Permits: Why Do You Need Them and For What Projects

Permits are part of just about every remodel project. A permit is required to ensure that a home is properly constructed, that it meets all building code requirements ensuring it is safe for its inhabitants.

The cost of a permit varies by the scope of the project, the number of inspections required, the city in which the project takes place, and the square footage involved. The time involved to obtain a permit also depends on the size of the project. A smaller project can often be reviewed “over the counter” while remodels or additions that are larger in scope need to go through a longer, more detailed review period.

Pulling a permit is beneficial to the homeowner in a number of ways. You can only get a permit once your plans have been reviewed and approved. This ensures key structural, electrical, plumbing, and other code requirements are addressed on the drawings for implementation by the builder and tradespeople. After work has begun, inspections are scheduled and the work must pass in order for the project to continue. This also protects the homeowner against a contractor who might be cutting corners on materials, workmanship, or trying to avoid following required code guidelines.

“Even the seemingly smallest of home improvement projects can involve multiple trades,” explains Harrell Remodeling designer, Rafael Gomez. “For instance, a bathroom remodel can involve tile work, electrical plumbing, structural, and drywall just to name a few. A permit and follow up inspections ensures each of these are done properly.”

There are some home improvement or remodel projects that do not require a permit including:

  • Roof repairs less than 100 square feet
  • Exterior or interior painting
  • Like for like window replacement (no structural work required)
  • Exterior siding or stucco replacement as long as there is no structural work
  • Fences 6 feet tall or less
  • Landscaping walls 4 feet or less in height
  • Installing flooring (no structural work required)
  • Constructing a detached shed 120 square feet or less with no electrical or plumbing

Since each city has it’s own permitting guidelines, is always best to check with your local Building Department to establish the exact requirements before beginning work.

There are also repair permits, which enables homeowners to replace a damaged area for a considerably smaller fee. These permits have less code update requirements since this is an involuntary project and the owner is typically fixing an issue rather than undertaking an update for aesthetic reasons.

Just about any remodel or addition entails obtaining a permit. A kitchen or bathroom remodel, two of the most popular among homeowners, typically require detailed drawings and permits.

“Any time you open the walls in a home, this is an opportunity to bring a house up to code,” states Rafael. “In bath and kitchen remodels, the requirements for both electrical and plumbing have changed dramatically and during construction is an ideal time to rewire, add in GFCI outlets in the appropriate locations as well as to replace and update plumbing and fixtures. Technically, any time you remodel a bathroom or replace plumbing fixtures, the code requires that all other fixtures in the home must also be upgraded to be CalGreen compliant.”

After meeting with clients and understanding what they want to achieve, Harrell Remodeling undertakes a comprehensive feasibility study. Rafael is Harrell’s point person on these detailed analyses, working closely with all public permitting agencies and utility departments in addition to zoning and green building compliance. The end result is an in-depth understanding of exactly what must be implemented for each unique project. To better equip himself with the ever-changing and extremely detailed world of permitting and building codes, Rafael obtained certification in Building Code Technology.

According to Rafael, “As your Design+Build firm, it is the goal of the entire Harrell Team to be armed with as much information as possible as early on as possible so we can provide a project timeline, address known issues early on, and ultimately create a beautiful new space for our clients.”

Designing and remodeling distinctive homes for over thirty years, Harrell Remodeling creates custom designs that fit our clients’ unique lifestyles. If you are considering a remodel, we invite you to attend one of our Remodeling Workshop Series or schedule a complementary meeting with one of our talented designers.

One of Harrell Remodeling’s premier designers, Rafael Gomez has a background in Architecture and his extensive design experience brings a bold and forward-thinking edge to the Harrell Remodeling design/build team. After graduating from Universidad Autonoma De Guadalajara in 1994 with a Bachelor of Science in Architecture, Rafael became a licensed Architect in Mexico. In 1995 Rafael began his professional career in San Francisco working in both commercial and residential architecture firms. Having worked in the field of design and construction, Rafael possesses a comprehensive design philosophy, which begins with the assumption that design is an intelligent process through which people arrange their environment. Establishing a relationship with his clients based on mutual trust and respect, Rafael carefully listens to client needs to create a custom design that fits their unique lifestyle. Designs that allow for function, durability and longevity are Rafael’s trademark. Thanks to his extensive project feasibility research and collaboration with our production department and engineers guarantee, these designs come to life. Rafael joined the Harrell Remodeling team after 12 years of design/build experience. His vision and attention to detail have won him many awards from NKBA kitchen renovations to whole house remodels as well as new homes.

