Archive for the 'Ask an Expert' Category

Q&A: Which grasses were in that award-winning landscape?

<p><a href=”http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/.shared/image.html?/photos/uncategorized/2008/05/29/malibulandscapegrasses.jpg” onclick=”window.open(this.href, ‘_blank’, ‘width=679,height=430,scrollbars=no,resizable=no,toolbar=no,directories=no,location=no,menubar=no,status=no,left=0,top=0′); return false”><img alt=”Malibulandscapegrasses” title=”Malibulandscapegrasses” src=”http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/pardonourdust/images/2008/05/29/malibulandscapegrasses.jpg” width=”480″ height=”303″ border=”0″ style=”float: left; margin: 0px 5px 5px 0px;” /></a></p> <p>At the urging of reader “tarbubble,” I asked the designers at <a href=”http://www.pamelaburtonco.com/”>Pamela Burton & Company</a> what lawn substitutes they used on their award-winning Malibu landscape (which was <a href=”http://www.kathysremodelingblog.com/2008/05/santa-monica-la.html”>featured previously</a> on this blog).</p> [...]

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Q&A: Which grasses were in that award-winning landscape?

At the urging of reader “tarbubble,” I asked the designers at Pamela Burton & Company what lawn substitutes they used on their award-winning Malibu landscape (which was featured previously on this blog). I got a response from Burton associate Stephen Billings. First of all, regarding grasses in lieu of lawn, he recommends referring to the [...]

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Desperately seeking electrician

A fellow reader sent in this query. Do you have any suggestions? "I live in Eagle Rock, Calif., and I am looking to replace our knob-and-tube wiring. I have had a number of bids. Some who bid didn’t seem trustworthy. With others, I thought: "WOW! Really? That much?" "I have yet to find anyone who [...]

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Ask the Resident Builder: Is it time for an electric water heater?

Question: I need a new water heater, and because my home's gas bill is so high, it occurred to me that it might be a good idea to get an electric water heater. My husband is not in favor of an on-demand water heater, so I've got to decide between gas or electric with a [...]

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Ask a finish carpenter: What kind of molding for a cove ceiling?

Question: My daughter, who lives in Westchester, has a house with coved ceilings and wants to paint the rooms but is wondering if there is a crown molding that breaks up the ceiling and accommodates the rounded ceiling and corners? — Greg Answer: From Reseda licensed general contractor and author Gary M. Katz: There isn’t [...]

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Q&A: If a neighbor’s dead tree falls on my roof, who pays?

From Barry Stone's "Ask the Inspector" column in the Real Estate section: Question: The neighbors who live behind us have three large, dead trees that border our fence. A few years ago, our insurance company informed us that they would no longer insure our roof because it has wood shingles. If our neighbors' trees should [...]

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Q&A: If a neighbor’s dead tree falls on my roof, who pays?

<p><a href=”http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/.shared/image.html?/photos/uncategorized/2008/05/20/deadtree.jpg” onclick=”window.open(this.href, &#39;_blank&#39;, &#39;width=620,height=826,scrollbars=no,resizable=no,toolbar=no,directories=no,location=no,menubar=no,status=no,left=0,top=0&#39;); return false”><img alt=”Whose problem is a dead tree?” border=”0″ height=”333″ src=”http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/pardonourdust/images/2008/05/20/deadtree.jpg” style=”FLOAT: right; MARGIN: 5px” title=”Whose problem is a dead tree?” width=”250″ /></a>From Barry Stone&#39;s &quot;Ask the Inspector&quot; column in the <a href=”http://www.latimes.com/classified/realestate/”>Real Estate</a> section:</p> <p><strong>Question</strong>: The neighbors who live behind us have three large, dead trees that border our [...]

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Help! Invading bamboo!

Question: Could you post an article on the responsible way to plant bamboo? Proper selection and planting could help neighbors retain friendship as well as money. My neighbor’s bamboo invaded my landscape, costing us a few thousand dollars and a huge headache. Thank you, Riley E. P.S. Thanks about the previous post on horsetail. I [...]

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Designing a kitchen for different-height cooks

[UPDATE: After this post ran, which mentions Iris Harrell's Bay Area/Silicon Valley remodeling firm, I got a progress report from Iris. Since the time I heard her speak, she has grown Harrell Remodeling to 47 employees (well, they're more like owners, as this is an ESOP company, or one with an employee stock ownership plan), [...]

