4.8 million box fans recalled

Written By: admin - Mar• 28•11

Box fans recalled WASHINGTON, D.C. – The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, in cooperation with the firm named below, today announced a voluntary recall of the following consumer product.

Consumers should stop using recalled products immediately unless otherwise instructed. It is illegal to resell or attempt to resell a recalled consumer product.

Name of Product: Box fans

Units: About 4.8 million units

Manufacturer: Lasko Products Inc., of West Chester, Pa.

Hazard: An electrical failure in the fan’s motor poses a fire hazard to consumers.

Incidents/Injuries: Lasko has received seven reports of fires associated with motor failures, including two house fires and one barn fire, resulting in extensive property damage. No injuries have been reported.

Description: This recall involves Lasko box fans with model numbers 3720, 3723, and 3733 and Galaxy box fans with model number 4733 that have date “2002-03″ or “2003-04″ stamped on the bottom of the metal frame. “Lasko” or “Galaxy” is printed on the front of the fan. The model number is either stamped or printed on the bottom of the fans.

Sold at: Mass merchandisers nationwide from July 2002 through December 2005 for between $12 and $25.

Manufactured in: United States

Remedy: Consumers should immediately stop using the recalled fans and contact Lasko to receive a free fused plug safety adapter.

Consumer Contact: For additional information, contact Lasko toll free at (877) 445-1314 anytime or visit the firm’s website at www.laskoproducts.com


New DVD: Protect your family from lead-dust poisoning during remodeling

Written By: admin - Feb• 08•11

RRP crew training DVD Did you know that remodeling contractors are now required to take special efforts to protect families from the harmful effects of lead-tainted dust in older homes?

The new law is called the EPA RRP Rule.

So if you have a home older than 1978 (when lead was outlawed in paint), there’s a good chance that the old paint on the walls and windows has lead in it.

If that paint is disturbed — by sanding it, or cutting into it, or if it’s chipping or flaking — and it gets ingested or inhaled, there could be severe, permanent health damages.

In younger kids, lead has been proven without any doubt to cause brain damage and learning problems.

You don’t want to do that to your kids.

However, even though professional contractors must become certified in RRP practices when working on older homes, and take special precautions, you as a homeowner are not required by law to take special care. But why not protect your family?

The question is: How do you protect your family from lead poisoning during a DIY remodel in your older home?

You can learn how the pros do with a new DVD training program by master trainer Bill Robinson of Train2Rebuild.

On-the-Job Training for RRP Lead-Safe Practices” provides 60 minutes of live training to teach workers what they need to know to comply with the rule.

In your case, as a homeowner, you can watch this video, copy the strategies the pros use, and give your family members (and pets!) the protection they deserve.


Bill Robinson RRPYou can learn strategies to check for lead in the paint, contain the lead-tainted dust within the work area, how to avoid making dust, and how to clean up at the end.

This DVD with 60 minutes of live training was created for remodeling contractors, but there’s no reason you can’t follow these same practices.

Chapters include:

Before the Work Starts

• Interior Containment

• Vertical Containment

• Signs and Barriers

• Exterior Containment

During the Work:

• Prohibited Practices

• Personal Protective Equipment

• Clean as You Go

After the Work Is Done

• Cleaning Up

• Visual Inspection and Cleaning Verification

• Taking Off Personal Protective Equipment

Plus, a section titled “For the Certified Renovator” includes:

• Testing for Lead

. . . and more.

In this DVD, you get 60 minutes of live training to help you protect your family from lead-tainted dust.

Cost: $79.00

Checkout with PayPal

For more information, send an email to Bill Robinson

Enlightened journeys

Written By: admin - Jan• 07•11

I’ve been especially enchanted with several house photos in my collection, and I finally realized what they have in common: All of the homes use natural light to make the journeys from room to room more pleasant.

The top photo shows Claire Gunning, 8, walking down the stairway in her family’s Hermosa Beach home, which was recently featured in the Los Angeles Times. Claire’s uncle Robert Nebolon, the architect who designed the house, wanted the family to have a fun trip each time they used the stairs. The translucent polycarbonate wall accomplishes that.

The bottom left photo shows a “galleria” in a home in Austin, Texas, that I wrote about for Upscale Remodeling magazine. The architect and owner, Michael Antenora, also wanted his family to enjoy a bright journey along the hallway to the bedrooms.