Outlet Technology

Earlier this year, Harrell Remodeling Designer Genie Nowicki, spent three days at the annual Kitchen & Bath Industry Show (KBIS) where she was immersed with the latest industry products, trends, and technologies. Although not as sexy as steam showers, spa bathtubs, and the latest fixtures, electrical outlet technology was prevalent at KBIS.

According to Genie, “Kitchens and bathrooms have considerable code requirements. These are spaces in which numerous appliances are used around water, so there are strict guidelines around the placement and type of outlets used. At KBIS, there were some really exciting solutions to make unsightly outlets more visually pleasing, or unique ways to hide them completely.”

Outlet Technology

With more and more devices requiring USB ports for charging, electrical outlets are finally incorporating this technology and docking stations are being integrated into kitchens and baths.

Smart WiFi plugs are remote control devices, enabling automation to actively manage any appliance, light, or device via an app or using a smart home assistant. Affordable and easy to install, these smart plugs allow you to control or schedule lights and temperature, pre-heat hair styling devices with the touch of a button, regulate your kid’s access to gaming consoles and television, and monitor your home’s energy efficiency.

For years, outlet trim plates have been available in a variety of colors, designs, and finishes but the outlets themselves hadn’t followed suit. Finally, outlets are being designed in a number of metallic finishes to create a seamless, cohesive appearance.

Creative Outlet Placement in the Kitchen

GFCI outlets are required to be placed every four feet in a kitchen, and within two feet or less of the edge of a sink or cooking surface. There are multitudes of ways to make outlets less conspicuous, maintaining function without compromising the aesthetics of your space.

  • Under cabinet outlets: The outlet or outlet strip is hidden from view but may have “dangling” appliance cords.
  • Pop-up outlets: Tucked into the surface of a countertop, these low-profile outlets are made accessible by simply pushing on the them to have them ‘pop’ above the counter or pushing them down to hide them away. These may not be accepted by all building departments.
  • Outlet post: Nestled between cabinets, a post is a great way to incorporate outlets.
  • Hinged cabinet facade: Hiding outlets behind a hinged drawer façade allows accessibility when needed but is disguised when not in use.
  • Recessed below counter: An outlet strip can be hidden underneath a deep countertop edge, peninsula, or island overhang for easy access without compromising design.
  • Inside drawers/cabinets: A great place to install a docking station for tablets, phones, and others devices.

Creative Outlet Placement in the Bathroom

Just as in kitchens, our bathrooms must have GFCI outlets and have equally strict requirements on placement. We typically have a number of personal grooming devices that can crowd our countertops, creating a tangle of cords and a battle over outlet access. This can be resolved with creative and functional outlet placement.

  • Medicine cabinets with built-in outlets: great for storing and charging electric razors and toothbrushes.
  • Inside cabinets: A great way to get outlets off walls is to place them inside cabinets. USB outlets allows for charging of phones, wireless speakers, and tablets.
  • Underneath counters: An ideal blend of accessibility and functionality.
  • Inside drawers: Outlets at the back of a drawer is ideal for plugging in hair styling or personal grooming devices.
  • Pop-up outlets: These low-profile outlets work well in bathrooms and can be set into the countertop.

“It’s always exciting to offer clients inventive new ways in which to integrate outlets in bathrooms and kitchens that both maximize and personalize the function and beauty of the space. Plus, the evolving technology that allows homeowners to control appliances at the touch of a button is very desirable,” shares Genie.

Are you dreaming of updating your kitchen or bath? Schedule a complementary meeting today and allow the design team at Harrell Remodeling to help you discover what’s possible.

Genie Nowicki, senior designer, holds numerous certifications in design, and is a renowned authority of Universal Design, and the recipient of multiple awards. Genie joined the Harrell Remodeling team after years of running her own successful design business. Beginning her career in the world of income tax planning, she made a career leap in 1990 to the equally “detail and code-filled world” of kitchen and bath design. Genie obtained her Certification in Professional Kitchen and Bath Design in 1992 and achieved her Certified Kitchen Designer (CID) and Certified Bath Designer (CBD) status in 1996. After passing another rigorous examination, she became a Certified Interior Designer (CID) in the State of California in 2002 and a Certified Aging in Place Specialist (CAPS) in 2006. Her experience has included residential interior design, kitchen and bath design, barrier free/Universal Design, lighting design, and participation in numerous showcase houses in the Bay area, as well as several commercial projects. Genie prides herself on listening to her clients and providing timeless design work that is appropriate to her clients, their lifestyles, and their homes. Her excellence in design has been recognized with awards, projects published in local and national magazines, and a Sunset design book, and an article she wrote was featured in the Fine Homebuilding Kitchen and Bath Annual Issue.

