Up to the Challenge of Apartment Remodeling
Highrise apartment remodeling presents challenges not every contractor is willing or able to tackle. Homeworks Construction, a design/build firm known best for its single family and ohana custom homes and remodels, is also a specialist in condominium remodeling, from kitchen and bath renovations to redesign and reconstruction of entire apartment interiors. Homeworks has completed several major remodeling jobs at Honolulu condos under the direction of project manager Heather Hickox, who says she “enjoys the challenge.”
“Major remodeling in an apartment environment is very complicated, more so than a single-family home remodel or even a new custom home,” Hickox said. “And the challenge is compounded if the owners decide to remain in the apartment during the job. Hundreds of details and decisions are involved, and when all the pieces come together and the job is completed successfully, it’s truly rewarding.”
What are some of those challenges? Primarily access to the premises and the difficulty of delivering materials to the site, which usually entails utilizing several flights of interior stairs and/or scheduling use of an elevator. If the apartment is to be gutted, debris removal has to be coordinated with deliveries. Generally, no holding area for incoming or outgoing materials is available.
“Every delivery has to be scheduled and cleared with the owners’ association and/or management. In the case of our job at the Commodore in Hawaii Kai, our working hours were restricted to 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. week-days and no weekends. However, with this job, we had the advantage of being able to work continuously during those hours since the owners resided elsewhere until it was completed. Owners are welcome to stay if they have no alternative, but then the work usually needs to be done in phases to provide access to kitchen and bath facilities and we’ll have to schedule a cleanup every evening…meaning more time and cost.”
The owners of the Commodore apartment rented a single family home in Kaneohe temporarily until they were able to find a condo they liked well enough to buy. The one bedroom, two bath apartment in the Commodore suited their needs and they preferred it to most of the newer condos they looked at. However, it had been redesigned by the previous owner as an ADA compliant apartment, meaning that much of the interior would have to be gutted. Hickox was confident that her team would be able to transform it into a “like new” condominium home for the new owners.
Hickox noted that the kitchen and baths were stripped down to the studs and plumbing and wiring replaced and/or moved throughout. All new appliances were installed in both kitchen and baths, a dining counter was added in the kitchen which was “pushed out” toward the living room to provide four more feet of space, cabinets and walls were refinished, existing flooring was removed, ceramic tile was selected for kitchen, baths, and hallway flooring, and new wall-to-wall carpeting was laid in the living room and bedrooms. Hickox, a specialist in wall treatments and painting, worked with the owner to choose the designer lighting fixtures and select colors for walls and other surfaces.
“We have our own showroom with an extensive selection of cabinet, trim, counter and flooring samples that we can take to the job site and confer with the home owner to make sure the colors are what they envision. Lighting, both natural and artificial, can change the appearance of colored surfaces. For example, we chose a beige grout for the bathroom floor tile, but the artificial lighting in the bathroom made it look pink…so we made a new selection. Tiles can look entirely different when placed against or next to a contrasting color. This is the fun part of the job…when you get to these details.”
With careful reconfiguration of the floor plan, the approximately 1,000-square-foot, 30-year-old apartment was transformed into a modern condominium home with unique styling and designer finishes. Arches were added over the dining counter and doorways, which Hickox noted requires experienced drywallers, framers and carpenters. “Our people are real perfectionists who take pride in the final product. We all work as a team — the Homeworks architectural design department, the engineers, our kitchen and bath specialist, the project coordinators who oversee the budgeting and selections — it’s a well-oiled machine in which everyone plays an integral role in creating a successful final product for the client. We celebrated completion of the project just 52 days from the start-up date … on schedule and on budget,” Hickox said.
Address: 2111 South Beretania St.