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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. 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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“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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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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Contractor State License Board Goes Undercover

California’s Contractor State License Board Goes Undercover (video)

California’s Contractor State License Board shows unlicensed ‘contractors’ that doing remodel work without the appropriate license is not cool. The Board also attempts to fight abuse of the elderly. Finding answers to these problems certainly has Remodel Blog’s support, but what is the right way to go about it? The videos recently posted to the CSLB […]

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Chez Panisse

Chez Panisse Restaurant Repairs and Remodels, Better Accommodates Handicapped

As most food aficionados know, Berkeley-based Chez Panisse restaurant and cafe had a small fire in March, 2013. Construction efforts have been underway ever since, including some remodeling work. The new structure  includes a handicap ramp (see photo below) and have a bathroom compliant with the American Disabilities Act, more commonly known as ADA. If […]

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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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Construction Humor: Repairing The Pearly Gates

While surveying Heaven’s infinite landscape, St Peter comes upon the Pearly Gates. Billions have come through, and the Gates need repairs. When the next contractor arrives, St Peter seizes the moment. “Hey fella, sorry you fell off that ladder! While you’re here, would you mind taking a look at those Gates and give me an idea […]

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Felt That 4.0 Quake This Morning?

I was half-awake when I noticed that gentle shaking, apparently centered in El Cerrito. It so happens that I live across the Bay in a carriage house that’s over 100 years old and has nothing to offer in terms of earthquake protection. Brrr… I hope I am not home when the big one hits. In […]

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Love Thy Neighbor(s)

On almost every building project we make sure to introduce ourselves to the surrounding neighbors. This often helps small problems from becoming headaches, plus it is a good marketing tool. I always try to introduce myself in person, and if that is not possible I leave a letter with my business card in the mailbox. […]

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Payroll: A DIY Project?

For many years my company worked strictly with licensed subcontractors and carpenters who would receive a 1099 at year’s end. Then at some point I decided it was time to start a payroll and hire employees. I won’t say it was a mistake, but this added a substantial layer of paperwork and expense. Unless you […]

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Who is this duct-taped iPhone user?

Why This Blog?

I started swinging a hammer in the early 80’s. My father was developing land in the hills of Oakland, CA, building beautiful homes with fantastic views of the San Francisco 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, […]

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