In the bottom right photo, you see a small house I visited in North Fork, Calif., where the hallway is illuminated by a large skylight. I noticed that every time I traveled between the living room and the bedroom area I felt a lift. To me, adding this simple skylight to an otherwise dark and boring hallway was an inspired, and enlightened, design decision.

Architect Portfolio: Hermosa Beach house on a teeny lot

Written By: admin - Jan• 07•11


Photo PhotoThe more I study this “green” house, the more I like it. Of course, it’s more of a teardown and rebuild than a remodel, but the lot size — at 30 feet by 50 feet — presented plenty of challenges.

The 2,000-square-foot, three-bedroom house, which is two blocks from the beach in Hermosa, was designed for a family with two young children by architect Robert Nebolon. Here’s what the architect says about it:

“Privacy, sun-control and beach views were primary concerns. This ‘Upside Down’ house has the main spaces on the third floor, bedrooms on the second floor, and the entry on the first floor. And, there’s a roof deck on top!

“The house is ‘green’ and has a LEED Silver rating. The house utilizes natural-cooling methods. A large thermostatically operated skylight at the top of the stairs allows all rooms to ventilate naturally when the skylight is open to the daily afternoon ocean breeze from Hermosa Beach.

“The southern and western walls have a special skin designed to handle the salty environment, heavy sun and (provide) privacy. The glistening metallic prefinished metal siding has a special low-heat gain fluoro-carbon paint finish; the glass is all Low-E to minimize heat gain and glare, the heavily insulated wall construction has foil-coated plywood to minimize heat-gain; the wall cavity provides built-in valances for various shades/drapes, which allow the owners to carefully modulate/balance ocean views with heat gain to any degree they wish.

“Special polycarbonate panels at the main deck provide privacy from neighbors, while allowing light. The main deck trellis is constructed of clear anodized aluminum and is dramatically cantilevered for a column-free view. The intent was to visually link the deck with the living room by dramatic use of a 16-foot cantilever and by very large windows.”

See pictures of the interior

12 top remodeling trends for 2011 – from CBS MoneyWatch.com

Written By: admin - Dec• 09•10

new bathroomNew year, new list of remodeling projects to start around the house. At least that’s what remodelers and contractors are hoping.

So, what remodeling projects are on top of everyone’s list?

The National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI) conducted an exclusive poll of their top builders and developers for us and found that while most people are not starting major renovation projects due to the economy, now is the time to take care of the smaller jobs around your home.

Call it the over-arching remodeling trend for 2011: Tackling small projects while you wait to do the really big remodeling project that’s on your list.

Here are 12 top remodeling trends to welcome in the “aught teens”:

1. Save Money: Remodel Your Bathroom. Old tile getting a little grungy? It looks like 2011 is the year for a bathroom update. Dennis D. Gehman, president of Gehman Custom Remodeling says, “Bathrooms are the hottest project, we think it’s due to the economy. Baths cost less than a kitchen or addition and most houses have more than one bath, so there are more available to be remodeled.”

See the whole story at moneywatch.bnet.com

(Photo: Los Angeles Times)

Does it pay to remodel your home?

Written By: admin - Nov• 29•10

Cost vs. ValueEach year, following the release of Remodeling Magazine’s annual Cost vs. Value Report, we see a slew of headlines telling us “It Doesn’t Pay to Remodel Your Home.”

But despite the naysayers, a home-renovation project can still be profitable — even in this current market. As any savvy DIYer will notice, the costs of the projects are inflated to cover the expense of hiring professionals. Those who take on DIY home improvement projects can plug in their own costs, note the value stated in the report and calculate a custom cost vs. value return percentage.

For instance, if a DIYer completes a major kitchen remodel for $30,000 and the return is an expected $40,126, that’s a big 133% return (approx.) on expenditures.

Seen in those terms, yes, it pays to remodel your home.

See the whole story at www.diylife.com

Dan Phillips: Creative houses from reclaimed stuff | Video on TED.com

Written By: admin - Nov• 26•10

In this funny and insightful talk from TEDxHouston, builder Dan Phillips tours us through a dozen homes he’s built in Texas using recycled and reclaimed materials in wildly creative ways. Brilliant, low-tech design details will refresh your own creative drive.

via www.ted.com

Save the Windows — an emotional video plea from Preservation Nation

Written By: admin - Nov• 18•10

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

Written By: admin - Nov• 18•10

Interior 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 you what: It’s accurate.

This book sounded interesting because I’ve heard so many times that the trick to great house painting is preparing the surface. But that’s usually all you hear. Surface prep is important. So how do you do it?

