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mobile Upwardly

The Magazine of Mobile, Manufactured and Modular Home Living

Home Delivery W I NTE R 20 0 9

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Prefabricating the modern home

Enabling the disabled • the power of paint • after the fire LOG CABIN ESCAPES • ikea = idea! • in the garden & more


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Dave Weinhold

445 Pine Avenue Goleta, CA 93117

1463 South Victoria Avenue Ventura, CA 93003

Vice President, Mortgage

Senior Loan Consultant

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Nancie Irvine Sales Manager

2615 S. Miller Street Santa Maria, CA 93455

805.934.4556 ofc 805.345.6534 cell

Delivering knowledge, experience, and flexibility time after time. Allow Clay, Dave, or Nancie to impress you! w w w .umhm ag .c om


CONTENTS

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B U I LD I N G B L O C K S

Rustic Refined This log cabin is a dream come true for its artistic owners. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30

INVESTMENT

First on the Block A Southern California wildfire victim goes modular and beats his neighbors home. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 40

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26 34

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D E PAR T M E N T S UP FRONT Letter from the Publisher . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6

UP AND OUT Artist Retreat in the Foothills . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .26

LETTERS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8

INTERIORS So Many Possibilities at IKEA . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34

FOR YOUR FILES . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 How to Order a Wow! House Reverse Mortgages for M/M Home Owners

DESTINATIONS Log Cabins in the Woods of Big Bear . . . . . . . 38

IN THE CITY A Mobile Idyll in Poway . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12 UPGRADE Enabling the Disabled . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14 IN THE GARDEN Much Ado about Mulch . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16 ENTERTAINING The Big Game Bash . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18 IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD Dear Neighbor . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20

INNOVATIONS MalibXuse . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26 IN THE PARK De Anza is Paradise in Santa Cruz . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 42 RETRO A Historic Family-Owned Park . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 44 OPEN ROAD Ojai . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 46 TRAILER TRASH TALES Episode 6 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 48 LAST LOOK . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 50

UPSCALE The Power of Paint . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22 w w w.u m h m a g . c o m

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UP FRONT

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OME DELIVERY: Prefabricating the modern home was a show featuring examples of historic and contemporary factory-built homes at the Modern Museum of Art in New York last year. The show has generated a great deal of renewed interest in prefabricated homes. Unfortunately, in almost all the discussions and articles, the “manufactured home” was left out. Many of the articles suggested that factory-built homes were unsuccessful and would continue to be so. Hello? Aren’t prefab and manufactured the same concept? Hello, again! Manufactured housing has been successful from the start! More than 1.5 million people live in manufactured homes in California alone. Today’s manufactured homes have become more sophisticated, although they are usually traditional in style. Is this the problem? That they aren’t modern enough to be included with other prefabs? Not tech-y enough? Manufactured homes are no longer “mobile” homes towed from place to place (although we often use this vernacular). Is this the reason that people think of manufactured housing as the old trailers? Actually, old trailers have become a hot item. People all over the U.S. are restoring these classics, and I predict the same will happen to the vintage mobile homes. Manufactured homes can now legally be called modulars when they follow standards set by the state (as opposed to HUD standards) and the codes of the local community. The number of manufactured homes that are placed on private lots in cities and suburbs has been increasing each year and is up to 30% in some areas. Even entire tracts are now built from manufactured homes, either completely or as in components. They blend into the neighborhood. You would not recognize them as prefabs if you didn’t actually see them being delivered. They are also being used to slowly upgrade older MH communities. Most of the prejudices against manufactured homes are either no longer valid or never were. They are built to high fire standards, are statistically no more vulnerable to disasters than “stick-built” housing, and have no more formaldehyde emissions than other homes do. As land costs have increased, cities are beginning to see the value of using manufactured homes to solve the need for low-cost housing. They are attractive, “green,” allow for density (some are two-story), and cost-effective. They are also more strongly built and structurally sound than traditional wood-frame houses and come furnished with appliances and carpets and window coverings. (See article on Poway page 12.) They are now no smaller than average homes all over America. Maybe the reason that manufactured homes are not included with other prefabs is that they are considered insignificant or low cost housing. Yet, manufactured homes are owned by people from all segments of society—from movie stars to doctors to artists to the disabled—just like other types of housing. They come in various sizes and styles and can be customized. Or, can the reason manufactured housing is ignored be that it’s just not sexy enough for the general newspaper or magazine to write about them? But that too is changing, as we try to fill this void and let you know what manufactured homes are today, and how they benefit society in countless ways.

Toni Gump Publisher 6

Publisher & editorial director Toni Gump ADVERTISING SALES don roberson Gil Warren Design & Production City Creative Group Contributors BARBARA BRONTË BERNAL Arnie Cooper Meredith Day Leslie Dinaberg Virginia Hayes ALLISON JOYCE Frank Nelson Jean Picard don roberson Onnah Roll Photography Penny Arntz Meredith Day RUSS McCONNELL Brent Winebrenner art & illustration Penny Arntz Martha Garstang Hill Marisa murrow COPY EDITING SKONA BRITTAIN office support Rachael Barajas Upwardly Mobile: The Magazine Of Mobile, Manufactured And Modular Home Living is published quarterly by Upwardly Mobile Home Magazine, and single copies are provided free of charge. Unless otherwise noted, all photographs, artwork, and designs printed in Upwardly Mobile are the sole property of Upwardly Mobile Home Magazine and may not be duplicated or reprinted without express written permission. Upwardly Mobile is not liable for typographical or production errors or the accuracy of information provided by advertisers or writers. Readers should verify advertised information with the advertisers. Upwardly Mobile reserves the right to refuse any advertising. Upwardly Mobile® is a registered trademark of Upwardly Mobile Home Magazine, Copyright © 2009. All inquiries may be sent to: Upwardly Mobile, 1187 Coast Village Road, Ste. 1-394, Santa Barbara, CA 93108, or info@umhmag.com or visit our website at: www.umhmag.com.

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Photo Renee Golan

Home Delivery

The Magazine Of Mobile, Manufactured And Modular Home Living


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LETTERS Toni,

Hi Toni, just wanted to send you a quick note saying that we love your magazine. I put it out in our common area & it disappears quickly. How can our residents subscribe? I didn’t see any subscriber cards.Thank You so much for sending us some copies!

