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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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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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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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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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Curved Ipe Deck – Photos & Tips

Summer is getting closer, and decks are wonderful places to spend time outdoors. We have built many of them, mostly using redwood or cedar, and sometimes using composite material or hardwood. Just a few years ago, we crafted a curved ipe deck that became a true labor of love and one of our flagship projects. […]

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Some Technologies Waste Time — Lots!

As part of my work, I spend quite a bit of time driving. Meetings with clients, checking progress at construction projects; and so forth. While on one of those trips recently, I wondered how much faster traffic would move if drivers all over the world would stop texting and checking email. (more…)

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Finishing A Birch Door With GF Arm-R-Seal Urethane Topcoat

One of my desk tops is actually a solid core door. It spans across two filing cabinets, making for a nice, long work surface. The top has an attractive birch veneer skin which I never bothered to seal. I figured I would get around to it some day, and that day finally arrived. In addition, […]

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New Concrete Slab In Ten Easy Steps

It is about time we publish a hands-on, how-to, nuts & bolts article. Last week we poured a new concrete slab that is part of a larger remodeling project. The pad was made for a Jacuzzi hot tub that needed to be relocated. Ready? Here we go… (more…)

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Installing The Nest Thermostat

Installing The Nest Thermostat

In April of 2012, Remodel Blog published a post showing how to install the Nest Learning Thermostat. It was accompanied by a video featuring step-by-step instructions on how to identify the polarity of unidentified wires coming from the furnace. This post was quite popular, in part because it showed the installation procedure for when your […]

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