Posted October 14 2013
Your Private Retreat
Bathrooms are among the most private spaces in any house. Given this personal character, remodeling projects invite extra scrutiny and use your creativity.
Long hours may be invested in the selection of paint, tile, sinks, faucets, vanities, mirrors, and accessories. These are personal decisions, to be sure. But there are common goals for every project, no matter the budget, style, or location.
We’ll show you how to make the process a little easier.
The ideal bathroom serves as a refuge — it’s no place for fussiness. Scale down the variables to establish a soothing atmosphere.
Contrast dark woods and finishes with light ones for instant drama. A neutral palette with one strong color will create the same effect.
And if the bath is small, you can repeat simple design details, such as matching floor and wall tiles, to make the space appear larger. “It is important to use the same materials and features throughout to unify the design scheme,” says Miami designer Wendy St. Laurent.
Use What You Have
If a bath feels cramped, it may be necessary to strip the space down to the studs and reconfigure the room. “The biggest mistake people make when starting a remodeling project is to get bogged down with filling a new space with too many useless things,” says Birmingham architect Bill Ingram.
Less-permanent elements, such as fixtures, interior walls, and cabinetry, are candidates for refinement. But plumbing stacks and drains are not so easily modified. Take a critical look at the layout, weigh the options, and plan accordingly.
Don’t Go Overboard
“Don’t create a showroom out of a remodeled bathroom,” Ingram says. “Use some of the same materials, colors, and textures that appear in the other rooms.”
If the house has decorative wainscoting, arched doorways, beaded-board paneling, or similar points of style, consider echoing those features. An updated bath should not appear to be an island of architecture or design — modernist touches will look out of place in a cottage, for example. The goal is a renovation that harmonizes with the existing structure.
The space doesn’t have to feel clinical or prefabricated. “I don’t like the bathroom to look just like a bathroom. It is a room after all, and the elements in it can take on the feeling of furniture,” Ingram says.
There is no need to rely on items made specifically for bathrooms. Think outside the box when selecting furnishings. Armoires can store towels and toiletries. Chests may be plumbed and converted into vanities. Pharmacy cabinets, console tables, decorative mirrors, and comfy chairs will make appealing additions, too
Choose Timeless Materials
Keep an eye toward longevity when remodeling a bath. “The bathroom should last a long time,” says Ingram. “I love natural materials — nothing too decorative that can come back to haunt you.”
Avoid trendy colors and design fads when selecting tiles, faucets, and fixtures. Classic elements, such as subway tiles, vintage-type nickel fixtures, and claw-footed tubs often make better investments.
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Posted on September 12th 2013
What’s the secret to a successful kitchen remodel? Knowing what mistakes to avoid! Almost everyone who has been through a remodel has a war story to share about what they’d do differently. Whether it’s the neighbor’s never-ending remodel, or the friend of a friend whose contractor couldn’t get along with the architect, keep your dream kitchen from becoming a nightmare by protecting yourself from these common first-timer mistakes.
While it may be true that your appliances are dated or that your countertops are unattractive, most people don’t focus enough on the big picture. It’s essential that you determine the lifestyle objectives you want your kitchen to hone before you choose its design elements. Why? These objectives can determine the exact types of materials, appliances, and layouts that you should and shouldn’t choose. (Soapstone, for example, is a beautiful counter material, but it requires lots of care—and might not be the best choice for young families.)
Bottom line: Determining your desired kitchen lifestyle before choosing the design elements will save you time and money down the line.
“Beware of the ‘what’s in’ kitchen,” says certified kitchen designer Jennifer Reed. The average kitchen renovation should last 12-15 years, so the last thing you want is for it to feel dated before it’s even paid for. Beware of too-trendy colors and shapes that likely have a short shelf life. Extras like wall-mounted pot fillers are probably only necessary for top-of-the-line chefs; trendy chandeliers might make a statement, but they typically don’t provide appropriate lighting for the space. Similarly, don’t fall prey to over-customization.
