Remodeled Home For A Single Man

Remodeled Home For A Single Man 1

My client, a retired California contractor, bought this 1970s rental home at the base of Mt. Hood because he loves outdoor activities with his two dogs. His #1 priority was to make the home brighter and more cheerful, while updating everything. What follows is a description of the challenges we encountered and the solutions that make this home unique.

CHALLENGE #1, LIVING ROOM: A long, slender room, aka “the bowling alley,” that was dark even on bright days.

 SOLUTION: Add two “trayed” ceiling coffers so dimmable indirect LED lighting could break up the “bowling alley” look. It provided the right amount of ambiance for reading, watching TV, or enjoying the warmth of the wood-burning stove. Carefully-placed dimmable LED recessed lighting makes use of this room more flexible. A custom bookshelf and storage cabinet was designed to replace a bargain-furniture purchase when the gentleman bought the home.

*DESIGN ADVICE: A solution used to change apparent proportion of odd-sized rectangular rooms is to paint the end walls a darker, warmer color because these colors appear to advance. The contrast doesn’t have to be drastic – one or two shades will make a big difference. It has been popular off and on to choose one wall to be an artificial focal point by painting it a wildly-contrasting color. Be very careful if you’re thinking about doing this in your home, unless you’re prepared to paint your walls frequently. Fortunately, this trend never stays around very long.

 CHALLENGE #2, KITCHEN: The existing kitchen had red laminate countertops, inexpensive appliances, and dark oak “builder” cabinets. The window over the sink faced the side of a neighbor’s home — ugly!

SOLUTIONS: The sink was moved to the new peninsula, which provided a great view of the front garden, and allowed a large countertop for food preparation. The homeowner fell in love with natural birch, a combination of heartwood and sapwood. He selected a Cambria engineered-stone countertop. The backsplash and floors are the same tile, with an accent of natural river rock behind the range. For architectural continuity, the same river rock was used for the entry hall flooring.

CHALLENGE #3, BATHROOMS: Both bathrooms showed years of wear and tear by renters, and desperately needed updating. The guest bathroom was cobbled together by a previous owner, who framed an area for a small one-piece shower using fake paneleing attached directly to the studs, with no drywall. It was no surprise that the project manager ran into a massive amount of dry rot in the guest bathroom.

SOLUTIONS, MASTER BATHROOM: The homeowner selected blue for the master bathroom. His eyes lit up when I showed him a sample of Vetrazzo “Float Blue” glass countertop and a unique blue glass mosaic tile for the backsplash and shower accent. He selected a large rectangular porcelain tile with a soft mixed gray stripe for the shower walls and the floor; the same tile in a 2×2 mosaic was used for the shower floor. A pale blue was used for the walls, and all bathroom fittings are polished chrome. The custom cabinets are natural birch, with two pull-out pantries for personal-care products.

SOLUTIONS, GUEST BATHROOM: The homeowner wanted bright yellow and orange for the color scheme. I suggested a creamy pale yellow for the engineered-stone countertop and the tile used in the shower and on the floors. Bright yellow tile was chosen for the backsplash field tile, with a 1/2” stripe of bright orange tile at the top and bottom of the accent stripe. Custom natural birch cabinets blend with the color scheme beautifully, and polished-chrome plumbing fittings are like jewelry for this stunningly-beautiful bathroom.

The homeowner got everything he asked for: a bright and cheerful new home with custom touches that exemplify his unique personality and taste. There’s no way to tell that this was ever a rental property!

Do you have a hard time visualizing what remodeling results are best for you? Are you paralyzed with fear about selecting the right products for your home and lifestyle? I can help you! Contact me today!

PRODUCT SPECIFICATIONS:

KITCHEN

Countertops: Cambria “Buckingham”

Backsplash: Marazzi “Marfil Cream” 3”x6”

Backsplash behind range: Emser “River Pebbles,” 4-color blend

Floor: Marazzi “Marfil Cream” 12”x12”

Cabinets: Custom, Natural Birch

Appliances:

Range: Jenn-Air all electric

Refrigerator: Kitchenaid (french door)

Dishwasher: Kitchenaid

Microwave: Frigidaire (installed below countertop)

 MASTER BATHROOM

Shower walls field tile: Surface Art Blu Stone ”Silver Gray” 12”x24” (horizontal stacked)

Accent tiles and backsplash: Lunada Bay “Umbria” 1”x1” mosaic

Countertop: Vetrazzo “Float Blue”

Floor tile: Surface Art Blu Stone “Silver Gray” 12”x24”

Shower floor tile: Surface Art Blu Stone “Silver Gray” 2”x2” mosaic

Cabinets: Custom, Natural Birch (includes 2 base pantry pullouts)

Plumbing Fixtures:

Toilet: Toto “Drake”

Lavatory sink: Kohler “Caxton” undermount

Lavatory faucet and Shower: Delta

 GUEST BATHROOM

Shower walls field tile: Florida Tile “Botticcino” 18”x18”

Countertop: Silestone “Tigris Sand”

Accent tiles: DalTile “Totally Tangerine” 1/2”x4” and “Sunflorwer” 4”x4”

Floor tile: Florida Tile “Botticcino” 18”x18”

Shower floor tile: Florida Tile “Botticcino” 2-1/2”x2-1/2” mosaic

Cabinets: Custom, Natural Birch (includes 1 base pantry pullout)

Plumbing Fixtures:

Toilet: Toto “Drake”

Lavatory sink: Kohler “Caxton” undermount

Lavatory faucet and Shower: Delta

Accessory Dwelling Unit For Parents

Accessory Dwelling Unit For Parents 2Sisters 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!