This book tells you how, along with giving you tips and tricks only a professional would know. For instance, use of a sanding block attached to a pole. It’s known as a pole sander. I love the idea of sanding rough spots on walls and ceilings, but not at arm’s reach from a ladder. Using a pole to reach up and out is much more my style.

There are plenty of photos in the book’s 193 pages, all in black and white.

I think this is a useful book, in which you’ll learn about setting up and lighting your work area, removing wallpaper paste residue, applying caulk, skim coating, repairing holes and many other topics. It’s a sincere book by a real expert. If you’re going to spend hundreds of dollars on paint and countless hours applying it, perhaps some extra thought to the surface preparation would be a good investment.

You can order it from Amazon.

A new kitchen for an older woman

Written By: admin - Nov• 18•10


Outside of Charlotte, N.C., Judy Hammill moved back to the farmhouse where she grew up and that her own father built. But the kitchen was dated and would not work as Judy settled into retirement and got older.

She won a makeover from AARP and an aging-in-place specialist to make the kitchen accessible. The new kitchen includes:

AARP• Better lighting, including under cabinet lights

• An induction stovetop for safety

• Wall oven for easy access

• Lever handles on the faucet for easier use

• Toggle switches on the switchplates

• Easy-to-pull-out drawers for pots and pans

• An inside washer and dryer (to replace the one out in a shed)

• A built-in desk area for sit-down meal preparation

• And more

See the whole story

Selling the Mantel: fireplace mantel as striking focal point

Written By: admin - Nov• 16•10

Fireplace remodel

How important is a fireplace and mantel? Take it from a man who tours hundreds of houses a year and whose sales depend on features that attract buyers: “Every room needs a centerpiece,” says David Kean, an interior designer and real estate agent with The John Aaroe Group, in Beverly Hills, Calif.

According to Kean, an engaging fireplace and mantel can provide grandeur for an otherwise ho-hum room or it can “take an already fabulous room over the top.”

Stylistically, Kean says, a fireplace and mantel should blend with the architecture of the home. That rule dissolves, though, in sleek contemporary homes where old-world timbers and stone, often salvaged from old homes, “create a very dramatic juxtaposition of old and new.”

Read the whole story at www.remodeling.hw.net

LEED rating system draft: first public comment period opens today

Written By: admin - Nov• 08•10

LEED Platinum home by Kyle Moss AIABeginning today, Nov. 8, USGBC will begin the first public comment period for the next update to the LEED rating system, with first public comment expected to run through the end of 2010. The proposed update is a general technical update to the rating system content. The proposed updates will undergo at least two public comment periods and a member ballot vote, per LEED development requirements.

The first public comment period is open to all interested USGBC stakeholders. USGBC will also host a number of webcasts for members regarding the technical changes proposed for the rating system, which will be advertised in the coming weeks. Additionally, Greenbuild 2010 will feature specialty updates regarding the development of the LEED rating system, featuring LEED staff and Technical Advisory Group members and chairs.

via www.usgbc.org

Photo: LEED Platinum home by Kyle Moss AIA, with Levitt + Moss.

2010-2011 Cost vs. Value Report just released

Written By: admin - Nov• 04•10

Cost vs. ValueWill you get your money back on that bathroom remodel when you sell your house? How about that new deck? How much will that increase the value of your house?

For hard numbers on how much you’ll get back from your remodel, you can’t do better than the Cost vs. Value Report put out each year by Remodeling Magazine. The 2010-2011 Report has just been released.

The report gives you numbers on a variety of projects in various parts of the country. The numbers will vary depending on your locale.

The best return on investment for New England is an entry door replacement with a steel door. The job will cost $1,264 and you can expect to recoup 85% of that upon resale, or $1,218.

The worst cost vs. value in New England is a home office remodel, which will return just 46%. And that’s a shame, because that’s the remodel I’d most like to have.

See the whole report here.

Protecting your kids from lead poisoning — tips from the NAHB

Written By: admin - Nov• 01•10
  • RRP CleaningHow do you protect your kids from lead poisoning during a remodel? Here are tips for homeowners from the National Association of Home Builders: Professional remodelers who have achieved EPA Lead-Safe Certification are trained and prepared to work in pre-1978 homes for minimizing dust and potential lead paint exposures. These workers also have certified their firms and will carry an EPA seal verifying their qualifications to follow lead-safe work practices. Certified Renovators have the knowledge and tools to contain dust and keep your family safe. Do not attempt remodeling work yourself or hire an uncertified remodeler as this puts you at risk of lead poisoning. Use the search tool on the EPA website to find a Lead-Safe Certified Renovator near you or call your local home builders’ association for a list of certified remodelers.

