Restoration & Remodel of a Historic Home in Alameda

Nick, Laine and their twin boys had outgrown their condo in San Francisco and need space and a lawn to play.

They bought a 4,800 square foot 3 bedroom, 4 bathroom, 110 year old home that is 110 years old. The home needed extensive work as it had been decades since it was last remodeled. They focused on sustainable products and maintaining original details such as the redwood found throughout the home while completely modernizing all the systems such as seismic, electrical, and plumbing.

They made a massive increase in the usable space in the home by converting the attic to over 800 square feet of office space with a side for Nick and a side for Laine and an amazing roof window.

The project started in March of 2015 and finished spring of 2017.  The design, permitting and remodel was an even two years. Half of the time was invested in permitting.

The work was intense. A steel frame was inserted from the basement to the top of the roof and everything in between was dismantled and restored and replaced, or built new.

Professional photographs are coming soon.  For now, we have our talented clients Instagram photos:)

 

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You can see the before photos here:

 

We standardize and automate the process so your remodel, addition or custom home experience will be amazing

Designing and building an addition, remodel or custom home is a complicated process that involves one to two years of planning and then 45+ people to do the actual construction.

At New Avenue our qualified and proven local professionals can design and build your project.  We supplement the talented pros with a project management software that we built.  Combined, proven people and the best of class project management software makes the design/build process easier and fun.

Using our experience working with hundreds of clients and spent years perfecting the design/build process.   The features on our platform now provide the most efficient way to design and build any project. We’ve proven this on projects ranging from $50,000 to $2,500,000.

The following features in our system automatically includes the industry’s best practices in every project using New Avenue.

Goals & Ideas Questionnaire


Every project has a Goals & Ideas Questionnaire. You can spend 5 minutes or 30 minutes answering 30 questions.  These questions are based on countless client meetings, thousands of proposals, bids,changes.  By asking you the right questions at the start you can make faster and better decisions. This improves the efficiency of your entire team.

 

Timeline

You can use your free project timeline to communicate with your team. When you receive a notification, you can reply by email and your message will automatically appear in your timeline. This keeps you, your spouse, your architect and your contractor on the same page.  This squashes headaches and mistakes before they happen.  As far as we’re concerned, it’s magic.

One Click Accept a Design Proposal

You can use our free budget tool to collect Design Proposals from architects.  Our team of proven and vetted architects are able to provide a proposal.  You can also invite your own architect.  Just tell them “I am using New Avenue to keep my budget organized”

A good Design Proposal will tell you the 20-30 steps required to design and permit your project.  It will also show you the estimated hours of work needed for each step.   To accept a Design Proposal you simply click “approve” and you automatically have a Design Agreement that insures your project follows the best practices in the industry.

Timesheet - Invoice

New Avenue’s invoicing system is the first system built to help owners keep their entire project organized.  With New Avenue your proposal, budget and your invoices are all in one standardized format.  There’s no need to try to reconcile a word document proposal with a list of hours worked.  To pay you simply click approve and that authorized New Avenue’s system to request payment from your bank so you can pay by direct deposit – the same way your employer probably pays you.

 

How Long To Build a Custom Home or Remodel a Home

We reviewed all of our completed projects and found the following timeframe for construction:

  • The maximum construction time was 13 months
  • The fastest build was four months (this was during the 2010 recession and everyone was ready to work at a moment’s notice) 
  • The average time to build a project is 8 months.

This includes projects that cost between $100,000 and $500,000. 

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Sign up to see more example budgets, example floor plans, or to use the New Avenue system for free here: Get Started

Cost of a remodel and restoration of a 100+ year old historic home in The San Francisco Bay Area

This article is part of a series of posts on real project costs.  New Avenue is the leading national design/build network.  Our architect and contractor partners use our online platform to provided their bids and process their invoices.  As such we get a unique collection of project costs.  We share these costs to help inform owners, architects and contractors. 

You can review the actual construction budget for the restoration of a 110 year old 4,800 square foot home. This restoration included an almost gut remodel and seismic steel frame throughout. This home is located in the gold coast neighborhood of Alameda.

4800 square feet of remodeling

Construction Budget 4,800 square foot restoration 1908_70 Lines

Sign up to see example budgets, example floor plans, or to use the New Avenue system for free here: Get Started

Should I create an addition, backyard cottage, or remodel?

New Avenue starts every project with our 30 questions. You can skim these questions and answer a few of them in five minutes or you can spend an hour.  We recommend you spend about 15 minutes.

These questions are based on thousands of past client meetings. We also collect feedback during construction changes and figure out what we have to ask early on in the process so we can avoid making the same costly mistakes in the future.

A client recently contacted us with some questions about what to do with their home. They are in their 60s and want to make a long term plan for how to use their home.

Here are a few of our questions and their answers.  Their full design proposal is below too:

Q: What do you want to do?

