Tag Archives: Hawaii building tips

How to Optimize Space In Your New ADU

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This entry is part of 11 in the series Accessory Dwelling Unit

 

 

Anyone who’s been looking into ADU designs recently has probably had to face a very stark truth: ADU’s are small. Unlike normal single-family homes, they are each limited to a certain maximum floor space size based on the total size of your lot. Unfortunately, floor space means that even if you decided to build up (to safe ground space), you would still only be able to build so much area worth of rooms. The vast majority of ADUs will be limited to a maximum of 400 sq feet of floor space. This is about enough room for one fairly tight bedroom, a full or 3/4 bath, and an open kitchen and living area. With traditional furniture and storage methods, this can get cramped pretty fast but with a few creative storage and design techniques, you can maximize the living space while remaining within regulation size.

Turning The Walls into Storage

The limitations on ADU size is based on floor space, meaning the area between the walls. But what about the walls themselves? rather than using up a hundred of your square feet for dressers, shelves, and cabinets, why not install them directly into the walls so the floor can be used for comfortable human activity? All you need is a little innovative carpentry to embed stacks of drawers, fold-out shelves, and hidden cupboards to store everything from tools to clothes to kitchenware.

Murphy Beds

The Murphey bed is a simple but effective engineering marvel already well-loved by apartment-dwellers. This design involves a bedframe with what appears to be a tall, recessed headboard. The bed can be folded vertically, with the footboard folding toward the ceiling, to embed itself into the wall, creating floor space for daily activities. With this method, you might be able to comfortably turn the master bedroom into a convertible study and/or fit one or two children’s beds into the living area to better accommodate a young family.

Roll-Away and Platform Beds

Roll-away beds are another innovation that can help you double bed space for floor space. A simple platform, perhaps made into a play area, can hide a full-sized children’s bed that is only rolled out for sleeping time. Platform beds, on the other hand, are out all the time but have either another roll-away bed or large drawers worth of storage underneath.

Ceiling Storage

While lofts will count against your floor space, simply choosing to store things hanging from the ceiling will not. By designing a vaulted ceiling, ladders, and hooks or brackets for hanging storage, you can give your ADU residents a lot more room for their things so the floor space is only occupied by daily activities. These can hold bicycles, potted plants, hanging cleaning supplies, even cabinets that lower themselves on electric rails if you want to go all-out.

Embed the Tech

How much floor space do you want to be taken up by standing lamps, entertainment centers, or computer desks? You can plan for these features as well by embedding them into the walls. An entertainment center can fold out or you can leave a handy recess in the wall with convenient outlets and cable hookups for your resident’s media needs, maybe even with matching recesses for surround-sound speakers. Mount the lights on the walls and ceilings, and take the time to design a corner desk that doesn’t take up much room, once again near convenient outlets.

Most ADUs will be using their limited floor space for traditional furniture, storage, and beds but you can set the trend of optimized comfort and efficiency. Give yourself, your relatives, or your rental tenants the gift of elbow room with a creatively designed ADU, embedded storage, and beds that can be put away. For more advice on building perfect custom ADU, contact us today!

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Just How Big is a 400 sq ft ADU?

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This entry is part 1 of 11 in the series Accessory Dwelling Unit

 

 

Building an ADU on your property is one of the most beneficial things you can do for your neighborhood. It can provide cozy independent housing for retirees, extra housing space for family living with you, or provide a rental home for another family in need of affordable housing. However, building an ADU also comes with some specific limitations, one of which is how big your ADU can be in comparison to the size of your lot. Specifically, if your land is 3,500 square feet to 4,999 sq ft, the largest ADU you can build is 400 sq ft of internal floor space, including lofts. For larger lots, the upper limit caps at 800 square feet. But just how big is this in practical terms? How much walking space, how comfortable is the kitchen, and how many people can share the space without stepping on toes? 400 sq ft is small and 800 isn’t actually that much bigger.

Designing the Floor Plan

The key to building an enjoyable ADU is to understand exactly how much room you have to work with, then choose a floor plan that optimizes a comfortable lifestyle. In fact, the decision of floor plan is incredibly important to this process as you’ll need a design that fits well in your open yard space, is pleasant to live in inside, and suits the intended purposes. For a family, you’ll want to plan for private sleeping and clothing storage areas. For one or two retired elderly, a simple layout with plenty of wide spaces to move around in would be more convenient.

