Don’t you wish you had a kitchen or bathroom like the ones you see on Houzz? Aren’t they beautiful, elegant, and luxurious? What you don’t know is that some of the designs you see on Houzz may not comply with building code requirements.
Why wouldn’t someone want to comply with code requirements? One reason is that you’ll have to give up the aesthetics and beauty of a space in order to comply with code. Another reason is you have to pull a permit and people don’t want to deal with the hassle of going through the permit process and inspection process. So, what are building code requirements? They are a collection of regulations regarding building construction that are meant to ensure public safety. There are codes for a lot of things such as fire, electrical, plumbing, ceiling, fenestration, fireplace, and more. Example: A minimum ceiling height needs to be 7′ 6″ for habitable spaces and hallways. A shower stall needs to have a minimum finished interior of 1024 square inches that surrounds a 30″ diameter circle (32″ x 32″ is one size). Stairs require a maximum riser height of 7¾” and a minimum tread depth of 10″. The stair width must be at least 36 ” wide. The list goes on with more rules regulating the rules, but they are all there for a good reason.
Yes, it’s frustrating when you are planning on remodeling your kitchen and bathroom and realize you have to sacrifice something, including aesthetics in order to comply with code. If you are remodeling a bathroom, want to change the layout, and have no room to expand (keeping the walls, windows, and doors intact), then you are left with the existing space. With a small bathroom of 6′ x 5′, you wonder how will you meet the code requirements? It can be done, but you’ll have to sacrifice something. You may need to sacrifice the luxury of a larger shower in exchange for a smaller one. Or, if you prefer to have a larger shower, then you may have to accept a smaller lavatory. There’s no way around it. You just have to do the best you can while trying to make it as beautiful and as elegant as you imagined. In this scenario, you do need to pull an alteration permit which will save you any headache or stress in the future if you decide to sell your home. It ensures your safety as well as the safety of future homeowners when they move in. In the long run, it’s going to benefit and protect you.
However, if you decide not to change the layout and just want to swap out old fixtures like an old sink or old toilet with a new one in same dimensions, replace your existing tub with a shower stall that is the same size as your old tub, or update your vinyl floors with ceramic tile, you don’t need to pull a permit (if your home is an older home). This was confirmed by the Building of Inspection in SF. By sticking to the existing floor plan, it relieves a lot of stress and frustrations. The downside can be that your current layout doesn’t flow very well and may not be the best layout, especially in older homes. Another downside is that when you open up your walls, there may be mold or the pipes have been corroded, rusted, or decayed and need to be replaced. You will need a permit if you need to re-pipe. If you are in doubt, check with your local building inspection before starting any home renovations. So, what are some examples of home remodels that don’t comply with code requirements? What are examples of renovations that do comply with code requirements yet are also beautiful and elegant, especially in small spaces where it may be challenging to comply with code? See if you can tell which images below comply or don’t comply with code and let me know what your challenges are when it comes to your remodeling project!
If you are in the process of renovating your kitchen or bathroom and aren’t sure what materials to select for your countertops, don’t worry. You can absolutely narrow down the numerous options by determining how you live and what your design style is. Do you cook a lot? Do you have kids or pets? Do you like cleaning regularly? These questions are important to think about because every countertop has it’s advantages and disadvantages. No countertop is perfect and completely free of stains, scratches, etches, bacteria, heat, abrasion, or water. Understanding the advantages and disadvantages of different materials will help you select the one that’s right for you based on your lifestyle and aesthetics. Below are the top 5 most common and best rated materials used in homes today.
Quartz has become very popular over the past few years as more homeowners are using quartz for their kitchen and bath countertops. Quartz is a man made engineered stone that is manufactured in a factory. It contains approximately 95 percent ground natural quartz with polymer resins and pigments. It comes in many colors with sparkles and veins to resemble granite and marble. It is nonporous and nonabsorbent which means it obstructs the growth of bacteria, mold, and mildew and doesn’t draw in moisture. It is stain resistant, scratch resistant, durable, and easy to clean. No sealing or polishing is required but it can chip if you aren’t careful. Caesarstone, Cambria, and Silestone are common brand names of quartz manufacturers. The price is comparable to granite at about $40-$100/sq ft. If you don’t like maintenance and prefer little to no pattern with a variety of color and don’t mind the price tag, this countertop is for you.
One of the most common things I hear about from people who are looking for an interior designer is that they need help with execution and how to tie a room design together. Most people have a good sense of their design style and what they like, but they have a hard time putting everything together so that all the elements in each room flow and blend together nicely. It can be overwhelming, so just take it one step at a time and think about some of these tips and ideas below for creating a harmonious well designed room.