Incorporating Color In Cabinetry

Color is just one way homeowners can express their personality. A popular way to incorporate color is with cabinetry, which is especially popular in kitchens. Once upon a time, high quality cabinet color choices were very limited, but these days, just about any color is available, opening up a myriad of amazing design possibilities.

Harrell Remodeling Design+Build’s award-winning Certified Kitchen Designer (CKD), Gloria Carlson, has helped numerous clients remodel their kitchens, including integrating colored cabinetry. “Using color is very personal,” Gloria explains. “Although many homeowners want a palette that uses muted color, others get pleasure from bolder colors that are more unique to them.”

According to Gloria, the key to incorporating colored cabinets is to choose a focal point. This is an area in the room, such as a kitchen, that you immediately want people to notice. Gloria suggests choosing a feature or material that you love and working around that. It could be a unique backsplash, the island, a high-end range or vent hood, or individual colored cabinets. This focal point is the starting point around which everything else must revolve.

Choosing a cohesive, pleasing color palette is also incredibly important. Choosing complementary colors (those that are directly opposite of each other on the color wheel) work well together, or as Gloria says, they “pop each other.” Complementary colors make a bigger statement, and are more vibrant and contrasting. When homeowners want to break out of the safe color box it’s also important that they don’t overdo a good thing.

“I had a client who had already purchased their kitchen countertop material, which was a beautiful blend of blue and mushroom beige,” shares Gloria about a recent kitchen remodel. “These homeowners wanted to make a bold statement so we used the countertop colors in the cabinetry, and we complemented that with a vibrant orange Dacor range as the focal point.”

When choosing colored cabinets, Gloria generally recommends purchasing cabinets outside of California. Other states aren’t restricted to water-based paints, which enables cabinet makers to use a much more durable baked-on colored varnish.

The style of cabinet also comes into play where color is concerned. A more neutral or “safe” palette can typically be matched with just about any style of cabinet but if bold hues will be used, it is best to avoid traditional cabinetry.

Colored cabinets can be mixed and matched in a variety of ways. The upper cabinets can be one color while the lowers are another. Alternately, the island can be one hue while all the perimeter cabinets are another. Yet another option is to have individual colored cabinets, using them as a focal point. Colored cabinets can also be combined with dark or light wood cabinetry, making a very distinct visual statement.

When asked about colored cabinets, Gloria’s advice to her clients is to go for the “ROE—Return on Enjoyment versus the ROI.” If the homeowners are planning to stay in their residence for a while, Gloria encourages them to think more about their personal enjoyment of their home rather than worry about resale years down the road.

“Sometimes something that is truly unique—like that blue, mushroom, and orange kitchen combination—becomes timeless in a different way,” Gloria clarifies.

Are you exploring the idea of colored cabinetry in your kitchen? Schedule a complimentary consultation with Gloria or another of Harrell’s designers to discover how color can enhance your space and fit your personal style.

Gloria Carlson, Harrell senior designer, earned two degrees from Stanford University before beginning her career in Speech Technology. When she remodeled her home in 2001, she realized that design was her passion and true calling. She went to work for her contractor and returned to school to study Interior Design at Cañada College, where she specialized in Kitchen and Bath Design and Green/Sustainable Design. Gloria quickly realized that the kitchen was her favorite room to design, and decided to focus her years of training on this specialty, including multiple examinations from the National Kitchen and Bath Association, and earned the title of Certified Kitchen Designer (CKD). Before joining Harrell Remodeling, Gloria worked as a Designer in a Kitchen and Bath showroom, and now she enjoys designing projects of all sizes, from a small bathroom update to whole house interior and exterior remodels and additions.

Gloria prides herself on listening to her clients and providing designs that are appropriate to their lifestyles and their homes. She possesses a practical approach to her projects, creative style, and responsiveness to her client’s needs. She also is very attentive to both budget and detail. “Remodeling one’s home can be stressful, so I try to make the process as fun as possible,” says Gloria. “I listen carefully to the homeowner’s desires, whether functional, aesthetic or budgetary, and come up with a plan that will work for them. Then, throughout the project, they know they can count on me to respond quickly to questions and help with decisions.”

Gloria has won multiple awards for her designs from the local chapters of NKBA, NARI, ASID and IFDA. Outside of work, Gloria loves to play tennis, and being a “foodie”, enjoys everything epicurean.

