Archive for the 'My Remodel' Category

Kids are going hungry; can I still want a new kitchen floor?

What an awe-inspiring, wonder-filled, baffling and stupid world we live in. Today, millions and maybe billions of children are going hungry. Yet, here I sit, planning my kitchen upgrade. A recent commenter on this blog suggested I give up envy and desire and be happy with the kitchen I have. He or she has “ugly, [...]

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My kitchen remodel: rethinking the whole thing

In the years since my husband Bill and I moved into this house, we’ve spent many fine hours fantasizing about what we could do with this kitchen — punch up the ceiling, pop out the wall into the dining room, create a big island with a cooktop. And so on. But two growing concerns — [...]

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Feng shui remodeling tips from . . . McDonald’s?

To be honest, I don’t go to McDonald’s for healthy food. But, I might go to a certain McDonald’s for a healthy environment (and maybe to get some design tips for my own home). That McDonald’s is in Hacienda Heights and its owner, Mark Brownstein, wanted to redesign the store to deal with slumping sales. [...]

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Dispatch from New Orleans: Needs of Lower 9th Ward put my own remodeling plans in perspective

Following the builders show last month in Orlando, I drove over to New Orleans to check out the damage from Hurricane Katrina and the failure of the levees. I’d never been to New Orleans, but my husband had lived and worked there for 15 years. Ever since the tragedy more than two years ago, I’ve [...]

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In remodeling: emotional choices, logical rationalizations

Perhaps you’ve heard this ditty about the choices we make in life: We choose based on emotion, and then rationalize our choices with logic. It’s like that with me and claw-foot-style tubs and pedestal sinks. The logic says: bad choice. And a previous posting on this blog brought many well-thought-out comments from readers on why [...]

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Small Change: What’s making a big difference in your home life?

Is the economy in a slump? A pre-slump? A recession? A depression? A slow-down? Whatever’s happening, we seem to have less money to spend on our homes. And so today begins a new series on the Pardon Our Dust Blog called Small Change, where we share with each other the economical changes we’ve made to [...]

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Your neighbor’s trees vs. your solar panels (or vice versa)

Here’s a dilemma that pits tree hugger against tree hugger: What happens when one home’s trees block another home’s solar panels? This problem is not new, but with increased interest in rooftop solar panels, the consequences are more than aesthetics or sunny days versus shady days. Now we’re talking about a homeowner’s ability to generate [...]

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Tankless water heaters: pros and cons

I’ve interviewed a dozen or so people who have installed tankless water heaters (which heat your water on demand rather than storing hot water in a tank) — and several contractors who have installed dozens more tankless water heaters — and the comments I’ve heard about the devices have been overwhelmingly positive. And yet . [...]

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A pet feeding station? It’s about time

This item falls under the category of "Duh." With 74.8 million owned dogs and 90 million owned cats in the United States (according to a recent survey by the Humane Society), you kind of wonder why pet feeding stations are not standard in new homes. The feeding station pictured here was built into the Glassell [...]

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Q&A: How to get the look of a vine-covered house?

<p><a onclick=”window.open(this.href, ‘_blank’, ‘width=288,height=384,scrollbars=no,resizable=no,toolbar=no,directories=no,location=no,menubar=no,status=no,left=0,top=0′); return false” href=”http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/.shared/image.html?/photos/uncategorized/2008/02/10/vinecoveredhouse.jpg”><img title=”Vinecoveredhouse” height=”333″ alt=”Vinecoveredhouse” src=”http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/pardonourdust/images/2008/02/10/vinecoveredhouse.jpg” width=”250″ border=”0″ style=”FLOAT: right; MARGIN: 5px” /></a>This is my own dilemma:</p> <p><strong>Question</strong>: I love the look of vine-covered houses, which look to me like storybook houses. But my husband hates it. We do have invasive ivy growing on our house, and it’s awful. It [...]

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Q&A: How to get the look of a vine-covered house?

This is my own dilemma: Question: I love the look of vine-covered houses, which look to me like storybook houses. But my husband hates it. We do have invasive ivy growing on our house, and it’s awful. It pushes its way under the roof rafters and into the house. And it gets full of dust [...]

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How green is my footprint?

Have you ever wondered how many planets it would take to sustain all 6.6 billion humans on Earth at your rate of consumption? Yeah, me neither. But it’s an interesting question. And to get the answer, American Public Media has created Consumer Consequences, an online "game" where you can calculate how sustainable your lifestyle really [...]

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For tax advantages: Improve rather than repair

Why do we elect politicians who pass legislation to benefit the rich? My theory is that we all think we could be rich someday (most of us won’t be!) and we want the laws set in place when we get there. I mean, isn’t that one of the main advantages of living in the United [...]

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Amid the storms, new windows sound good

As wind slams against the old, rattling, leaky, single-pane windows in my house (not pictured here), a tempest brews inside about the merits of keeping the curtains closed in the daytime to keep the house warmer (which is about the most depressing idea I’ve heard in a long time). And so getting new, snug, dual-pane, [...]

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Does pan drawer beneath cooktop work for you?

I was reading a story about a $100,000, three-year kitchen remodel in the San Francisco Chronicle this morning when I came across this photo. It’s a handsome kitchen, no doubt about it. But I was struck by the pan drawer underneath the cooktop. Of course you have to put something under a cooktop. It can’t [...]

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Subway tile: On the way out? Or still in?

The real reason I’m so dismissive of trends is that I’m lousy at spotting them until they’re nearly over. Those in the know have been using subway tile for a few years, and I wonder: Is it still trendy or over? Should I make this economical choice for my own remodel? In the top left [...]

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Ever been in over your head?

There’s an interesting story by Michelle Hoffmann in today’s Real Estate section titled: Weekend wasters struggle with DIY home-repair jobs. The subhead says: That HGTV show made it look so easy. But growing numbers of budget-conscious homeowners are tackling jobs beyond their skills — often to the dismay of their mates. Can you relate? And [...]

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Before solar panels, a reality check

Reader Rich W. has given me two good ideas regarding my quest for a solar-powered home: 1. Learn more about photovoltaic systems and design my own, then hire an installer. 2. Find out how much power I’m using in my house, and where all those watts are going. This is good advice. I’ve long heard [...]

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The Green Debate: Why should I conserve water at home?

I know this is heretical, but here’s the truth: I have no desire to conserve water in my home. Why? Because when I sacrifice and struggle and change my habits and compromise my life to save water, what will happen? The developers and politicians will immediately approve more housing tracts as far as the eye [...]

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What? I need a permit for that new light fixture?

Pleased with my new bathroom light, I naturally wanted to blog about it. Then it occurred to me: Was I supposed to get a permit for this? I can’t very well be a blogger for the L.A. Times and be a scofflaw at the same time. So I looked it up on my county’s website, [...]

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