A: We would like to add a rental unit to our existing two story & 5 bedroom & 3.5 bath home.  We really do not know if we should do an addition or add a cottage/tiny house to the backyard, so we need help.

Q: What are you using this new space for?

A: We would like to rent it out either as a sublet or airbnb for extra income.

Q: If applicable, what is the 25-50 year plan for your project? For example, you may be renting out an inlaw unit and will eventually move in later.

A: We are not really sure. We could move into the new unit eventually.   We are in our 60’s so we hope it’s a 50 year plan. (:-)).

After reviewing all of the answers and questions they submitted in their Goals & Ideas questionnaire on www.newavenuehomes.com, one of our local designers met with them and provide this Design Proposal.

We’re excited that they quickly approved the proposal and design is beginning this summer.

To get this project started the owners:

  1. Filled out the Goals & Ideas survey on Newavenuehomes.com
  2. Set up a call with a New Avenue project admin to review the design/build process
  3. Paid $250 to have a Design Session with a vetted New Avenue designer
  4. Met with the designer
  5. Received a Design Proposal and clicked approve.

You can read or download the Design Proposal here: Cost of Oakland Basement Conversion to Accessory Dwelling Desig

 

Cost of a basement remodel and a new guest house with roofdeck

The cost of a major basement remodel and guest house is listed in the attached budget below.

This project includes an 899 square foot two story guest house and the remodel of over 1,000 square feet of unfinished basement space into two new apartments.

You can open the link below to see all of the detailed line items in this project. We list the cost of each line item in the project budget.

Oakland Budget

This is the ground floor of the new guest house / accessory dwelling:

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This is the upper floor of the accessory dwelling including the bridge to the main home and the roof deck:

Accessory Dwelling Second Floor

This is the floor plan of the basement remodel:

Basement Remodel

 

Client Quotes and Referrals

We’ve been fortunate to receive a lot of nice feedback from the clients, architects and contractors that we work with.   We typically share this list when a potential client asks for a reference in order to verify a construction budget, construction schedule, building permit process or costs.

Thanks for the kind words, everyone!

Here are several references:

Our son, AJ joined our little family last Tuesday. Thank you for surrounding us with a strong team during all of this,it’s good to know that New Avenue, Mick and Robert have the house project under control while we’re ramping up on this whole parent project thing.

– Robert K (San Rafael Remodel, Addition, new master bathroom, seismic, 5/6/2015, 7 days after AJ’s arrival)

The very nice thing about working with you is that I don’t need to worry about the process and oversight, and vetting people to do the work.  That is a huge value for me. Our architect is a pleasure to work with.  He is very easy and has been responsive and flexible and understands what we’re looking for.  And he certainly knows his business and how to work with the City. So that’s great.

– Marian M (Berkeley master bedroom and master bathroom remodel, client note from 5/2015)

The architect is designing such a nice cottage that I might just move in myself and rent out the main house!

– Ellen H (Albany, CA  client, detached music studio, guest house, landscaping, new bathroom)

Having a fully integrated way of controlling correspondence along with billing is nonexistent… this is really great

– Miklos, General Contractor (Alameda historic restoration, Berkeley accessory dwelling, San Francisco Addition, San Francisco remodel, Oakland guest house, Berkeley addition, El Cerrito accessory dwelling)

“You are rendering a very valuable service to the families and communities for which we have great appreciation”

-Vijai Sharma, PhD, Oakland addition

“New Avenue allows us to focus on what we enjoy doing the most – designing for clients.”

-Patrick, architect 

“Working with New Ave has been such a great experience! From the beginning, New Ave and Paks Builder have been cohesive partners and we look forward to working on many future projects together!”

– Robert P – General Contractor

“You certainly make it waay better than business-as-usual.  No doubt.”

– Prasad, Client

“I’m tired of trolling Yelp and banging my head against the wall.  I just want someone to show up”

– Bryndis T

Sign up to see example budgets, example floor plans, or to use the New Avenue system for free here: Get Started

Additions, Remodels, and Custom Homes – Phase I

This is a guest post by David Locicero, a Partner Architect in the New Avenue Design/Build Network.

David has successfully uses the New Avenue platform to design, permit and build projects around the San Francisco Bay Area.  To read more about the platform click here: New Avenue

There are five phases to a typical architectural project:

Pre-design, schematic design, design development, construction documents, and construction.

Today let us look at the Pre-design work that creates your Program.

Architects do not simply jump directly into construction documents. It takes a little bit of time to get to that point.

Pre-design is the first step and consists of working with you to find out not just what you want, but what you need. We will also determine what the budget will be.

We also assess the site. For most of my projects, that means measuring the house and property and creating drawings of what is already built.

We will also meet with the jurisdiction and determine what the planning and zoning rules and regulations are.

All of this is work that has to be done before we even start designing. That is why it is called Pre-design. By gathering all the pertinent information at the beginning, it helps us focus on the real challenges without getting side tracked.

The New Avenue Design Agreement spells out the deliverables in this phase.