Garage Doors: The Gateway to Curb Appeal

One of the most frequently used home additions is the garage. It rolls convenience, safety, security, and storage all into one. As a key component to your next custom remodeling project, a new garage or simply a new garage door can dramatically alter your Bay Area home’s appearance. And newer garage doors may provide improved function. If thinking about enhancing the curb appeal of your home, you may consider these options available for today’s garage doors.

Wood

Wood is a traditional garage door material that provides a more natural appearance. It blends in particularly well with brick, stone, and wood homes. Depending on the design, it can be elegant or rustic. Wood is a popular choice for carriage house designs and often comes with windows in the upper portion of the doors.

Metal

Metal garage doors for Bay Area homes are traditionally made of steel and aluminum. Traditional steel doors offer higher durability and an added sense of security. A more modern steel door, often called a sandwich construction, is now available with varying degrees of insulation to help ward off energy loss. Aluminum provides a sleeker look and is a much lighter weight material, although still durable. Both materials can be painted as needed to coordinate with the rest of your home’s exterior.

Fiberglass

If you like the look of wood but prefer a less weather sensitive material that is easier to maintain, fiberglass may be the answer for you. Fiberglass doors are made in a broad variety of styles, including faux wood finishes available in different colors and grains.

Glass Panels

Many attached garages are incorporated into the front of the house, while other homes have detached garages that sometimes function as temporary workshops for hobbyists. The need for glass panels on a garage door can be dictated by the desire to have the door coordinate with the appearance of the home or to increase the natural light within the space.
Garage doors with large glass panels are also available and marry well with homes that have a high incidence of glazing. Adding glass panels to a garage door can balances the exterior appearance and provide a source of natural light to the interior.

Classic Versus Carriage

Classic garage doors are typically laid out in blocks and rows of rectangles. As the door rises, they roll up and disappear into the garage ceiling. Carriage house doors hearken back to the horse-drawn carriage era, and typically open outward from the center. Choose your carriage house hardware and windows carefully to create a plain or more ornate look. Add lift handles and knockers for an even greater authentic appearance.

If you’re not sure which look will best enhance your curb appeal, talk it over with our design and build team from Harrell Remodeling.

How Harrell Protects Your Home

At Harrell Remodeling, our slogan is one we take to heart: We never forget it’s your home.

Harrell Site Manager, Mario Rivera, takes these six words very seriously each time he begins a new project.

“The very first thing we do is to make sure that our client’s home is properly protected. I try to talk in detail with every homeowner, letting them know exactly how we will protect their property. In the back of my mind, I always consider “What if” scenarios. By installing protective materials, my team works to minimize these possibilities.”

Installing and instituting protective measures is mutually beneficial. It safeguards the health and safety of both the homeowners and Harrell workers as well as defends against potential damage during a remodel. The on-site Harrell Team focuses on a number of areas within a home, each of which are dependent upon the project’s duration, scope, and exact location on the job site.

CARPETS & RUGS
For short duration projects, typically those under a month, carpet tape is used to shield most carpeting and large area rugs. This plastic material has an adhesive-type backing, which allows it to adhere to the flooring, providing a barrier against dirt and damage and a non-slip upper surface. (This tape shouldn’t be used on wool carpets, as it will pull out the strands.)

When a home remodeling project exceeds a month, more substantial measures are employed. This includes placing a paper (not plastic) under-layer barrier on top of the carpet to protect from moisture and possible mold build-up. This is followed by thick cardboard and thin wood or Masonite on top. This method offers multiple levels of protection that will withstand the daily rigors of a home remodel, including ladders scaffolding, and rough materials.

For carpeted stairs, a sturdy plastic non-slip membrane is applied. If the use of carpet tape is not possible, we will apply a product called Eco-Runner. This material is taped securely to the railing and baseboard. The angular nature of stairs requires the Eco-Runner material to be inspected frequently to ensure it remains intact, secured, and at peak protective performance. Railings and balusters also are swathed in a protective plastic under layer and adhered with a foam-padded tape. If necessary, thick rolls of cardboard can be shaped to protect the balusters to guard against heavier traffic.

HARDWOOD, TILE, LINOLEUM
Eco-Runner is a fantastic material for each of these types of flooring for short-term projects. For remodels over 30 days, durable plywood and cardboard are layered on top of the plastic runner to ward off scratches, dings, or other damage to the flooring beneath.

“Most flooring is very unique and if harmed, is often challenging to repair. Applying a variety of materials to guard against damage is well worth it,” explains Mario.

