James Carey

Photo by Tony Kukulich

James Carey, right, of Carey Bros. Remodeling, says the current trend in remodeling is coronavirus-inspired with customers looking to add extra bedrooms or accessory dwelling units (ADU) for adult children or aging parents.

East county residents are ready to move forward as the county continues to work on reopening.

Many residents have spent the past three months confined at home and quarantine has served to highlight every flaw and outdated fixture that appeared fine before March. With the county lifting restrictions, many residents are looking to update their homes, add a home workspace or make things more accessible for elderly loved ones.

James Carey of Carey Bros. Remodeling is a third-generation licensed contractor. His company has over 40 years’ experience in the East Bay and this year he said, there has been a significant spike in homeowners looking to add an attached bedroom or accessory dwelling unit (ADU) for an adult child or aging parent.

“The reason for that is the aging population, and with the COVID thing the kids are not at school, they are living at home, so that is the straw that broke the camel’s back,” Carey explained. “So people are saying ‘we need this extra space and we need an ADU. Let’s go ahead and build that space that we have been talking about.’”

Carey added that the lack of affordable housing in California is another driver of the ADUs, and local and state government has made it easier to build one by reducing the distance a dwelling can be placed in relation to the property line, fast-tracking the permitting processes and lowering permit fees.

Carey said many of his jobs include the request to make things accessible by widening doors, adding ramps, and installing grab bars and easy-to-operate doorknobs and faucet fixtures. He noted these do not have to look institutional, but come in many attractive designs and finishes.

Carey said one thing homeowners are not loving right now are sunken living spaces. In the 70’s and 80’s, said Carey, it was very vogue to step down into the family room. But now, many of his customers are asking him to bring those floor levels up – thereby removing a barrier for people who may struggle with steps.

Joe Lindsey, owner of Brentwood’s White Rhino Construction, said he firmly believes the pandemic has affected the remodeling and construction business.

“A lot of people, instead of wanting an entire remodel, they want to do a reface,” Lindsey said. “Instead of spending the money to do a whole bathroom, they just want to change out the shower door, add new fixtures and paint the cupboards … I think it’s because they are uncertain about the future and the economy.”

Despite uncertainties about what might lie ahead, Lindsey said his business began picking up in mid-June. Some big trends he sees are painted, two-toned cabinets; large subway tiles; and pocket doors. Lindsey recommended homeowners installing pocket doors to create space in small rooms invest in a steel framed door that won’t warp and require readjustment over time.

One thing his customers are getting rid of is bathtubs.

“A lot of people are getting rid of the bathtub and just doing a shower,” he said. “I recommend they keep one, for resale value, but a lot of people don’t want any.”

Carey Bros. Remodeling is located at 2624 Verne Roberts Circle, Suite D107, in Antioch. For more information, call 877-734-6404 or visit www.careybros.com.

For more information on White Rhino Construction, call 925-565-2830 or visit their Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/whiterhinoconst.

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