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How to Legally Convert a Garage into a Usable Room

How to Legally Convert a Garage into a Usable Room

Garage Conversion Orange CountyFor homeowners who feel like they could use a little more elbow room, converting a garage into living space may seem like the easiest, cheapest way to add an extra room onto their house. When remodeling in Orange County 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.

City building permits are required for most types of construction in California, and garage conversions are no exception. But permits are just the first step. The intended use for your converted garage space will outline the building requirements you’ll be expected to abide by. Outlined below are the most important factors and requirements to consider when converting your garage to either a bedroom or general living space.

Converting a Garage into a Living Space

In a garage to general living space conversion, having the space’s existing electrical wiring evaluated should be towards the top of your list. Firstly, it is possible that the electrical wiring no longer meets building code which would require the rewiring work of a licensed electrician. Secondly, the standards set by the California Energy Commission’s “Title 24 – Building Energy Efficiency” will determine an acceptable lighting plan. This is easy with a professionals help.

While evaluating the existing state of the garage intended for conversion, it’s equally important to note whether or not there is a step between the garage floor and your homes existing living space. Such a step is most often found in attached garage units. According to the California construction building codes, in a garage conversion where this type of step exists, the garage floor will need to be filled in and raised to meet the height of your homes floor height.

Converting a Garage into a Bedroom

Converting a garage to a bedroom space oftentimes entails many more building regulations and standards. While exploring your conversion possibilities, consider that Orange County homes are required to have a certain number of covered off-street parking spaces based upon a home’s square footage and/or number of bedrooms. Meaning that part of your garage conversion project will be adding an on-site parking space.

Along with the general living space electrical compliances outlined above, complying with the required “egress” building code is imperative. Egress is creating a means of evacuation or escape should there be a fire or other life-threatening emergency. Egress is determined by the square footage and relevant location of a space. This will be enforced by your city’s building inspector.

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 double or triple what you would have paid in original permit fees, and the process of retroactively obtaining permits is likely to be more trouble than having the proper inspections during construction. You may be required 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, heating and/or air conditioning, additional windows and/or doors—you not only need to meet your city’s building requirements, 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 plan and construct in the best possible way. Contact the experts at Sea Pointe Construction today to explore the possibilities.

How to Update Your Kitchen Design for 2018

How to Update Your Kitchen Design for 2018

© Marc Weisberg | http://marcweisberg.com

There is no arguing that the kitchen is the focal point of any home – it’s the one place that brings everyone together, whether for entertaining purposes or just as a gathering spot after a long busy day. Once upon a time, kitchens were considered just functional spaces where meals were prepared, and dishes washed. Not anymore! Today’s modern kitchens have evolved into the central hub of the home, brimming with updated technology and fabulous design style.

Oftentimes, when considering a home remodel, the kitchen is the very first place homeowners look to start. A gorgeous, multifunctional kitchen design can set the tone for the rest of the home. We have seen many kitchen design trends over the years, but the trends for 2018 are shaping up to provide us with even more incredible kitchen spaces.

Smart Kitchens

One of the biggest trends going into 2018 is the smart kitchen. Technology has made a grand entrance into the modern kitchen, and not just in the form of high end appliances and fancy gadgets. We are seeing technology being integrated into every function and appliance. From motion sensor faucets to refrigerators that can alert you to when your groceries are running low, technology is making a splash in a big way. There are even gadgets that can monitor your eggs and can tell you which ones are the freshest!

If you are replacing your cabinets during your kitchen renovation, consider adding a drawer or two that are equipped with power outlets. This ingenious design allows you to charge all your electronic devices, safely tucked away, without the unsightly mess of cords and equipment strewn all around the counters.

Your smartphone or tablet is also able to link to many of today’s kitchen appliances. There are ovens that can be operated right from your device, refrigerators that will allow you to peruse their items and even lights that can be controlled right from your phone.

Playing with Color

© Marc Weisberg | http://marcweisberg.com

White and grey cabinets continue to dominate as the top cabinet colors going into 2018. As with any modern design trend, clean and simple styles have become favorites for homeowners. They are beautiful, timeless and easily integrated into most kitchen design styles, which is why homeowners continue to love them.

Adding some contrast and interest however, another color palette is slowly making its way into the kitchen. Dark jewel tones, such as navy, emerald green, black and even plum are popping up all over. It might surprise you, but these dark colors, either in cabinets or as accent colors, work amazingly well to enhance a kitchen space and give it a dramatic and luxurious feel.