What 400 sq ft Looks Like on a Floor Plan

400 sq feet can be done in a lot of different ways depending on how you design it. The best way to think about a 400 sq ft is that it’s about the size of a two-car garage if square, and is usually about enough space for an open kitchen-living area, a full bathroom, and a one bedroom. The most important decision is how many walls to have. The fewer walls, the more open space you have, and most designs include an open kitchen and living room.

Designed long, you can put the bedroom and bathroom on the ‘private’ end and the kitchen and living room together on the other. This is better for narrow yard space and separating privacy space from visitor space. Square designs can provide more open space, especially if you’re willing to put the bed in the living area. Then, of course, there are all your non-regular options. L-shaped houses and other odd variations may provide for the exact distribution of space and yard use you’re looking for as well.

What About 800 st ft?

Okay, now let’s say you have quite a large plot of land and double that amount of ADU floor space. Now you have room for a separate kitchen and dining area if you want it, but in most cases, you’re better off investing in an extra bedroom or two to accommodate families with children. With creative storage, fold-away beds, and maybe another 3/4 bath, you could now comfortably fit a family of four or five in your ADU as long as they don’t mind small closets. For fewer tenants, you might add a study, guest bathroom, and a larger master suite instead.

Building a welcoming, family-friendly ADU is more complicated than it seems. You want to think carefully about who will be using the ADU and how you can make optimal use of the space available. If you’d like more ideas on how to design and build the perfect ADU plan for your property, please contact us today!

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Are You Starting a Major DIY Home Renovation Project?

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This entry is part of 4 in the series Pinterest

 

Are you considering adding a new room or a new feature to your Hawaii home? If you are, there are various things you will need to consider. One of the first things you will need to consider is what type of addition to your home you will actually like to make.

There are various resources homeowners can use to prepare themselves for what’s ahead when they are considering a home improvement project. With the right tools and resources, you will be able to find everything you need to know about planning, budgeting your project, zoning, etc.

There are some things you can do ahead of time to make sure your home renovation or home addition process runs as smooth as possible. Before you begin work on your home, you should keep these things in mind:

Don’t Leave Anything Out

Before you make the big home remodeling project, it is very important that you consider every aspect of the project. if you are going to remodel a bedroom, bathroom, or the kitchen, you should know what type of changes you want to make. If you plan to spend a significant time in the bathroom, bedroom, kitchen, etc., you should make sure you are going to love the changes. When you have a clear idea of what you want the remodel to look like, you will be closer to getting the area you want.

Clear The Construction Area

If you want to have a smooth home remodeling project, you should make sure the construction area is cleared. You do not want any times to be in the way of the home renovation project. You should make sure you clear your area of any anything that may be in the way, such as tables, furniture, lighting fixtures, etc.

Let People Know

Before you start the home remodeling project, you should let everyone who lives inside the house what your plans are. Everyone who lives in the house should know when you will start this big project, and everyone should also know where the work will take place inside the house.

Do Not Forget About The Animals Or The Little Ones

When you are planning a home renovation project, you will certainly want to keep children out of the area you will be working on. Children inside the house may be fascinated when they see what is taking place inside your home; however, it is important that they are protected at all times. You should also make sure that your animals will not interfere with the home remodeling project.

How Much Will It Cost?

One of the important things you will need to consider when you are taking on a home remodeling project is if you can afford to actually take on the project. After you have thought about everything and you have a full understanding of the project and what it will take to complete it, you should take some time to go over all the costs that you expect to incur. Doing this now will prepare you for everything that is ahead.

Ask Questions

Regardless of the type of remodeling project you are going to take on, you should not be afraid to ask questions when you have them. There are numerous people that are trained to help you create the perfect room you want, and they will make sure you understand every aspect. If you want your remodeling project dream to come to life, you should not hesitate to ask questions.

Are you getting ready to take on a home renovation or home addition project at your Hawaii home? Contact me today for more information.

