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How to Celebrate National Kitchen and Bath Month Construction Style

October is National Kitchen and Bath Month, and it’s a great time to think about improvements to these vital areas of your home. Kitchens and bathrooms are some of the most-used rooms in the house, and among the most likely to influence a potential buyer’s impression of it. Thus, they’re a great place to invest in your home to improve not only your own enjoyment but also the overall value of your property.

How to Celebrate National Kitchen and Bath Month Construction Style | Sea Pointe Construction

If you’re dissatisfied with your current kitchen or bath but don’t have any firm ideas of where to start, a little fact-finding is in order. Check out different kitchen and bath ideas online on websites like Pinterest or Houzz, bookmarking the looks that you like. Take a trip to local tile, lighting, and appliance stores to check out the latest trends and options. And keep a list of the features you would like your new kitchen or bath to have for when you’re ready to get moving.

If you basically like the kitchen or bath you have but think it could use some updating, consider some specific fixes that can have major impact. Swap out old light fixtures for more stylish, energy-efficient replacements to both brighten your space and save money. Similarly, updating fixtures like faucets and showerheads will cut down on your water use while modernizing your style. New paint and cabinet hardware can do wonders for either a kitchen or bath.

Even with a kitchen or bath you don’t need to fully remodel, you may want to consider more significant changes. For instance, refacing your cabinets and retrofitting them with modern conveniences like pull-out shelves can enhance their look while making more efficient use of space. Replacing an old countertop with new natural stone or an engineered solid surface can have a major style impact on a kitchen or bath. Appliances are another area where you can tackle style and savings at the same time—today’s appliances offer significant energy and water savings over those manufactured even a short time ago, as well as updated features and finishes.

Finally, if nothing but a full remodel will do to bring your kitchen or bath into the twenty-first century, consult with a design and construction service. Experienced professionals can help you realize your dreams as well as suggesting options and possibilities you might not have considered. Whether you’re planning to knock down a wall to create an open-plan kitchen or want to add a double sink and steam shower to your bathroom, you’ll want an expert team you can rely on to make it happen.

Sea Pointe has over 26 years’ experience in turning our clients’ dreams into reality. Contact us today to put our expertise to work for you.

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Adding a Fireplace to Your Home

A fireplace has positive associations for many homeowners—it’s an attractive focal point as well as a cozy, relaxing spot on a cool evening. Since many houses built in the last four decades have not included fireplaces, adding one is a popular update. Here’s what you need to know if you’re thinking about adding one to your home.

Adding a Fireplace to Your Home | Sea Pointe Construction

First of all, you need to be aware of local regulations. In Southern California, in both Orange and Los Angeles counties, you cannot add an open-hearth wood-burning fireplace to an existing home, due to air quality concerns. Thus any new open-hearth fireplace must have a gas or alcohol-fueled log set. Fortunately, there are a wealth of options for gas fireplaces in both traditional and modern looks, so this requirement shouldn’t discourage you.

Second, although a majority of home buyers consider a fireplace something that they would pay more to have, that’s only true up to a point. If you’re considering the impact adding a fireplace would have on your home’s resale value, the most advantageous placement is in a frequently used room such as a living room, family room, or great room, and the overall project should fit the style and quality of the rest of your home for the greatest appeal. This is probably not the project to consider if you’re looking for something to boost your home’s value immediately prior to a sale—rather, add a fireplace when you anticipate having the opportunity to enjoy it yourself for several years.

Adding a gas fireplace gives you a great deal of flexibility in both style and placement. While you can opt for a natural vent, which uses a metal chimney to vent air through the roof, direct-vent technology can vent the exhaust from your fireplace to the outside through an exterior wall. This means you can consider design options that would not be possible with a traditional fireplace, such as having a window above the fireplace. Prefabricated fireplaces, which are lightweight and highly insulated, can be installed very close to framing and other combustible materials, also adding to design flexibility. Consult with an expert, who can give you the most up-to-date information on what’s available and give you recommendations for your home.

The design options for fireplaces run the gamut from traditional to ultra-modern. You can opt for a traditional hearth and a wooden mantel with a brick or tile surround framing a realistic gas log that mimics the look of a wood fire, or you can choose a sleek modern fireplace surrounded by granite and flames leaping out of a bed of fireplace glass or river rocks. You can have a fireplace with glass on both sides, offering a view through to the next room. There is truly no limit to the customized look you can achieve for your own home.

If a fireplace is the perfect touch your home needs, contact the experts at Sea Pointe Construction today. We can help turn your dreams into beautiful reality.

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How Do I Legally Convert a Garage to a Usable Room?

