Second-floor challenge

When an existing home is purchased, often it is because the new owners love the space or see potential within it. In the case of this Newport Beach, Calif., condominium, the homeowners purchased with the understanding they were going to make changes. So, Burgin Construction in Santa Ana, Calif., was brought in to update the kitchen and master and guest bathrooms.

“The clients bought the condo as is, and whoever owned it before put dark blue [on the walls] in the kitchen, and the new owners hated it,” says Brad Burgin, owner. “They knew buying the condo they were going to redo the three spaces, and they wanted a beach feel since they live only a mile or two from the ocean.”

Burgin chose designer Joni Owen, owner of Plan Check in Fountain Valley, Calif., with whom he has worked for 12 years, to help bring the homeowners’ vision to life. “Early on, [Burgin] will bring me in or I’ll bring him in to get a game plan together,” Owen explains. “It’s a nice working relationship, and I think it’s good for the clients because they feel like they’re getting help on both ends.” Designer and builder both reference “recap meetings” as helping keep one another on the same page after shopping trips or meetings with subcontractors and the project moving in the direction the clients wanted, not to mention within budget.

Finding solutions

Because this home is a second-story condo, Burgin faced a few restrictions including nonconstruction issues such as parking and access to utilities. “In a condo, you have to be careful because there are attached homes all over the place, so anything we did expansion-wise was starting to walk into those spaces,” he says. Though the footprint of the room could not easily be changed, other fixes were put into play.

A wall left of the sink was cut back and thinned; a wall between the oven and where the buffet is now was removed; and the walkway into the kitchen was widened by thinning the load-bearing post holding the soffit system. Frameless cabinetry, utilizing the corner spaces and adding the buffet in the dining area added storage space, Owen says.

“We had to work with a budget, so there was talk of not doing the buffet,” Burgin recalls. “Looking at it now, I think it was totally worth doing because they have all that storage shelving and a whole serving counter.”

Although budget may have reined in the clients’ vision, the condo association thwarted the plans for placement of the air conditioner, heating system and water heater and would not permit these items to be moved, Owen remembers.

Per the clients’ wishes, the oven and microwave were moved from the original stacked-with-a-range setup. Now, the homeowners have a cooktop with a ventilation hood and drawers underneath, and the microwave and oven are arranged in a more convenient setup.

Another unique feature of the kitchen is the appliances. “They wanted to change the appliances out because she doesn’t like stainless steel, so she used the white appliances to keep the kitchen nice and bright,” Owen says. “I was kind of concerned at first about all the different tones of white, but it works with the different materials.”

Burgin explains that all the white paired with the sandy tones of the countertops and the medium, brown-red flooring created the beach feel the clients wanted.

Same principles, different rooms

The two bathroom remodels also use white to keep them light and airy, Owen says, because both spaces were without windows. Mirrors and opaque glass in the door helped bring natural light into the space.

The master bathroom was reconfigured during the process, so the homeowners could have a full walk-in shower. The toilet, sink and shower drains had to be moved to accommodate the shower expansion. A wall was removed behind the bathtub in the guest bathroom to create approximately 4 in. of space. A pedestal sink and medicine cabinet were selected by the clients to further open the space.

As with the kitchen remodel, designer and builder were conscientious of the homeowners’ budget. Talk turned from custom cabinetry for the master bathroom to use of a pre-manufactured cabinet and counter that Burgin Construction installed.

Owen recalls helping the client find the tile for both bathrooms and kitchen at a lower price. “I let her buy a lot of things directly to help her out, and that’s fine with me,” she says. “People pay me for my design, so I can help get them a little bit of a break on some of the fixtures.” QR

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