What works for you today may not work for the next owner of your home—or even your own family as it grows and evolves. “Be true to the bones of the house,” Reed says. So before you commit to fancy bells and whistles, consider long-term consequences.
People often think that doing it yourself is the cheapest route. Not so! Varying aspects of the kitchen require professionals with specific expertise. A kitchen designer is not an architect, an architect is not an interior designer, and a contractor is not a kitchen designer. Hire skilled (and licensed) professionals who not only understands lead times for your selections but can also test-drive your budget to make sure it’s sustainable.
On the note, don’t assume that a big-box retailer offers the most bang for your buck, says certified kitchen designer Jennifer Gilmer. “There’s nothing more satisfying than someone who thinks that they can’t afford design services walks into a showroom and discovers they can redo a kitchen within their budget,” she says. In addition to recommending reputable contractors, savvy design professionals can help homeowners make informed, cost-saving decisions—like swapping a kitchen island for a handsome chef’s table or butcher block—that will keep the aesthetic high, prices low and value priceless.
Posted on August 5 2013
When you’re investing in a home remodeling project, you want to make sure that the results not only please you but add value to your home and save you money on energy and water as well. These seven steps will help you take advantage of the latest design trends, technologies and products.
Budget for the unexpected
Hidden water damage is a common problem in bathrooms, whether from a leaky shower pan or running toilet. “If the floor feels spongy, that’s a sign of serious water damage,” says John Petrie, owner of Mother Hubbard’s Custom Cabinetry in Mechanicsburg, Pa. Other issues are truly hidden, for example a vent stack inside a wall that you thought you were going to knock down.
An experienced contractor will do exploratory work early in the project to sniff out as many issues as possible. “In the case of the vent stack, we’ll investigate above the bathroom to see the pipe coming up through the house,” says Petrie. But contractors can’t see through walls, so don’t expect them to catch every possible pitfall. That’s why it’s important to build a 10 to 15 percent cushion into your budget. If nothing goes wrong, you’ll have a nice little windfall.
Hide the toilet
A master bath that’s stylish and functional can also be discreet. That’s why it’s nice to hide this fixture away, either in its own “room-within-the-room” or behind a half wall. A piece of furniture—an armoire or dresser, say—can create the necessary barrier without the expense of a framed wall.
Do choose appropriate surfaces
Your master bathroom’s surfaces do more than just contribute to the overall aesthetic. They also take lots of abuse. Porcelain tile is a favorite among designers, for use on the floors and walls alike. “You can find some versions in the $5 per square foot range that look like natural stone,” says Petrie. He recommends larger tile sizes to minimize grout lines, easing the upkeep. That might mean 18-by-18-inch tile on the floors and 12-by-12-inch on some or all of the walls, perhaps transitioning to 6-by-6 tiles on the diagonal with a glass mosaic transition strip.
Porcelain is also a popular option for bathroom sinks, though it proved prone to chipping in our tests. Enamel-on-steel sinks were especially durable and stain-resistant, as were stainless steel sinks, which are becoming more popular for use in bathrooms. Solid-surface sinks are another durable option that allows the sink to be integrated with the vanity countertop and, if you like, the adjoining cove or backsplash.
When it comes to the countertop, granite and quartz have migrated from the kitchen into the bathroom, where they deliver the same durability and visual interest. Laminate and solid surface are still popular as well, and can be cost-effective options, though both scratch easily.
Posted on June 24 2013
As you start your remodeling projects, you may also be starting your search for a good, reliable contractor for that bathroom or kitchen renovation. As many know or have experienced, working with a contractor can be very rewarding or very frustrating.
Being the daughter of a contractor and hiring contractors myself, I’ve learned many invaluable lessons when working with contractors.
Remodeling can be exhausting, but should be fun. Educate yourself on the in’s and out’s with working with contractors and you will save yourself heartache and a little cash. I comprised a list of the best advice I was given from my father – a contractor.
