The Latest

January 2008

How green is my footprint?

Have you ever wondered how many planets it would take to sustain all 6.6 billion humans on Earth at your rate of consumption? Yeah, me neither. But it’s an interesting [...]


The $20 contemporary-door-pull solution

Richard Gomez was on a mission to build a contemporary 2,250-square-foot home in Long Beach’s East Village Arts District for less than $280,000, which is less than $80 [...]

1 Comment

The ADHD method of home maintenance

If you’ve got even a slight touch of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (I’m raising my hand here), you’ve probably started one home maintenance [...]


Two new books on green building

As the phrase "green building" becomes fixed in the American vocabulary, a big question arises: What exactly is it? The concept of green building has evolved over [...]


Stupid kitchen layout: Can you top this?

Some kitchen layouts are awkward. Some without grace. But this one, in a Corona tract house, was flat-out stupid. You can see, in the top photo, the kitchen after the $7,000 [...]


Amid the storms, new windows sound good

As wind slams against the old, rattling, leaky, single-pane windows in my house (not pictured here), a tempest brews inside about the merits of keeping the curtains closed in [...]


What would you do with the 600 bucks?

As you may have heard, the federal government has a plan to stimulate the economy, and that could mean: Six hundred bucks coming at ya! Well, 117 million of us would get [...]


Upcoming SoCal home improvement events

JANUARY 25: Frank Lloyd Wright: The Southwest Legacy, lecture, 7:30 p.m., Art Center College of Design, Padadena 25-27: Home & Backyard Living Expo, Ontario Convention [...]


New contractor laws for 2008

Several new laws came into effect Jan. 1 that pertain to licensed contractors and their clients, according to the California State Contractors License Board. They include [...]


Ever Been in Over Your Head?

There’s an interesting story by Michelle Hoffmann in today’s Real Estate section titled: Weekend wasters struggle with DIY home-repair jobs. The subhead says: [...]


Enlightened journeys

I’ve been especially enchanted with several house photos in my collection, and I finally realized what they have in common: All of the homes use natural light to make [...]

1 Comment

Fire dangers during remodeling

About a week ago, a remodeling crew set a strand of cypress trees ablaze in the San Diego area. It seems a worker’s propane torch got too close to the highly flammable [...]


Angie’s List?

Has anyone tried Angie’s List to find workers and contractors for home improvement? Did you get your money’s worth? Would you recommend it to others? The website [...]


Before solar panels, a reality check

Reader Rich W. has given me two good ideas regarding my quest for a solar-powered home: 1. Learn more about photovoltaic systems and design my own, then hire an installer. 2. [...]


A Mod Beach House for Sis

When architect Robert Nebolon started sketching out ideas for his sister’s tear-down and rebuild in south Hermosa Beach, he felt pretty confident that his design would [...]

1 Comment

2008 SoCal home improvement calendar

JANUARY 8-March 11: Residential Remodeling, class, 10 Tuesdays, 3:45 to 6:45 p.m., $420, UCLA Extension 11-13: Pomona Home Improvement & Remodeling Show, Fairplex L.A. [...]

1 Comment

Thinking again about a backup generator

The power is out where I live (and maybe soon where you live), and I have this to say: Hallelujah for daylighting (i.e. lots of windows), gas heat, gas stove, gas water [...]


A Good Place to Park

Mitch Klapow was not enthused when his mother handed him an ad for the Oakridge Mobile Home Park in Sylmar, where he would eventually buy his first home. At the time, Mitch, [...]