WALLS
Though drywall is easier to repair than hardwood or tile should it get damaged, that doesn’t deter Harrell Remodeling from employing cautionary measures. Often used as a primary interior artery for workers and materials, hallways are wrapped floor to ceiling in heavy-duty plastic using a zip wall dust barrier system, which minimizes denting as well as keeps dust from spreading. Zippered doorways allow access into closets, bed and bathrooms. To further inhibit damage to walls, 4 foot by 8 foot spans of thick cardboard called thermo-ply are leaned against high traffic areas, especially at corners.

DOOR JAMS
Protecting door jams, especially in high traffic areas, is a necessity and there are materials made exclusively for this purpose. The Harrell Team uses a plastic and cardboard C-shaped material that fits perfectly over the trim, offering instant defense against dings.

DUCTING & LIGHTING
Cold air exchanges can’t be covered, as they are necessary for your furnace to run properly so at the end of each project, air filters are replaced. Floor and wall heating grills in active work areas are covered to keep dust at bay.

For lighting that isn’t a heat source, such as LEDs, plastic can be applied. Since dust can impede the functionality of smoke detectors, they are either covered or replaced once the project is completed.

FURNISHINGS
Says Mario, “Though we always recommend moving as much furniture as possible out of the active work area, sometimes that isn’t realistic. When this happens, we cover each piece with a thin painter’s plastic and, if necessary, also use the zipper poles and heavy duty plastic walls to allow accessibility and added perimeter protection.”

Mario also lets homeowners know they should remove artwork, bookshelves, or other items on any walls that may be impacted by vibrations caused by work in progress on either side.

LANDSCAPING & EXTERIOR
When working on the exterior of a home, Harrell Remodeling subscribes to the same mantra of treating each of our client’s home with courtesy and respect. Though landscaping is more challenging to protect completely, the goal is to minimize the impact to lawns, bushes, and trees. Trees are surrounded with a barrier of 2X4s, temporary fencing, and caution tape while bushes will be pulled away from exterior walls during work. Lawns can be protected with plywood, which is often raised up on bricks or concrete pavers to allow airflow.

DRIVEWAYS
Since every driveway is unique, the onsite Harrell Team takes into account every aspect of the project that could result in damage over the duration of the job. Driveways can be fashioned from numerous materials including pavers, asphalt, stamped or brushed concrete. If the drive will be a high-traffic thoroughfare, including moving heavy or sharp materials to the actual project location, or if there is a possibility of spills, the location will be protected with a heavy-duty plastic topped by a layer of plywood or OSB sheets, secured together with metal clips.

If the drive will only be used as a walkway, a patterned orange liner is applied is the path of travel. The pattern designates the area of defined usage, ensuring cleanliness while avoiding damage.

Since most residential driveways are not able to withstand the weight of large vehicles or material loads, the on-site team will have any heavy materials delivered to the jobsite dropped off curbside. This avoids potentially cracking the driveway concrete slab, which can result in an expensive repair.

THE AIR
Undergoing a home remodel is dirty and dusty, adding extra particulate matter into the air. Though we do our best to cut wood, tile, and other materials outside, this isn’t always possible. To mitigate this, all tools are connected to a vacuum, which automatically switches on and off with the tool to collect dust. Hoods are used on saws to keep sawdust contained, and we always use HEPA filters to clean the air. Air scrubbers absorb and minimizing the spread of fine dust and particles, protecting both the homeowners and workers.

DAILY CLEAN UP
At the end of each workday, Mario shares that each onsite team sweeps, vacuums, and removes debris. Openings in walls and floors are covered, tools and materials are set aside and covered with plastic, leaving the work area as tidy and safe as possible.

“Protection is very important to me. I do it out of appreciation, safety, and respect of the homeowners as well as for the safety and health of my team and myself,” Mario says.

Mario Rivera began working in the construction trade in 2002, beginning with basic framing. Fascinated by tools and building from a very young age, Mario was hired in 2014 as a carpenter for Harrell Remodeling, working his way to site manager thanks to his diligence, passion, and attention to detail. He firmly believes that the manner in which Harrell Remodeling treats their clients’ homes is just one way in which the company rises above the rest.

“When you’re choosing a contractor, it is really important to find out how they will safeguard your home and your safety,” Mario states.

Are you dreaming of a remodel? Schedule a consultation with one of our amazing Designers to discover how Harrell Remodeling can transform your home.

How to Incorporate Color in Your Home

Color infuses a space with character. There are numerous ways in which homeowners can introduce color throughout their residences. For some, there is no such thing as too much color while others shy away from adventurous hues.

