Archive for the 'Ask Kathy' Category

Will you choose the cheap contractor? Or the artist?

A few months ago, my friend (who I’ll call Clare for the sake of this true story) was in the position to choose a contractor for the small, charming century-old house she gutted and is bringing back to life. Clare got full bids from two contractors. Contractor Artisan’s bid was more expensive by 10s of [...]

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Kathy’s Kartoons — How NOT to Call a Contractor’s References

GoAnimate.com: How NOT to Call a Contractor’s References by Kathy’s Remodeling Blog Like it? Create your own at GoAnimate.com.

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Help! Your advice needed on this soon-to-be mama’s kitchen

So here's the story: Sarah is expecting a baby in a few months, and she and her husband just bought this home in Los Angeles. She wants some advice on fixing up the kitchen before they move in. Here are some things to know: • The home is in an expensive part of town, so [...]

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Ask Kathy: Should we remove the wall between master bedroom and bath?

Dear Kathy: My wife and I are planning several remodeling projects around the house, among them are the usual bathroom and kitchen projects. My wife would like to have a wall torn down (pending code approval of course).  She also tends to do things without proper foresight, i.e., without thinking of the consequences.  This is [...]

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Good advice on remodeling

Here's some good advice on remodeling — from me — at the fixR blog.

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Dear Kathy: Fix or replace my ruined doors?

Dear Kathy: I am planning a major remodeling in a 12-year-old house we just bought and I’ve been reading your blog articles for the past week. I found them very informative and inspiring. Most importantly, they are very practical and also very fun – a rare combination to find among remodeling articles nowadays! Now I [...]

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Ask Kathy: How to assess an old house?

Dear Kathy: I found your blog today and enjoyed reading it. Many of your links were helpful. Thanks for all your work!   I am about to buy an old (1905) house in Pasadena. It needs a lot of work. The physical inspection identified some problem with the way the roof sits on the house [...]

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Ask Kathy: Is there a home and garden show in Malibu?

Question: I am looking for a home and garden show in the Malibu area. Are you aware of annual shows there?  -Reeve Answer: Not to my knowledge. I think Santa Monica would be the closest show of that type. Here’s what I have in my calendar for the rest of the year: JUNE 8: Rose [...]

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Ask Kathy: How can I get a deal renting a home that is for sale?

Question: Hello there Kathy. You seem to be the source on all things remodeled, redecorated and staged, so I am writing to you to ask if you have any information about how to rent a staged home? My cousin read an article recently in the Los Angeles Times about owners of staged homes who want [...]

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Ask Kathy: How much contractor markup is too much?

Question: My contractor just handed my contract to me, and I’m in shock! He wants 22% of the cost of materials, 22% over the cost of labor, 22% for subcontractors and 22% for labor management crew. I think this is way too much. First, the subcontractors are making a profit, and now the builder wants [...]

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Ask Kathy: Where to get started with a kitchen design?

Question: Your coverage in the L.A. Times and your blog have inspired my husband and I to move forward with purchasing a new house that has everything but one key feature: A Great Kitchen. In fact, the existing kitchen is barely bigger than the one I had in my college apartment. We have a fantastic [...]

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Fun facts about building permits

If you live in the city of Los Angeles and are planning some home improvements, the city’s Department of Building and Safety offers some fascinating FAQs: Do I need a permit to build a fence around my property? A permit is not required for any type of fence under 3’6″ in height. A permit is [...]

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Reader Letter: How to find an architect?

Today’s query comes from Michael H. in the Beachwood Canyon area of Los Angeles: I’d like to enlist an architect to help me with some design work for a remodel, including load calculations (I need to take down some walls). My end goal is to have plans in hand that I can shop to contractors. [...]

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