Posted on May 7 2013
Are you protected?
We all know that each construction company should and must have an insurance to protect your home.
It is time for you to remodel your home. Wether it is a bathroom remodeling in Los Angeles or kitchen remodeling in Los Angeles or room addition, renovation or any construction work that you would like to do.
What kind of insurances and what does it means?
Liability insurance will protect contractors, home builders and remodelers against injuries, accidents or property damage suffer on the job. While working on construction projects, workers can accidentally damage a property mishandling materials and tools, or while remodeling process is under way.
Common business standards require you to provide evidence of construction liability insurance before repairing or remodeling homes. Sub contractors also are required to present their evidence before entering or starting their participation in a construction job.
This insurance is essential on the home building business, because sometimes homeowners may want to sue contractors for damages occur during the construction process. Or in the event of injury, workers may want to file litigation against the homeowner or contractor. Having good construction liability insurance protects builders from lawsuits or when they suffer loss from unexpected conditions.
A surety bond is not an insurance policy.
A surety bond is a guarantee, in which the surety guarantees that the contractor, called the “principal” in the bond, will perform the “obligation” stated in the bond. For example, the “obligation” stated in a bid bond is that the principal will honor its bid; the “obligation” in a performance bond is that the principal will complete the project; and the “obligation” in a payment bond is that the principal will properly pay subcontractors and suppliers. Bonds frequently state, as a “condition,” that if the principal fully performs the stated obligation, then the bond is void; otherwise the bond remains in full force and effect.
If the principal fails to perform the obligation stated in the bond, both the principal and the surety are liable on the bond, and their liability is “joint and several.” That is, either the principal or surety or both may be sued on the bond, and the entire liability may be collected from either the principal or the surety.
The amount in which a bond is issued is the “penal sum,” or the “penalty amount,” of the bond. Except in a very limited set of circumstances, the penal sum or penalty amount is the upward limit of liability on the bond.
The person or firm to whom the principal and surety owe their obligation is called the “obligee.” On bid bonds, performance bonds, and payment bonds, the obligee is usually the owner. Where a subcontractor furnishes a bond, however, the obligee may be the owner or the general contractor or both.
The people or firms who are entitled to sue on a bond, sometimes called “beneficiaries” of the bond, are usually defined in the language of the bond or in those state and federal statutes that require bonds on public projects.
Workers’ compensation laws protect people who are injured on the job. They are designed to ensure that employees who are injured or disabled on the job are provided with fixed monetary awards, eliminating the need for litigation. These laws also provide benefits for dependents of those workers who are killed because of work-related accidents or illnesses.
Some laws also protect employers and fellow workers by limiting the amount an injured employee can recover from an employer and by eliminating the liability of co-workers in most accidents. State statutes establish this framework for most employment. Federal statutes are limited to federal employees or those workers employed in some significant aspect of interstate commerce.
The Federal Employment Compensation Act provides workers’ compensation for non-military, federal employees. Many of its provisions are typical of most workers’ compensation laws. Awards are limited to “disability or death” sustained while in the performance of the employee’s duties but not caused willfully by the employee or by intoxication. The act covers medical expenses due to the disability and may require the employee to undergo job retraining. A disabled employee receives two-thirds of his or her normal monthly salary during the disability and may receive more for permanent physical injuries or if he or she has dependents. The act provides compensation for survivors of employees who are killed. The act is administered by the Office of Workers’ Compensation Programs.
Is it worth taking the risk?
We hope that this information will help you understand the risk of hiring an unlicensed contractor or hiring a license contractor who has no proper insurances.
Posted on April 8th 2013
I think that it is important for you, the home owner, to have a clear understanding of what is the a general contractor, his responsibilities in delivering the results you are looking for. I thought to write it for you with my own words but then I read in Wikipedia about the definition of the role of the general contractor in Los Angeles and I just loved what I read and I would like to share it with you.