    Read Renovate Right. 

    Your Certified Renovator will provide you a copy of the Renovate Right brochure produced by the EPA. This brochure describes the dangers of lead poisoning and how the practices of the remodeler will be employed to contain dust, clean, and minimize the dangers of lead paint exposure.

    Pay attention to warning signs and do not enter containment areas.

    The Certified Renovator will post warning signs and set up areas of containment using plastic to keep dust under control. Pay attention to these notices and stay away from these areas. The remodeler uses these techniques and lead-safe work practices to minimize lead dust exposure.

    Consider testing for lead.

    You may ask the Certified Renovator to use LeadCheck or D-Lead test kits for testing certain surfaces for lead. If the test comes back negative, the remodeler will not need to use lead safe work practices because the component has tested lead-free. Alternatively, a home owner may choose to hire a certified risk assessor or lead inspector to conduct testing in the home for lead. Any pre-1978 home can be tested for lead and if the results are negative, the EPA lead rule does not apply.

    After the remodeling job is complete the EPA Certified Renovator will share records with you, such as a checklist describing the work practices used and any results from lead testing. Be sure to keep these records and share them with the next home owner if you should sell your home.

    Learn more about EPA’s lead paint rule by visiting http://www.leadfreekids.org/ or by downloading the pamphlet, Renovate Right.

A sleek, modern mortuary — the ideal final resting place for readers of Dwell

Written By: admin - Oct• 31•10

Munich mortuary

Tired of all the ornate cemeteries in our world? Have a hard time seeing your modernist remains resting comfortable in one of them? For those deposed in Munich, a very modern alternative exists. See the photo gallery here.

On the flip side, the burial grounds themselves are lush and natural, like meadows. So it’s not all bleakness for all eternity.

New York carpenter remembered as hero to New Orleans Fire Department — Times-Picayune

Written By: admin - Oct• 30•10

New York City Carpenter As the casket was carried out of the church, a group of New Orleans firefighters wearing dress blues snapped to attention and saluted, choking back tears.

Gerry Crimmins, of the New York District Council of Carpenters Labor Technical College, signs a beam at Engine 38 fire house in New Orleans in August, 2009. The New Orleans Fire Department lost 22 of its 33 firehouses to Hurricane Katrina.  

Despite their uniforms, the hero they were honoring was not a member of their ranks. At least not officially.

Gerry Crimmins, 51, was a New Yorker who came to New Orleans after the federal levee failures and Hurricane Katrina and managed to help rebuild 11 of the 22 firehouses damaged in the storm while bureacrats dithered.

He died Oct. 21 of liver cancer.

“Gerry became one of us,” said NOFD Assistant Superintendent Timothy McConnell, one of several local firefighters who flew to New York City to pay tribute. “I don’t know how we could have kept this department together morale-wise if our guys were still working out of trailers.”

See the whole story at www.nola.com

Is there toxic lead in everything?

Written By: admin - Oct• 29•10

toxic lead Just for fun here at Kathy’s Remodeling Blog, we decided to check how many products have been recalled lately for dangerously high levels of lead. As you know, lead is very dangerous when inhaled or ingested and causes brain damage and learning disabilities in children. As if life wasn’t hard enough. In adults, it can cause fatigue and high blood pressure.

This list is astounding. If you have small kids and want to check toys and others things for lead, we recommend LeadCheck swabs, which you can get at Home Depot.

(By the way, the holiday figurines shown here were sold at Home Depot and recalled for high lead content. Small world, huh?)

Here’s the list of recalls we came up with:

“S T U F F” and Paw Wall Hooks Recalled By Midwest-CBK Due to Violation of Lead Paint Standard

Cost Plus Inc. Recalls Tea Glasses Due to Risk of Lead Exposure

Basketball-Shaped Chair and Ottoman Sets Recalled by Colleen Karis Designs Due to Violation of Lead Paint Standard; Sold at HomeGoods Stores

Hammary Furniture Recalls Chests and Tables Due to Violation of Lead Paint Standard

Golfer’s Billiard Games Recalled by Dick’s Sporting Goods and Golf Galaxy Due to Violation of Lead Paint Standard