Dear Upwardly Mobile, hat a great article Don Roberson wrote about our Champagne Village in your Fall Issue! He really captured the essence of our community. During my interview I told Don that “living here is like having the privacy of your own home inside a 5 star resort.” If any of your readers have been looking for a retirement community they know how rare it is for a manufactured home community to have lush landscape. We have 1800 (yes over 1800) matured trees sprinkled throughout the village. Our homeowners can look out their windows—beyond all the trees and see the rolling hills that surround our community In addition to showing homes to potential buyers I have a lot of fun showing them the house that Lawrence Welk used to live in—here in beautiful Champagne Village. He used to say “This is a little bit of Heaven” and HE WAS RIGHT!

Dear Upwardly Mobile, am so delighted to see the publication of this long overdue and so very welcome magazine focusing on our unique and special lifestyle. I have been a resident of a senior mobile park in Calistoga, California, at the top of the Napa Valley, for 6 years with all the preconceived notions and baggage that accompanied the idea of mobile home living. And am happy to say, am reformed and absolutely love my home, neighborhood, and this charming town of 5,000 residents. I currently hold the Fall 2009 issue in hand and would love to have the previous two issues. I think I can subscribe for future issues online but it was unclear how to obtain the inaugural issue and the summer issue. Again, Congratulations!

Caroline Dobbins Bayside Village MHP

Thanks again! Arlene Garich Champagne Village Realty

Toni,

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e LOVE your beautiful and informative magazine! Our copies fly out of the clubhouse within minutes of putting them on the community table. (Any chance we can get more?) We congratulate you on a consistently stunning publication. Keep up the excellent work of providing a quality publication addressed to those of us in this unique housing niche.

Lyn A. Summer Resident Property Manager The Golden Oaks Community, Ojai, CA

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Letters, comments, suggestions, ideas or any other thoughts can be sent to us at: Upwardly Mobile – 1187 Coast Village Road, Ste. 1-394, Santa Barbara, CA 93108 or email: toni@umhmag.com 8

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Very Sincerely, Gail Gum

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rilliant idea. Beautiful website. We all have been wanting the Better Homes and Gardens for mobile home owners for a very long time—and you have done it.

Jon

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ADD E N D U M Toni, thoroughly enjoy your publication—it goes a long way toward image building for an industry focused on improving how Americans view manufactured homes. The latest issue contains an article written by Barbara Bernal that contains a few errors, the most glaring are in the last paragraph. While it would be nice to claim Le Corbusier as our own, he was French by choice and Swiss by birth. And, he didn’t say, “less is more.” That was all Mies van der Rohe. Keep up the great work, but consider covering the extraordinary things the industry is doing in the research arena.

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Regards, Emanuel Levy, Executive Director Systems Building Research Alliance Top: Chapelle Notre Dame du Haut by Le Corbusier Bottom: The Barcelona Pavilion by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe w w w.u m h m a g . c o m

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FOR YOUR FILES

How To Order A Wow! House By Meredith Day

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CABINETS It is not necessary to spend a fortune on cabinets. Sure, solid maple or oak cabinets are wonderful. Outlets such as Home Depot and Ikea offer very affordable cabinets to the cost-conscious. • If you would rather not contribute to the extinction of Hardwood, there are many great cabinets that do 10

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not affect the planet. The nice thing about a painted cabinet is you are not locked in. You can vary the color as you yourself morph and vary. Follow the creative changes in your life with your environment. • Glass cabinet doors can be a creative alternative—either clear or made with obscure products such as rain-glass. This is my particular favorite. MASTER CLOSET Even today, many factory designers do not allow adequate floor space in master closets. Moving a wall may require an engineering fee. Test any critical space by taping it out on the floor. Make sure there is enough “real estate” to accommodate all your clothes without crowding. • Don’t be tempted to put a skylight in the closet—not even a sky tube. It fades the shoulders of your clothing. Put a movement sensor light in instead.

even more popular is the tiled, oversize walk-in shower, which is now available from the mid-grade manufacturers. • Double sinks are de rigueur in Master Baths. Make sure there are adequate drawers and a nice linen closet. • Glass tile elements are always an attractive focal point. • Indirect lighting that is soft and fills the face fully is great for applying makeup as well as for making women look their very youngest. • Make sure your designer appreciates glamour lighting. It’s just a matter of key placement; it doesn’t cost more. BEDROOM LAYOUT The most dynamic presentation in a bedroom is to have the bed treatment presenting to the entry door. When you are planning your windows, design not only for the best thermal placement, but entry presentation as well.

MASTER BATHROOM A soaking tub is a nice way to relax and its presence fuels the fantasies of prospective buyers. Recently

YOUR FRONT DOOR Here is the place to really make a statement about who you are. Points to remember:

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• Glass front doors are a wonderful statement if you don’t mind the person standing on the stoop being able to see your interior as well as your posterior! • Etched glass and rain-glass are a wonderful way to add light without giving up your privacy. • The front door is the window to your home’s soul. Have fun making the appropriate statement! • Currently, factories do not offer much of a variety to choose from. If you would rather dance to your own drummer with the front door, let the factory ship the “base” front door and order something that really defines you when the home comes in! ENTRY/FOYER If you prefer privacy, create a pleasant foyer. Add some shelving for artifacts that tell visitors who you are as they enter. • If your entry opens directly into the living room or great room, make sure the first view is elegant and dynamic. Your home speaks for you. Never, ever, place a utility room near a front door. w w w .umhm ag .c om

THE KITCHEN Simple changes can make all the difference between a functional kitchen and a “Wow!” kitchen. • Pull-out shelves in all lower cabinets. • Dishwasher directly to the right of the sink. Remember you will be dripping water! • A nice deep pantry closet or walkin for storage. • An indirect skylight over the kitchen island such as a clerestory or Solatube. Direct skylights can be unpleasant in warm areas in summer time. Conversely, they are great in colder areas if they have southern exposure in the winter. • Watch your countertop material. A nice dense Corian or Silestone or poured concrete is healthy and has a nice temperature.

Photo istockphoto.com

ike when getting ready for the prom, when ordering a new manufactured home, there are bells and whistles to create the appeal. Just as important is the “underwear” that provides the comfort and ease of living, low utility bills, and home longevity. Manufactured homes can be ordered as basic models, or with many elements that make your home go beyond mere function and encompass true living.