Get Started here to access the Design Agreement that delivers the best practices in the industry and the best local architects and contractors.

Have any questions? We are available to discuss your goals & ideas. There’s no fee or commitment. To request a time for a call from our founder, Kevin Casey, just click here and tell us when to call you.

San Rafael Remodel: Transforming a Home for Raising a Family in Marin

Brooke and Rob are two young professionals working in San Francisco who bought a three bedroom, two and a half bath home in San Rafael. The home is 1,675 square feet and was used as a duplex when they bought it.

Brooke and Rob had a baby on the way when they completed a major transformation to their home.  Their project restored their home to a single family home and improved it for raising a family there.

They added a space for an au pair suite, added a master bedroom and master bath, remodeled two bedrooms and made one a nursery.  They maintained much of the kitchen while adding a new entry and bath near the kitchen door.

Additionally, behind their home is a 500-square foot detached structure that served as an office. They are thinking of converting this extra space into an accessory dwelling afterwards. The young couple had their first child during the project, and this remodel gives the growing family plenty of room for activities.

The design, project planning and permitting process lasted 9 months.  Construction lasted eight months from start to finish.

This is the existing floor plan:


Existing Floor Plan San Rafael Addition Remodel

Proposed/New Plan.  You can see the master bedroom, master bath and walk in closet on the right then up a half flight of stairs are two bedrooms and a shared bath.

Proposed Floor Plan San Rafael Addition Remodel

This link has the full cost of the completed project in San Rafael. All costs are broken down by line item.  This budget includes architecture, engineering, permits and construction costs.

Budget for a 2 bed 2 bath addition plus kitchen remodel:addition

After the project, and just one week after their son was born, the client, Rob noted:

“Our son, AJ joined our little family last Tuesday. Thank you for surrounding us with a strong team during all of this, it’s good to know that New Avenue, the team has the house project under control while we’re ramping up on this whole parent project thing.”

For copies of the plans or additional details please contact us at New Avenue.  You can sign up and use the New Avenue system for free here: Get Started

 

 

 

Pricing a Remodel: It pays to do your budgeting before (not during,) the project

One of our goals is to save clients from rushing through Home Depot and settling for some product their contractor needs the next day.  With a little planning this is avoidable.

At New Avenue we focus on providing the best management system on earth. We found that budget clarity is the cornerstone of good management.  Many great projects with great clients, great designers and great contractors have confusing costs and that confusion causes fear and anxiety that destroys relationships.  This stress is completely avoidable.

Over the course of hundreds of projects we universal format for proposals, bids and budgets.  This is one format from start to finish and we put it all on one online page where the owner, architect and contractor can see it. We ten established a routine of quoting process first and only paying for work after it is completed.

I experimented on my own project.  I needed to update a little 900 square foot cottage.  The previous owner did a lot of work before deciding to retire, sell the cottage and move closer to a grandchild.  She had most of the hard work and we just had to finish it up. All we had to do was some fun, mostly cosmetic work such as:

  • Refinish wood floors that we discovered under the 1/4″ plywood that was under the old carpets.
  • Paint new drywall that was already installed
  • Touch up the exterior paint
  • Fix up some electrical and lighting
  • Add new baseboards
  • Rebuild a few closets that had damaged paneling

A local builder with a great reputation who is extremely detail oriented walked the house with me, we wrote down a quick list and he called back with a quote of:

“$4,000 – and I’ll keep it under that”

I wanted to do test to see if I had become too rigid with New Avenue’s fixed price only policy.  He was $30/hour.  The work was reasonably well defined and limited in scope.   I wanted to take a small job like this and gamble on a handshake deal to see what would happen.

The actual bill added up to almost $9,000.  More than double the original budget.  This was my fault.  I had not taken the time to specify all the work we ended up wanting to do. 

Moral to the story, even if you’ve managed hundreds of projects and you know costs cold, you have to have the discipline to walk through every single thing you want to do.  Or you have to be ready to double your budget.

There are two culprits for this over budget project:

1) I added work.  I could have been more detailed in the beginning to make sure this was all included.

2) This is what an invoice looks like when you don’t use New Avenue’s system: 

Invoice - Remodel Receipts - Remodel

This is a $1,753 invoice and it requires a lot of time to make sense of what it was for. It doesn’t tell me what my budget was when I started either.

This is not the end of the world with a ~$1,700 invoice.  When it comes to dozens of invoices like this and your $100,000 or $1,000,000 project doubles in budget then you are in serious trouble.

That s why we start with the painful budgeting at the beginning, we record the budgeted items and we bill against that number as it is completed.  We don’t do the budgeting because accounting is fun. We do it because a little bit of work up front makes the entire project easier to manage, and a well managed project allows the contractor to save money by avoiding mistakes and working faster.  A fast, on budget project makes the owners and contractor happier, and you can put the money that would have been lost to mistakes towards making the nicest space possible.