Monday, August 22, 2011

MISSION ACCOMPLISHED!!!! House Beautiful - Week 8

Well folks, we have the end result you were all waiting for.  This house sat vacant, tired and lonely 8 weeks ago when we closed escrow.  We have transformed this empty neglected house into a dream home as promised.  It was indeed long and laborious but we enjoyed stepping back each day and looking at what we had achieved.

The house turned out exactly as we had planned.  Luckily, we did not run into too many obstacles along the way.  This week the carpet went in and the furniture was delivered. Since furnishing the house before we show it helps give potential buyers a vision, we decided to stage it.  The interior is warm, inviting and functional.  While the house is traditional in its design, there are some contemporary elements as well.  The furniture we chose is transitional.  This means it is a cross between contemporary and traditional.  An advantage to using neutral colors in your furniture pieces is that you can change out the color of your accessories from time to time and freshen up the look of your home!  We added pops of color in the kitchen and used assorted textures such as silver, wood, glass and ceramic to add color and warmth to the livingroom and diningroom!

Here are some pictures of the finished product, but for more impressive before and after shots and progression of the project please cut and paste this link to your browser  and view as a slide show.  feed://

We are hosting an open house wine and cheese Thursday the 25th between 5pm-8pm.  The address is 9 Cottage, Aliso Viejo 92656.  Please feel free bring your friends and check this place out! Thank you for following our blog.  See you at the next "flip"!


Monday, August 15, 2011

The final stretch...Week 7

We had a lot of work cut out for us this week but we managed to tackle the backyard, complete most of the cabinetry and concentrate on some of the smaller details including lighting fixtures, hardware, mirrors etc.

Aliso Viejo is a newer community consisting entirely of tract homes.  This is the only custom home.      Keeping within the guidelines of the Home Owners Association (HOA), we managed to create a unique backyard with ample space for entertaining.  When we originally looked at this house, we realized right away there was enormous potential for a beautiful yard in spite of the overgrown plants, wasted space in the side yard and small concrete area behind the house.   Our minds were already working on this yard before we closed escrow!

Expanding and tiling the patio with lighter and more natural materials gives life to this once drab backyard.  This week we grouted the tile and were able to build the drystack wall.  Rather than using a prefabricated endcap to top off the wall, we purchased a slab of travertine and cut it to create a clean custom look.

Drystack and patio complement each other.

Travertine cap on wall.

Side yard before all the sod is laid

Our next major project was finding just the right plants. Color and privacy were the two things we wanted to achieve.  You can never go wrong with palms.  They gave us the feeling of an intimate oasis setting and the height were were looking for.  We lined the side and back yard with palms and added some flowers for color.  On the side of the house, we laid down sod to soften the appearance.  With so much greenery across the street, we did not want to hardscape the entire yard.  The yard is not complete yet but it's close and we still have one week left to work on it.

Leaving Home Depot with the backyard in our trailer!

Inside we are slowly closing in on the kitchen.  This week the door panels went up, hardware went on and the center island is almost finished!  The door panels are a Shaker style with a slight bevel detail around the inside.  Brushed chrome pulls and knobs add an updated touch to this classic kitchen and tie together the stainless appliances and gooseneck faucet.

Brushed stainless knobs and pulls in the kitchen hide fingerprints well!

Puck lights with a dimmer switch were installed beneath the upper cabinets to add a dramatic accent.

Kitchen in the evening

For the center island we used a piece of Cesarstone called Lagos.  It is in the grey/brown color family and offers the perfect contrast to the grey and white Carrara and white kitchen cabinets.

The  kitchen gets lots of natural light during the daytime.

In the living room, we refaced the fireplace using the same drystack stone as we used in the backyard. We kept the original design framing the drystack to continue with the cottage theme throughout the rest of the house.  We still need to change out the brass trim and handles on the fireplace but it's looking good!

Drystack is being installed.

Still have to replace brass trim and handles.

Lighting is the crown jewel when it comes to furnishing a house.  It is a sure way to highlight any art work or important elements in your home.  Because it is such a key aspect we only shop where we have the biggest selection and most experienced sales people.  Light Bulbs Etc. is an amazing resource if you are in the market for light fixtures.  Not only do they have a beautiful new showroom but they have a huge selection of online items as well.  The management and sales professionals are always eager to assist new and existing clients.  They really dig into the project to help you in the decision-making process.  We have been shopping there for a long time and have never had anything but great experiences with them.  They have three locations including Costa Mesa, Orange and Montclair.