FOR YOUR FILES ✃

TRICKS AND TREATS Wood windowsills are easier to clean than sheetrock and have a real home feel. • Eaves should be a minimum of 12 inches wherever possible. This looks more residential and protects the windows from damaging rain running down the exterior walls into the windows. • Cement plank siding protects against fire, water and pests. It does not contract and expand with heat and cold. It needs to be painted less often than wood. • Baseboard molding is not standard at some factories. This is a basic, inexpensive must-do. • Front porches increase the “private property” look, adding equity. A factory-built porch is significantly cheaper than building the porch on site. • Ceiling fans with wired and braced J-boxes are an affordable alternative to expensive-to-run air conditioning. Look for fans that can reverse, driving cool air up in the summer and warm air down in the winter. • Many factories offer two-tone or multicolored interiors and Crown Molding, adding a nice residential feel to your manufactured or modular home. • Transom windows are a wonderful way to add light and elegance to what can be a dark or stuffy area. • Sky tubes cut down on energy use. Be careful to consider the effect of heat brought in by direct skylights in high-temperature areas. • Ordering two open-able high “summer” stack windows for each end of the house will reduce the interior temperature as much as 15 degrees in the summer. When they are open, along with a lower window on the cool side of the house, they act as a natural “convection current” removing the hot air from the home in an extremely efficient manner. • Can lights are currently fashionable. Incandescent lights can add a significant amount of heat. Florescent lights do not work on dimmers. The energy-conscious must leave the dimmers on high if florescent lights are used. • If you’re thinking of stack windows or a skylight in the bedroom, be sure to consider whether anyone is a day sleeper. Going Green There are many levels of “green.” From tank-less water heaters to completely off the grid. Many factories are now offering many green elements. Be sure your salesperson lets you know all the green items your factory offers! A prom is a one-night affair, your new manufactured will last a lifetime. Don’t rush your order. Look it over to make sure you have left no goodie behind! Your home will be the belle of the block! w w w.u m h m a g . c o m

Reverse Mortgages for Mobile or Manufactured Home Owners The following is a conversation with Robert Trommler, a reverse mortgage specialist with Wells Fargo Bank.

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everse mortgages have become a popular source of retirement funds for homeowners over the age of 62. Using the equity in the home as security, lenders disburse funds to the owner and do not require repayment until the home is sold or the borrower moves out. Reverse mortgages are readily available for site-built homes, but what about mobile or manufactured housing? Many mobile and manufactured homeowners are sitting on large equities; can they tap into this sizeable source of funds? UM: Our research indicates that approximately 30% of the housing stock in the US is mobile or manufactured housing. Are reverse mortgages available for this housing segment? RT: Yes, indeed. In fact owners of this type of housing tend to be older and have significant equities. Furthermore, they are typically not strapped with large existing mortgages, making them good candidates for reverse mortgages. UM: We understand that there are rules which apply to reverse mortgages on mobile and manufactured homes which are different from site-built homes. Please explain. RT: Reverse mortgages are generally governed by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) through the Federal Housing Administration (FHA). The three basic rules are (1) mortgages are not available for homes built before 1978, (2) owners must own the land (no leased land) and (3) the home must be affixed to a permanent foundation.

UM: How are the rules enforced? RT: An inspection is required and an Engineering Certificate must be issued prior to funding. UM: What about homes located in coop or condominium communities? RT: In the past, co-ops and condos did not qualify. However recent legislation (HR 3221) will change that. While the details are still forthcoming, we should have co-op and condo programs in 2010. UM: What are the biggest obstacles owners must overcome to obtain a reverse mortgage? RT: One would think it is understanding the mechanics of a reverse mortgage; terms, interest rates, applications process, etc. But, in fact, the bigger obstacles are generational or emotional roadblocks. UM: Can you elaborate? RT: Owners over age 62 tend to be from the “old school.” The concept of borrowing money and not paying it back in monthly payments is a foreign concept. Also many were raised thinking “my home is my castle” and to encumber an asset which is free and clear is contrary to the values of previous generations. UM: How do you deal with this mentality? RT: When owners are aware of the current global economic situation and see their retirement plans eroding “the light goes on.” Yesterday’s home run won’t win today’s ball game. Reverse mortgages are a proven way to deal with the uncertainties of life in the 21st century. Upw a rdly

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IN THE CITY

A Mobile Idyll Poway’s redevelopment innovation by BARBARA BRONTË BERNAL Uh-oh, you might think. But not to worry. No one was evicted. Narevsky and the City of Poway had a vision of what this new Park could be and they made it happen. “We needed development money and we got it. Our plan, first developed in 1988, demanded the cooperation of many public agencies and City Hall—

Well, you’re in luck—because a fresh take on smallish intimate communities has emerged. “Forget trailer park!” says David Narevsky, the go-to guy these days. “With the help of an ambitious City Hall and funding for such projects, we’ve created a double-wide idyll in a little town in Southern California that’s become the poster child for city redevelopment innovation.” Narevsky, a former redevelopment administrator, became the powerhouse behind the Poway beautification program. The town recognized the imperative to relocate an existing park to make way for the town’s much-needed shopping center.

as well as the residents of the older park. We found an inspiring new virgin site. Construction began in 1990. We purchased sleek three-bedroom, two-bath double-wides. We set up the amenities—and Haley Ranch Estates was born!” Because every resident of the old park owned his home, each was offered an enhanced price for his property. Only four households elected to take the cash and leave. The rest eagerly left their smaller, older places to move on into the spacious (1300 square feet) new double-wides in a park with a pool and a clubhouse. Homeowners became renters starting at $140 a month for four years, a

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sweet deal. “All moving expenses were paid by the Redevelopment Agency, who used professional movers to box up belongings and set them up in the new homes. Everything was done with finesse and care.” Haley Ranch Estates flourishes today as a flagship community of cutting-edge manufactured units, sixtyfive dwellings that fulfill the promise of “home” every day for its one hundred and sixty lucky residents. As for David Narevsky, he should be proud of his contribution to the beautification of the city of Poway. He maintains his faith in the power of the double-wide to create wonderful new neighborhoods abloom with rose-spilling planters and a plethora of amenities and conveniences that every homebody expects. Narevsky is now working hard to bring his fresh ideas to still another town—along with his inspired views of what an asset a mobile home park can be. He can be reached at municipalmobilehomesolutions.com

Photos courtesy Haley Ranch Estates

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he idea is to tap into the universal longing for a lovely place to call home—roses trailing from window boxes, plus a washer/ dryer cradled in a neat little cove just off the hallway, and at a price you can afford if, like most of us, you weren’t born with a silver spoon in your mouth.

