Accessory Dwelling Unit For Parents

Sisters who live in Dundee, Oregon contacted me because I’m a Certified Aging-in-Place Specialist, although they didn’t know what I could do for them before our first meeting.

I learned that one of the sisters was willing to dedicate a portion of her home’s property for a new accessory dwelling unit (ADU) for their parents. Their father has been living with Parkinson’s Disease for several years, and his wife can no longer take care of him in their San Diego home. They had explored alternatives and decided that building an ADU would be the best solution, but they didn’t know about anything that might be involved in getting the ADU built.

Fortunately, the City of Dundee was in the process of creating land-use regulations for ADU’s. We hoped that this would speed the permit approval process. I attended Planning Commission and City Council meetings as an advocate for quality-of-life issues and accessibility for elderly and disabled people. If adopted, the regulations would limit the size of an ADU to a maximum of 800 square feet. I provided plans with documentation about the space required for wheelchair mobility, and made a case for increasing the size of ADU’s to 900 square feet, which would allow a small guest bedroom and combination guest bathroom and laundry room.

There was also the issue of separation between existing homes and ADU’s. The concern of building and city officials was that most units would be used for rental, or for family – like students who wanted a feeling of autonomy without paying exorbitant rental fees. City Council members were concerned that the parents’ ADU would have a full kitchen and we were requesting direct access from the home to the unit for convenience and emergency health issues. One of the council members asked if we would be willing to have adjacent exterior walls be special fire walls, with a covered breezeway between the home and the ADU. That suggestion was the key that unlocked the door for our ADU! (I would love more details here -it’s not clear immediately if the ADU was going to be designed with the breezeway in mind.)

So, we proceeded with the plans and my clients engaged a structural engineer to prepare the framing details and required calculations for the new structure. The plans were approved and my clients hired a contractor who prepared a detailed estimate. (Did you recommend the contractor? If not, how did they find him/her? The sisters moved their parents to Dundee so the home in San Diego could be sold and the money could be used to fund the ADU. We are all hoping that their parents’ home will sell. The 897-square-foot ADU is scheduled for construction in 2019.

If you are considering an ADU or wondering how to create an accessory dwelling unit for family use or rental, I can help you. If you want to stay in your home and make it accessible, I can provide you with the information you need to make it livable and safe while maintaining the feel and look of your home. Call me today, so we can chat about your needs!

 

A Professional Designer Is Easy To Find

A Professional Designer Will Help you In Many Ways

A professional designer is easy to find!

The right professional designer knows where to find the products that reflect your personal taste, products that are compatible with your home. He or she can help you fit each product into your budget priorities. Designers like this do make a difference. How do you find the right designer for your project?

The best way to find a professional designer is referrals from family, business associates, friends, and neighbors. The next best way is through professional organizations such as NAHB, NARI, IDS, or NKBA. There may also be local design organizations, or local chapters of the national organizations that you can find in an internet search. Tell them the type of remodeling project you want, and they will provide names and contact information for up to three professional designers.

You can contact the designers by phone or through an email message. Provide detailed information about what you want to achieve, how much you want to invest, and when you want your project completed. Here’s an example: (more…)

Bathroom Artwork Adds Character, Tells A Story

Express Yourself With Bathroom Artwork!

Bathroom artwork adds character, don't be afraid to use it.

If you’re remodeling your home, or just freshening up, don’t overlook bathroom artwork! It doesn’t have to be an expensive original, but art can establish or complete a theme. It can be a personal expression of something you care about. Or it can be simply art for art’s sake: the colors and textures that complement, contrast, or add the pizzazz you want.

If you’re unsure about what art to use in the bathroom, it’s important to determine first who will see it. If it’s the master bathroom that only you will see, you can choose anything. But if it’s a bathroom that others will see, it’s best to err on the side of “politically correct,” unless you desire to start a conversation.

Years ago, an architect friend of mine redid two bathrooms in his home. He and his partner had been collecting autographed photos of famous people for years. Tom decided to get all of the 8×10 black and white pictures put into simple black frames, and he hung them next to each other on all four walls of the powder room. His bathroom artwork was a fantastic effect! But he once confided to me that when they would have a party, guests weren’t allowed to “camp out” in the bathroom while they looked at all of the photos. (more…)

A New Basement Bathroom Will Enhance your Life And Your Home’s Value

Improve An Ugly Basement With A Beautiful New Bathroom!

A new basement bathroom adds value and enjoyment

This is a home built in the 1950s, with the living room, formal dining room, kitchen, small bathroom, and bedrooms on the main floor. Only one person could occupy the bathroom at a time. For a family of three, that presented a scheduling problem. There wasn’t enough room to expand the existing bathroom, and the full basement was under-utilized,. The Homeowners wondered if it would be possible to have a new basement bathroom with a two-person shower that looked and felt luxurious. They had an idea, had done some research, and had talked with a couple of contractors, but they were still confused about what to do.

The best location for the new bathroom was below the main-floor bathroom, so plumbing supply, drain, and vent pipes could be extended.The unfinished basement had enough space to comply with ceiling height codes, but there was a large furnace duct that hung below the bottom of the joists. If left like this, it was going to look awkward. An HVAC specialist verified that new wider and shallower ducts would maintain the required air flow. Most pipes and wires wouldn’t be a problem, but the main drain had to be re-routed so it would comply with the slope required by the plumbing code. (more…)

Monochromatic Color Scheme Provides Serenity

A Monochromatic Color Scheme Can Be Many Things — Except Boring!

 

a monochromatic color scheme is livable, stands the test of time

People may think that a monochromatic color scheme is boring. After all, it’s only one color. Yes, it’s one color, but it includes the darkest shade to the lightest tint of the same hue. For a monochromatic color scheme to be effective, there should also be contrast in texture, smooth to very rough. Every color in the world can be the basis for a monochromatic color scheme. Color psychology has been studied for hundreds of years.

Have you ever wondered how paint manufacturers come up with the color names? It’s amazing! Most of the major manufacturers have in excess of 2,000 color options. There are very few colors that have the same names from one company to another. It’s nothing more than a marketing ploy. The names are supposed to make us feel positive about the color, and the manufacturer. No one in their right mind would select a color if its name was “Baby Poop”! Here’s a very short explanation about how professionals describe colors: (more…)

Your Kitchen Needs A Focal Point

A Kitchen Focal Point Enhances Your Life

A kitchen focal point adds visual interest

It’s much easier to concentrate on appearance in other rooms, because there isn’t the constraint of function and safety required by kitchens and bathrooms. Appearance is very important, and a kitchen focal point definitely adds visual interest. A focal point can be anything you want:

  • The shape and style of an island or peninsula
  • A beautiful view
  • Light fixtures
  • Interesting architectural feature (often a ceiling, or columns)
  • Artwork
  • Unique cabinetry
  • Appealing backsplash
  • An appliance (often a “professional” range and hood)

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