For homeowners who feel like they could use a little more elbow room, converting their garage into living space may seem like the easiest, cheapest way to add an extra room onto their house. In Southern California especially, it may not seem like a big deal to leave your car parked in the driveway year-round to gain some extra space. However, converting your garage properly involves a lot more work than simply installing some drywall and carpeting, and doing it the wrong way can be an expensive headache.

How Do I Legally Convert a Garage to a Usable Room? - Sea Pointe Construction

Permits are required for most types of construction in California, and garage conversions are no exception. But permits are just the first step. You also need to take building ordinances into consideration as you are planning a conversion. For example, in both Orange County and Los Angeles County, homes are required to have a certain number of covered off-street parking spaces, so if you eliminate your existing garage you may be required to build another garage or carport to satisfy this requirement. Local setback ordinances present another potential complication—if the resulting room would be too close to the property line, the city may not issue a permit. It is best to know the full scope of what is required and what is possible before you and your contractor begin to draw up any plans.

While illegal garage conversions are all too common, you should avoid the temptation to ask forgiveness instead of permission when contemplating such a project. If you’re caught by the city, as many homeowners are, fines for unpermitted work can mount up quickly, and the process of retroactively obtaining permits is likely to be more trouble than having the proper inspections during construction, as you will have to open up walls to allow the inspector to view any electrical or plumbing work. In some cases, the city may require you to convert the space back to a garage. Even if the city doesn’t find out, an unpermitted garage conversion may deter potential buyers should you try to sell your home.

When you’ve confirmed that you can obtain a permit for your desired conversion, then keep in mind that you will need to make some major changes in order to make a space meant to store cars into a comfortable, attractive living area. Think electrical, insulation, drywall, HVAC, additional windows and/or doors—you not only need to meet whatever legal requirements there are for living spaces in your area, but you also want to make sure that your conversion blends with the overall look of your house. This will ensure that your conversion adds to the value and beauty of your home instead of detracting from it.

If you’re looking to add some space to your home, the assistance of an experienced remodeling company is invaluable in helping you realize your dreams in the best possible way. Contact the experts at Sea Pointe Construction today to explore the possibilities.

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Top 5 Energy-Saving Home Improvements

With the cost of water and electricity rising year by year, many homeowners take energy efficiency into serious consideration when deciding how to remodel their homes. Whether you’re primarily concerned with lowering your utility bills or with reducing your environmental footprint, you’ll be happy to know that energy-saving home improvements can also increase your comfort and improve both the aesthetics and resale value of your home. Some of the top energy-saving home improvements are:

Top 5 Energy-Saving Home Improvements | Sea Pointe Construction

1. Sealing and insulating: Sealing the outside envelope of your home from drafts is an essential first step in saving energy. This may also include replacing exterior doors with new, better-insulated ones, which can also improve your home’s curb appeal. It’s also important to seal up any leaks from your ductwork that may be venting cool or warm air into spaces that don’t need it. Finally, adding insulation in attic spaces and walls will help keep your house warm in winter and cool in summer without having to overwork your HVAC unit.

2. Low flow fixtures: With new improvements in low-flow technology, adding low-flow shower heads, toilets, and faucets no longer means sacrificing comfort for water savings. These additions can mean significant savings not only on your water bill but also on your energy bill, as you can enjoy the same hot, luxurious shower you always have without using nearly as much water.

3. Energy efficient HVAC with programmable thermostat: An older heating and air conditioning unit can be one of the worst energy hogs in a home. A modern, energy-efficient unit coupled with a programmable thermostat can lower your utility bills considerably while keeping you in comfort. The newest thermostats on the market can even be adjusted remotely by smartphone, giving you instant control over your energy usage.

4. Updating appliances: As with HVAC units, energy-intensive appliances such as refrigerators, dishwashers, washing machines and dryers have improved considerably in both energy and water use over the years. In particular, an old refrigerator is a smart bet to replace—new stricter Energy Star guidelines for refrigerators came into effect in 2014, and as an appliance that runs 24-7 and typically lasts 15 to 20 years, a refrigerator represents a significant chunk of a home’s energy usage. Newer appliances also typically offer updated features and improved performance over their older counterparts.

5. Replacement windows: New energy-efficient windows don’t just offer energy savings, they can also significantly improve the look of your home. Double-paned windows help to eliminate energy loss through drafts and heat transfer, and special coatings can help control heat loss or gain through the windows, depending on the season.

To determine the best energy-saving upgrades for your home, it’s a good idea to consult with a remodeling company experienced in evaluating the overall needs of your home and formulating a strategy to maximize energy efficiency and lower consumption. To find out how you can incorporate smart energy-saving upgrades into your next remodeling project, contact the experts at Sea Pointe Construction today.

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