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


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

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.


Have you ever considered a wine cellar of your own?  Contact Doron at 949-279-2011 or