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Questions to Ask Before Starting a Major DIY Home Renovation or Addition in Hawaii

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This entry is part 3 of 4 in the series Pinterest

If you watch very many home renovation shows, you have seen the good, the bad, and the ugly when it comes to adding to or renovating a house. Some of those shows may have fueled your interest in tackling a major home renovation or addition on your own home in Hawaii. Before you follow through with any grand plans you might have, here are some questions to ask yourself about how ready you are.

Questions to ask about your knowledge and skills

Do you understand everything that needs to be done to complete the renovation/addition?

Renovations and additions are more than just tearing things out and putting other things up. Depending on your project’s scope of work, there may be some work that requires the skills and knowledge of a contractor who has been trained to do the work – like electricians and plumbers. Brainstorming all the possible work will help you get a better understanding of what needs to happen to make your project successful.

Does the project require extensive knowledge and skills?

Some parts of a DIY project are simpler than others, like painting a room or installing new doors. Others, like structural changes, new wiring or plumbing, can get complicated and require more knowledge and skills than you currently have. Be honest with yourself about what you are capable of taking on versus what needs to be done.

What zoning restrictions or local building codes do you need to be aware of? What work can you do without a permit?

No one city or state in the United States has exactly the same zoning restrictions, building codes, or permitting process. Hawaii, in particular, has specific codes, restrictions, and processes for obtaining permits that are designed to preserve as much of each island’s natural beauty as possible for those who live on and visit them. Some places may differ on what work needs a permit, but in Hawaii, most major home renovation or addition projects will require them because of regulations that require any project with more than $1,000 worth of work to be permitted.

Do you have enough time to complete this project?

One of the biggest reasons why some major DIY projects fail to be completed is because the homeowner underestimates the amount of time and effort it will take on their part to finish. Having the skills to take on a project accomplishes nothing if you do not have the time to devote to making sure the project is done right.

What is your budget and do you have room for it to absorb the cost of something happening on the project that you were not expecting?

Before you attempt any kind of DIY project, you should know how much money you have to devote to completing it, as well as how much room there is in your budget in case it takes more time or issues come up.

Will the savings be worth not having it done professionally?

Sure, you can do the work on your own and probably save money doing it, but what will the work be worth in the end? If the project is not done well, it may have to be redone in a few months or a few years and could cost you more, in the long run, to get it done correctly.

Questions to ask about your personal situation

Do you enjoy performing physical labor?

Construction work requires a lot of physical labor. Think about how you feel about doing it before you commit to a major renovation or addition to your home.

Are you a patient person?

A lot of situations come up over the course of a major project like a renovation or addition, with some creating more stress than others. When you are considering an extensive DIY project on your home, look carefully at how patient you are in stressful situations.

Do you finish what you start?

Are you the kind of person who starts things and never finishes them? Major home renovation and addition projects require a high level of commitment in order to complete, so take that into consideration.

How does your family feel about the project?

Before you get started on a DIY project, check in with your family to see what they want and how they feel about it. They are going to be your biggest support system, and you need them on board with you.

What is your conclusion?

Maybe your answers to these questions were an encouraging sign. Maybe they made the prospect of adding to or renovating seem too daunting. Either way, we are here to help you make your home the perfect fit for you and your lifestyle. Our expertise is in designing the spaces you need and creating easy-to-follow, permit ready plans so you can take on a project like this by yourself.

Contact us today for more information.

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What are the Risks & Responsibilities of Being an Owner-Builder in Hawaii?

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Construction costs are soaring across the country, but Hawaii remains one of the most expensive places to build or add to an existing home. Becoming an owner-builder is a cost-saving solution some homeowners are actively considering in order to make their dream home a reality.

If you are thinking about going that route, you may want to know what an owner-builder is and what will be required of you if you become one.

What is an Owner-Builder?

According to the State of Hawaii, an owner-builder “is a property owner [or lessee] who has an owner-builder permit from the county to build or improve residential or farm structures for use either by the owner or his/her grandparents, parents, siblings or children.” This just means you can (with the right permits) build or make improvements on a residential property you own or rent for yourself and your family to use.

Why You Would Consider Becoming an Owner-Builder

The biggest reason people consider taking on the role of an owner-builder is financial. Getting a general contractor (or GC) to do the work can be an expensive proposition when construction costs are only climbing higher. If doing the work can save money, they want to do that instead.

