Carbon Monoxide Detectors Now Mandatory in Calif. Homes

Here’s an important home safety development:

Did you know that as of July 1, all single family homes and dwelling units (e.g.
apartments) in California must be equipped with a carbon monoxide detector? If
you’re selling your home, inspectors will check for carbon monoxide detectors the
same way they check for smoke alarms, and if you don’t have one, you’ll have to
put one in.

But why wouldn’t you put one in anyway? Carbon Monoxide, or CO, is called the “silent killer” and for good reason.  It’s a colorless, odorless, tasteless gas that can make you sick or kill you if you get exposed to high levels.  CO is produced wherever fuel is burned, like stoves and heaters.  Dangerous CO levels occur when fuel-burning appliances aren’t working properly. CO poisoning kills hundreds of people in the U.S. each year and sends more than 20,000 people to emergency rooms.

CO detectors look and operate pretty much like smoke alarms.

If the amount of CO in your home reaches a dangerous level, an alarm is sounded so you can get to safety.

If you rent your home or apartment, tell your landlord he or she needs to put one in for you.  If you own, you can pick one up at your local hardware store.  They’re pretty inexpensive, which is good because you might need more than one depending on your home’s size and layout.  You can mount them yourself, but be sure to follow manufacturer’s instructions for proper placement and installation.

You can get more information here: http://www.fire.ca.gov/communications/downloads/fact_sheets/CarbonMonoxide.pdf

And now a word or two about the Irvine project.

Demo is underway.  We’re moving ahead with the extra room off the family room so we knocked out the laundry room wall.

Back wall of laundry room demoed

Second bedroom, floors and closet doors removed

Living room fire place, floor removed

Ceiling beam in family room - gone

No floors, beaten up walls – looks kinda like a war zone, but hey, that’s demo.

We won’t be able to lower the floors on the main level after all.  It’s just as I suspected – not enough crawl space.  Now the dilemma is whether to raise the living room floor and have a low ceiling, or just leave the levels.  Thoughts, anyone?

Still have some more to go and then the fun part starts next week.  Stay tuned…

Advertisements

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.