Archive for the 'Book Report' Category

Markup and Profit — Why you want your contractor to get some

If you already think a remodeling contractor is entitled to an item titled “Markup and Profit” in the bid, you can skip this post. But if you cringe at this concept, and try to negotiate markup and profit out of the bid, keep reading. As far as I can tell, there are three major types [...]

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Hanging your own drywall? Please, I’m begging you, learn from a master

So you’re doing some remodeling and it occurs to you that, hey, you can hang the drywall yourself and save some money. How hard could it be? You just nail some paper-covered chalk board to the studs and voila! You’re an expert. Whoa! Hold on there. I want you to hear me out. I think [...]

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Book Report: The Homeowner’s Guide to Surface Preparation for Interior House Painting

I admire the entrepreneurial spirit, and passion about one’s work, and courage. So when Steve Broujos, a painting contractor and educator in Wilmington, Del., asked if I’d like to see his new book, I thought: Why not? The title is not exactly dynamic: “The Homeowner’s Guide to Surface Preparation for Interior House Painting.” But I’ll tell [...]

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Nearly 1 million home improvement books recalled due to faulty wiring instructions; shock or fire hazard to consumers

How did it take the the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission up to 35 years to figure out nearly 1 million books had faulty wiring instructions? I'd love to know the story behind this: Name of Product: Home Improvement Books Units: About 951,000 Publisher: Oxmoor House, Inc., of Birmingham, Ala. Hazard: The books contain errors [...]

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Book Report: Marie’s Home Improvement Guide

If you're the type of woman who owns a full set of home fix-up tools and knows how to use them, and uses them, move along. This book report doesn't involve you. But, if you're like me, and the biggest tool in your set is your husband, boyfriend, father or handyman, and you want more [...]

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End-of-the-Month Giveaway: Backyards: A Sunset Design Guide

UPDATE: We have a winner! Congratulations to Jose, whose name was chosen at random from all who entered. Check back at the end of August for another chance to win. This month's giveaway is an excellent book titled Backyards: A Sunset Design Guide, which I reviewed here. To enter, you must do two things: 1. [...]

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Book Report: Backyards: A Sunset Design Guide

For the past few months, I've been lucky enough to live in a house with amazing landscaping — lawns, flowering shrubs, ferns, graceful trees, fencing, a multi-level deck.  But the most amazing element is an enormous screened gazebo (seen here) next to a waterfall and a pond. There is a bridge going from the deck [...]

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Book Report: ‘Screw It! I’ll Be My Own Contractor’

I think of contractors like orchestral conductors. The symphony members (subcontractors) are each experts in playing their instruments (hanging drywall, laying tile). Still, for all their talents, these musicians or subcontractors need a conductor, a leader, someone holding the baton, to coordinate the whole effort into a beautiful symphony, or into your new house or [...]

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Shocking: Two electrical books recalled by Taunton

Faulty Instructions Prompt Recall of Electrical Wiring How-to-Books by The Taunton Press; Shock Hazard to Consumers WASHINGTON, D.C. – The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, in cooperation with The Taunton Press, announced a voluntary recall of the following consumer product. Consumers should stop using recalled products immediately unless otherwise instructed. Name of Product: Wiring a House, [...]

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End-of-the-month book giveaway: ‘Affordable Remodel’

UPDATE: We have a winner! I picked the number “3″ out of my hat, amd J Steele of Black Diamond Builders in Lake Forest was the third commenter. Check out Black Diamond Builder’s website here. Thanks to all who entered. I also love to win stuff! And check back here on this blog at the [...]

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New book: Stylish Sheds and Elegant Hideaways

This week’s Home section features a new book: “Stylish Sheds and Elegant Hideaways: Big Ideas for Small Backyard Destinations” by Debra Prinzing with more than 200 photographs by William Wright, Clarkson Potter, $30. Pictured here is a 124-square-foot shed, inspired by midcentury modern architecture, in the Mount Washington neighborhood of Los Angeles. Designed and built [...]

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Book Report: ‘How Your House Works’

How Your House Works: A visual guide to understanding and maintaining your home, by Charlie Wing About a month or so ago, my favorite table lamp began making a crackling sound near the base. So I unplugged it and pondered my options. I considered taking it to a nearby electric shop. Then I considered taking [...]

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The new cool: a debt-free renovation

The solarium above, once rotted to the studs, was lovingly restored by a couple in Akron, Ohio. What makes this story newsworthy enough to land in the New York Times is that this room and all rooms in the 1913 Tudor were fixed up by the homeowners without incurring any debt. Other than the home’s [...]

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Book Report: ‘Cliff May and the Modern Ranch House’

"Cliff May and the Modern Ranch House" by Daniel P. Gregory, with photographs by Joe Fletcher and a foreword by Joel Silver. (Rizzoli; 256 pages; $60) Reviewed by Robert Nebolon (Robert Nebolon, a Berkeley architect, designed a contemporary Hermosa Beach home featured previously on this blog.) Cliff May, the father of the California ranch house, [...]

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Book Report: ‘Affordable Remodel’

Remodeling contractors can be infuriating, especially when they stand in your house and respond to your ideas by saying things such as: "That’s really going to cost you." Or: "There’s going to be maintenance issues with that." You might reply with a simple: "Thanks for stopping by," but what you’re really screaming inside is: "You’re [...]

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‘Not So Big House’ DVD now available

If you’ve been following the career of architect Sarah Susanka, author of the “Not So Big House” books, you’ve been able to read her words, see her house photos and even see her in person (she is a speaker at the West Coast Green conference coming up Sept. 20 to 22 in San Francisco). Now [...]

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Book Report: Garage Sale America

Good news, junkies! Garage-sale shopping is bigger than ever, helped along no doubt by the environmental movement’s focus on reusing and recycling. Garage Sale America, a new book by Bruce Littlefield, takes the reader on a journey of homey bargains. Here are some reader comments from Amazon: It is a quiet chilly afternoon, and the [...]

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