“Whether you are bold or color-timid, you can incorporate color to fit your personality, adding warmth and distinctiveness to your home,” explains Harrell Designer, Debra Winston.

Accent walls, backsplashes, wallpaper, and cabinetry are great ways to make a bold color statement. But for those who would prefer not to see bold color everywhere all of the time, Debra suggests a “stealth surprise.”

“I have a client in San Jose who loves color and isn’t afraid to use it,” says Debra. “One of the ways they integrated adventurous shades was to add a fun wallpaper on an accent wall or use a pop of color on the inside of their closets. In the same way that a bright lining on a classic jacket provides a flash of color and personality, it makes them smile every time they select their outfit for the day. This ‘stealth surprise’ is a fantastic way for people who are concerned about having too much color overwhelm the space to dip their toes in the water.”

Whatever hue you choose for your covert closet color, pull pops of that same tone in adjacent rooms using colorful pillows, rugs, artwork, and other accent pieces.

For many, their home tends to focus on neutral tones. Debra has noticed that most people strive for warmth and stability in the overall color they choose. Décor and accent pieces offer incredible opportunities to infuse color as do kitchen appliances. Accessories in a kitchen such as a colorful tea kettle, trivet, painting or wall hanging add punch without permanency. Bedding, pillows, and towels can easily (and fairly inexpensively) be changed in baths and bedrooms. The same concept can be applied throughout the house, creating an entirely different mood based on the season or as a way to experiment with current design trends.

Painting the exterior of your entry door is another way to invite that pop of personality. Just as with the interior, the majority of homeowners also opt for a neutral tone for the exterior of their home. Choosing a complimentary yet bold shade for your entry door creates visual interest as well as curb appeal without making a major color commitment. A red door is a classic and historic symbol of welcome, or go with a vibrant tangerine to catch the eye (and make it easy for people to find your home)!

A popular home design trend is painting all interior doors a rich charcoal gray. When coupled with crisp white trim and a soft gray wall color, this palette is elegant and sophisticated, working well with a variety of design and decor aesthetics. Use a satin or semi-gloss finish paint to keep fingerprints at bay.

Color should welcome you, making you feel at home. Bold or subdued, deliberate or stealthy, however you choose to use color is an expression of you. It can be playful or classic, cosmopolitan or traditional. A lot or a little, color adds distinctiveness, warmth, and richness to every room, every space, and every home.

Debra Winston has been with Harrell Remodeling Design + Build since 2014 and has received numerous awards for her designs. Her fine arts background and her 13 years as a fashion designer for Ralph Lauren in New York City give Debra a unique design sense that benefits Harrell Remodeling clients. Debra specializes in Kitchen and Bath redesign and is a Universal Design Certified Professional (UDCP), as well as whole-house remodels and room additions. Debra takes great pleasure in guiding her clients’ through the design + build process. She listens closely to what they want, and what will actually work for them. Her goal is to provide the best solution for every client’s distinct needs and lifestyles.

Looking for inspiration? Contact the design + build team at Harrell Remodeling and discover how we can transform your Silicon Valley house into an amazing home.

Unique Outdoor Rooms Offering Sun, Shade & Shelter

Outdoor living areas are one of the most sought after home improvement spaces for leisure and entertainment. One of the most challenging aspects of making these outdoor rooms both functional and enjoyable is finding that sweet spot between sun and shade while mitigating the impact of rain and other elements. Though traditional architecture offers some solutions, it also has its limitations.

Enter the revolutionary louvered outdoor structure from Struxure Outdoor (formerly Arcadia Building Products). The zero to 170-degree louvered roofing zones can be opened to a multitude of angles, providing the ideal amount of shade or sun as desired. They can also be closed completely, keeping out the rain or offering a fully shaded environment during the heat of the day.

In keeping with Smart Home technology, the iLouver app allows homeowners to schedule pre-set daily open and close times as well as choose from preset louver positions. An optional rain sensor shuts the interlocking louvers automatically at the first drop of rain, funneling to the built-in gutter system that can either be directed to an existing downspout or to a downspout hidden within its posts. Electrical wiring for lighting, heaters, and ceilings fans can also be tucked away inside beams for a streamlined appearance.

“These structures originally found their foothold in the commercial realm but are now taking off residentially,” explains Harrell’s Outdoor Designer, Lisa Parramore. “The maintenance is practically nonexistent and the cost is less than building out a roof, which prevents natural light from entering into your home.”

