Question: I am about to start my do-it-myself project of converting my 19-by-19-foot detached garage into a sleeping-recreation room for my 15-year-old twin boys.
I would like to use "Murphy" type beds, but I don't know where to buy them. Also, I would like your comments on how to heat and cool such a room. I intend to insulate the walls and ceilings.
Answer: The authorized California distributor for Murphy beds is Murphy Beds & Custom Cabinets Inc., with the main office and showroom at 3320 W. Burbank Blvd., Burbank. Showrooms are in Santa Ana and San Diego, and still another is scheduled to open in Torrance in late April or early May.
Theodore (Ted) Hyde, store manager in Burbank, says there are 11 models of the foldaway beds in each of the showrooms, which are open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday and evenings and Sundays by appointment.
This firm has been in the business of furniture design for a number of years and can incorporate the Murphy beds into wall units that would include, for instance, a desk or desks, wardrobes or chests of drawers. The prices range from about $1,000 each for a twin bed and a cabinet to contain it to perhaps $6,000 for an extensive wall unit. But don't let the price scare you if you plan to do your own installation.
A twin-bed Murphy mechanism with built-in springs (and including mattress) cost about $500 each, and of course you would do all the cabinet work or installation in a closet.
There's a charge of $65 for delivery and installation of one bed, a bit more for installation of two beds.
As for heating, you might check to see if there is some way to vent the garage from your main house furnace, but I doubt that it would be practical or economically feasible. This could be a good time to look into some solar heating equipment to supplement whatever type heat you finally choose.
Q: In the past you've mentioned a home-made mixture for removing mildew, but I can't remember what it is. Please repeat it.
A: Some people have found a 50-50 mixture of chlorine bleach and water is effective in removing mildew. But this mixture, of course will bleach colored walls, etc., just as it would bleach or remove the color from fabrics. If your walls are white, it should be OK to use. Wipe the solution all around the affected area for a longer lasting effect.
Q: My cabinet tops are old Formica with a metal strip all around the edge. I plan to remove the metal edge and install ceramic tiles on the countertop. Must I remove the old countertop before installing the tiles?
A: Not necessarily. After removing the metal strip, make sure that the old Formica is stable and securely bonded. If it is, you should take coarse sandpaper to rough up the surface. Tiles will adhere better to the scarified surface.
Dale Baldwin will answer remodeling questions of general interest on this page. Send your questions to Home Improvement, Real Estate Department, Los Angeles Times, Times Mirror Square, Los Angeles 90053. Baldwin cannot answer questions individually. Snapshots of successful do-it-yourself projects may be submitted but cannot be returned.