Thursday, August 20, 2015

Remodeling: What's Hot and What's Not in 2015

While the mercury is rising are you ready to give your house a makeover from not to hot?  Take a look at all the must-haves in remodeling and interior design for this summer.

What's Sizzling in the Kitchen?

Open floor plans are a new must.  Kitchens and living rooms are the central hub of the home. 

Closed off kitchens make your house look small and restricted. Your guests don't an to pause the conversation because you have to go check on the food.  With an open kitchen plan, you can just continue the conversation with ease. Besides, opening up the kitchen to the family room or living room will nearly double the size, at least by the looks of it!

Wood cabinets are great for an earthy feel.  Even driftwood is becoming a popular accent this year. Cherry wood and oak seem to take preference among people, and combinations of complementary woods and wood stains are increasing in popularity. Not an outdoorsy person?  No problem. Minimalistic white cabinets are a neutral and modern way to go.  And with white cabinets, you have room to choose bold hardware and accents to compliment them.

Speaking of accents, metal seems to be taking the lead.  Choose from bronze, nickel, chrome, copper or brass.  From backsplashes and hanging fixtures, to faucets and towel racks; metal finishes are perfect for warming your kitchen and giving it an inviting glow. 

Get Steamy in the Bathroom

Unwind from all the tech and chaos, and take a blast to the past in a freestanding tub.  Go with a vintage, old-fashioned look or even a modern, sculptural design. Either way, these tubs will give your bathroom a luxurious feel and will set the mood for relaxation. 

In front of every beautiful woman stands her vanity. Who wouldn't love a custom vanity, made just for them and featuring all the necessities and must-haves. Designs are totally up to you, whether you want a sleek, contemporary look or an old-school look.  Create the storage space you need and you can finally clear off the clutter from the bathroom counter.  

A major trend this year seems to be taking the outdoors and putting it indoors. There are many options to do this in your bathroom.  Create a serene bathroom by using woods and earthy materials like stones and marble.  If you're feeling bold, add actual plants, either hanging or potted plants or cascading creepers. 

Light it All Up

Chandeliers are in high demand this year.  Big, bold and bright is the way to go.  You want to pick a fixture that's abstract, modern or dramatic.  

With statement chandeliers, they'll add aesthetic to your home, even bathrooms and kitchens.  It's no longer about the lighting; it's all about the art. 

LED lighting has become a top trend, because they're practical and affordable. Bathroom, kitchen and even outdoors LED lightning is especially in strong demand. With colored LED lighting, you can transform any room into a much cooler room. How cool would it be to have your bathroom vanity glow blue or purple or every color of the rainbow? Colored LED lighting can add your favorite colors to any room in the house for an instant mood setter. 

You can never go wrong with a fireplace. 

Fireplaces are the centerpiece of the living room and most agree that fire provides warmth, romance and togetherness.  Transform a dusty, rusty fireplace into something chic and deck out the mantle with modern art and home accessories that capture the eye. 

Other Hot Styles

Color is key to setting the personality and environment of your home. Whether you want earthy tones, or a coastal vibe, picking the right colors for your home is crucial.  Some current trends are corals, to brighten up the home, or dark blues to add richness and drama to your home.  

More space, more comfort.  Sectional sofas are making a comeback.  It doesn't matter if you're a small family that doesn't have company over often.  After all, who doesn't love lounging on a huge couch after a long day?

