January 16, 2005 |
Like many pre-owned houses, buyer Donna Van Gundy's came with a home warranty -- a renewable service contract, usually paid for by the seller or real estate agent, that shields a buyer from costs associated with the repair or replacement of major systems and appliances in the first year of ownership. Ninety percent of existing homes sold in California have a warranty, according to the Home Warranty Assn. of California, up from 25% a decade ago.
HOME & GARDEN
December 23, 2004 |
Processing all the details of a home remodeling project can be overwhelming for homeowners who rely on the clerks at Home Depot for technical advice. Bay window or box? Wood flooring or laminate? Packaged heating and cooling system or split? With its easy-to-understand writing and attention to detail, this invaluable reference book takes away the anxiety of making "the choice." Koones focuses on the basic elements that make a house.
HOME & GARDEN
September 23, 2004 |
I have bedroom doors to repaint by Christmas, but I keep getting interrupted by petty emergencies. One day, the wireless Internet goes kaput. The next day, the underlighting in the kitchen. It just confirms what I've long suspected. All houses are a little haunted. Those girlish screams you hear from the street, like a baby-sitter being tortured? That's me trying to fix the wireless Internet. The help message I got when the DSL line went down was complete gibberish. Tell me, do I look like a Caltech geek?
March 28, 2004 |
Even though Uncle Sam places limits on tax breaks and incentives for homeownership, equity-rich owners can raise the bar by using permanent improvements to reduce capital gains tax liability at sale time. But that's not usually the motivation behind such projects. Karen and Justin Pleasant of Fullerton thought replacing their badly cracked concrete driveway and adding curb appeal would provide a good return on investment.
HOME & GARDEN
July 10, 2003 |
Mold. The word has power. It can propel entire families to flee their homes to bunk in cramped hotel rooms, leaving cherished possessions behind to rot. It can make a condo resident accuse a neighbor of being so dirty that property values have fallen, and a landlord worry that it will be impossible to find a new tenant. "The black plague." "Leprosy." "The new asbestos." The terms for toxic mold sum up the fear and stigma attached to it.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
October 19, 2002 |
Operators of a Highland Park center for troubled teenagers knew where to go when their fund-raising program needed a tuneup. They pulled into their group home's auto repair shop. That's where Optimist Youth Homes & Family Services leaders are applying a torque-wrench twist to the popular charity car donation by assigning teenage mechanics to repair old automobiles before they are sold.
September 11, 2002 |
Julie Sussman began her home repair odyssey by climbing onto a roof and caulking a leak. Stephanie Glakas-Tenet dismantled a lawn mower to unclog the gas line. Now the duo, CIA wives with matching tool belts, hope to convince women that hammers, wrenches, screwdrivers and even pizza cutters are implements of empowerment. And economy. "Dare to Repair: A Do-It-Herself Guide to Fixing (Almost) Anything in the Home" (Harper Resource) is clearly written for novices.
April 19, 2002 |
Two years ago, a clutch of professional women in Denver was invited to a home party where upscale kitchenware was being sold. As they were leaving together, they grumbled that the last thing they needed was another copper pan or veggie steamer. "What we really need," Sue Wilson recalls saying, "are parties where we can buy great tools."
March 24, 2002 |
Do you get the feeling it's 1975 when you walk into your house? The gold swag lamps and the mirror-tiled walls were replaced ages ago, but when you look up, are you in the disco era? It's those acoustic ceilings. Also known as "popcorn" or "cottage cheese" ceilings because of their rough surface, these sprayed-on textures were a staple of California home building in the 1950s and '60s, when developers couldn't build houses fast enough for postwar buyers.