Barbara Brontë Bernal whose long career as a photographer/journalist/editor in New York City included gigs with CBS and The New York Times. w w w .umhm ag .c om


U P G RAD E

Enabling the Disabled Universal Design caters to our disable and elderly population by DON ROBERSON

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wenty years ago, access to public buildings was a major hassle for the disabled. Small doors, imposing stair steps and undersized rest rooms were barriers preventing many from doing simple errands, like checking out a book at the library or going to the post office. Advocates for the disabled, spearheaded by Justin Dart of Dart Industries (Rexall Drug, Duracell Batteries, and Tupperware), helped pass the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) in 1990. Dart himself was disabled, having contracted polio in 1948 and been confined to a wheelchair. Upon graduation from college, Dart was refused a teaching credential because of his disability. The ADA is administered by the U.S. Justice Department and enforced by local Building Departments throughout the country. ADA extends civil rights protection to those who are considered disabled. As a result, almost every public building completed since 1990 is accessible to wheelchairs. These include schools, airports, hotels, restaurants and office buildings. Older buildings are being retrofit to become ADA-compliant. Blue and white ADA signs are common in most parking lots. Do ADA-type rules apply to residential buildings? Are there similar guidelines for private homes? While there are no legal requirements for private residential buildings to comply with ADA-type rules, the home-building industry (including mobile and manufactured

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homes) has recognized the need to accommodate disabled buyers. The concept of Universal Design (UD), or Life Span Design, has evolved to cater to the growing number of disabled and elderly in our aging population. Institutions like the Center for Universal Design at North Carolina State University publish proven methods to make housing more user-friendly to the disabled. Standardization codes have been adopted in Europe and parts of Asia. Enabling the disabled has become a global issue. What kind of modifications are recommended for homes?

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EASY ACCESS TO THE HOME. This means ramps in place of steps, handrails on the exterior for assistance, and landings large enough to handle a wheelchair.

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WIDER INTERIOR DOOR OPENINGS. UD recommends doors be a minimum width of 32 inches. NO CRAMPED SPACES. All rooms should allow for a clear 60-inch radius, including bathrooms. TUB/SHOWER ACCESS. Use of the new tub/shower designs is highly recommended. Some include built-in seats, hand-held shower arms and small ramps for easy access.

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GRAB BARS. Grab bars should be securely mounted in locations to assist sitting down and standing up. The good news: a new generation of grab bars come in decorator finishes and colors much like other accessories. Your home does not have to look like a hospital.

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KITCHEN CHANGES. Utilize lower cabinets with varying height counter tops. Include pull-out shelving and a pull-out sink faucet with a spray feature. There are even pull-out cook tops so the chef can reach the back burner while sitting down. Another consideration is having the dishwasher raised or set in a cabinet to avoid bending and lifting dishes at uncomfortable angles.

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LEVERS INSTEAD OF KNOBS. Make doors, cabinets and faucets easy to use for those who are losing their ability to grasp. Hardware and plumbing manufacturers make some really stylish lever sets. For buyers of mobile and manufactured homes, many of these modifications can be made by the builder before the home is completed. Silvercrest Homes has a program in place to deliver homes for the disabled. Call your home seller today and ask for a plan that will enable the disabled. Don Roberson is an advertising executive and writer in Southern California. w w w .umhm ag .c om


The Right Home for Everyone Generations Series Homes for Easy Living

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any millions of Americans, including a huge number of baby boomers, are faced with lifestyle adjustments as they age. Applying the principles of universal design, Champion Homes has introduced its Generations Series of “Livable Homes” that are designed and built to be usable, to the greatest extent possible, for all people—be they 8 or 80. These design features accommodate the aging of the family, allowing family members to remain in the home throughout the various stages of their life cycle—from parenthood through retirement. Trying to get something from the top shelf can be a challenge for anyone who is short or has difficulty stretching and reaching. Door knobs can be tricky to use for the small hands of children, as well as the arthritic hands of adults. Generations Series Homes incorporate design adapting to people…rather than people adapting to design. The new “Designs for Everyone” features increase their usability for people of all ages, sizes, and abilities, while providing maximum independence, safety and barrier-free access for all family members. The universal designed Generations Series home is affordable, accessible, adjustable, adaptable, and attractive! For more information, go to: www.championhomes.net.

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I N T H E G ARD E N

Much Ado about

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By Virginia Hayes

Illustration by Virginia Hayes. Photo istockphoto.com

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n neighborhoods where everyone is in somewhat close quarters, it is important to have a neat and tidy public face. Your garden may be small, but it will certainly be enhanced by the use of a top coat of mulch to cover the soil. There are other good reasons to mulch, such as conserving soil moisture, smothering weeds and, if you use an organic material as mulch, contributing to the overall nutrient level of the soil. Almost anything can be spread on the ground to accomplish these goals. Several inches of shredded organic material such as bark, straw or recycled green waste will insulate the soil against temperature fluctuations and prevent water loss through evaporation. Another main function of mulch is to smother weeds. Eliminating weeds in itself is a water-saving move. Remember that plants actually draw the water out of the soil with their roots and release it into the air through the marvelous process of transpiration. As each precious water molecule exits through the stomata (microscopic little “mouths” that breathe for the plant) of the leaves, another molecule is pulled into the plant from the soil below. Think of a straw in a glass of water: you suck from the top and the water in your glass enters at the bottom. Because water just likes to hold onto its neighboring molecules (called surface tension), it forms an unbroken column inside the tiny “straws” that form a plant’s water transport system. The process is limited by the amount of water available to the roots. If you maintain only the desirable plants in your garden, by pulling or smothering the competing weeds, you are making more water available to your favorites. Organic mulches are favored for one reason—because they keep a huge amount of “waste” out of the landfill. All those lawn clippings, hedge trimmings and deadheaded roses that many gardeners don’t recycle on their own are now diverted