Another thing you will need to consider is how much control you want over the construction process. If you think you can handle all the work that being an owner-builder entails, it might be worthwhile for you.

What You Are Responsible for as an Owner-Builder

When you become an owner-builder, you are taking on the role a GC would normally play in building or adding to your home. This means you are responsible for everything a GC would be responsible for if they did the work. That includes:

  • making sure you comply with all of the laws and rules licensed contractors are required to comply with;
  • supervising the construction work yourself;
  • hiring all of the subcontractors who will be completing the work and making sure the subs are licensed (especially important for electrical and plumbing contractors because they cannot perform a job without being licensed in Hawaii);
  • purchasing materials for the project and coordinating deliveries so they arrive in time for your contractors to do their work;
  • ensuring all of the work done on your home is up to code and passes inspection; and
  • keeping accurate records of everything that happens on the construction site

There is (Much) Risk Involved with Becoming an Owner-Builder

An Owner-Builder who is knowledgeable about construction in Hawaii is the exception, not the rule. When you decide to take on this responsibility on, you are accepting certain risks (some much greater than others), like:

  • Additional expenses that can blow your budget and significant delays because of things you do not know;
  • Not being able to hire the best subcontractors because some will only work with general contractors;
  • Subcontractors and suppliers putting a lien on your property if you do not pay them in a timely fashion;
  • Paying out of your pocket to replace materials that have been damaged because of fires/accidents/vandalism/etc. or for medical care for workers who have been injured in these types incidents because you have not taken out the right insurance policies;
  • (in Hawaii) Not being able to sell or lease what you have added or built for at least a year after you’ve finished the work;
  • (also in Hawaii) Not having access to the Contractors Recovery Fund if something goes wrong while the structure is under construction because the Contractors Recovery Fund is not available to owner-builders; and
  • having to pay penalties and fines for not complying with the requirements for an owner-builder.

How Owner Built Makes Being an Owner-Builder Easier for You

We’ve been doing residential design and engineering work on the island of Oahu for nearly thirty years. Our focus is on creating permit-application ready drawings that are easy for you to understand. You want to build spaces for your home that your family will use for years to come, and we want to help you do it well.

If you have any questions or are ready to start building, contact us today.

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Take A Peek At More Top Ten Pinterest Home Improvement Boards

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This entry is part 2 of 4 in the series Pinterest

Do you feel like you are stuck in the mud during your search for home improvement ideas? Do you want some help planning your upcoming home improvement project? Well, we suggest you take a look at Pinterest.

Pinterest has an unlimited amount of incredible resources that you can use to plan your projects and successfully organize everything. If you need help finding the right paint colors or if you need help unclogging one of your kitchen sink drains, you can find the answers on Pinterest.

Pinterest First-Timer?

If you have never used Pinterest, today is a good day to start. Pinterest is an online scrap board that allows you to search for images and save them to your virtual board. Once you have saved an image, it will be known as a pin. When you save something, you will be asked to choose a board or create your own board. If you are remodeling one of your bathrooms, you will be able to save those images on a board that you can call “Bathroom”.

Pinterest will also give you the chance to follow a variety of boards that have been created by other people on Pinterest. You will also be able to add other images to your board that you have found on other websites. Pinterest is a great way for you to keep all of your ideas organized.

Pinterest is full of resources for your home improvement project. There are so many home improvement boards on Pinterest that you may find it overwhelming to find what you need. This is why we took the time to create a Top Ten list of home improvement boards. We want you to find your inspiration and let your creative juices flow as you are looking through these home improvement boards.

Pinterest Board #1: The Everyday Home DIY Projects

Take a good look at The Everyday Home DIY Projects Pinterest board. You will find various projects for your DIY home improvement projects. You will not be the only one following this board because this board has over 43,000 followers!

Pinterest Board #2: Making Home Base Projects

You will be inspired with these DIY project ideas, decorating tips, and home decor inspiration tips from this board that has nearly 6,000 Pins and over 34,000 Followers.

Pinterest Board #3: Finding Home Projects

With over 1,300 Pins and over 24,000 Followers, you will certainly find a variety of projects that you can do on your own.

Pinterest Board #4: It’s Great To Be Home

Liz has over 9,000 followers on her Pinterest board. Liz has flipped several houses and has amazingly transformed several rooms in houses. If you want to see what she has done for yourself, go ahead and take a peek.

