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Need Eichler savvy help

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Joined: Mar 5 2007

Hello! I'm new to this site. I have just bought an Eichler house in Marin County and I have lots of questions that are not answered via the Eichler Nework site, nor by any of the e-mails/messages posted. Is there anyone out there who might offer to be my guide?

A few of my questions/interests are:

My model has the teeny master bath with a 2'x2' shower stall. I would like to remodel this, but realize the plumbing and heating under the slab would make a remodel difficult. Anyone out there who has figured this out? The Eichler sites with lots of bathroom remodeling ideas are great, but they do not address actual or real remodels. That's what I need.

The hall (or guest) bathroom has a door to the outside. What is this about? Is this like a fire exit? Could I remodel and make into glass blocks?

Should I be afraid of fires and if so, what can I do to avoid? The former owner has replaced about 80% of the walls with sheet rock and claims that makes the fire hazard less. My inspection report, however, suggests I replace the electrial box, as it is a fire hazard. Any thoughts on that?

My inspection report also says I need to replace the boiler (original in this one) -- obviously it is like 60 years old, but it's working fine. What do other Eichler folks recommend? What about putting in 3-pronged electrical outlets everywehere. Is it essential?

Anyone out there who can help me figure all this out, I LOVE YOU!!! Please help. I'm such a novice.

Thank you,
Ginger

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    vxmann

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    Joined: Mar 12 2005

    see comments below:

    A few of my questions/interests are:

    My model has the teeny master bath with a 2'x2' shower stall. I would like to remodel this, but realize the plumbing and heating under the slab would make a remodel difficult. Anyone out there who has figured this out? The Eichler sites with lots of bathroom remodeling ideas are great, but they do not address actual or real remodels. That's what I need.
    Talk to a licensed contractor that has DEMONSTRATED experience working on a lot of Eichlers. There are creative solutions to work around some of these challenges however you want to make sure you are working with someone that is experienced with Eichlers with solid local references.

    The hall (or guest) bathroom has a door to the outside. What is this about? Is this like a fire exit?
    Think of it as a convenient "mud-room". When you or kids are outside in the yard and want to come in, passing thru the bathroom is great for clean-up. This is not a fire exit. Your house is post and beam and there are no shortage of emergency exits.

    Could I remodel and make into glass blocks?
    Sure however glass block is kind of 1980s unless really done right. Many folks would tell you that glass block and Eichlers don't mesh well.

    Should I be afraid of fires and if so, what can I do to avoid?

    Don't smoke in bed. Seriously, I don't think you need to take extreme measures when it comes to fire-safety. Just use common sense.

    My inspection report, however, suggests I replace the electrial box, as it is a fire hazard. Any thoughts on that?
    Doing a panel upgrade isn't necessarily going to make your house more fireproof.

    My inspection report also says I need to replace the boiler (original in this one) -- obviously it is like 60 years old, but it's working fine.
    Just because a boiler is original, does not mean it needs to be replaced. There are a lot of owners that still have original AO Smith boilers from the 1950s-60s that have been well maintained and work well. Did you ask the inspector specifically WHY the boiler needed to be replaced? Is there some other problem with the boiler (other than age) that he or she was concerned about? Besides possible improvements to energy efficiency (which might take 10+ years to recoup in energy savings given the high cost of a new boiler), i'm not sure of the rationale for replacing a functional boiler. Ask the inspector for additional clarification.

    What do other Eichler folks recommend? What about putting in 3-pronged electrical outlets everywehere. Is it essential?
    Three prong outlets are great since many appliances use them, howerer just switching plugs doesn't do anything (besides provide convenience) unless you plan to ground them. At a minimum, make sure you have GFIs on any outlets near water (bathroom, kitchen, etc.).

    Anyone out there who can help me figure all this out, I LOVE YOU!!! Please help. I'm such a novice.

    Thank you,
    Ginger

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    Joined: Mar 5 2007

    I hope I am replying to the kind person who responded to my inquiry of a day or so ago. If not, will the administrator of this site please forgive my ineptness here. I did receive a wonderfully helpful response, but unlike my e-mail proper, there was not a name nor a reply button. I somehow stumbled into this site, and hope this is the way to go. Anyway, thanks so much for your help, and yes, I do understand I MUST use only Eichler experienced contractors, plumbers, heating folks, yada yada. Could you give me some idea where to find these folks? On this Eichler site, there is only one general contractor listed for Marin County. Surely there must be others? I have a few names, but there must be more. So, in the event this is going into the ether, I won't add anything more until I see if this works. If this does reach you, many thanks. E-mail rcommendations directly to my e-mail adddress is vxmann@comcast.net

    vxmann

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    Joined: Mar 20 2003

    vxmann wrote:
    The hall (or guest) bathroom has a door to the outside. What is this about? Is this like a fire exit? Could I remodel and make into glass blocks?

    please don't

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    Joined: Mar 30 2003

    One of the best pieces of advice I've ever read on this forum is to live in your house for a while, 6 months to a year or more, before you make any remodeling or major decorating decisions. It's easy to move into a new house and feel like there are so many things you could change, but any decision made in haste is one you may regret later.

    Tracy
    Castro Valley

    Tracy
    Castro Valley

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    Joined: May 22 2003

    Tracy wrote:
    One of the best pieces of advice I've ever read on this forum is to live in your house for a while, 6 months to a year or more, before you make any remodeling or major decorating decisions. It's easy to move into a new house and feel like there are so many things you could change, but any decision made in haste is one you may regret later.

    Tracy
    Castro Valley

    amen to that, there are several things at first seem strange ( like the door in the bath ) at first, but after you live with it, you begin to understand.

    live in it for a while and you will begin to see where and what you want to change. chances are it will be a lot less then when you first moved in.

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