Wardell Builders |  | 858-793-4190 | Solana Beach, CA 92075

Friday, July 3, 2015

Turn up the Heat with an Outdoor Fire Pit

Fire Pits aren't JUST for winter.  On any chilly night, you can relax on your patio and snuggle up by the fire.  They're great for entertaining guests or even just for the family to enjoy.  If you're thinking about building a fire pit in your backyard, here are some things to consider and some wonderful design ideas to help you get started. 
Things to Consider:
Cost:  Depending on your budget, building an outdoor fire pit can either be really cheap or really expensive.  Things to consider about the cost would be the size of the fire pit you want, the types of materials, and what accessories you want to surround your fire pit, like seating.
Permanent vs Portable: Do you want a permanent seating area or something that you can move around the backyard and even take with you on trips?
Wood vs Gas: Some people love making a fire and the smell of burning logs, but if you're not the type to want to deal with that hassle, a gas fire pit might be best for you.
Platform: What are you going to put your fire pit on?  It's best to set it on a natural surface such as gravel, stone, concrete or brick.  Stay away from your wooden deck.
Location: Sometimes, you'll need to get your fire pit plans inspected and approved.  Check with local officials before starting to build it.
Design Ideas:
Arrangement: How do you want to arrange your seating?  This will help you decide the size and shape of your pit.
Earthy/Natural:  Using stones will keep the fire pit looking earthy and natural.
Sculpture:  If you want a unique art piece, check out some sculptural fire pits.
Sunken: You can build your fire pit into the ground to make it appear as if the flames are coming from the floor.  Or you can turn your whole sitting area into a sunken area to make it a little more private and secluded.
Fire wall:  Build a long fire pit against a wall and watch the flames flicker and dance throughout the evening ensuring it will be the focal point of your sitting area.
Coffee Table: A decent sized fire pit can be the perfect coffee table to complete your sitting area.
Wall and Pit in One:  If you want to create a wall barrier around your sitting area, place the fire pit within the wall and enjoy the added benefit of saving space.
At the flick of a switch, a fire pit will entice you outdoors even if there is a chill in the air and leave your guests with the wow factor all year long.
Wardell Builders |  | 858-793-4190 | Solana Beach, CA 92075

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Cooking up a Hot Kitchen for the Outdoor Chef

So, you love to cook but cooking indoors seems so secluded and restrictive.  When you have guest over, you want to entertain them in a nice setting while you prepare the food but you feel like you can't do that in your indoor kitchen.  Maybe it's time to do a little home improvement, and build an outdoor kitchen, filled with all the necessities and more to give your backyard the attention it deserves.  To get started, here are some important things to keep in mind during the planning process.

First things first, you have to start from the ground up.  Establish what type of layout and material you want to be the foundation of your kitchen space.  Be conscious of the weather climates and situations you live in.

Knowing where your gas and electric lines are is critical for choosing the location of your outdoor kitchen.

When thinking about where your outdoor kitchen should be, take into account these factors:

  • Views: Keep away from windows or doors that face the backyard, be considerate of your neighbors, and make sure your guests' view from the sitting area isn't unpleasant.
  • Wind: You don't want smoke from the grill blowing into your home so check for wind patterns and orient your cooking space accordingly. 
  • Sun and Shade: Depending on where your house faces, you want to make sure you prepare for the amount of sun or shade your kitchen space will get.  To help hide your space from too much sun, add umbrellas or canopies or simply build your kitchen nearby the trees in your backyard. 
  • Traffic flow: You don't want to build your kitchen in an inconvenient place where people will be moving in and out of the house.  Build it off to the side and out of the way from heavy traffic areas and play areas.
Decide on what appliances you want in your outdoor kitchen.  Depending on the size of your space, you may not be able to fit everything you want, so chose the most important appliances.  Take into consideration that the appliances you choose will have to be able to withstand rain and sun.  Choose reliable appliances with easy maintenance so you won't have to stress out if something goes wrong.

Depending on how much space you have, you'll want to include some storage options in your kitchen.  They also must be waterproof and temperature durable.  You'll want to add enough counter-space and hide0away storage so you don't have to keep running inside to prepare something or get something.

Entertaining space
If you're planning on having guests over often, you'll need to set aside a place for them.  Make sure you'll have room for patio furniture, d├ęcor or whatever else you want to add to create a touch of ambiance.

Wardell Builders |  | 858-793-4190 | Solana Beach, CA 92075


Thursday, May 21, 2015

Potential Moisture Barriers, Issues in your Home

We are living in the age of “tight” homes. Homes today do not naturally breathe in the ways that the homes of the 50’s and 70’s did. For energy savings we now ensure that thermal transmission through the walls, floors and roofs our homes are minimal.  We typically use plywood and OSB (Oriented Strand Board) sheathing on all of the exterior walls of our homes. These type of products guaranty little air transmission even if we use the most modern and “breathable” house wraps. Windows and doors are installed to keep any air or moisture from passing around the assembly. Our roofs are tight and are floors are typically concrete slabs poured over a 15-mil vapor barrier.

