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Home Improvement

1930s kitchen remodel
Home, Los Angeles Living

1930s Kitchen Design: Before and After

File this one under B for better late than never — but since I’m on a remodeling-post roll, I’m inspired to share a couple of before-and-after photos from our 1930s kitchen remodel… which we completed two years ago.

I can’t overstate how much I loved this house when we first saw it. It felt so right. It was like that magical Say Yes to the Dress moment. Is this the one? Oh yes, gurrrl, this is the one. But I’ve said a hundred times before on this blog, the only thing not ideal about this house is its size, at about 1,350 square feet. (Fine for a couple, but not so much for growing into as a family.) The kitchen was among the rooms in particular that did not feel large, but part of the problem wasn’t actually the size itself, but rather the dearth of storage. There seemed to be just a few cabinets willy nilly, but nothing that maximized the space. Continue Reading

Los Angeles Garage Office Conversion
Home, Los Angeles Living

Our Los Angeles Garage Office Conversion: Ideas and Photos!

What happens when you have a two-bedroom house and two babies on the way? Well, first thing is you can kiss your sweet home office goodbye in favor of a nursery. Second thing is, you can figure out what the heck to do instead if you are a writer-editor who works from home.

Our solution (after considering other options like buying a new house, for instance) was to go for a detached garage office conversion. At first, I was opposed to this idea (proposed by husband), because I’m not sure you really see ROI from a future sale of a home, unless you add square footage onto the main house. But I really started to warm up to the idea when I began realizing its utility as a major custom feature for a new mom who makes her living as I do; I can be close enough to be accessible, but still two closed doors away from babies and nanny and noise enough to have the reasonable expectation of actual work. That’s a setup that works for me.

Beyond that, we needed to maintain some storage space. Otherwise, what would happen to husband’s 23 crates of ’90s hip-hop records from his DJing days, or my endless hoard of sentimental artifacts (I know, I know, call A&E — but I just love life and people and memories)? So we divided the garage into partial raw storage, and partial office space. That sounds sort of simple, but required hoop jumping to accommodate the movement of the existing garage door, as well as un-motorizing it so the motor didn’t run through the ceiling of our space.

With those considerations all addressed, prospective garage-office converters among my dear readers will be pleased to know the project was a fairly simple one! Continue Reading

1930s bathroom remodel
Home, Los Angeles Living

At Long Last: Our 1930s Bathroom Remodel Before and After Photos!

One of my best friend’s Holocaust-survivor bubbies had an expression. She’d say — and you have to imagine this in an old-country accent — “Everywhere is it nice, but home is it the best.”

This is more or less my own life’s most fundamental mantra, and the underpinning beneath every word written on this blog. I want to go everywhere and see everything, and in between I want to come home to my own coordinates, on my teeny-tiny piece of the earth, and sit in my sweet little 1,350-square-foot house, surrounded by my family and my friends and rascally cats. That’s the nougat filling if travel is the chocolate coating.

So quite literally every time I touch down at LAX, or pull into the driveway after a long time away, I say out loud — affecting the same Yiddish accent — “Everywhere is it nice, but home is it the best.”

After more than six weeks out of our house, living with parents and in-laws and traveling out of town every single weekend, our bathroom remodel finally wrapped up and allowed us to move back in earlier this month. And by then, home felt more luxurious than even the most far-flung five-star resort.

Continue Reading

Carthay Square Los Angeles 1936 Spanish Deco Tiled Bathroom
Home, Los Angeles Living

In Which We Attempt a Los Angeles Home Remodel While Pregnant (Gulp!)

Surely I must be one of those people who’s not happy unless she’s in constant motion, whether that means traveling (three countries per 10-day vacation is about our speed), or keeping busy at home.

The latest piece of evidence: On Tuesday, which is the day I hit 19 weeks pregnant (or exactly halfway on the twins full-term scale), we’ll move out of our house as we begin demo for a two-month remodel. To recap: a home remodel while pregnant. One that requires moving out. And moving in with parents and in-laws. For six weeks. Gulp.

In short, here’s why. Continue Reading

Barbara K DIYVA Ultimate Tool Kit
Home

An Alternative to Big Box Browsing: Barbara K’s New Ultimate Tool Kit

It’s Black Friday at 8:39 a.m. My husband is at Lowe’s — something about outdoor lighting. I’m in bed with my laptop acting like a person whose body would physically allow her to sleep in. (Of course I’ve been up for hours puttering on the Internet, but it’s a luxurious fantasy, this “sleeping in” thing that I’m told people do on holiday weekends.)

Anyway, the aisles of Lowe’s tend to make my eyes glaze over. Home Depot is worse. (Why can’t those shopping experiences be more fun, like Target?) Do you know what I think about when I’m in Home Depot? There’s an old editing term that I’m pretty sure no one uses anymore: “MEGO.” It means “my eyes glaze over,” so if an editor scrawled it on your story somewhere, it meant your stuff was boring or meandering. I basically have “MEGO” running through my head constantly while in Home Depot. But I digress.

Despite my above-mentioned fear and loathing in big-box home-improvement stores, I am rather obsessed lately with small home improvement projects. And here’s a neat new item that might’s a bit more my speed.

Barbara Kavovit, a.k.a. Barbara K, known for creating tools meant for women, has just introduced her newest brand DIYVA (do you kind of love it?) earlier this month. Continue Reading