Closets and Storage

Well organized closets and storage areas can decrease clutter and make your home much more efficient and enjoyable. Here are some ideas to help optimize your closets and storage:

  • Bi-fold, pocket, or sliding doors take up less room and are less in the way than hinged doors. If doors are not a necessity, you might want to use lightweight draw draperies on a ceiling track instead.
  • If space is available, consider a walk-in closet. Walk-in closets can comfortably fit 2 individuals with split-level storage and space dividers.
  • Overly deep closets mean wasted space. Most modern closets can be built to single-hanger depth or 24 in. Deeper closets can be made more useful by installing a centered clothes rod 12 in. from the back wall and 48 in. from the floor, with a shelf 3 in. above the rod. In a child’s room, hang the rod 30 to 36 in. above the floor.
  • Don’t overlook lights for dark closets. When updating your wiring, have the electrician install closet lights where there are none, or install switches to replace pull-chain fixtures. Also available are battery-powered lights for use where re-wiring would be difficult. For the utmost closet lighting convenience, install motion sensors that turn lights on and off when the door is opened and shut.
  • The closet doorway should not have a sill or threshold. Be sure to run your carpet into your closet to keep the room feeling unified.
  • Customize your office with adjustable shelf brackets, steel or wire shelving, and coated wire baskets to make storage easy and convenient.
  • Under-the-bed storage modules that can roll under your bed are great space savers for bed linens and comforters.

Decks and Multilevel Decks

Before you begin planning a deck, take a walk around your property and try to positively identify the boundaries of your yard. The most accurate survey was taken when the house was built.

Next, analyze who will use the deck and for what purposes. If space is at a premium, consider building in benches with storage or planter boxes for added interest and convenience. Also angles, though more expensive because of the additional framing, are a good feature to add architectural interest to an otherwise plain, rectangular deck.

Multilevel decks are a popular design element because of their practical and aesthetic qualities. They can unify the back of a house, tie together different areas of a yard with a walkway, and define interesting nooks and crannies for hammocks, fountains, or other interesting areas. For example, you may enjoy a raised deck with a built-in hot tub and a lower level deck for a recessed fire pit.

One advantage of a multilevel deck is that you can manage the time and budget by building out one section at a time. For example, over a three-year period you can build a three-level deck, one level each summer.

Kitchen Remodel - Island


There are some general design guidelines that will ensure a safe and enjoyable kitchen. Check your plans against the specifications noted below:

  • Countertops should be at least 16 in. deep.
  • If you install one sink, there should be at least 24 in. of counter space on one side and at least 18 in. on the other side of the sink. If you install two sinks, at least 3 in. are required on one side and 18 in. on the other.
  • There should be 15 in. to 18 in. between the countertop and the bottom of your wall cabinets.
  • You should have at least 36 in. of open countertop space close to a sink for comfortable and safe food preparation.
  • If your kitchen is open-ended, you should have at least 9 in. of counter space on one side of the range top and 15 in. on the other.
  • You will need at least 15 in. of countertop space on the latch side of a refrigerator. Have at least 15 in. of landing space and 48 in. or less across from the refrigerator.
  • If the counter will serve as an eating space, you will need at least 12 in. by 24 in. space for each person to eat.
  • If two countertops meet at an entry way, allow 32 in. between their front corners.

Countertop selection is a common point of confusion and frustration. Use the following questions to help guide you in your selection process:

  • What type of cooking do you do? If you do a lot of frying with oils, some stone countertops may not be suitable. At the same time, if you don’t do much frying or cook infrequently, a stone surface may be perfect for your kitchen.
  • What type of abuse will the counter receive? Certain countertops are a poor choice because they scratch easily and so are not suitable for cutting and chopping. Other surfaces, such as laminates, burn easily and cannot serve as a hotplate. Stone and tile do well absorbing the heat from hot pots.
  • Is the material you select available in the color you need? Not all materials come in all colors, and you need to make sure your countertop is a color that you will be not tire of quickly.
  • How easy is the countertop to take care for? Some materials require frequent sealing and/or resurfacing. Be aware of the care instructions before you commit yourself to the ongoing maintenance.
  • How much have you budgeted for the countertop? When balancing between spending on cabinets and countertops in the kitchen, remember that the countertops will get the most wear. It may make sense to spend more on your countertops to allow for better quality materials that will last you longer.
  • Do you have small children or large pets? Some countertops may have sharp edges that can cause injuries to children and pets large enough to reach them.
  • What type of sink do you want? Some countertop materials are incompatible with certain types of sinks. For example, under mount sinks cannot be used with laminate materials.
  • Do you want a polished, smooth, rough, or flat texture? Polished finishes require the most maintenance and are not available in every kind of materials.