Here we go:
” The general contractor is employed by the client, on the advice of the architect or the architectural technologist. A general contractor must first assess the project-specific documents (referred to as tender documents).
In the case of renovations, a site visit is required to get a better understanding of the project. The contractor will then calculate a price, also called an estimate. The general contractor considers the cost of materials and equipment as well as the cost of labor to provide the owner with an approximate price for the project.
Contract documents include a budget, any general and special conditions, and blueprints and specifications prepared by a design professional such as an architect. In many instances the general contractor is the project engineer or project manager for construction projects.
A general contractor is responsible for providing all of the material, labor, equipment (such as engineering vehicles and tools) and services necessary for the construction of the project.
The general contractor hires specialized subcontractors to perform all or portions of the construction work. Responsibilities may include applying for building permits, securing the property, providing temporary utilities on site, managing personnel on site, providing site surveying and engineering, disposing or recycling of construction waste, monitoring schedules and cash flows, and maintaining accurate records.”
So you see, the role of the general contractor in Los Angeles is important and choosing the wrong one will results in paying higher price to fix it.
Posted on March 11th 2013
It all started with an email.
She contacted us via email, telling us that she wants to convert the existing back patio to a garage.
The house where we will do the conversion is in Los Angeles.
The existing patio had two stucco walls, flat roof with open ceiling, pavers on the floor and the front of the patio was a clear opening from side to side and the hight was all the way to the ceiling. In order to convert the patio to a garage we will need to do the following:
1. Dig for new footing foundation for the third missing wall and for the front of the garage. The front of the future garage will have a 16′ garage door so there will be no footing where the garage door is but from each side of it.
2. We will demo the pave’s floor and we will pour new concrete slab which we will do it during the pouring of the footing, if city inspector will allow us to pour it at the same time.
3. After that being done, we will build the missing walls, stucco the new walls, run new electrical for the new garage, installing the new garage and call the final inspection. There will be inspections prior to the final one such as framing, electrical, stucco paper, drywall nailing and final so make se that our contractor knows what he is doing.
Try not to waste time on unnecessary corrections.
Before any work begin, you will need to have plans and submitted to the city for approval so your new garage will be legal because if it os not then it does not exist and you can lose value. If you choose, you can add a nice 36” door with glass to bring light to it or paint the concrete floor to make it more personal and even insulate and drywall the walls to create a nice studio.
we decided to keep the open beam ceiling.
Posted on March 4th 2013
I know that shower is part of the bathroom but I wanted to focus on this aspect because it is, in most bathroom such as mine, a big and main part of the shower process.
The size of your new shower
What is the size of your old shower? Do you want to enlarge it? If yes, is there a way to remove a wall to make the shower bigger? Or maybe you want a steam shower, a bench? So many things for one shower but as one that take only shower then the bigger the better, if possible and if not then no worries, we can still create a shower that you will enjoy it all along.
The interior of your new shower
The interior of your new shower is important. The tile or Mosaic on the walls, the build in notch for the soap, the floor and place of the bench. Are you looking to have one or two shower heads, one on each side?
The perfect shower
Well, there is no such thing as the perfect shower. One shower can be perfect to one but not to the other so it is important that you will know what do you love to have in your new shower? What are your priorities? Look around you If you are not sure what is it that you are looking for, its ok. Take a look at magazines or click here for photos and ideas.
Work with your contractor, ask him questions and trust him to deliver the results that you are looking for.
We wish you good luck in the process and hope that the information here will help you.
Posted February 28th 2013
The best way of keeping your budget and manage the cost of your kitchen remodeling is NOT to manage the cost during the remodeling of your kitchen.
Think about it for a second, if deep though, advance planing and budgeting will be done before the beginning of the kitchen remodeling, there will be no surprises and no mistakes to pay for and when i say to pay for is not just money is also time wasted and worries.
I know i ask a lot here but when you choose your contractor, trust him, he is the doctor of your remodeling, he has a plan and you will need to be involved with that plan and brainstorm any idea that float and any possibility.