 

Thanksgiving Prayer and Blessing

Thanksgiving-Prayer

Thanksgiving week, 1974.

 

It was the Monday before Thanksgiving. I had made the choice to move from Portland to San Francisco right after Labor Day, to start a new chapter of my life. It didn’t take long to become acquainted with people at work, at my new church, and through the local Glen Park Homeowners’ Association.

Two weeks before, I had started thinking about how I was going to spend Thanksgiving, and had been asking everyone if they had plans, hoping that someone would either invite me to share the day with them, or leave the door open for me to suggest a group potluck. Everyone had plans. I felt awkward about inviting myself, so I’d usually reply, “That’s wonderful,” or something similar. By Monday, I was feeling very alone, and sad. (more…)

Contractors Want Respect (Just Like You!)

Contractors , Communication and Respect

 

Part 1 contained information about how to find your contractor. Now we’re going to discuss what happens next.

First Meeting and Follow-up

Meetings with contractors should include the major decision-maker(s) when the appointments are scheduled, because communication, compatibility and respect areContractors need Communication and Respect, too! important parts of the working relationship.

When contractors come to your home for the first time, it should be during daylight hours, if possible, so they can see details inside and out that may affect your project.  You may have to accommodate a very early morning appointment, or you may have to take time away from work for the meeting.  They will  want to see your electrical panel and other utility connections, in addition to seeing all areas adjacent to the areas you’re planning to remodel or add.  They  may want to quickly inspect the attic and crawl space (or basement); problems in these areas could also affect your investment. (more…)

Remodeling Horror Story Not Just For Halloween

Remodeling Horror Story: Trick Or Treat?

Remodeling horror story isn't just for Halloween!

The title of this blog is seasonal, but unfortunately, a “Trick or Treat” remodeling horror story happens year ’round. It’s not limited to one type of remodeling project. Here  is a  remodeling “horror” story list, bad experiences that were avoidable:

  • A D-I-Y basement renovation that got out of hand.
  • A master bathroom project that was totally bungled by a designer who acted as the general contractor.
  • A D-I-Y master bedroom expansion into an adjoining bedroom; taking out a bearing wall is a NO-NO!
  • A bad deck replacement done by an unlicensed contractor that left the Homeowners with no legal recourse.
  • A new home that had all of the hot and cold lines swapped by the plumber.
  • A D-I-Y floor refinishing project that ended up with the floor being replaced after the sanding drum was installed backwards, chewing up the floor.
  • Homeowners who had purchased appliances ten years before the actual remodeling, and ended up donating the appliances because they wouldn’t fit in the new kitchen.

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Your Contractor Is Waiting For Your Call!

Your Contractor Wants You To Find Him/Her!

Your contractor is just a phone call away!

The best way to find your contractor is referrals — from neighbors, friends, family, or business associates.  These are your best resources, especially people who’ve remodeled recently.  You can also get referrals from the showrooms you’ve visited.  Don’t rely on advertisements.  They can be misleading.  You’ll be better off to contact your local professional remodeling organizations (NAHB, NARI, or NKBA) for several names and phone numbers.  Most local building departments will not refer contractors. It’s a conflict of interest.

Two Warnings About Referrals:

  • Don’t hire a one-person contractor who says he/she does everything.  An unforeseen family emergency, illness or injury can ruin time projections.  There aren’t enough hours in the day for a general contractor to draw plans, manufacture cabinets, and  work on your project. Overall quality of your project will suffer.

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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…)

Kitchen Lighting Is An Art And A Science

Kitchen Lighting For All Activities

Kitchen lighting achieves balance, flexibility, safety, and drama to the most important room in your home.

There’s a lot of technology associated with great kitchen lighting. For now, we’ll leave that aside and address the reasons why a well-lit kitchen has all of these characteristics:

  • General illumination
  • Task lighting
  • Accent lights

General Illumination

It’s also known as ambient light, and includes daylight from windows, doors, and skylights. But when it’s overcast, or dark, we have to use  artificial light for these purposes. So many people — even professional designers — fall into the trap of making “Swiss cheese” out of ceilings with too many recessed fixtures. General kitchen lighting often provides a safe pathway, starting at doors. It can include indirect ceiling or soffit lighting, using new LED strip light technology. (more…)