Light Bulbs Etc. Costa Mesa

We selected a chandelier for the dining room that was a more transitional piece.  It will give plenty of light above the dining room table and hopefully complement the furniture choices once the family moves in.

Dining room chandelier

In the downstairs bathroom we chose a triple sconce in polished nickel.  Although it's hard to tell in this picture, the glass has a lot of detail in it.  Since this bathroom is the only bathroom on the first level and also serves as a powder room, we decided to dress it up.  For that reason, we custom built a cabinet to look more like a piece of furniture than a built-in vanity.  

Triple sconce in downstairs bath.

Downstairs bath

In the kids' bath we installed the same light fixtures but the cabinet is less formal as it is white in color and pretty standard in it's design.  We also kept the same door style and plumbing fixtures.   The paint color in the kids' bath turned out to be a great choice.  While it is not a neutral color, it is still versatile, unisex and fun.  And let's face it, when it comes to little kids and hygiene, fun works best!

Kids Bath
After reinstalling the stair rail and painting the spindles, we had to restain the bannister to complement the new hardwood flooring.  The old oak bannister was not going to fly in this newly renovated gem!  So off with the old and on with the new! Our experienced finisher  did an outstanding job!
Left railing is original color. Right railing is the first coat of stain.

Second coat of stain....

Finished product!

Ta da!!!

In the master bath we hung the vanity doors, mirrors and sconces.  The custom vanity looks stellar and offers all the conveniences that a standard store bought piece may not.

Custom vanities and mirrors

Custom furniture is easy to appreciate but it is not always easy to make.  Clients have specific wants and needs and often have something already in mind when remodeling a home.  Austin Hardware, located in Santa Ana, has played a fundamental part of our custom cabinetry business for years.  They have been instrumental in getting us the supplies that we need to run our business.  They have an incredible selection of wood, veneer, moulding and other trim pieces as well as hinges and other hardware.  They are a one-stop-shop for every local contractor.  Nobody can compete with their service.  Check out Yelp and see the stellar reviews. If you are shopping for wood or are indecisive about what would look best in your kitchen, they are a great resource.

Last, here are some of the minor but necessary details we added this week...

Kid's' bath.

Hand towel ring in kids bath
Shower enclosure in downstairs bath

Door panels went on laundry room cabinets.

New front door was installed.

It's hard to believe we are going into our last week on the job!  We are preparing for the carpet installation on Wednesday.  We are looking forward to completing the yard, finishing the kitchen and putting the final touches on the bathrooms but most of all, we are looking forward to seeing you all come through 9 Cottage as we host a wine and cheese open house for our local friends!!!!  Be back next week with the final product and a date for our Wine & Cheese!!!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Three quarters of the way there! - Week 6

Early Monday morning the concrete mixing truck showed up at the house.  Last week we had prepped the backyard by digging trenches and laying rebar.  The concrete truck mixes cement and pumps it into the areas of the yard where we are expanding the hardscape.

After the concrete is poured we have to make sure it is level and smooth so that tile installation is seamless.

 Our next step is to build the wall that will separate the hardscape from the plants. 

The next step in the backyard is to tile-in the patio.  We selected a porcelain tile that has a lot of color variation.  Not only does it give the yard character, but it makes it feel more like an outdoor living space.

This week we installed the countertops that were being fabricated the week prior in our shop.  Before the counters go in, we must lay down plywood subcounter on all the vanities for extra support.

After the plywood goes down, the undermount sinks are installed.  In the master, Crema Marfil is used on the counters.  This marble looks elegant and offers just enough veining and color variation.  The rectangular sinks and squared off faucets compliment the more contemporary tile we used in in the rest of the master. Below, you can see the finished product in the master bath!

...and the kids bath

...and the laundry room
In addition to working on the yard and installing the countertops, almost the entire inside of the house was painted this week.  It took two full days of prepping the walls and windows before anyone could start spraying the crown and base mouldings.

masking off the kitchen windows to prepare for painting

masking off  all light fixtures and loft railings to prepare for paint
After the the mouldings are sprayed, we were able to begin rolling the walls.  Sticking to the neutral palette, we used variations of grey throughout the house.  The colors are subtle but the white mouldings really help make the paint stand out.

Kids Rooms upstairs

Kitchen and the rest of the house
Last but definitley not least is the kitchen!!!  The coutertops were installed and we have almost finished tiling the backsplash.  Appliances were brought in and it's finally beginning to look like a place you can cook in!

Appliances are in! 
Carrara marble 2cm laminated eased edge

3X6 (subway) porcelain tile backsplash

We have two weeks to go before we meet our 8 week deadline!  Please check back next Sunday to see the "almost finished" product!