Get your family involve
Look around your old kitchen, think what will you do that will make the new kitchen more friendly. How will it serve your family? will breaking wall or changing the layout will do? This will be the first step for you, well, the second after choosing your contractor.
At this stage, try not to overwhelm yourself with style, design or colors, that will be next. Step by step. Discuss your thoughts will all the family member, well not the one year old, ask them for their point of views, have them even make a list of ideas, ask them and yourself about yours and their friend’s kitchens, is there something you saw at other places or magazine that will benefit you all? When you will find the right answer, you will know, you will see it and feel good about it.
Remodeling your kitchen, with the right planing should and will be fun with minimal mistakes and lets not forget…keeping in budget!!
Posted February 18th 2013
The kitchen is definitely the heart of the house – playing host to family meals, casual conversations with friends and family, a quiet morning for a good coffee, art studio for the kids, you name it.
In recent years and with the economic shift, many people have downsized and smaller kitchen areas are now a way of life. But it does not have to stop you remodeling your kitchen since there are many design ideas that we can create for small size kitchen.
Today people are spending valuable time at home and are making it a priority to create comfort spaces that truly suit their lives. Creating a welcome and efficient kitchen space paired with lifestyle comfort that maximizes the entire room is often a priority.
Look and Learn
One great tip to start with when embracing your kitchen space is to simply observe and understand how you and your family really use the space. Some families spend most of their dining and casual time in their kitchen while other families may just eat meals at the kitchen table and use the family room for social gatherings.
By evaluating your use of the space, you will get a better idea of how to plan the layout to make the most of the space. Write down your daily kitchen routine for a month. Seeing the day-to-day activities on paper will give you an honest snapshot of how the family uses the kitchen space and how you need it to function – what’s working and what’s not. And while you’re at it, make note of favorite design styles and what makes you feel good when it comes to color, texture and style. These design accents can ultimately add layers to your kitchen space.
Your Kitchen, Your Focal Point
Take a look around your home at the focal points in each room to see how it balances the space. A focal point is the center of the space, the key item that the room works around. For living rooms, it could be the fireplace, for bedrooms it could be a canopy bed. For small kitchens, it’s the typically the entire space.
So how do you deal with this – an entire space? Look at your kitchen as one solid unit. Use either a neutral palette or one color throughout your space to keep the eye moving and for the kitchen to feel like one complete unit.
One easy solution for creating this look is to make sure your backsplash pattern is uninterrupted and even the outlets fit into the design aesthetic. Make sure they are part of the pattern or color palette and that they fit in rather than stand out and fore the eye to stop on them. Take a look around and make sure the room fits together.
Click on the link for kitchen’s photos and ideas
No one can help you meet a goal, to reach your destination if you do not know what you want and where you are going. So, where am i going with that? I do not know yet so I will continue writing and hopefully will reach my destination.
In our industry, yes the construction in Los Angeles, there can be surprises during the remodeling of your home which some of them can be challenging. The surprises are the one that were hidden in the first inspection, behind walls, under the floor etc.
Planning, planning and more planning your house remodeling and construction in Los Angeles. It does not mean that we need to fear to decide or enter a contract for remodeling your home but we do need to know as much as we can with the time that we have. So when you collecting your three bids, ask questions, read, call references and ask them questions about how they went through the constructions and if they have tips for you.
Nothing is guarantee and we can only use the information that we have on hand, before making our final decision of choosing your general contractor in Los Angeles.
Posted on January 14th 2013
I just came from a remodeling/renovation project that we started today In Sherman Oaks and i wanted to share with you some information about load bearing wall.
We are going to remove two walls that in between of them there is a wood fire-place that it place make no sense at all, but this is for another time. After the removal of the drywall from the two walls that we need to demolish, we had to make sure which one is the load bearing wall so we opened part of the ceiling, as close as possible to the connection of the ceiling and the wall, to see if the wall/s support any ceiling joist or kickers (beams that come down from the roof and lay on the wall).