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Ask a NARI Contractor: Mother in a panic over lead-tainted dust

Jennifer, a mother of three young kids (who is NOT pictured here), is understandably "freaking out" about the possibility of lead-tained dust in her home. For advice, I turned to members of the newly form L.A. chapter of the National Assn. of the Remodeling Industry. Three contractors responded. Read the question and their answers below: [...]

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Q&A: How to block view of trashy house across the street?

<p><a href=”http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/.shared/image.html?/photos/uncategorized/2008/04/01/staggeredfence_2.jpg” onclick=”window.open(this.href, ‘_blank’, ‘width=576,height=768,scrollbars=no,resizable=no,toolbar=no,directories=no,location=no,menubar=no,status=no,left=0,top=0′); return false”><img alt=”I wondered about this fence, but now I understand: It blocks views from the front, but allows views from the side.”” title=”I wondered about this fence, but now I understand: It blocks views from the front, but allows views from the side.” src=”http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/pardonourdust/images/2008/04/01/staggeredfence_2.jpg” width=”300″ height=”400″ border=”0″ style=”float: right; [...]

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Q&A: How to block view of trashy house across the street?

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Recap: Answers to vexing home questions

How green is bamboo flooring? How do we install patio columns? How much to upgrade 1950s home? Renovate all at once or in steps? Where to find locally quarried stone? How to get the look of a vine-covered house? Do I really need a bathroom fan? Is 24-inch framing better than 16-inch framing? Should bathroom [...]

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Ask a Landscape Designer: Gravel good in the garden?

Question: Could you find a landscaper to comment on pros/cons of pea gravel in a residential setting? I’m entranced with the look, and permeable hardscape is important to me. However, when I research on the Internet, I find most postings by homeowners are negative: It does not stay put if there are children or dogs [...]

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A good question on solar blinds

Here’s a question from reader Dan in Canada: I am seeking information on solar blinds. I am up in Canada but have south facing windows in our home which cause tremendous heat in the summer, even with our Energy Star-rated windows. I have seen manufacturers of so-called “solar blinds” talk to their value without disrupting [...]

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Q&A: How to create a remodeling plan?

<p><a onclick=”window.open(this.href, ‘_blank’, ‘width=576,height=684,scrollbars=no,resizable=no,toolbar=no,directories=no,location=no,menubar=no,status=no,left=0,top=0′); return false” href=”http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/.shared/image.html?/photos/uncategorized/2008/03/11/carlbaltonkitchenplans.jpg”><img title=”Carlbaltonkitchenplans” height=”296″ alt=”Carlbaltonkitchenplans” src=”http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/pardonourdust/images/2008/03/11/carlbaltonkitchenplans.jpg” width=”250″ border=”0″ style=”FLOAT: right; MARGIN: 5px” /></a><strong>Here’s a question from reader Molly K.:</strong></p> <p><em>&quot;I have multiple remodel jobs to do on my 1950 bungalow and a very limited budget.<br /><br />&quot;What kind of professional should I hire to help me make a design and [...]

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Q&A: How to create a remodeling plan?

Here’s a question from reader Molly K.: "I have multiple remodel jobs to do on my 1950 bungalow and a very limited budget. "What kind of professional should I hire to help me make a design and budget plan given current costs and the need to consider costs in choosing various elements to use?" My [...]

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Ask a SoCal contractor: What’s up with this ‘white fuzzy fungus?’

Question: Our stucco house was built in late 2004 and within the last month or so we’ve notice some white fuzzy fungus developing on the (east-facing) concrete slab of a small exterior alcove that connects the kitchen to the garage. I tried scrubbing it with a warm water and bleach solution and it went away [...]

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Q&A: Where to find locally quarried stone?

If you’re going green, you know that transportation of your green goods must be factored in. Even if a product is made of recycled materials, for instance, when you have to ship it halfway around the world, that creates a lot of greenhouse gases and negates your green efforts. All this is especially so with [...]

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Q&A: Where to find locally quarried stone?

<p><a onclick=”window.open(this.href, ‘_blank’, ‘width=139,height=273,scrollbars=no,resizable=no,toolbar=no,directories=no,location=no,menubar=no,status=no,left=0,top=0′); return false” href=”http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/.shared/image.html?/photos/uncategorized/2008/02/15/localgranite_2.jpg”><img title=”Localgranite_2″ height=”294″ alt=”Localgranite_2″ src=”http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/pardonourdust/images/2008/02/15/localgranite_2.jpg” width=”150″ border=”0″ style=”FLOAT: right; MARGIN: 5px” /></a>If you’re going green, you know that transportation of your green goods must be factored in. Even if a product is made of recycled materials, for instance, when you have to ship it halfway around the world, that [...]

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