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from the waste stream, collected, and turned into useful products, including mulch. The great thing about organic mulches is that they also feed the soil organisms that feed your plants. In the great cycle of life that evolved long before we humans entered the stage, this recycling of dead and dying plants happened naturally. Our penchant for planting the wrong plant in the wrong place and then hacking off the offending bits and tossing them in the trash has finally led to a thriving industry in salvaging this valuable resource. All that green “waste” can be ground up, composted and used to produce other finished products like potting soil, or used as-is to cover the soil. Other organic materials like straw can also be used. Straw is great for spreading around crops like strawberries (do you think?) because the top layer dries quickly and keeps the fruit from sitting in dampness, an open invitation to some opportunistic fungus. Wood chips are perfect for use around most woody plants, from ornamental conifers to fruit trees. Should you find a ready source of such agricultural by-products as rice hulls, coconut fiber, cocoa bean hulls or pomace (leftover skins and seeds) from wineries, you can use them all, either directly or by composting for later use. Organic is not the only way to go. Sometimes, a nice top-dressing of decorative stone can be what’s called for in a design. Shale, slate chips, lava clinkers and glass slag are just a few that have found their way into the

garden of late. These mineral mulches provide all the same functions of water retention and weed suppression as organic mulches and some can even aid in retaining heat in the soil as well. They don’t contribute to the soil food web, but there are some ways to compensate for that in the use of compost teas. One practice that is usually not recommended unless you want to kill everything underneath (and sometimes you do) is the use of plastic films as mulch. It will surely

suppress the weeds, but it will add nothing to the soil and will actually cut off the vital air and water that the soil organisms depend on. Use this only for hard cases of stubborn weeds or fungal pathogens that need to be eliminated before planting. Be sure to incorporate lots of living compost when you go to replant and then mulch heavily with an organic mulch to start the cycle again. Virginia Hayes writes frequently about gardening and is the curator of Ganna Walska Lotusland in Santa Barbara. She will answer your gardening questions that will appear in our pages and online. Just send an email to: vahayes@lotusland.org Upw a rdly

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The Big Game Bash

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Creating a super party for a super bowl By Jean Picard

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f you can’t be among the 75,000 fans at Dolphin Stadium in Miami on Sunday, February 7, capture the excitement of Super Bowl XLIV with a few friends at home or with a lot of friends in your mobile home park’s clubhouse. With a big-screen TV and a little planning, it’s almost better than being there. Of course, you don’t have to wait for Super Bowl to have a Big Game party! Whether you are a die-hard football fan or just waiting around for the halftime show, the Super Bowl is an event that calls for more than a bag of chips and a six-pack. Keep in mind that some parks do not allow alcohol in the clubhouse. And event liability insurance naming the mobile home park as “additional insured” may be required. Such insurance, with or without liquor liability coverage, is available as a single-event policy or as a rider on a homeowner’s policy. Guests who are not “ready for some football” (or hockey, basketball or whatever sport you’re watching) will enjoy having a separate area where they can chat and eat without the game. And sports fans will appreciate having those people out of the way! If another room with a television and DVD player is available, non-fans can enjoy a movie. Be the ultimate Big Game host and set up a third area just for the kids. Decorating for a sports party couldn’t be simpler—team colors, right? From pom-poms and streamers right down to customcolored M&Ms. If you really want to work the theme, there are invitations and decorations readily available for Super Bowl or any other type of game. But everyone knows it’s the food that makes the party! Get the afternoon started with some great snacks. To many,

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it’s just not a sports party without chips and the ubiquitous onion dip. If it’s a chilly day, warm up the crowd with mugs of sippable soups. Then right around halftime, bring on the heavier fare. The primary consideration when planning this party menu is whether the foods are easy to serve and easy to eat while watching the game. This is not the occasion to fuss over beautiful presentation or subtle sauces (or to worry about fat and carbs). A simple buffet of makeahead dishes is the way to go. Keep beer, sodas and other drinks in a cooler or tub of ice rather than in the refrigerator. Have food and beverages set up within sight of the TV so no one has to miss a moment of the action. Hearty soups, stews and casseroles are perfect foods for the game, and chili—with beans or without, beef or pork, ground meat or chunks, red or green—is a classic. Set up a chili bar where guests can choose their favorite garnishes. Offer guacamole, sour cream, shredded Cheddar and Jack cheese, sliced black olives, diced onion, sliced green onion, shredded iceberg lettuce and thinly sliced radishes. For dessert, score big with a quick and easy  feeds-a-crowd chocolate cake that is served right from the pan—perfect for any large casual party. No need to resort to everyone’s favorite membership warehouse store when this cake (see sidebar), which makes 32 servings, can be made start-to-finish, including frosting, in under an hour. Be warned, though. Such terrific hosting just might make your home or clubhouse headquarters for every game of the season. Jean Picard has written for the L.A. Times and writes frequently about entertaining and planning social occasions.

Chocolate Buttermilk Sheet Cake (Makes 32 servings) Inspired by a cake popular in the ‘70s, I developed this recipe for a larger, more flavorful, slightly less sweet cake. 1-1/4 cups water 1-1/4 cups (2 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter 1/2 cup cocoa 1-1/2 teaspoons instant espresso powder 2-1/2 packed cups (12.5 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour 2 cups sugar 1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda 3/4 teaspoon salt 3/4 cup buttermilk 3 large eggs, lightly beaten 1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter 1/2 cup buttermilk 1/4 cup cocoa 1 teaspoon vanilla 1/2 teaspoon espresso powder 1/8 teaspoon salt 1 pound confectioner’s sugar 1-1/2 cups finely chopped pecans, toasted Preheat the oven to 350. Prepare an 18x13x1inch half-sheet pan; don’t try to makedo with a smaller pan, or the batter will overflow. Spray the pan with cooking spray, line the bottom with parchment (protects pan when cutting cake in the pan). In a 2-quart saucepan, combine water, butter, cocoa and espresso powder. Heat, whisking occasionally, over medium heat until the butter melts. In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking soda and salt. Mix on low speed for 1 minute to “sift.” In a 2-cup glass measure, combine buttermilk, eggs and vanilla. Add the warm liquid mixture to the dry ingredients. With an electric mixer on low speed, mix to combine; then on medium speed, beat for about 15 seconds. Add the buttermilk, eggs and vanilla; on medium speed, beat for about 30 seconds. Pour into the pan. Bake for about 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. In the meantime, make the frosting. In the same 2-quart saucepan (no need to wash it) over low heat, combine butter, buttermilk, cocoa, vanilla, espresso powder and salt. When the butter is melted, bring to a boil; remove from heat. Whisk in confectioner’s sugar, vigorously until smooth. Stir in pecans. Keep over low heat until the cake is done. Pour the hot frosting over the hot cake and spread quickly. Cool in pan for at least 3 hours. Upw a rdly

