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. 

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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.

“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

 

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.