Archive for the 'Before & After' Category

Dad’s brilliance? Keeping mom happy

When Claudia Jones told her husband, Rick, that she’d like to take down the wallpaper in the kitchen of their Agoura home, he came back with a radical idea: "Why don’t we just redo the whole kitchen?" The concept was extreme because the house was not yet a decade old, hardly mature enough to need [...]

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Reader Willie wants to share his remodel

Reader Willie has provided a link to photos of his remodel. I understand Willie acted as his own contractor on this recently finished project, and that he plans on staying in this home as long as he can navigate the stairs. Willie, it’s a gorgeous remodel. Congratulations. I have a few questions about the kitchen [...]

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What if dreams dwarf the budget?

You know why this kitchen in Dani Taylor’s Northridge house is so good-looking? That’s because she had so many years to think about it while other projects took priority. First, Dani and her husband added on a family room for their blended family. Then, when the family grew bigger, a new master suite seemed more [...]

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Submit your remodeling project

I’m looking for Southern California remodeling projects to feature on this blog and in the print edition of the L.A. Times. Have you done a remodel you’re proud of? One you’d like to show off? I want to see it! What I love most: Budget-minded remodels in which the owners — that would be you [...]

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The flip-flop house of Manhattan Beach

So what do you do when your house is totally backward for your needs? Like, what if the living room and kitchen facing the street are exactly what you don’t want, and having them face the back yard is what you do want? If you’re an interior desginer and an architect — like Shaya and [...]

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The little pink house grows up: An anniversary celebration

I know that June 8, 1997, was a Sunday. That’s because it was the launch date of my Pardon Our Dust series in the Real Estate section of the Los Angeles Times, my childhood newspaper, the newspaper I loved and cherished (and still do). Yes, I was stoked. The article that appeared that day, on [...]

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Charles Chang’s victory: From junkyard to gem

Charles Chang struggled with opposing desires when he set out to become a first-time homeowner: to save money by buying a fixer-upper and maintain his tranquil lifestyle. “I’m in sales, so I’m always looking for a deal,” said Chang, 30, a district manager for a computer company. On the other hand, he said: “I’m a [...]

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Question from a reader on Charles Chang’s victory

After reading your article, I would like to see a follow up piece on exactly where every dollar was spent. My wife and I are planning an inexpensive remodel of 2 bathrooms and a kitchen and we’re at around $20,000. I know that the person listed in the story choose cost effective solutions, but my [...]

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David Kean bought it bland, made it grand

When David Kean set out to buy his first home, he was looking for two things: old and charming. He envisioned thick crown molding and hardwood floors. But there was a glitch in his plan. “Old and charming was too expensive,” said Kean, 36, who works as a real estate agent. Plus, he explained, he [...]

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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 with a boxy family room addition that went clear across the front, enclosing the front door and forcing the inhabitants to enter thereafter through a side door. When owners [...]

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Pardon Our Dust Classic: Grappling with indecision

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 maple-infused great room is a triumph of sorts (as, indeed, are most remodels). The first hurdle was the sensitive timing of the renovation, which, for financial reasons, had to be done after [...]

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Where the money went: DIY luxury kitchen

Here’s the best-looking DIY kitchen I’ve seen yet. No offense to the other DIY kitchens I’ve had the pleasure of meeting. They all had their charms. But this Los Angeles kitchen is so luscious. So strikingly handsome. The project took Liese and David 18 months, which is an awful long time to wash dishes in [...]

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Pardon Our Dust Classic: Nothing a few years and a dad can’t fix

When Janet Foster was considering buying a 1948 Long Beach fixer-upper, her decision hinged on her father’s response to one question: Will you help? Tom Opferman, then newly retired from his engineering job, said “yes” to his youngest daughter, single and 29 at the time. Thus began a remodeling odyssey that started with gutting the [...]

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Pardon Our Dust Classic: The $7,500 kitchen

Here’s one of my favorite kitchens, built by Corona homeowner Rick Taylor for $7,500 during a three-week vacation. But here’s the best part: Rick’s wife Stephanie did not want her household with two small children disrupted by the remodel. To address her concerns, Rick produced a spreadsheet showing her precisely how he could get it [...]

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Pardon Our Dust Classic: A ‘fixer’ becomes a keeper

Several years ago, Reese Lackey’s three-part financial plan was simple: • Buy a home in what he heard was the most popular Southland style (Spanish). • Remodel it with trendy features (tile floors, granite kitchen counters, stainless steel appliances). • Live in the house for two years to satisfy tax laws and “flip” it for [...]

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