What are potential issues that could arise from our modern methods? Moisture generated within the home has no where to go unless it is planned for. Bath exhaust fans are not there just for odor control. Their prime purpose is moisture removal. Laundry rooms rarely have exhaust fans yet they contribute greatly to the moisture load of your home. Ever walked into a laundry with the dryer running and noticed a little extra humidity?
In the old days, mopping a wood floor with a damp mop was not a bad thing. Today – if some of that water finds it way under or between the boards – a warped floor could easily result. That spilled glass of water really does need to be wiped up quickly! This is not to scare you into never having your floors mopped – rather to make sure the mop is not too damp and the floor is able to dry off quickly.

When you travel and leave your home closed up little or no fresh air will exchange within your home. During the summer, if you are running air conditioning your windows will be closed and the air in the home will not be able to mix with any fresh air.  In the winter, when running the heating system with all the doors and windows shut – the same lack of fresh air occurs. The moisture build up in the home can increase leading to potentials for molds and mildew.
What can we do? As builders we need to be aware of the juxtaposition of building systems in the home. We need to be aware of how we live in our homes and what potential problems we may be creating. Making sure that exhaust fans are automatically running (usually controlled by motion detectors) in critical rooms of the house. The ability to use those fans wisely. The fan for the bathroom can stop running ten or fifteen minutes after you leave the shower. The fan in a laundry should run for an hour and a half after you exit. Enable the home to bring in fresh air when it needs it. This can be passively with the use of a fresh air intake port for the home. This will balance the pressure of the home. When the bath fan or dryer is pulling air out of the house the vacuum created pulls in new fresh air from a controlled location. New fresh air ventilation systems are available. The two typical systems are  the heat-recovery ventilator (HRV) or an energy-recovery ventilator (ERV).

The link below can provide more depth on the subject  These are very effective at creating a positive pressure within the home. The benefits are cleaner, less toxic air and control of in home humidity lessening the possibility of molds and mildew.
In this day and age we are creating the most energy efficient homes ever seen. They are great to live in if you keep in mind the potential issues and deal with them right up front in the design and construction of your home.

Home Ventilation | Healthy Homes | Mildew | Mold Exposure | Mold Removal | Home Exhaust Fans | Moisture Absorber | DIY Home Exhaust | Eliminate Home Moisture | HVAC | Automatic Exhaust Fans

Wardell Builders | | 858-793-4190 | Solana Beach, CA 92075


Tuesday, May 19, 2015

How To Keep Your Home Maintenance On Track

Like anything else, cleaning and repairing your home once isn't going to make it last forever.  It's the consistent upkeep that keeps a house in good shape and extends its life.  In order to keep your home in prime condition, make sure to do these tasks regularly throughout the year:

Winter Home Cleaning
A lot of damage can come from wet winter conditions, so it's important to make sure all aspects of the house are in top shape.  Therefore, the main focus will be on heating and waterproofing. 

For the exterior of your home:
  • Put your window screens into storage (check the condition of your home's window screens as well to make a note of how many more seasons they will last).
  • Seal windows and doors of your home with weather stripping
  • Inspect the roof of your home for any leaks and damaged and/or missing roof shingles
  • Make sure your home's roof area is pest-free
  • Inspect your home's outdoor faucets for water leaks, drain them and turn them off
  • Clean your home's gutters and downspouts
  • Clean and store any garden hoses, patio furniture or garden tools
  • Have your home's chimney cleaned by a chimney professional
For the interior of your home:
  • Inspect your home's attic for leaks, insulation and pests
  • Inspect your bathrooms and the kitchen for leaks.  (Make sure to look in all areas, including cabinets and doorways).
  • Re-caulk or re-grout tiles and countertops in the home if needed
  • Clean refrigerator coils
  • Inspect smoke detectors, inspect carbon monoxide monitors and check fire extinguishers
  • Bleed radiator
  • Have your home heating system and heat pump serviced by a HVAC professional
Spring Cleaning
Spring cleaning involves checking to ensure that the items in your home are still fully functioning and can be used in the warmer months to come. Spring can be the ideal time to take any clutter that you may have out of your home.

