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I Remodel, Therefore I Am

August 29, 2004|MARK EDWARD HARRIS

What home wouldn't benefit from a strategically placed cherub fountain, designer mailbox or open-air kitchen? Legions of do-it-yourselfers, would-be contractors and looky-loos converged on the Home Improvement and Backyard Living Expo from July 30 to Aug. 1 at the Long Beach Convention Center. We asked some Mr. and Ms. Fix-its to hammer home a few points.


Jim Stratton


Why are you here today?

We just bought a spa. My mother died a couple of months ago and she always wanted us to have one. She left us a little bit of money, so we went ahead and bought it.

Why did you choose the one you bought?

It's got the nozzles in all the right places where old people get stiff!

Are you going to allow drinking in the spa?

Yeah. We should know how to do that by now.

Your biggest home-improvement mistake ?

After the '87 Whittier earthquake, I fixed our garage. I attached new supports to the foundation and new siding. Then I realized that I can get my car in, but I can't get out of my car once it's in there.


Terry Prestia

Lake Forest

Why are you here today?

We're getting ready to move and we're going to do some remodeling. We're buying a condo to retire in.

What is your dream improvement?

We're moving into our dream. It's always the kitchen for the woman. Also a bath. I want a soaker, nice and deep. These shallow tubs don't make sense to me.

Why is our culture so obsessed with home improvement?

The home is a place to relax. When you retire you spend so much of your time there.

Can an improvement project destroy a marriage?

Sure, that's why I don't even ask my husband. He leaves it up to me. I ask him when it comes to electrical and things like that.


Eric and Elizabeth Ehlers

San Pedro

Why are you here today?

Elizabeth: We come to all the shows. You see things like windows that you can turn around and clean both sides of without having to go outside.

Your biggest home-improvement mistake?

Eric: Taking out some neat trees we had in the backyard. She took them out.

Elizabeth: They were ugly. I redid the whole yard. I put in some Norfolk and some ficus trees, and made a little waterfall. We took out pepper trees. The neighbors were complaining that leaves were flying into their pool.

Are you do-it-yourselfers?

Elizabeth: My husband can do everything, but he doesn't have time. I hire people.

Can an improvement project destroy a marriage?

Eric: I could live in a little box and be happy. But she's the one who makes everything nice.


Pee Wee Hernandez


Are you planning to buy anything?

We might buy this massage chair. My wife made me sit in it.

Do you have any projects going now?

We're replacing our windows and are planning a lot of remodeling. We live in a nice area of Lakewood, and buying somewhere else would be expensive. Our house is paid for, so we're improving it.

Your dream improvement?

To have some landscaping done, bring in trees and stuff.

Your biggest mistake?

Last year I had tile put in [floors and countertops]. If I had to do it over, I would put granite in instead. Tile is too difficult to keep clean.

Why are we so obsessed with home improvement?

Older houses were built really well. You can improve them like we did.

Who makes the key improvement decisions, men or women?

Women, because they know what the house needs. But the men are the ones who pay for it.

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