Archive for the 'Design Ideas' Category

The rule of five

I got some good advice from furniture designer and TV host Amanda Pays. For those of us who want a consistent “flow” through our homes, Amanda suggests we limit our choices to five main colors, metals and textures and repeat those throughout. For instance, in her own home (pictured), Amanda chose burnished bronze hardware throughout, [...]

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Two siblings, two identical kitchens, two totally different approaches

When Kathleen Schaaf and her younger brother Kevin bought a 1923 duplex together, their outdated kitchens — one downstairs, the other directly above it — were identical in one respect: “It was time to gut both of them,” Kevin Schaaf said. There the similarities ended. Kevin, a flight attendant, moved into the lower unit of [...]

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OK, this is too much fun . . .

I just spent a very pleasurable hour recreating my living room and dining room on this cool Better Homes & Gardens site called Arrange-a-Room. Why this should be so thrilling, I can’t say. All I have to do is walk 10 feet from my office to the room I’ve recreated here. But seeing it like [...]

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Need help choosing colors? Try a “Design Plan in a Can”

When I visit newly remodeled homes, the owners often name their contractor, their architect, their window and door suppler, among others. They also name someone I wouldn’t think to hire: the person who helped choose the colors. I’m an intuitive color-picker, going with what feels right at the time. But if I did a massive [...]

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A Craftsman comeback

So what do you do if you own a landmark California Craftsman home in Glendale whose cedar shakes have been painted some 20 times during the past century? Paint yet again? Kind of. If you’re Jeff Kurtti and Ken Martinez you hire Dan Gallagher of Gallagher’s Decorative Painting and Design (Lic. No. 733972) to apply [...]

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Park Haus Blog: See how this Burbank addition evolves

More than two years ago, on April 19, 2005, John Park started blogging about the Burbank home he and his family had outgrown, and how they planned to add onto it. They struggled with the architecture and layout and colors and materials and styles. If you have big dreams for your own home, this robust [...]

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The anti-McMansion

When you come across a charming-yet-tiny Westside cottage, do visions of bulldozers dance in your head? If you want more space than a vintage bungalow can yield, you don’t have to mow it down and build a big stucco box in its place. You can add a sensitively designed second story — set back from [...]

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Ikea solution for a ’70s wet bar

So you’ve got this wet bar in your 1970s house or apartment and it’s screaming for a mirror backing, glass shelves, a collection of cocktail glasses, a faux leather ice bucket with tongs, and fifths of Jack Daniels, Tanquerey and Absolut. Trouble is, you don’t drink. So what to do with the wet bar? A [...]

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No window in your bathroom? Quick, call an artist

When Cathy Nordlund decided to remodel one room in her Woodland Hills home to heart’s desire — the powder room — she began by looking through “millions” of decorating magazines. Eventually, she decided on a Victorian theme. But during her contemplation of fabulous Victorian bathrooms, it finally dawned on Cathy that they all shared a [...]

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Pasadena home stager wins national remodeling award

The first time we reported on Michelle Minch — a professional home stager and owner of Moving Mountains Design & Staging in Pasadena — she had just announced on her blog that she won two regional Chrysalis Awards (remodeling awards sponsored by Qualified Remodeler magazine) for Best Kitchen Remodel Under $40,000 and Best Whole House [...]

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A custom stove hood: Arnie in Downey tells us how

When Arnie and Lily Richards remodeled the kitchen in their Downey home — doing every single task themselves — Lily’s wish list included a custom stove hood. Arnie was a little tired from the months-long process when the job of building the hood came up. But he’s a good husband, and so he made it [...]

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Who says the refrigerator and freezer have to be joined at the hip?

When you set out to design your new kitchen, the first question you have to ask is: Where do we put the refrigerator/freezer? Why? Because the unit is so darn big and bulky, right? But no longer does the hulking refrigerator have to restrict your layout options, at least not if you choose the new [...]

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New product: Instant tile backsplash

This new kitchen accessory from Broan (makers of those super-quiet exhaust fans, among other products) goes in the category of instant kitchen update for less than $500. Of course, only one spot in your kitchen will enjoy a new beauty — those few square feet of backsplash above your cooktop — but it will be [...]

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Looking for a pretty good architect or designer?

If you consider Southern California one big neighborhood, then the designers and architects listed below have been recommended by neighbors. And these neighbors were so pleased with their remodels that they wanted to see them, and their architect or designer, featured in the Los Angeles Times, in my "Pardon Our Dust" series. That’s a pretty [...]

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Stuck with a dropped ceiling? Add clouds and palm trees

In the 1970s, dropped ceilings and fluorescent lights were trendy. Fluorescents are back in style (much improved) but dropped panels haven’t yet returned to vogue. If you have a dropped ceiling, here’s an idea to make it feel a little less sterile: translucent cloud panels. I came across these cloud-printed light panels in my doctor’s [...]

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Oops! Might want to reconsider that plan

The people I interview are generally thrilled to tears with their completed remodel, either because it all came together despite their doubts and fears, or simply because it’s done. But after a remodel is lived with for a bit, its weaknesses reveal themselves. Sometimes I drop a line to people I’ve visited during those glorious [...]

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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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Of Steinbeck and shipping containers

I could totally live in a house or addition made from shipping containers, like this Redondo Beach home by DeMaria Design Associates. Container houses bring to mind the first remodel I got emotionally involved with, in John Steinbeck’s “Sweet Thursday,” the sequel to “Cannery Row.” Do you remember when Suzy, the prostitute, moved into an [...]

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For design ideas, check out new So Cal homes

Who would spend more money researching future trends than home developers, whose big-ticket gambles either sell quickly or sit and lose money? As a homeowner looking to remodel, you can take advantage of the developers’ research by perusing new homes and studying the colors, materials and layout. Surely, this is the future. If you’re into [...]

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Got pails of paint?

If you’re a serial remodeler, you’ve likely got half-full cans of latex paint around house. What to do with it? CNN reports on two cities, San Francisco and Miami, who take in extra latex paint, mix like colors together, and give it away. Here’s another idea, from Santa Monica decorator (and my friend) Kitty Bartholomew: [...]

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