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Dear Dale:

Searching for the Latest in Renovations

March 15, 1987|Dale Baldwin

Question: I plan to do a major renovation on my house in the fall. That is, do over the entire house and spend a lot of money doing it. I don't mind spending the money, but what I want are the very latest ideas in doing the renovation. Through the years I've collected home magazines, but now I realize that was rather foolish. Some of the ideas I've saved are really old hat now. What do you consider the best source for up-to-date ideas in home renovation?

Answer: I think the best sources are an active architect and an active interior designer--those who have attended conferences and conventions where ideas of the future are presented. And don't feel that your old magazines are a waste of time. Sometimes the practicality of an idea is more important than its aesthetic or trendy quality.

An inspiring book that was published just before Christmas is Metropolitan Home "Renovation Style" by Joanna L. Krotz. It's an extensive collection of successful renovations by reputable 1634624544throughout the country. The book was developed by the staff and from the pages of Metropolitan Home magazine. It contains 359 pages of color photographs--sometimes as many as 10 to a page--and all beautifully reproduced.

If this book doesn't inspire you or give you concrete know-how on handling your own renovation project, there's no hope. These are projects of the pros--the end results; solutions to problems ranging from ranch houses to a shoe factory converted to eight town-house units.

You'll get a different perspective about lofts, California bungalows and small city houses. There are examples of spas ("finish wood around it with a prime coat and two finish coats of polyurethane"), bathrooms ("with a canyon view") and kitchens ("put the focus on separate areas that work alone, but still connect the overall").

Price of the book is $40, and the publisher is Villard Books, a division of Random House Inc., New York.

Q: Recently I acquired about 100 glass bricks. They are 8x18-inch squares. I would like to rebuild a wall in my apartment . . . or use some of them to build some type of shower enclosure. Since I was a kid I've loved these bricks; I recall myself daydreaming in the chair of our family dentist while staring into the glass wall. Do you have any suggestions and/or resources on "what and how to" with these bricks? Also, do you know where additional bricks can be purchased in the event I will need more?

A: I find it difficult to believe your letter. My experience in any dentist's chair has always been sheer terror. Nevertheless, here goes:

There are several firms in the country that manufacture glass blocks today, although you may have some trouble matching the blocks you acquired. Therefore, I would find out what's available before beginning a project.

Among the firms is Pittsburgh-Corning Corp., 800 Presque Isle Drive, Pittsburgh, Pa. 15239. I'd write and request any brochures on sizes and styles and techniques for installing.

If you contact this column again, please send the name of that family dentist. (Just kidding.)

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