Skull-And-Crossbones Necklaces Recalled By Spencer Gifts Due to Risk of Lead Exposure

Lip Gloss Keychains Recalled By Markwins Beauty Products Due to Risk of Lead Exposure

Pendants and Candle Charms Recalled Due to Risk of Lead Exposure

Pacific Science Supplies Recalls Magnets Due to Violation of Lead Paint Standard

Horseshoe Magnets Recalled by Dowling Magnets Due to Violation of Lead Paint Standard

American Scientific Recalls Magnets Due to Violation of Lead Paint Standard

Michaels Stores Recalls Seasonal Writing Pens Due to Violation of Lead Paint Standard

Master Lock Recalls Lock and Leash™ Locks Due to Violation of Lead Paint Standard

Galison/Mudpuppy Recalls Wire Bound Journals and Calendars Due to Violation of Lead Paint Standard

Photo Frames Recalled by The Gift Wrap Company Due to Violation of Lead Paint Standard

Kash N’ Gold Recalls Tinker Bell Novelty Lamps Due to Violation of Lead Paint Standard

The Home Depot Recalls Holiday Figurines Due to Lead Paint Hazard

American Greetings Corp. Recalls Confetti Bursts Due to Violation of Lead Paint Standard

Reeves International Inc. Recalls Holiday Ornaments Due to Violation of Lead Paint Standard

DecoPac Inc. Recalls Football Bobble Head Cake Decorations Due to Violation of Lead Paint Standard

J.C. Penney Recalls Breyer Stirrup Ornaments Due to Violation of Lead Paint Standard

Riddell Recalls Collectible Mini Racing Helmets Due to Violation of Lead Paint Standard

Fire Hazard with Thermador® Built-In Ovens Leads to Recall by BSH Home Appliances Corp. 

Silver Stud Earrings Sold Exclusively at Kmart Recalled by Crimzon Rose Accessories Due to Lead Poisoning Hazard

Lifetime Brands Inc. Recalls Lemonade Jars For Lead Exposure Hazard

There’s way more, but I got tired and ran out of time. See for yourself.

Super Cool Idea: Your garden flowers embedded in resin panels for cabinet inserts

Written By: admin - Oct• 27•10

Kitchen remodel This idea is so unique that we at Kathy’s Remodeling Blog can hardly stand it: You can have your own garden flowers imbedded into resin panels for use as kitchen or bathroom cabinet inserts.

See some options here

Can you imagine your favorite flowers, that you grew, immortalized in resin panels? You can use translucent resin panels for room dividers, stairway guard rails, cabinet inserts and tons of other purposes.

Including flowers you grew is a great idea for personalizing your home. And don’t be afraid to personalize your home. Now that the housing market is stagnant, and will be for at least a decade, it’s time to get personal. Chances are, you’ll be living there for a long, long time.

Check out this stair rail guard used by Santa Monica architect Kyle Moss. Can you imagine your flowers imbedded into panels like these:

Architect Kyle Moss
Or, how about a room divider like this made with panels imbedded with your flowers:


Here are some companies who make these panels:






Report: ‘Green’ product claims are often misleading — USA Today

Written By: admin - Oct• 26•10

Green productsMore than 95% of consumer products marketed as “green,” including all toys surveyed, make misleading or inaccurate claims, says a report today.

The number of products claiming to be green increased 73% since 2009, according to a survey by TerraChoice,an Ottawa-based marketing firm owned mostly by Underwriters Laboratory of Canada. The UL network does independent product testing and certification.

“The biggest sin is making claims without any proof,” says Scot Case of UL Environment, adding that companies want consumers to “just trust them.” The report finds “vagueness” is the second-leading problem (a shampoo claimed it was “mother-earth approved”) in “greenwashing” — a term that refers to misleading, false or unproven green claims.

Read the whole story at: content.usatoday.com

A wall of windows in the kitchen

Written By: admin - Oct• 26•10

Here at Kathy’s Remodeling Blog, I may be destined to one day have a kitchen with a wall of windows because each time I see a kitchen like this, I feel a pull on my heart. Here are some examples:

kitchenA kitchen in Sonoma, California, that overlooks a courtyard, in USA Today

  kitchenA kitchen in Hollywood Hills, California

kitchenAnd another in Lake Arrowhead, California

Now I realize that when you have an abundance of windows in a kitchen you give up space for cabinets. But ahhh, to be bathed in light while cooking, to have a view while in the kitchen, well in my mind, that makes up for it.