Your Powder Room Can Be Anything You Want It To Be!
Remodeling your powder room can be a lot of fun, but it can be expensive! This is the only room in your home where you can break the rules of “architectural integrity”. You can choose any style that fulfills your desire to do something different.
How The Homeowners’ Journey Started
The couple fell in love with the custom vessel lavatory that they saw at a local home show. I’ll always remember hearing their discussion. My booth at the show was next to a major plumbing showroom’s booth. I walked over to the couple and we had a great discussion about how beautiful the custom green and red glass lavatory bowl was. Then I invited them to my booth, where we continued the discussion. A few minutes later, they asked me to their home to talk about remodeling all of their bathrooms.
During the first appointment, they showed me the existing powder room, the master bathroom, and their son’s bathroom. All of the rooms in their home, except the bathrooms, had updated color schemes, furniture, and accessories. The bathrooms were caught in a 1970s time warp. We talked at length about what they wanted for the three bathrooms. The wife said, “I have to have that gorgeous sink somewhere in my home!” I agreed and said that the powder room would be the perfect spot.
A family of six lived in a 1970s home that needed major remodeling, Here are the challenges and solutions that would transform the home totally:
Challenges and Solutions
#1: The youngest son has muscular dystrophy and cannot get to the large basement playroom without being carried by the father.
A residential elevator would allow the son to travel easily to and from the main floor to the basement. The best location for the elevator shaft was at the rear of the home, with entries to the elevator in the living room and the play room.
#2: The front had an uninviting stone wall that hid the entry door.
Removing the wall and changing the front of the house would make the home more inviting for guests.
#3: The existing kitchen was too small, especially for entertaining.
The kitchen would be moved to the existing family room, so the existing kitchen could become the dining room, allowing the homeowners to entertain more frequently.
#4: The existing master suite was typical for a 1970s home, with a small shower and a one-person lavatory. Closets were small, with limited storage. The only linen storage was a small closet in the main hallway.
An addition solved all of the problems. The master bedroom is bigger, and there are two large closets with lots of storage. The new bathroom has a two-person shower, a separate toilet room, and large separate lavatories. There’s also a 6-foot wide linen closet.
BONUS: The addition also created a great bedroom for the oldest daughter in the basement area that gave her the privacy she needed; it has a wonderful view of the garden.
#5: The youngest son’s bedroom and the guest bathroom needed to be remodeled to be accessible. The bathroom also needed to look nice for guests.
Transforming a 30” door into a 36” door required borrowing space from the existing small linen closet. The bathroom remodel became part of the master suite addition, making room for a 5-foot wheelchair turnaround, and easy access to the tub/shower and the toilet.
*DESIGN TIP: A “handicap” bathroom doesn’t need to look or feel like a hospital! There are many beautiful products available that blend with a home’s style and the family’s preferences.
The Design And Value Engineering
I worked with the family for about three months to develop the preliminary plans and prepare virtual-reality renderings to show them what their remodeled home could look like. They loved it! Before we got involved with choosing products, I recommended a contractor who could provide a detailed estimate. We call this “value engineering.” This would help the couple know what their investment would be. Estimates this early in the process helps homeowners make important decisions about the scope of their project before they get too excited about their project.
The preliminary estimate, with allowances for products and finishes, approached $500,000. Talking with the couple honestly, we all agreed that if they remodeled this home, it would most likely be their final home. The reason: they wouldn’t be able to get any return of their investment when comparing their home to neighboring properties. They admitted that it was important to go through the initial process like we did, although it involved an investment of about $3,000. But it helped them make the important decision to look for a home that had all of the amenities they needed and wanted. Fortunately, they found a new home in a neighboring community that had everything, including a residential elevator! Their investment in the new home was more than their total investment of the existing remodeled home would have been. But considering the disruption of their lives during a major remodel, they decided it was worth selling their home and moving to the new home.
A Special Bonus For The Homeowners
What we didn’t realize was that the proposed plans and virtual-reality renderings that I had put into a binder for them would help to sell their home in three days for the full asking price! This was confirmation that it’s hard for most people to visualize the possibilities and see past the existing reality. I’m so grateful to have a career, where my ability to see the possibilities helps people to move forward.
Design Tips From This Project
It’s best to get a contractor involved early in the process, to provide value engineering for the project, and verify that what you want is within your budget. Most contractors charge a fee for this service, but many apply all or part of the fee towards construction of your project. There will be tradeoffs involved, but tit’s important for you to:
* Establish a realistic, reasonable budget. * Make informed decisions about the scope of your project and all products. * Be flexible, and be open to the possibilities.
If you’re thinking about remodeling your home. if your family has special needs, but you’re confused about the possibilities, call me today! With virtual-reality renderings, I can show you what your home can look like!
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!
Accessory Dwelling Units Can Provide Good Quality of Life
Sisters in Dundee, Oregon contacted me because I’m a Certified Aging-in-Place Specialist, although they didn’t know what a C.A.P.S. designer normally does to improve the quality of life for residents.
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.
Timing is Everything!
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. The additional 100 square feet would allow the space for a guest bedroom.
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. A good example of this is students who want 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 existing 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 firewalls, with a covered breezeway between the home and the ADU. That suggestion was the key that unlocked the door for our ADU! I’d already planned a covered breezeway, so adding the required firewalls wouldn’t cause a problem.
The Lessons Learned
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 local contractor they found who prepared a detailed estimate. The sisters moved their parents to Dundee so their 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 was scheduled for construction in 2019. The housing market in southern California had been in freefall since early 2018, and the family had to reduce the asking price three times. It lingered on the market for almost nine months. Unfortunately, this made moving ahead with the project unrealistic. The sisters and their parents made the difficult decision to rent an apartment in a senior center in Dundee.
Although this story didn’t end the way any of us wanted it to for the family, we all feel grateful for the opportunity to have a positive impact on accessory dwelling units that will be built in Yamhill County in the future. This experience verified that it’s worthwhile to fight for things you believe in. Members of the County Commission and the Planning Department learned about the importance of providing good quality of life for everyone. Hopefully, they’ll use what they learned to help other counties adopt humane regulations.
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!
Diane Plesset, CMKBD, C.A.P.S., NCIDQ is a Homeowner Advocate who specializes in helping homeowners with remodeling and addition projects. She has been the principal of D. P. Design since April 1984. Diane is the author of the award-winning book “THE Survival Guide: Home Remodeling” and many design awards.
A Professional Designer Will Help you In Many Ways
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…)
The Kitchen Remodeling Process Guarantees Progress
The kitchen remodeling process is misunderstood by most Homeowners. This article assumes that you have completed the design process, hired a contractor, and have acquired permits for your kitchen remodeling. The following list includes all steps for a complete remodel that may or may not include an addition. Most of the studs and joists will be exposed for required insulation, for electrical wiring and plumbing.
1. Get your home ready for construction as soon as you have a definite starting date for your kitchen remodeling from your contractor. Most homeowners don’t realize how much “stuff” they’ve accumulated until they start to pack it up for storage.
2. Immediately before demolition begins, the dumpster arrives. You’re on the Roller coaster!
3. Demolition starts. Most homeowners are amazed about how quickly a crew of workmen armed with crowbars, screwguns and hammers can tear their kitchen apart. The full dumpster will be replaced with an empty one at least twice during your kitchen remodeling. (more…)
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