Think of the focal point
One very easy way to tie a room together is to choose a focal point and start from there. A focal point is the first thing your eye sees when you enter a room. It could be artwork, an architectural feature, a view of the exterior through oversized windows, texture, pattern, or a striking color. If you have a large piece of painting you love, you can hang it over a fireplace mantel in the living room or bedroom where it will be the first thing people see when they enter the space. One large painting with bold colors against a neutral wall and furniture will stand out and draw your eye to it. Make sure the room theme and color palette are reflected in the painting as well as in the frame. Or, if you have exposed wood ceiling beams, highlight this beautiful architectural feature by restoring it to its original state. The glory of a focal point is it allows you to channel what you want the room to say and the mood you want it to exude.
What is a monochromatic color scheme? Most people mistake monochromatic to mean one color because the word “mono” means single, alone, or one. However, monochromatic is really using the same base color in different shades, tints, and tones. Monochromatic color can create a specific mood based on the color you choose. Ex. white is equated with being clean and pure, so a white monochromatic color scheme conveys a crisp, fresh, and peaceful space. Using one base color is a great way to work with a color that you love and makes you happy. It can also make certain elements stand out, if you learn how to work with different color variations. Further, monochromatic color is simpler to work with, since you’re only using one dominant color and not worrying about figuring out what other colors go well together.
Spring is here and it’s such an exciting time. Flowers are blooming, birds are chirping, and everyone is getting ready for warmer weather, the renewal of life, and the reappearance of green and color everywhere. You are probably preparing your home with some spring cleaning and packing away everything from the winter season from warm clothes to heavy curtains, and darker colors. It’s time to bring the light and airy feel back to your home. There is no better way to welcome spring than to use some of its beautiful colors in your home décor. Keep reading to learn about some colors that you can incorporate in your home to make your rooms sing the sounds of spring!
This is a popular color in interior design and fashion alike. And what’s not to love? Not quite pink, but not pure orange either – coral is a great “in between” color to add some flair to your decor. Coral brings a touch of warmth to a room yet it can be the perfect bold statement as well. It’s easy to find items that you can use to decorate your home since it’s such a popular color. Bold letters, fresh flowers, accent pillows, bedding and rugs… the choices are endless. Create a little contrast with a light blue shade on the wall such as a serene blue or as a larger element of your design. You can create color schemes with grey, beige, or black in various shades of coral from salmon to rust.
Today, some people would argue that spaces should not be defined by whether it is masculine or feminine. They prefer to call it “gender-neutral” which makes sense because traditional gender lines are blurry and not as clear cut since roles that men and women play both at work and at home have shifted dramatically. More moms are going back to work or managing successful blog sites where they are the breadwinners of the family while more men are now stay at home dads who take care of the kids. Some women may navigate towards dark colors whereas some guys may be attracted to softer and lighter colors. Regardless of what design traits are considered “feminine” and what are seen as “masculine”, when it comes to decorating your home with your spouse or partner, it can be challenging to incorporate both your design styles. You may like a classic style that is timeless, and your partner may like a rustic look with lots of reclaimed wood. Or, you may like clean, angular lines, and your spouse may like curvilinear shapes. How do you combine both of your design styles in your home so that it reflects your differing personalities and tastes? How do you balance your home with a blend of simple comfort and function with beauty and elegance? Below are some tips and ideas to help you marry your style with your partners style to create a space you both love that brings you joy!
Leather with floral or damask patterns
I remember a married couple during a past design consultation who had completely different tastes. The husband loved leather and wanted to incorporate a large leather sofa in their living room which his wife insisted that it was never going to happen. They debated about it for quite some time. I finally asked the wife if she would be ok with a leather lounge chair instead of a bulky leather sofa. She acknowledged that she was fine with it and I asked her husband if he would be ok with that. He agreed as well. Sometimes, all it takes is finding a solution that works for both people without discounting the preference and taste of one person. This is also a great example of why leather is associated with masculine design traits. To bring in some softer touches, you can combine a leather sofa with throw pillows in a solid soft blue or lime green color. The pillows can have circular, tropical, or toile patterns. You can hang natural linen or sheer drapes to balance out a dark grey tufted sofa. Perhaps you have a black leather headboard in your master bedroom and you want to tone it down a bit. Add neutral bedding or a faux fur throw with a bright patterned rug to mix it up and soften it down.
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