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IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD

How to Be a Bad Neighbor By LESLIE DINABERG

Dear Neighbor,

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am very upset about the latest note you left in my mailbox. We live right next door to each other. Is it too much to ask that you speak directly to me? I have made every effort to offer suggestions that I think will be useful in helping you fit into our neighborhood culture. As I’ve tried to explain to you several times, when you brought me those fresh-baked cookies on your mother’s china plate, my smashing the plate in the fireplace was a sign of my gratitude for the offering. I’m also very sorry about the misunderstanding when I suggested you get earplugs if the dulcet tones of my violin made it hard for you to fall asleep and then told you to “get a life” when you insisted you needed to be asleep by midnight in order to be fresh for your job in the morning. I know it isn’t your fault your boss insists that you open the doors to your business on time but, really dear, can’t you find a job that you don’t have to get to so early? Plenty of people don’t start their workdays till 10 a.m.—so why are you the exception? I’m also sorry about the remark I made about minding your own business when my children were throwing bottles at your car. While I value their creativity and the environmental friendliness achieved when they make toys from items that would otherwise be filling up our landfills, you clearly value your worldly possessions more than my children, the future of the world. It’s not really your fault. I’m sure your parents were just too lazy to teach their offspring about valuing things other than material possessions. Speaking of possessions, I’m sorry you didn’t like the litter of puppies I left on your doorstep as a “welcome home” present. I truly thought that having some animal companionship would make you feel loved and not so threatened when my husband and I want to experience the freedom of making love without closing our curtains. I also thought that having your own dogs might make you a little more compassionate when Bowser leaves his little “doggy gifts” on your lawn. They really do make good organic fertilizer. If only you had a litter of children to teach you to be a little more patient with mine. As for my cutting the trees on your side of the property line, which previously blocked your view into our bedroom window, I tried to explain to you that good lighting is very important to my work. I’m a painter, you know, which is why you should trust me when I tell you that the lime green and purple colors I chose for my house will be the height of fashion eventually. I’m just ahead of my time. Speaking of ahead of my time, I’m sorry you were so upset when you found me sitting on your porch swing reading your mail. I do that every afternoon, but you usually don’t come home from work so early. Anyway, I’ve been thinking that the only way for us to improve our relationship is to make it a priority, so I’ve decided to move in with you for a few months so we can get to know each other a little better. No need to thank me, dear. With deep affection,

Your favorite neighbor Leslie Dinaberg is a Santa Barbara-based freelance writer. Opposite: A “Rear View Mirror” look at a mobile home trailer by Penny Arntz. 20

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The Power of Paint A fresh palette can bring about a dramatic change to your home BY TONI GUMP

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ramatically change the look of your mobile home with only the artistic use of paint. The colors you choose, and how they work together, will have a huge impact on your home’s appeal. Begin by choosing the base color that pleases you: white, beige, grey or another color you love, such as a cooler green or blue or a warmer yellow. Pick up some chips at your local paint store. If you don’t know which color to begin with or what

accent colors you might want to use, drive around the neighborhood and look at other homes, both manufactured and ordinary ones. Some colors change in the light, so put your swatches in the kind of light your home enjoys—shady or sunny or variable. Also, when a color surrounds another one, that affects the overall perception of the colors. Remember to put your accent color inside the base colors you are thinking of using.

A combination of complementary, or opposite, colors, such as red/cyan, green/magenta or blue/ yellow, can give punch—enhancing each other. You’ll probably want to use a complementary color for any details you especially want to call attention to. Use durable semi-gloss for windows, especially ledges, and eggshell for easy to clean surfaces. It’s preferable to apply the paint to these surfaces by brush. And when continued

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There are many paint combinations available online and similar colors will have myriad names. Our palettes were selected from California Paints (www. californiapaints.com) and ShermanWilliams (www.sherman-williams.com): 1. Dijon/Pine/Ivory White 2. Newport Indigo/Decorum Black/ Classic White 3. Queen Anne Lilac/Deepest Mauve/ Pewter Tankard 4. Roycroft Adobe/Library Pewter/ Buckram Binding 5. Wainscot Green/Parsnip/Shaker Red 6. Chartreuse/Classic French Gray/ Flamingo 7. Alexandrite/Gambol Gold/ Classic White

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painting irregular surfaces, it’s best to use flat paint. Light shades of cool colors like blues, greens, blue-greens, and some blue-based purples or reds are expansive. Monochromatic or analogue color schemes—tints and shades of a single color or similar colors—when they are softened, help a home recede into the background. When selecting colors, be sure to take into account the color of your roof and any fencing. The plants you choose for your landscaping will also affect the impact of your color combinations. Don’t scrimp on the quality of paint, because cheaper paints peel, crack and fade quickly. If you plan to do the paint job yourself, take plenty of time for the prep work: sanding, caulking, and priming. Using two or three coats will make a huge difference in the lifetime of the paint job. If you have someone else do the job, make sure your painting contractor gives you the brand name of the paint he’ll be using before you accept his bid. Taking a low bid from a contractor using cheap paint means you’ll need a re-do all too soon! It’s no longer necessary to use only enamel-based paints. The new polymers work just as well, so check at your paint store to find out about environmentally friendly paints that are now available.

