Home Automation

The New York Times published an intesting article today about home automation. Brian Chen describes the pros and cons various options and features, and I notice myself being somewhat slow to jump aboard. https://www.nytimes.com/guides/technology/how-to-make-a-smart-home While many embrace their smartphones wholly, I have actually taken a step back. I noticed myself taking the iPhone to my […]

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Construction Consultants Can Help!

Construction Consultants Can Help!

Shortly after hurricane Katrina hit, I was approached by a fellow in the Russian River area of Northern California. He described how he had hired a contractor to turn the basement of his vacation home into an apartment. Before work was completed, the builder suddenly left for Florida, saying he wanted to help hurricane victims. Long […]

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Troubleshooting PLS 2 Palm Laser Level

My construction company loves PLS laser levels. We own three of them: one PLS 2 and two PLS 5’s. The PLS 2 was purchased used around 2010, and a label under the controls shows the date code as “2/07” so I assume that is when it was made. Toward the end of 2012, the level […]

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How To Hide That Hard-To-Remove Wallpaper

How To Hide That Hard-To-Remove Wallpaper

When you look online, you will find a TON of articles and videos about how to get rid of wallpaper. This video was published before and shows how to remove it. Some people recommend chemicals, others use vinegar or hot water, and some love using a steamer. What is noteworthy is that for every success […]

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Ready For Winter? 10 Home Maintenance Tips!

The SF Bay Area received some much-needed rain Friday night, and the end of this week will bring more. We are slowly but surely moving toward winter, and it is time to take a look around the house and make sure we are ready. (more…)

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salvaged lumber at Port & Manor

Store Remodels Using Salvaged Lumber

In a post published last year, I wrote about creative use of reclaimed wood. While most content on this site is about home remodeling, retail stores and other businesses can (and do!) the same. A good example is a local branch of Port & Manor that opened in San Rafael, California, not long ago. Before […]

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Structural Crack Monitor

Here is an easy way to keep track of movements of concrete, stucco, flagstone, or any other material you can think of. Structural Puzzle One of our clients has a house that sits perched on a hill east of San Francisco. This area is prone to earthquakes, and soil on hills has a tendency to move. […]

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Online Fraud: The Buck Stops Here

Earlier this week, I noticed some small charges to my VISA card. $0.99 for an iTunes movie rental; $1.05 for a Berkeley parking meter; and $1 for something related to TransUnion. I could not recall what that might had been. Fearing a deluge of scam-related charges, I went to investigate. I called TransUnion, and indeed, […]

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Desalination: Good For Israel. Good For California?

The New York TImes reports today on how Israel is mitigating a shortage of much-needed rain by desalinating seawater. California, reeling from its driest winter in history, has a long coast line and the same opportunity as Israel. Of course, the problem with desalination is that it requires a lot of energy. According to the […]

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Toto Motorcycle Toiet

Flush Water-Saving Toilets After Each Use!

Now that an official drought has been declared in California, many people remind themselves that “When it’s yellow it’s mellow; when it’s brown flush it down.” That was fine and well during the days of toilets that used nine gallons of water to keep waste moving. With today’s modern toilets that use between one and two […]

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Amsterdam Architects Build Full-sized Home With 3D Printer

Amsterdam Architects Build Full-sized Canal House With 3D Printer

Leave it to those Amsterdammers! Famous for their red light district, Old Dutch Masters, and gorgeous canal houses, one is now being built with a 3D printer. A few weeks ago, Annemarie Coevert of the Dutch newspaper NRC Handelsblad reported how DUS architects designed the world’s first building being constructed with a 3D printer. Visitors […]

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Rem Koolhaas Back In Baghdad By The Bay

For several weeks, I have had page C2 of the SF Chronicle sitting on my desk. Its City Insider column announced on March 18 that “Dutch superstar architect Rem Koolhaas is getting another crack at San Francisco.” While I never like to see the word “crack” mentioned anywhere near the topic of construction, I suppose this […]

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“Catch A Contractor” — Is It Worth Watching?

‘Catch A Contractor’ — Is It Worth Watching?

Short answer: No. A better title for this show is ‘Lost.’ It applies to the homeowners who did not do their due diligence; to the fellows selling themselves as contractors but could not care less; and unfortunately to the hosts of the show, as well. The show is much like ‘America’s Most Wanted’ or ‘Cops’, […]

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