Talk to your family, friends, and neighbors about their countertops and what they like and dislike about them. Or you can always call us today to talk about laminate, solid surface, stone, marble or cultured marble, granite, limestone, slate, terrazzo, tile, wood butcher block, or stainless steel countertop surfaces.


The bathroom is the workhorse of the house, a room requiring durable surfaces and quality fixtures that are easy to clean. It should also have plenty of storage for towels and sundries and upgraded lighting and ventilation. Things to keep in mind:

  • Floor Plan – Moving toilets, bathtubs or sinks makes bathroom makeovers much more expensive so try to work within the existing floor plan.
  • Fixtures – Whether it’s footed or built-in, the bathtub is the largest fixture in the room so begin there. In general, it is very cost effective to keep your existing tub. Also, it is relatively simply and cheap to add a shower head to any bathtub that doesn’t already have one, so make sure you can always shower off after your bath.
  • Walls – If the walls in your tub enclosure are damaged by moisture, plan to replace the old plaster or drywall with a waterproof cement and fiber mesh underlayment and then install ceramic tile on top of it. If the walls are sound and covered with ceramic tile, you can probably leave them. Plastic tile, a popular low-cost alternative to ceramic tile in the 1950s, needs to be replaced. For a quick but temporary fix you can always paint them.
  • Flooring – A good choice for flooring is ceramic tile because it’s a durable, hard working surface that’s easy to clean. Another less expensive alternative is vinyl sheet flooring. Whatever the flooring material is, a good solid subfloor should be provided to install the new floor on. If the subfloor isn’t sound, the floor will eventually fail.
Room Addition in San Diego


You can create more rooms by expanding your house horizontally or vertically. If you have a large plot of land, you can build room additions on your first floor. Alternatively, you can add a second story or an additional floor. Some elements to keep in mind:

  • House foundation – Some homes cannot support a second story addition without reinforcing the foundation of the house. Your contractor should be able to tell you if anything needs to be done to your foundation in order to build your expansion.
  • Survey your plot – Depending on where you live, your plot of land may actually be larger (or smaller) than what you believe. Before you expand your home, you may need to survey your plot of land to be certain you will pass city inspections.
  • Purpose of the additional room(s) – Sun rooms, music rooms, and bedrooms are all built with very different materials. Be sure you let your contractor know the purpose of the extra rooms you are building.

Contract Basics

Always have a contract before any work begins and don’t assume anything! A contract protects both you and the contractor so everything involved in the project should be spelled out in writing. Before you sign anything make sure you understand what you are signing. Review the description of the work to be done, the schedule, the terms, the payment schedule and how extras will be handled. Never sign a contract that is blank or partially filled.

Your contract should include the following items:

  • Contractor’s name, address, phone number, state license number.
  • Name and registration of the salesperson if one is used.
  • The price for the total job.
  • The approximate start and finish dates.
  • A description of what constitutes substantial commencement of work.
  • The payment schedule.
  • The “Notice to Owner” that has information regarding the state lien laws and the rights and responsibilities of the property owner.
  • A notice stating that if the contractor fails to substantially commence work within 20 days of the date specified in the contract that it is a violation of the state contractors’ license law.
  • A guarantee clause, usually for one or more years. This clause will force the contractor to repair his own defective work after the completion of the project.

The contract should be signed and dated by both the contractor and the home owner. Both parties should retain a copy of the contract.

How to choose & work with a contractor

A general contractor hires, supervises and pays all the subcontractors (roofer, plumber, electrician, painter, landscaper, framer, etc.), orders and arranges deliveries of materials, and oversees the project to run smoothly, on schedule, and on budget. Because you sign with the general contractor, he is your goto man and holds ultimate responsibility for the success of your remodel. It’s vital to hire someone you can trust who is highly qualified and makes you comfortable.

As a general rule, you will not need to hire a licensed general contractor if the project will cost more than $500.00 or requires more than two trades. Using subcontractors or company employees, the general contractor manages the work to make sure your home is built correctly according to plan & current code.