The epitome of distinct outdoor luxury, these scalable structures can be designed for spaces large and small, including patios, courtyards, decks, swimming pools, entryways, verandas, as well as outdoor kitchens and living rooms. Manufactured in the Unites States from durable powder coated aluminum, these innovative pergola-type structures are engineered and built to the exact specifications required in your unique outdoor space. Able to withstand severe wind and weather, homeowners don’t have to forego appearance for steadfastness and durability. Each design also undergoes a comprehensive structural engineering process, adhering to all local building requirements.

Struxure’s state-of-the-art outdoor configurations fit any architectural aesthetic, from traditional to contemporary. Clients can choose from five standard color options and a myriad of custom colors as well as optional architectural elements including traditional rafter tail and cornice designs. These high-end outdoor systems also allow your local remodeling company to customize the pergola on-site to further enhance the appearance matching it with the exterior of your residence.

“The louvered outdoor structure is a breakthrough in outdoor living with so many residential applications,” says Lisa. “It is by far one of my favorites for creating functional and beautiful outdoor spaces.”

Harrell Remodeling’s award-winning certified Professional Landscape Designer, Lisa Parramore is passionate about creating indoor-outdoor living spaces that inspire her clients to embrace and celebrate the California lifestyle. After living and working for two years in Japan, her projects embrace the extraordinary relationship between traditional Japanese architecture and its surroundings. Lisa co-authored the winner of the 2006 Best Gardening Book Award, Living with Japanese Gardens, and Japan Home with Chadine Flood Gong, ASID. With her ability to beautifully integrate a home’s interior with the outdoors, Lisa brings a distinct vision and design sense to the Harrell Team.

Fall in love with your backyard again! Start a conversation with one of our designers today about creating an outdoor space that fits your lifestyle.

Images courtesy of Struxure Outdoor.

Color Trends for 2019

The colors we choose for our home speak volumes about our personality and style. When it comes to color, some homeowners are more adventurous while others lean toward hues that are mild and understated yet still convey individuality.

Color has a direct impact on our emotions. Some homeowners desire an overall neutral palette that creates a pleasing, tranquil space while others prefer introducing lively hues that provoke an energetic atmosphere. Whatever your preferred palette profile, there are many ways to introduce color into your home.

Clothing is the catalyst for residential color trends, working its way from fashion into our living spaces. For the past few years, gray has been a forerunner in the neutral color space, replacing browns and beiges that once graced the walls of many a Bay Area home.

In keeping with this popular color inclination, Benjamin Moore’s Color of 2019 is Metropolitan,  an adaptable, stylish, and understated neutral gray. The company also creates a coordinating color palette designed to work beautifully with their starring hue.

Says Ellen O’Neill of Benjamin Moore, “Metropolitan AF-690 emanates nuance, harmony and extravagant ease. Always adaptable, it softens to matte or shimmers with sheen. It’s neutral. It’s understated. It just is. This is color, off-duty.”

Sherwin Williams has traveled down a different path with their rich terracotta hue, Cavern Clay,  the earthy quality of which works well as an accent wall coupled with neutral tones or as a standalone color, infusing a warm sophistication to an entire room.

Pantone recently announced that their Color of the Year for 2019 is Living Coral, which they describe as “an animated, life-affirming coral hue with a golden undertone that energizes and enlivens.” Vibrant and at the same time soothing, Living Coral embodies our “need for optimism,” providing a sociable, spirited, and playful manner in which to invite connection and intimacy in our home environment.

Other color palettes are finding their way from the runway into hallways, kitchens, and livings spaces. Turquoise, navy blue, metallic including gold and rose gold, and matte black are trending in popularity as homeowners personalize with pigments in a myriad of manners. Adding vibrant pops of color is a great way to infuse character and playfulness throughout your home. Colored cabinets, entry doors, countertops, accent walls, and tile are all wonderful ways to introduce color.

“Navy and other blue tonal values are making headway especially when accented with gold,” explains Harrell Designer, Sara Jorgensen. “In the kitchen, painted cabinets are taking things by storm. Navy works beautifully as a cabinetry color especially when accentuated with gold hardware.”

In addition to navy, gray and white tones are popular palettes for kitchen cabinets. Islands offer an ideal way to introduce accent colors; wood tones are trending as popular ways in which to highlight kitchen islands.

As for metallics, while chrome and satin/brushed nickel remain much-loved among homeowners, brushed brass, rich gold, and the elegance of rose gold are finding a foothold in homes. Drawer pulls and knobs, lighting, and fixtures are classic ways in which to tie in metallic throughout your home.

“Tile is another way to pull in color and texture into a room,” says Sara.