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HEALTHIER MATERIALS SHOWROOMS for COMMERCIAL & RESIDENTIAL PROJECTS Santa Barbara: 614 N. Milpas Street, Santa Barbara, CA 93103, P (805) 966.1319

Montecito: 1275 Coast Village Rd., Montecito, CA 93108, P (805) 565.4103

Los Angeles: 10000 Culver Blvd., Culver City, CA 90232, P (310) 838.8442

www.livingreen.com • info@livingreen.com


UP AND OUT

Artist Retreat A Silvercrest triple-wide brings light and inspiration to an Barbara McIntyre’s foothill home By Arnie Cooper 26

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his is what everybody needs,” Barbara McIntyre says as she dumps the contents of a box, newly arrived from Germany, on her work table. “The proverbial bag of heads.” Rest easy—these are porcelain heads purchased on eBay, and the Carpinteria, California resident is a mixed-media artist. We’re standing in the stick-built section of her half-acre property—a garage add-on, which Biff, her other half (a general contractor), completed after the couple purchased their Silvercrest triple-wide back in 1997. The McIntyre’s path to the wonders of manufactured home living came on the heels of the economic downtown of the 1980’s. “Since my husband’s a builder we’d decided to do a spec house just before the Gulf War broke out. Unfortunately, we ended up getting stuck with two homes. But we were able to finally sell our first one for what we paid and stayed in the other for as long as we could. When the market came up a bit, we sold that too.” Understandably, with a home-builder in the family, all of McIntyre’s previous homes had been custom built. But after continued

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purchasing their current lot, the couple just couldn’t get the numbers to work out. The solution: expand their options by opting for a manufactured home. “I went to the showroom grimacing since some of them did feel like trailers. But as I walked through the Silvercrest model, I thought, ‘Hey, that’s not too bad!’” Four months later, a huge truck was pulling up to the driveway with the first section. The remaining two pieces arrived the next day, offering curious neighbors a second round of free entertainment. Because of the need to keep costs down, the McIntyres had their home built by Hallmark, which ended up being less expensive. Construction quality was another consideration. Says McIntyre, “At the time, Silvercrest was doing 2 by 4 construction throughout, but Hallmark offered 2 by 6 exterior walls. This makes the place a little stouter.” Additionally, the McIntyres wanted a nearby manufacturer, not only to make delivery easier (and less costly), but also to ease the burden of meeting the special code requirements 28

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in her area. For all its natural wonders, the seaside community of Carpinteria, just 13 miles south of Santa Barbara, happens to be located in an earthquake and fire zone. Sited just on the edge of the chaparral-covered foothills, less than a mile from the Pacific Ocean, the bright and airy three-bedroom structure features a huge master bedroom and oversized bathroom as well as high ceilings with plenty of built in shelves and nooks—perfect for displaying McIntyre’s many sculptures and objets d’art. Outside, a king-sized wooden gazebo, complete with ceiling fans, offers a cool shady spot with—if you look hard enough—views of the ocean through Queen Palms swaying in the breeze. The 20 by 25 foot garage wasn’t always filled with canvases, paints and works-in-progress. It once housed her son’s muscle car, a 1962 Mercury Comet. “I told him, y’ know what? You don’t even live here. I need a studio.” Soon after, the car was removed, allowing McIntyre to expand beyond her tiny 10 by 12 studio. Over two

months, McIntyre and her husband transformed the space, first replacing the garage door with sliding glass doors, followed by insulation and wall paneling along with epoxy paint for the concrete floor. As for those porcelain heads, excavated near some Cologne factories destroyed during World War II, they ultimately found a proud owner. “I’m not sure what I’m going to do with them, but I had to have them,” McIntyre says laughing. She immediately points to a twofoot-tall torso made almost entirely out of buttons. “Well, I do things and sometimes I just need a head.” McIntyre’s art career started early, thanks in part to her artist mother who encouraged her to draw and experiment with watercolors. After getting a degree in fine arts from the University of California, Santa Barbara, she helped out with the advertising and marketing in the family business (“They made air filters, the quintessential widget”), which included designing booths for trade shows. Then. after becoming a stay-atw w w .umhm ag .c om


The McIntyres’ retreat sits in a residential neighborhood in the foothills of Carpinteria, CA (opposite). Plenty of light fills the bedrooms and master bath (top), and—most importantly— Barbara’s studio (below).

home mom, McIntyre returned to her artwork, first working with collage, which she began to show professionally, even garnering a few art awards. This eventually morphed into more “threedimensional work” before evolving into full-fledged sculpture. “But,” McIntyre says, “I still go back and forth. I still love collage and I’m still a paper-holic.” No doubt—a quick tour of her house also reveals McIntyre’s interest in found objects—though not necessarily the kind picked up from the side of the road. “Most of what I use are vintage items like old watches and clocks.” And this even includes old piano parts. Sitting on a table in her dining room is an elegantly assembled box constructed out of keys from a late nineteenth century piano. It’s no surprise McIntyre’s work has been shown in galleries and exhibits from New York to Los Angeles. Arnie Cooper writes from Santa Barbara for the Wall Street Journal, Dwell, and other national publications. w w w.u m h m a g . c o m

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ut a boyhood dream in the hands of two artists and what do you get? A jewel of a log cabin set among the pines. That’s the vacation home that Russ McConnell and his wife, Gina Garoogian, built in Pine Mountain Club, in the Los Padres National Forest. And it went up in about four hours. “It went from being a slab with a sub-floor to having all the walls and the ridge beams up—it was amazing.” says McConnell, who worked with Pioneer Log Homes of British Columbia, Ltd., to build the two-bedroom, 1,200-squarefoot home. Customizing the “Anchorage” plan, Russ and Gina maximized the views and light streaming into the house. Views are especially important to Russ, who teaches architectural photography at Brooks Institute, and the site is so private that none of the windows have coverings except the guest bathroom. Once the basic structure was in place, it took a few months to put the finishing touches on the house. “I call it my baby,” says Russ, who acted as general contractor, coordinating plumbing, electrical, and roofing installation. “I found a great local guy in Pine Mountain Club—who’s now a good friend—and he told me who to call.” This artistic couple has filled the home with personal touches that reflect their creativity. Russ’ photographs and Gina’s hand-thrown pottery decorate the spaces. And Gina’s colorful mosaics surround the living room stove and the hammered copper pedestal sinks in the bathrooms. With her keen eye, Gina sourced the sinks from a street vendor in Mexico, when she was traveling with a girlfriend, and had him fabricate stands to her specifications. The slate floors and shower tiles enhance the warm natural palette of the copper sinks and honey-colored wood in both bathrooms. While hand-scribing the 18-inch-diameter Western Red Cedar logs for the house, on-site at their facility north of Vancouver, Pioneer’s craftsmen added their own artful details to the home’s décor, carving a sunflower into the support beam at the bottom of the stairway that leads up to the master bedroom suite and a bear paw into a log at the front door. “They get a sense of what you like, and send pictures of carvings,” Russ says. “If you don’t like it, they can remove it.” Russ and Gina chose Pioneer for their hand-craftsmanship, and love the dents and undulations in the hand-peeled logs.