Some elements to consider when choosing your contractor:

  • Check their license – Go to the Contractors State License Board and check every contractor’s license. Make sure the info matches up to what the contractor gave you. Contractor’s license is non-transferable, the name should match the number and it is illegal for an individual to use someone else’s contractor’s license. Also, every contractor has a card issued by the state board with all their information so don’t be shy to ask for it for your personal records. If the information doesn’t add up, we recommend that you do not hire them.
  • Check their insurance coverage – If you hire a contractor without worker’s compensation and liability insurance, you (and your homeowner’s insurance) are liable for any injuries to workers that may occur during your project. Be sure to obtain a copy of the contractor’s insurance certificate and check to see that the document is still in force by calling the insurance carrier.
  • Check their references – Any contractor worth hiring should be able to give you a list of people for whom the work has been done in the past. Call some of the references and ask questions to get a better feel for the contractor through a customer’s eyes.
  • Get two or three bids – Always get more than one bid — without a comparison you won’t know if you are paying a fair price for the work – and pay attention to how the proposal is written. Vague and sloppy proposals often spell future headaches and hidden costs. The lowest bid is not always the best! Make sure the bids you are comparing offer the same services and the same quality products.
  • Final decision – Base your decision on a feedback from the referrals, personal interview, experience and price.

Once you’ve hired your contractor, follow these steps to ensure a successful construction process:

  • Know the plan – Know the work schedule so you can prepare your house and minimize your inconvenience. Be aware that several workers may be working on different aspects of your project at the same time. For example, the plumber and electrician often lay their pipes and cables at the same time.
  • Maintain regular communication – Keep in regular contact with your contractor to stay current on the progress of your project, to be aware of any changes in the schedule, and to have good expectations about each step of the build.
  • Speak up – Deviations in the contract such as design or materials should be addressed immediately. Although building codes or government inspectors will often require minor design changes, these alterations should always be discussed and documented with your contractor.

When your project is close to completion, use your original contract and any addendums to make a checklist with every single aspect of your home renovation. Review this list with your contractor and, if necessary, schedule time to complete all overlooked issues. Always keep your copy of the contract, as well as the approved set of plans and the inspection record card. This information will be required if you plan to sell or remodel your house again.

Design Tips

With your thoughts organized, it’s time to work out the design. You may want to design it yourself or hire an architect, but in either case discuss your ideas with a professional who can offer a fresh but experienced perspective. The Price Builders team offers a free design consultation as well as a free estimate.Contact us to set up an appointment and let the experts work for you.

Some elements to consider:

  • Traffic patterns – Keep the flow of the home working smoothly.
  • Privacy – Bedroom areas should be isolated from the general living areas of the house.
  • The Sun – Where the sun rises can change the mood and feeling of a home.
  • Heat gain – Design to maximize comfort and minimize bills.
  • Ventilation – Be aware of the prevailing winds and make use of cross ventilation whenever possible.
  • Noise – Put sleeping areas far from street or freeway noise and remember that kitchen, laundry and furnace areas produce noise which can be annoying when watching a movie or reading a book.
  • Lighting – Different types of lighting (individually controlled) can give great flexibility to change the function or feeling of a room with the flip of a switch.
  • Windows – In addition to important technical details (sound and light transmission, frame, exterior, venting and orientation) special features that can transform a room are window seats, bow or bay windows and “pop-out” windows.
  • Fireplace – Always a good investment and a great feature for the living room, bedroom, family room or master bathroom.
  • Entrance – When you entertain guests, the entry is their first impression, and it should be a great one.


First and foremost, you need to understand the main goals of your project. When organizing your ideas, keep in mind:

  • Budget – Decide on an amount you can spend, but be sure to keep some in reserve because there’s always something more you’ll want to do while your house is in the process of construction.
  • General Space – Define the rooms you want and what you’ll be using them for. Some important considerations are sun exposure, prevailing winds, outside noise and view.
  • Basic materials – Check out retailers with displays to better understand the materials and products you are interested in working with.

Once you’ve established your goals, its best to hire a professional to design and manage a remodel to fit your needs and budget. The Price Builders design-build team has the expertise to bring your dream home to life. Our pros make the process simple, handling everything from floor plans and elevations to coordination and scheduling. Our extensive network of devoted employees, skilled workers, and innovative suppliers ensures that no customer need goes unfulfilled.