunken living room

Sunken family room looking towards breakfast nook

And those railings, yeah, they’ll be gone soon.

The kitchen is long and narrow, but pretty small, especially for my client who entertains a lot.  Also, there’s a wall dividing the kitchen and dining room on the oven side that really compartmentalizes the home.

Kitchen and dividing wall (dining room is on right side)

You can see the oak floors – they’re in good shape, but
they age the home.

The previous owners extended the house out and up several years ago.  They broke the back exterior wall of the home to extend the family room, making it double in size.

Extended family room

Family room

Yeah, it’s big, maybe too big, unless you’re making a home theater.  It’s also not configured well.  Can’t imagine how they furnished it, especially with the built-in library off to one side.

They also added a huge, extra bedroom (actually, it was used as an art studio, hence the sink) upstairs in the front of the house over the living room.  It’s really a great room, with soaring cathedral ceilings and nice, laminate flooring, but again, it might be just too big.  Think “maximizing your space.”

Fourth bedroom

Fourth bedroom

Fourth bedroom, another look. Note the sink and freestanding wardrobe.

The owners are happy with the size of the home, but they want
to open it up and update it.  They bought it well under market value (at least the recession is good for something), so the idea is to give it a more contemporary look both structurally and cosmetically while adding features that will get them a good return on their investment when they eventually sell.

My first thoughts – let’s try to get the downstairs all one level by either raising the sunken living and family rooms or by lowering the kitchen and dining area (did you know that single level homes and homes that do not have sunken rooms are becoming more desirable as the baby boomers get  older and want to age independently in their homes?  Something to think about for your home – more about that another time).

Raising the family room might be a problem because the ceiling right now is about 8 feet high.  Raising the floor might make the ceiling too low.  But lowering the entryway, kitchen and dining room is a much bigger job , maybe more money than it’s worth.  I might run into another problem if lowering means not leaving enough crawl space to get to the pipes – a big no no.  I’ll just have to wait and see what it looks like under floors.

To offset that huge, unmanageable family room, I’m thinking of breaking the wall between the family room and laundry room (the one with the ivy painted on) and taking some of the square footage away from the family room by expanding the laundry room into a full guest room or office.

Family room looking toward laundry room

That would mean moving the laundry room upstairs.  I’ll have to see about that. And the built-in library would have to go.  I don’t think it will be missed.

A beautiful kitchen is always a sound investment.  Remember that wall dividing the kitchen and dining room?  I’m thinking of takiing it out and extending
the kitchen.  We can update the kitchen with new tile flooring and a big, granite island with seating for six.

Kitchen - kinda dated

I’ve always thought separate living and family rooms were a waste of space and money (how many times have YOU sat in your living room?) and it looks like I’m being vindicated.  Many of the new homes going up in Irvine are being built with a great room consisting of a kitchen, dining room and family room – no separate formal living room.  If I can get the floors to one level, I can extend the kitchen even further out to
where the dining room is now, then push the dining room out into the current
living room, leaving a cozy seating area in what’s left of the living room.  My guess is they won’t miss the formal living room since they have that oversized family room.

And since beautiful bathrooms increase value, I’m thinking of updating the master bath, which sure could use some help…

Master bath shower

Master bath vanity

Master bath, second vanity and makeup table

…and adding another ¾ bath to the fourth bedroom, which would
still leave the room at 10’x14’ – certainly big enough for my clients’ preteen.

Those of my thoughts for now.  Gotta sit with Theodora, my talented architect and get some plans drawn up.  Demo starts tomorrow.  Can’t wait to see what’s inside those walls.

Welcome to Practically Renovating

Hi, everyone, and welcome to my blog, Practically Renovating.  You know me as Doron from Eden Flooring and Construction in Orange County, California, but now you’ll get to know my alter ego, Doron the Blogger (yes, with a little help from my sidekick and faithful partner).  I decided to start this blog because I want to share with you practical ways to renovate your home.  We all know how exciting home remodeling is and that it leads to years of enjoyment for you and your family. But have you ever stopped to wonder if the improvements you’re making today will yield a return on your money when you decide to sell? On this blog, I’ll show you incredible ways I help my clients get the beauty, features and convenience they want while guiding them to sound financial decisions that add value to their homes.

We’ll start with a major renovation I’m working on in Irvine, but more on that tomorrow.  For now, I invite you to check out the many projects and helpful tips on practical renovations I’ll be posting, share your thoughts, spread the word and most of all, enjoy.

Welcome to Practically Renovating!

Hi, everyone, and welcome to my blog, Practically Renovating.  You know me as Doron from Eden Flooring and Construction in Orange County, California, but now you’ll get to know my alter ego, Doron the Blogger (yes, with a little help from my sidekick and faithful partner).  I decided to start this blog because I want to share with you practical ways to renovate your home.  We all know how exciting home remodeling is and that it leads to years of enjoyment for you and your family. But have you ever stopped to wonder if the improvements you’re making today will yield a return on your money when you decide to sell? On this blog, I’ll show you incredible ways I help my clients get the beauty, features and convenience they want while guiding them to sound financial decisions that add value to their homes.

We’ll start with a major renovation I’m working on in Irvine, but more on that tomorrow.  For now, I invite you to check out the many projects and helpful tips on practical renovations I’ll be posting, share your thoughts, spread the word and most of all, enjoy.