The flat roof challenge in Los Angeles
That house in Sherman Oaks has a flat roof that above it there is another flat roof which makes the attic very narrow to inspect the walls that needs to be removed. Sound confusing, right?
After we made sure which wall is the load bearing wall we went to the more fun part. I would like to mention that when you go through remodeling/renovation in Los Angeles such as this one, make sure to wear a musk because there will be lots of dust and insulation pieces flying around
Prior to removal of a load bearing wall in Los Angeles
Prior to the removal of load bearing wall we have to build two temporary walls, one on each side of the load bearing wall, dig for the concrete pads and prepare the surface for the new opening, the new posts and header, all per engineer details.
You do not want to think in cases like that
You want to know exactly which wall is a load bearing wall, how to remove it, what material to use and to be safe and knowledgeable doing that kind of work. The best is to hire a license general contractor in Los Angeles that will know, hopefully how to deal with that.
Inspect which wall is a load bearing wall, get a license contractor, engineer details and ask questions even if you think it may sound stupid. It is your house.
Posted January 7th 2013
You came to the right place for a solid information.
is it for your new house? is it for an existing house but the first time you want to remodel a bathroom?
Well, it does not matter because, remodeling a bathroom is an AMAZING, FUN process from the beginning to the end and we at Noah Construction & Design, knows how to deliver that amazing and fun experience to and for you, the home owner.
The first thing that we do is meeting you at your house and asking you a lot of questions about your taste, look, colors and style. We want that the new bathroom remodeling will be part of the entire house with its design and style. We want and will update it, remodel it but we will tie it with your house.
Are you happy with the lay out?
The lay out of any bathroom is very important and the first thing we do when we come and see your bathroom in Los Angeles is looking at the existing bathroom that probably its style and design is not updated, and trying to find ways to utilize it to the most comfortable for you. If we can move the toilet and to give it more privacy or moving the vanity to gain more space or even changing the location of the shower.
The next step is to work with the design. What are the color you like? how can we tie those colors to the rest of the fixturs?
We will work on the style of the vanity, the doors, color and of course the tile and how we will lay it out. If you saw any photos from a magazine that you like, share them with us, we will be able to deliver it to you. The more you know what you want, the easier it will be for you but no worries if you are not sure, we will work with you.
A bathroom remodeling in Los Angeles can be fun and it is. After all the remodeling is done, you will enter a beautiful bathroom that smell new like a new car, and we all love that smell.
To sum it up, know what you want, choose the right contractor in Los Angeles and ask for testimonials and references.
Posted December 17th 2012
So you are thinking to remodel your kitchen in Los Angeles. You are looking to change the old design, the doors that don’t close properly no more. You also want to show off, why not, right??
When it come to home remodeling in Los Angeles, the competition is wow!!! There are so many contractors out there that i get overwhelmed by that my self so i can only imagine what you, the home owner is going through.
So you decided to go for it, “taking the chance” and make the call to a general contractor in Los angels.
I do not know what other contractors will tell you and the promises they will make. I do know that for you it will be confusing. After all, we all ask you to invest your money, your saving in someone who you don’t really know. I understand that.
The design of your kitchen is most important because once you choose the design and the cabinets are made, there is no way back unless you pay extra for changes SO do not rush, ask your contractor tons of questions. Do not ask to many people what they think, to many opinions will only confuse you so forget about it.
Ask your self what are your and your family needs. What will make your life easy. Moving the sink to another place? What about the appliances? Same place or new one?
I know, it is confusing and that is why we at Noah Construction & Design will make that process easy as possible for you by making things clear and simple, after all we are not Nasa here….
After you will choose the design, color and style of the cabinets, you will start a journey that is fun and most exciting and when your kitchen remodeling is complete, call your friends for dinner, show off, it’s ok. Sometimes we work hard for those moments. We deserve it!!