Archive for the 'Before & After' Category

Remodeling and the single woman

The low-cost remodel of this 1948 Long Beach house has so many things going for it I don’t know where to start. While the hardwood floors were already in pretty good condition when Janet Foster bought this place, everything else you see is her doing, with the help of her dad. Note the one red [...]

Read the rest of this entry »

Rate This Remodel: Craftsman-style exterior

The story you are about to hear is shocking, so don’t fall off your chair when I tell you: The remodel of this 1948 Hawthorne home was designed by a 16-year-old, David, and built by him and his father Norbert, a schoolteacher, during a summer break. Since then, David has been accepted into the respected [...]

Read the rest of this entry »

A bar-height table works for me

You know how everyone likes to sit up high on bar stools? But without having to be in a bar? Steve and Marygrace Carpenter like that feeling so much they got rid of their lowly kitchen table during a recent remodel at their Westchester home and replaced it with this tall table. It’s almost like [...]

Read the rest of this entry »

If you must have a load-bearing post, why not make it fun?

Taking a break from the wildfire coverage, let’s consider load-bearing posts in a house. Every now and again, a large and open room requires a post to hold up the roof or floor above. It’s usually a matter of the budget, where a beam or beams strong enough to span the room and carry the [...]

Read the rest of this entry »

When the embers die down . . . recovery begins

It might be soon to talk about recovery as the tragedy unfolds, but Southern Californians do rebuild after fires. I’m sure Claremont residents Vern and Deb Jahnke, who lost their house in the 2003 Grand Prix Fire, are thinking about and praying for (he’s a minister, after all) the victims of the current fires. After [...]

Read the rest of this entry »

Her favorite part of the new luxury kitchen? The $2 floor tiles

I caught up with Liese Gardner, a marketing and PR pro, and Dave Lidstone, an engineer type, whose gorgeous DIY Spanish-style kitchen was featured in the L.A. Times last year. See pictures of it here. I asked Liese my favorite how’s-the-remodel-working-out set of questions. I wanted to know what she and Dave would have done [...]

Read the rest of this entry »

Need some remodeling inspiration? Watch my video

This three-minute YouTube video shows some befores and afters of SoCal remodeling projects I’ve written about. Perhaps they will inspire you. Be sure to turn up the sound.

Read the rest of this entry »

Santa Barbara dream kitchen is a team effort

Ann Lippincott recalls the exact moment her kitchen remodel got off the ground. During a Halloween party at her Santa Barbara ocean-view condominium two years ago, Lippincott, who was dressed as a witch, was standing in the kitchen with a friend, Lena Savage, an artist and former architect who was dressed as a punk rocker. [...]

Read the rest of this entry »

Sourcebook for Santa Barbara dream kitchen

I present the sources for the Santa Barbara kitchen remodel above in a separate post as an homage to all the professionals who work daily to bring homeowners’ dreams to life. The really great tile setters and plumbers and masons and contractors generally cost more than those less talented and less together. But for some [...]

Read the rest of this entry »

Hollywood Hills tower — How’s that remodel working out?

I like contacting past subjects of Pardon Our Dust, my remodeling series in the L.A. Times, and asking them: Hey, how’s it going? Typically I see a house shortly after a remodel is finished when the people are thrilled with the project. After all, most of the time they have contacted me, suggesting their own [...]

Read the rest of this entry »

Where the money went: Hollywood Hills kitchen

There are many creative ways to pull together a remodel. For this recent Hollywood Hills kitchen renovation, homeowners Renata Kanclerz and Lisa Coleman bought appliances and other materials on their own and then paid their contractor a flat fee for all labor and installation. Here’s how much the homeowners paid for various features in this [...]

Read the rest of this entry »

At age 80, Betty Frazier rocks her remodel

As Betty Frazier approached her 80th birthday, no one would have thought twice if she had decided to downsize her living arrangements. Instead, the Leisure World resident did the opposite, opting to sell her one-bedroom place, move up to a two-bedroom, two-bathroom unit she bought in the same Laguna Woods community and embark on an [...]

Read the rest of this entry »

An all-white Silver Lake house finally blooms with color

Rarely does a house thrill like the 1922 Mediterranean Brian Wakil and Susan McDonnell-Wakil bought several years ago in Silver Lake. It exhilarated them for both its colorful past as well as its potentially colorful future. According to neighbors in this hilly enclave of eclectic homes, cowboy actor Tom Mix built the 2,200 square-foot, multi-level [...]

Read the rest of this entry »

$60,000 kitchen remodel was worth the wait

In 1974 — the year Renata Kanclerz and Lisa Coleman’s Hollywood Hills kitchen was previously remodeled — dark plywood cabinets, butcher-block counters and red brick backsplashes were considered cutting edge. Three decades later, however, those materials were too old to be hip and too young to be historic. So last year, Kanclerz and Coleman tore [...]

Read the rest of this entry »

Tuning up ‘The Tiny’

Even though Roger Beckman had dated Ann Baber for more than a decade, he didn’t discover her hidden talents until she started remodeling her 1970s Culver City condo. Her first task was Herculean: stripping the dark brown finish off her kitchen cabinets, followed by sanding, whitewashing and applying three coats of sealer. “I didn’t know [...]

Read the rest of this entry »

Creating a remodeling team, avoiding a horror story

When Patricia Morrow and her two children finally outgrew their two-bedroom North Hollywood home, it was obvious that something had to be done. I was sleeping in my daughter’s room and my son was in the other room," said Morrow, who had bought the house with her then-husband in 1970, pre-parenthood. "It was obvious there [...]

Read the rest of this entry »

A room with a view

After living in her 1950s Woodland Hills ranch home for 14 years, Cathy Nordlund set out to do something she had never attempted before –completely gut and redo one room to her heart’s desire. But because of her pragmatic disposition  — after all, she was trained as an engineer — Cathy was mindful not to [...]

Read the rest of this entry »

A condo less boring

The Los Angeles condominium Jay Falamaki bought several years ago was like scores of others in Southern California. “It was boring,” Falamaki says of the 860-square-foot condo’s white walls, vinyl floors and beige carpeting. “It was very basic with no character at all.” But bland surroundings would work for Falamaki, a native of Iran who [...]

Read the rest of this entry »

Young designers learn the facts of remodeling life

As first-time home buyers and recent architecture school graduates, Apurva Pande and Chinmaya Misra got a lesson in real-world construction when they remodeled their own 1,600-square-foot midcentury bungalow in the West Adams area. At architecture school — he went to UCLA and she to the Southern California Institute of Architecture — the couple learned about [...]

Read the rest of this entry »

A large dose of charisma

Here’s a story I wrote for today’s L.A. Times about an ugly-duckling duplex that was turned into an Eastside swan by a couple who think they’ll stay awhile: Daniel Curet was a contented apartment dweller looking for an Eastside investment property a few years ago when his plans took a sudden turn on a narrow, [...]

Read the rest of this entry »