The Latest

May 2007

In Praise of Architects

Before its major remodel, this 1921 Granada Hills home had virtually no discernable exterior style. That’s because the original house had been distorted in the 1950s [...]


Solar hot water in a box

A new DIY solar hot water system has been introduced by Fafco, a Chico-based company that specializes in solar pool heaters. The new system can be installed by two homeowners [...]

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Ask a Green Builder: Dennis Allen

Ever wonder about the durability of bamboo floors? The benefits of thicker insulation? The rebates available for adding solar power? The cost vs. value of new windows? Dennis [...]


Heated up over cooking

I disagree with Ask the Builder columnist Tim Carter, who stated: “I think in the future people are going to be tired of cooking.” Carter was quoted in a Liz [...]


Of Steinbeck and shipping containers

I could totally live in a house or addition made from shipping containers, like this Redondo Beach home by DeMaria Design Associates. Container houses bring to mind the first [...]

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Memorial for a House

I admit it: I get emotionally attached to houses. When they get torn down, or parts of them are demolished during remodeling, I feel a loss. Do you? Here are some ways to [...]


Trex now more wood-like

There’s a lot to like about Trex or other composite decking materials. They don’t splinter, split, rot or need painting or staining. And they’re made from [...]

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Plan to play contractor?

If so, check out this story, “So you want to be your own contractor,” in this weekend’s San Francisco Chronicle. The subhead is: “Be super-prepared [...]


Cheap granite: An oxymoron?

If you want granite but worry about the cost, here’s how you make it more affordable: 1. Use granite in one place only, like on the island, rather than in the whole [...]


Is it a kitchen? Or a sculpture?

If you’ve got some extra cash in your jeans, you could do worse that giving yourself a kitchen remodel that’s also an artwork, like this beauty I visited in San [...]


After 400 years, a comeback

The 400-year-old Dutch-door style is making a “major comeback,” according to door and window manufacturer Jeld-Wen. You have to admit, Dutch doors are fun: Close [...]


Ask a Contractor: Alon Toker

Ever wish you could ask a licensed contractor some remodeling questions with no hint of pressure to sign a contract? Here is your chance. This week’s guest expert, [...]


In lust with an Austin remodel

I know this house is not in So Cal, but it should be. On my property! What is it about this remodel that has me so enchanted? The limestone pathways? The sustainably grown [...]


How Not to Remodel: A True Tale

Once upon a time there was a young man named Ian who lived in a cute house in Culver City. One day, Ian decided to build his dream kitchen. In his mind, there was a [...]


Live well now, sell high later

You know what’s so sad about Designed to Sell, one of my favorite TV shows? It’s that the homeowners spent years in an awkward, cluttered, unattractive home until [...]


Knob snob?

I have driven all over Southern California looking at remodels — from Los Angeles to San Juan Capistrano to Lake Arrowhead to Santa Barbara and all points in between. And [...]


Grappling With Indecision

Kitchen before The fact that Judy and Roy Uehara’s dingy, cramped 27-year-old kitchen and adjacent family room were transformed into a luminous, elegant, granite- and [...]


Book Report: 52 Weekend Makeovers

My first suspicion when a magazine publisher puts out a book is: Uh-oh, recycled magazine articles. Even the subtitle of the book — “Easy Projects to Transform Your [...]

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Know any good contractors?

Have you used a Southern California remodeling contractor who deserves a shout-out, someone you would recommend to your neighbors? If so, please post a comment. Tell us: — [...]


Why competitive bidding doesn’t work

Perhaps you’ve heard this quip when a spacecraft is launched: “There goes the lowest bid.” In my mind, trying to get the lowest bid for a remodeling project is just as [...]

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A ‘Fixer’ Becomes a Keeper

Several years ago, Reese Lackey’s three-part financial plan was simple: Exterior before • Buy a home in what he heard was the most popular Southland style (Spanish). [...]


Green building done dirt cheap

As you can see in Sunday’s Pardon Our Dust feature, Bill and Becka Doering were extremely motivated to create a healthy, green family home. But while most of us agree [...]


Deck envy

Have you seen the “yin yang deck” at the L.A. County Arboretum? If you’re heading to the L.A. Garden Show this weekend, you really should check it out. The [...]


Got pails of paint?

If you’re a serial remodeler, you’ve likely got half-full cans of latex paint around house. What to do with it? CNN reports on two cities, San Francisco and Miami, who [...]


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