For the exterior of your home:
  • Wash all windows
  • Inspect your home's gutters and downspouts for any necessary cleaning
  • Inspect the exterior of your home for any damage to the paint, wood, brick or stucco exterior components of your home
  • Power wash your home's deck and inspect for any damage or deck stains
For the interior of your home:
  • Inspect your home's smoke detectors, carbon monoxide monitors and check fire extinguishers
  • Inspect bathrooms and kitchen for leaks. (Make sure to look in all areas of your kitchen and bathroom(s), including inside of cabinets and doorways).
  • Re-caulk or re-grout tiles and countertops in the home if needed
  • Clean the clothes dryer vents of lint
Wardell Builders | | 858-793-4190 | Solana Beach, CA 92075

Monday, March 24, 2014

Get Decked Out: How to Decide to Repair or Replace your Deck

Decks tend to be the gathering place for many homes so it is important to make sure they are maintained regularly.  Otherwise, small damaged can spread quickly.  Sometimes it's too late for deck repair work and all a deck repair does is buy time until you are ultimately have to replace your entire deck of your home.  To save yourself money and to maximize the function of your deck, it's important to regularly check your homes' deck for damages.

Here are some patterns to notice when determining whether your homes' deck needs repair work or a complete replacement of your deck:

Repair:  Localized damages
Repair work is usually the solution for a deck when the damages are in small areas and have yet to spread.  Since it's only a matter of time before the damages in a deck take over, it's essential to attack the repair issues right away.

Here are a few instances where repair work of your deck would come into play:
  • Wet spots of rotting from water drainage.  One cause of this is having a flowerpot with an overflow of water on the deck of your home in one place for too long. 
  • Early termite damage.  It's extremely important to catch termite damage early on before the damage to your deck spreads, otherwise it will lead to a full deck replacement.
Replacement: Structural damage
Decks are most commonly in need of replacement due to rotting and termites.

Here are some different effects you can notice when your deck is at the end of its life span:
  • Sagging
  • Weak or loose railing posts
  • Loose nails and screws
  • Rotting around the edges of the deck
  • The deck has a spongy texture
  • Soft spots that move in when weight is applied.
When any of these damages are introduced to decks, it's only a matter of time before the entire deck is taken over.  This is why it is important to stay on top of replacing rotting boards or areas where termites are in.

Bring in a professional to inspect your deck of your home and discuss the most cost-effective options with them.  Sometimes the problem is the desk's structure and only a professional can really locate the needed changes.

We welcome you to view a Wardell Builder's YouTube video showing one homeowner's deck:

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Wardell Builders | | 858-793-4190 | Solana Beach, CA 92075

Friday, February 28, 2014

Lien Release Tracking in California - A Builder's View

Before we start any major project I always warn a new client about the Lien process in California.  It is a very detailed program that protects clients well but the first "Notice" form a supplier that they receive will upset them if they are unprepared. 

Let me delve into this topic a bit.

Clients should receive the "Preliminary Notice" or a preliminary lien notice, from all of the vendors (suppliers or subcontractors) involved in their construction project. 

For example, this would include the concrete and reinforcing bar suppliers that were hired by the foundation contractor (a second party transaction).  The client should not be alarmed; this is the first step in the California mechanics lien law designed to protect both the home owner and vendors.  The notice is designed to let a homeowner know that a vendor (possibly contracted through a subcontractor on a project) believes the homeowner has authorized material or labor costs for work on their property.  The theory being that if this is not true, the homeowner will alert the vendor and the costs will not be incurred.  Vendors should send a duplicate of the Notice to the General Contractor, but just in case, in our firm, we ask clients to forward notices to our office as a double-check.  In the case of a second party transactions we can then amend the payments to include two-party checks to both the contracting sub and the lien claimant for the amount(s) listed.

To satisfy the Preliminary notice we follow the mandated system of four release documents with each of these suppliers and subcontractors:
  • Conditional Release on Progress Payment - vendor acknowledges partial payment received but not yet cashed.
  • Unconditional Release on Progress Payment - vendor acknowledges partial payment received but not yet cashed.
  • Conditional Release on Final Payment - vendor acknowledges full and final payment received but not yet cashed.
  • Unconditional Release on Final Payment - vendor acknowledges full and final payment received and cashed.
The use of two-party checks to second tier vendors is typical in securing complete lien release.  The tracking of tehse transactions may appear complicated but it just required diligence.  We don't pay a second progress billing if we have not received an unconditional partial release for our earlier payment.  The system works well to protect our client's interests and property.  A vendor cannot come back to a client and try to lien their property for fulfillment of a debt if the Preliminary Notice they sent has been acknowledged as paid with an Unconditional Final Release. 

If you have any questions, feel free to call: Terry at 858-793-4190.

Wardell Builders | | 858-793-4190 | Solana Beach, CA 92075