About Kees

I started swinging a hammer in the early 80′s. My father was developing land in the Oakland hills, building beautiful homes with fantastic views of the Bay. As a former producer of art documentaries for Dutch television, he was more a visual artist than a businessman. For better or for worse, I followed in those footsteps. By now I have gained a solid block of construction experience. The nuts-and-bolts, of course, but also people skills and attention to environmental impact. The industry as a whole continues to have a bad reputation, and relatively little is done to raise the bar. I would like to see this change. Most importantly, however, and perhaps the main focus of this blog, is collaboration. Sharing what we know so we can learn from each other. There will be some reviews of equipment and methods, photos and videos of projects past and present, details of the way I run my business, guest posts, and more. The design of this blog is in its infant stages. I had hoped to first make it look the way I wanted it to, and then start posting. Due to time constraints it became clear rather quickly that it would take forever before I could publish the first piece, so I will address the bells and whistles as time permits. Form follows function, as they say. Questions? Ideas? Drop a line!
Author Archive | Kees
King of Sheetrock

What Does Your Company’s Logo Say About You?

A few months ago, I noticed this King of Sheetrock truck near one of our job sites. The logo on the truck right away made me smile, and it still does. The design is playful and well done. Part of it reminded me of a gun slinger of the Ol’ West, but this cowboy comes […]

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stepstone3

Remodel Using Reclaimed Wood

While on a walk this morning, I saw a creative way to give old wood a new lease on life. In this photo, a gardener used reclaimed lumber as stepping stones, making a path from the sidewalk to the gate. This salvaged wood, nice thick pieces of tongue-and-groove redwood, sits on a bed of gravel. I […]

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continued education

Continued Education For Builders?

Recently, a friend mentioned he had to finish up some continued education credits to maintain his medical license. Lawyers are required to do the same, and so are many other professionals. Then I began to wonder: why is the building industry exempt? The construction landscape is constantly changing with new and updated laws, methods, and […]

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outlet

How To Cut Existing Ceramic Tile For Fan Switch Or New Electrical Outlet

While replacing electrical wiring during a recent whole-house remodel, a fan switch had to be installed in a tiled bathroom wall. There were no spare tiles, so great care had to be taken to not cause cracks or other damage. With the right tools and a steady hand, here’s how to accomplish that task without […]

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Remodeled Bathroom

Smart Bathroom Remodel Starts In A Few Weeks!

In a couple of weeks, we will start a second floor bathroom remodel in a 1930’s Spanish-style home. We plan to cover this project from A to Z with video and stills, and will share tips and tricks of the trade. Here is a brief description of what will be happening. (more…)

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pisa

“Skipping the Architect: Wise or Otherwise?”

That is the title of a recent article in The New York Times that caught my eye. I interact with architects and engineers on most projects my company is hired for, so I have first-hand experience with the benefits and sometimes disappointments of working with design pros. I believe it comes down to just a […]

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flower_blackbg

When A Friend’s Passing Stops You In Your Tracks

The last weeks years have kept me busy thinking about reinvention. Remodeling contractors large and small have taken hard economic hits, and it will take years to recover. Not that there is no work, mind you, but there is much less of it, and contractors have to work a great deal harder to get it. And […]

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moneyfan

Irresponsible eHow Post Rewarded With Enviable Google Ranking

A few days ago, I was searching Google on the query ‘Second Story Deck’. I wrote two articles on deck building recently, and wanted to see the rankings. Lo and behold, guess what shows up on page 1 of the search results? Yep, an eHow post. (For the few of you not familiar with eHow, it […]

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drowning

California Contractors, Check Your Remodeling Contracts!

Yesterday I attended a presentation for construction professionals titled “Drowning in Paperwork, or Ten Ways To Stay Out Of Trouble With Your Lawyers.” It was made by attorney Eric Phillips with Wendel Rosen Black & Dean, and hosted by Truitt & White Lumber in Berkeley, California. Among the presentation’s main points was the fact that […]

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View of San Francisco Bay as seen from 2nd story deck in Sausalito, California

How To Build A Second Story Deck With Tube Steel Posts

You would want one, too, if you lived in Sausalito with a beautiful view of the San Francisco Bay. A stroke of luck for my company, several other builders were not willing to deal with steel deck supports. True, steel is far less forgiving than wood, yet that made this an interesting challenge. And who […]

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Popular Pneumatic Framing Nailers By Bostich, Hitachi And Senco

Popular Pneumatic Framing Nailers By Bostich, Hitachi And Senco

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Wallpaper Removal Tools And Tips

Wallpaper Removal Tools And Tips Video

The walls of my friend Melinda‘s house have several layers of wallpaper. They ain’t pretty, and about a week ago she told me of her plans to get serious. She rented a wallpaper steamer, picked up some supplies, and a day later wallpaper was falling to the floor. Look around on the web a bit, and you […]

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truck

Truck Rental Damage Waiver

A few months ago I posted a note about renting vs owning a truck. While reading on NYTimes.com today about vehicle rentals and the high cost of insurance, I was jolted into writing a reminder. Unless your own insurance provides coverage, you become liable not only for any damage to the vehicle, but also for […]

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