Planning a Functional Outdoor Kitchen

Planning a Functional Outdoor Kitchen

Outdoor Kitchen RemodelToday, outdoor entertainment means much more than barbecue grills and patio furniture. On average, Orange County residents are spoiled with more than 280 days of sunshine a year, which is why these outdoor spaces have taken on the name “California Rooms”.  California rooms have become an extension of our homes, and most include outdoor kitchens for entertaining. Custom outdoor kitchens can include pizza ovens, wet bars, refrigerators, cook top burners, smokers, and warming drawers.

Remodeling and designing your outdoor kitchen can be a dream come true. Not only does it add value to your home, but if you like to have people over and enjoy entertaining, odds are you will be using your outdoor kitchen for more than just the occasional barbeque. Your outdoor California room can include anything you can dream up – large family dining tables, comfy couches in front of a built-in fireplace, televisions, bars, you name it. The days of running back and forth from the backyard to the kitchen are over. You can now eat and relax with guests, all while enjoying our great weather.

While one can dream of their perfect outdoor entertaining area, it may be harder to put together a cohesive design and plan than you think. Work with a designer to discuss your kitchen remodel and your vision, and let them handle the design, structural plans, material details and execution.

Two design elements that are paramount to client satisfaction, is having enough counter space in order to prep and serve food, as well as making sure that you have functional storage to avoid the trip back to the kitchen indoors. Make sure your design does not isolate the cook from the rest of the party; there is nothing worse than getting stuck with grill duty while hearing everyone else having a blast!

Lastly, choosing the right furniture and layout for your outdoor space will keep your guests entertained, and your soiree running smoothly, so you can thoroughly enjoy the festivities, too.  Happy planning!

How to Get Ready for a Remodel

How to Get Ready for a Remodel

Now that warmer weather is gracing several parts of the country, many new remodeling projects are underway. From whole home makeovers to even the smallest closet expansion, it is always wise to prepare yourself for what is in store for the smoothest of transitions. Here are some ways to help get yourself and your family ready for your upcoming home remodeling project.

How to Get Ready for a Home Remodel - Sea Pointe Construction Blog


Home Remodeling Projects to Start During Winter

Home Remodeling Projects to Start During Winter

Here in sunny Southern California, we are lucky enough to not have to worry about elements such as snow to make our winters harsh. This makes our job as Orange County home renovators a little bit easier, since we are not slaves to the weather in terms of what construction projects we take on. Plus, there are a number of home maintenance and remodeling projects that are best done during the chilly months. Whether it’s the weather that makes them ideal, or the comfort they add to your home, these projects are perfect for starting during winter.

Home Remodeling Projects to Start During Winter | Sea Pointe Construction Blog

Insulation and Weatherization

Winter is a great time to increase the insulation in your attic. This will help regulate your home’s temperatures, leading to lower heating bills (and air conditioning bills once the weather starts warming up again). Taking care of cracks and misalignment between doors, windows, and their frame will also help to prevent heat escaping your home and keep the cold elements out.

Switch Up Your Floors

Winter is an especially good season to install hard wood floors, because the cool temperature and lack of humidity prevents materials from gapping or water damage. The winter air also helps the adhesive to dry more quickly so you can enjoy the installation sooner. New and well-maintained flooring also helps with better insulation. Alternatively, putting in new carpet can create a cozy atmosphere to an otherwise standard room.


Since the days are typically darker, and nighttime comes sooner in winter, this is an ideal time to add more lighting to your home. Perhaps you have always wanted to install recessed lighting, or you are ready to add a large statement chandelier. Whether you are swapping out old fixtures for new ones, or adding some where there were none before, this will literally brighten up your living space and lend for a more enjoyable indoor area.

Basement Remodeling

Since many basements do not have temperature control, trying to work on them during the hotter months can be excruciating. Reserve basement remodeling for the wintertime when it’s a bit more bearable. Since all the work is underground, your home (and workers) will not be exposed to any elements that might slow down a job.


Giving your home a new paint job can brighten up your indoor space when it seems so dull and dreary outside. Painting can be a fun activity on your own or with your family to beat cabin fever (or get your kids off of their tablets!). Consider light, warm colors that will put you in the mood for spring’s arrival.

Doing small remodeling jobs around the house can make winter exciting, and prepare you for a fresh new year. Sea Pointe Construction can help with your design and build remodeling in Orange County and surrounding Southern California cities. Let us help you end your year with a new beginning for your home and family.