A home improvement project doesn't have to be big or expensive to add to the livability of a house--and increase its value.
Take the 18-by-25-foot redwood deck that Mr. and Mrs. Craig Chapman of Irvine built just off their family room and kitchen. It cost about $1,500 to construct and won second place in a deck building contest sponsored by Ganahl Lumber Co. of Anaheim. They estimate that it has increased the resale value of their home by about $3,000.
The cost was kept down by the use of construction common grade redwood, much less expensive than grades without knots, according to the California Redwood Assn.
Construction heart grade is another less-than-perfect grade of this durable, easy to work wood. The sapwood streaks and tight knots in the two construction grades can even be used to advantage with the right kind of finish.
The Chapmans added interest to their deck by using angled steps conforming to the shape of an existing concrete patio, built-in benches and planters and placing the decking at right angles to create an eye-catching pattern.
If you're interested in adding a hot tub, it could be easily incorporated into a handsome deck like this. In Southern California, at least, a deck is usable for all but a few of the coldest weeks in our relatively mild winters.
To help you plan and design a deck, the California Redwood Assn. has prepared a 12-page booklet showing a variety of decks with spas, pools, trellises, planters and other features. It, along with a leaflet on various finishes, can be obtained for $1 from the association at Department DA-87, 591 Redwood Highway, Suite 3100, Mill Valley, Calif. 94941.
There's a deadly disease that afflicts restorers of old houses: It's called the Mushroom Factor, according to Patricia Poore, editor of The Old-House Journal.
The February issue of the magazine describes this "mysterious universal force that causes any old-house project to expand endlessly until the limits of time and budget are exceeded."
One person, according to the story, started out to scrape and paint a water stain and ended up replacing two windows and an entire bathroom. Another started to repave the driveway and ended up digging up the backyard, replacing a rotted porch and putting a new foundation under the garage.
If you haven't seen the revamped magazine, it's worth a look. It's a vast improvement over the old newsletter format. Poore will send out a sample issue for the reduced price of $2 ($3.95 is the regular price). The address is: The Old-House Journal, 69A 7th Ave., Brooklyn, N.Y. 11217.