Geometric tiles, especially in black and white, create a high contract focal point.  Tile backsplashes behind cooktops can be designed as a beautiful mosaic or a simply stunning accent. Shower niches are another way to imbue color into a bathroom that otherwise may embrace a neutral palette.

Your home is a blank canvas and the colors you choose for your living spaces are as individual as you. The design team at Harrell Remodeling has their fingers on the pulse of the latest trends. Armed with that information plus your personal preferences, we will make your home come alive with color!

Call us today to schedule a design consultation with a Harrell Designer to discuss your next remodeling project.

Innovative Wallpaper Trends

Once upon a time, wallpaper was an extremely popular home decorating trend but one that after its heyday fell out of favor for decades. Over the past five years, thanks in good part to the popularity of HGTV, wallpaper is making a slow and steady comeback as a home décor option.

Says Harrell Remodeling designer, Debra Winston, “Wallpaper is on the leading edge of home design trends. It is very forward thinking and currently is embraced most often by early adopters who aren’t afraid of color, patterns, and making a bold design statement.”

Debra recently worked with a repeat Harrell Remodeling client who found some unusual wallpapers she wanted to incorporate into her San Jose ranch home. These fun small-run “stealth prints” by Spoonflower included an English floral pattern that upon closer inspection includes dragons interwoven amongst the vines, and another white floral skull print on a deep teal background.

“This client isn’t afraid of color or taking a design risks,” explains Debra. “Though these adventurous patterns aren’t for everyone, wallpaper can have a place in most anyone’s home décor.“

Having worked as a scarf designer for Ralph Lauren before her career shift to designing home interiors, Debra innately understands color and pattern in printed designs. With her finger on the pulse of up-and-coming trends, she is seeing a multitude of wallpaper motifs making waves in the home décor space.


Under the Sea


Underwater themed wallcoverings featuring colorful fish, octopus, and other sea creatures are fun, lively designs that make a vibrant, visually entertaining design declaration. A small amount goes a long way with these animated patterns.


Flora and Fauna


From monochromatic to wildly colorful, these wallpapers include both plants and animals. Inspired by classic motifs, ferns, leaves, and flowers coupled with monkeys, birds, barn owls and butterflies offer a fun and adventurous way to add some whimsy to any room.

“These daring designs pack a punch,” states Debra. “Using this design on an accent wall is ideal to make a visual impact without overdoing a good thing.”


Florals


Always popular, today’s floral patterns are tonal, subtle and soft. Romantic and elegant, these Asian-inspired abstract watercolor and ink wash floral designs are silver, whites, and grays, creating a reflective, textural quality that adds depth and interest. Also making a resurgence are organic, nature-themed floor-to-ceiling murals, such as bare tree branches in silvery whites and grays.


Animal prints


Modern, refined, and opulent, animal prints invite a unique, textural quality to any interior space. Inspired by the diversity of the animal kingdom, these designs include alligator, zebra, cheetah, leopard, and snake prints updated in both muted and bold hues. The cheetah print in navy and white, zebra in a pale, silvery gray, and alligator in navy, silver, or a rich burgundy conjure a contemporary twist.


Geometrics


Timelessly classic, geometric patterns invite a sense of visual order. Many of these wallpaper designs blend a matte shade with a metallic such as navy and gold, or charcoal with copper or rose gold. Many current geometric designs include a French influence by incorporating medallions, traditional brocades, and romantic, curvy designs. Be they linear, angular, curvy, or organic, geometric wall coverings are always sophisticated.


Natural materials

Harkening back to the 1970s are today’s wallpapers that are realistic in appearance. Stacked stone, shiplap, brick, grass cloth, linen, or barnwood, these designs give the illusion of natural materials. Offering visual texture, they often include hints of metallic for depth, deceiving the eye and invoking warmth. It is a way to bring the natural world into our high-tech environments.

“Whether you love daring design or prefer something more subtle, there is a wallpaper that will work for you,” explains Debra.

Debra has been with Harrell Remodeling Design + Build since 2014 and has received numerous awards for her designs. Her fine arts background and her 13 years as a fashion designer for Ralph Lauren in New York City give Debra a unique design sense that benefits Harrell Remodeling clients. Debra specializes in Kitchen and Bath redesign, and is a Universal Design Certified Professional (UDCP). She also works on whole-house remodels and room additions.

Harrell Remodeling has been designing and remodeling distinctive homes in the Bay Area and Silicon Valley since 1985. Contact us today to schedule an appointment with one of our incredible designers in Palo Alto or Los Gatos and discover how we can transform your home, kitchen, or bath.