Pinterest Board #5: Things I Want To Build

This Pinterest board has nearly 5,000 followers. If you need ideas for building furniture, storage accessories, etc., you will find some incredible ideas when you view this board.

Pinterest Board #6: Our Mindful Home

If you are looking for ideas about modern architecture, outdoor design, and a variety of creative ideas for your home improvement project, you should take a look at this Pinterest board.

Pinterest Board #7: My Painted Furniture

If you want to update your furniture with paint and other things, I think you should take a good look at this Pinterest board, known as My Painted Furniture. Jacqueline has over 1,500 followers.

Pinterest Board #8: House Made Home

If you are looking for inspirations to turn your house into your home, you will love this Pinterest board. It does not matter if your projects are small or big, you will find some great inspiration on this board.

Pinterest Board #9: DIO Home Improvement Tutorials

This Pinterest board has over 5,000 followers and over 70 pins. You will find some outstanding tutorials on the DIO Home Improvement board. You may be surprised at all the home improvement transformations you can do on your own.

Pinterest Board #10: Home Made Modern: Style For The Home

This board has nearly 4,900 followers and over 250 pins. You will certainly be inspired by this incredible collection of ideas for a modern home.

Are you looking for more inspiring and creative ideas for your home improvement project? Do not hesitate to contact me.

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Do I Need an Erosion and Sediment Control Plan?

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This entry is part 1 of 4 in the series Erosion & Sediment Control Plan (ESCP)

If you plan to do construction on your property such as building a home or other structure, it’s important to understand the new regulations set forth by the Department of Permitting and Planning. These regulations pertain to the erosion and sedimentation of your property and the property surrounding it. Here are the details of what is expected of you as the homeowner.

Who needs an Erosion and Sediment Control Plan

For any type of construction work that will disturb the land, you must submit an Erosion and Sedimentation Control Plan. The following are examples of the type of work that falls into that category:

This is only a partial list.

What is an Erosion and Sedimentation Control Plan (ESCP)

In simplest terms, the ESCP is a document that explains how you plan to prevent or reduce erosion during the construction process and “minimize the impacts of sediment, turbidity, and hydrologic changes off-site.” In other words, how will you ensure your construction project will not harm the environment, lands, or waters off-site? You may be wondering who is responsible for this documentation. The answer is the homeowner is.

Why is this necessary?

Any time the land is disturbed there is the risk that dirt, debris, and other waste will end up in the water sources. For example, when you dig a foundation for a home, it stirs and exposes soil. Then later when it rains or water is used during the project, the loose soil washes away from the site and ends up eventually in lakes, streams, and oceans. This wreaks havoc on our water. Protecting the oceans and streams from pollution is important for the community.

How long does my control plan have to be?

There is no set length for your ESCP but it must be thorough enough for the project you’re doing. If you are doing extensive construction and will be disturbing large quantities of soil, then your plan will be more extensive. If you are doing a relatively small amount of work, then the plan would likely more simple.

Category 1A and 1B control plans

Projects that involve disturbance of less than one acre of ground are put in a separate category as larger projects. The types of activities that fall within this category include:

Swimming pools

Retaining and CMU Walls

Foundation Repairs and Reconstruction

Sidewalk and Driveway Repairs and Reconstruction

House Demolition, Addition and New Residential Construction

Utilities

The Department of Permitting and Planning categorized projects because different rules apply to projects that are not in 1A or 1B.

What do I need for my ESCP if I have a Category 1A or 1B project?

According to the rules set forth by the department, you will need the following components in your Erosion and Sedimentation Control Plan:

  • Checklist: The checklist must indicate that you have followed appropriate steps to ensure minimal erosion, sediment control, and best practices for managing the project. Templates are available to help you understand what is necessary.
  • Map of the site: This map will show some of the measures you’ll take to comply with the plan. For example, your map may include a silt fence that will be used to keep the soil contained.
  • Construction Schedule

The checklist is the more comprehensive piece you will complete. It outlines all of the necessary measures you will take to comply.

As you prepare to construct your next project, remember to begin with making your Erosion and Sediment Control Plan. We will be posting more information about this topic in the near future, so stay connected. For more immediate information, please contact us today!

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