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The couple had searched all over California, looking for their perfect vacation home, ruling out pricier and more distant Lake Tahoe and Bass Lake. When they stumbled upon Pine Mountain Club, they knew they’d found their spot. Just a couple of hours’ drive from their Santa Barbara home and yet at more than 5,500 feet in elevation, it was a world away. And affordable. “We love the seasons, the snow—you can leave Santa Barbara in 70-degree weather and get up there and have a snow day,” says Russ. The couple spends long weekends at the cabin as often as they can, with their Boston terrier, Kobe, and have it available for rent year-round. (It sleeps four; see end of story for details). While the cabin is a perfect getaway to fuel their inspiration, it has hosted many family holidays since it was finished in 2004, including one Thanksgiving where 17 people fit around the carved wood table on the stone patio. Pioneer gave it to the couple as a gift. “They surprised us with it,” Russ says. “They had this huge slab of cedar lying around and made a table out of it.” For everyday dining, a eucalyptus slab in the kitchen serves as a functional yet dramatic design piece. Russ sanded and installed the organicshaped peninsula, which was sourced through a friend of Gina’s. Ceramic tiles on the kitchen counters add contrast to the wood cabinets and flooring. The kitchen flows into the open, airy living space, with large picture windows framing the forest view and an open-beam cathedral ceiling. With this space devoted to hanging out, the TV is relegated to the second bedroom, where a cozy sofa beckons for movie watching and folds out to accommodate guests. The master bedroom loft, open to the living space below, includes a streamlined office area and a king-size bed that Russ built from scrap logs and wood he gathered during the construction process. In fact, it’s part of what he loves the most about the cabin: waking up there with the sun streaming in through the big clerestory windows. You might even say it’s a dream come true. Russ and Gina’s log cabin is available for rent; visit www.vrbo. com/165632 for rates and availability. For information about Pioneer Log Homes of British Columbia, call (250) 392-5577, or visit www. pioneerloghomesofbc.com. Upw a rdly

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INTERIORS

So many possibilities… IKEA = IDEA!

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isclosure: I love IKEA! There’s instant gratification in picking up my furniture at checkout— no waiting weeks for delivery. It’s fun the way their stuff can be put together by pretty much anyone, especially with some popcorn and a glass of wine…and I love that there are so many color and texture variations. With every visit to one of their stores, I find some new way of combining pieces that’s functional and looks cool, too. Now, you might ask….what is the relationship between IKEA and mobile/modular housing? Well, IKEA’s philosophy of Småland, of “doing more with less, challenging convention, being careful with money and not letting a single thing go to waste” pretty much sums up mobile/modular housing— there’s a place for everything (and sometimes a thing for every place!). Their shelving, cabinets and closets are interconnecting to fit together in uncountable configurations, so well-suited to fit into the limited or odd-shaped spaces available in m/m housing. Plus, there are the storage systems! Racks and trays and containers that fit drawers, shelves, and closets….my, oh, my! Nicoletta Schaeffer, Senior Interior Designer for the IKEA Costa Mesa store, gave us a private tour of a modular home she fully furnished with IKEA products. To start a design, she creates a set of characters who live in each space. The home we visited is furnished for an Orange County family: father, mother and ‘tween son. (A second home was designed around a group of college-aged “girls.”) Her

design is stylish and sophisticated, yet affordable, emphasizing family connection with an open plan living/ kitchen/dining space. Everything is warm and friendly in parchments, browns and grays. Entertainment center clutter hides behind springlatched, knob-less doors of a wall of Bestå cabinets, while a table height unit of the same style houses casual servingware; you can see the family offering drinks and snacks while their guests lounge on the comfy sofas. The kitchen is great looking— plenty of counter space and a central island with seating. IKEA has expanded to provide appliances, counter tops, and faucets, so everything we see is available using their “here’s the list with a price for every single piece” process. Putting a kitchen like this together may be more work than some homeowners want to tackle, so you can also order installation services. Nicoletta tells us that installation work is just like instore ordering—everything broken out and priced separately, so it is very transparent and easy to understand exactly what you are paying for. You can go to IKEA’s site to design what you want (Nicoletta says it is easy to use), then save your file and access your design in the store to order items. And yes, there’s assistance instore for those people who don’t love the computer. It’s not just furniture—there’s stemware, carafes, even the sweetest small chafing dishes with matching, heat-proof holders, all available at IKEA. One very cool feature in all the drawers and cabinets is a slim, battery-powered light with a sensor, so the light comes on for 15 seconds

when you open the door or drawer, then goes off 5 seconds after you close it. Just peel and stick to mount and it’s not expensive! (This is something I must get for my Mom’s mobile home!) Self-closing drawers (with those interior lights) are filled with perfectly-fitted dividers, holding a seemingly infinite number of different sizes and shapes of containers. With their small size and nesting storage capability to fit more stuff into less space, they’re so great for our mobile/ modular (m/m) housing. Good looks plus no counter top clutter equals beauty on the outside and brains on the inside. Speaking of beauty, every surface not dedicated to storage is enhanced with fashionable art nice enough to easily hold its own next to original pieces. It’s all very affordable, so one can be surrounded by lovely things, and change your style as children or tastes mature. IKEA gets new collections 4-6 times a year so there is plenty of variety. The master bedroom is spacious and airy, with light filtering through the window treatments. It is a sophisticated, private space for the couple, filled with pillows and art in complementary patterns and colors. A Billy bookcase in the corner houses the family’s books. We are amazed to learn that IKEA is about to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Billy; this versatile unit comes in different widths so it can fit almost any space. The spa-like bath has His and Her spaces (hers is larger, of course!). Nicoletta indicates that the bathroom fixtures are the same as in the kitchen, providing a harmonious continued

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By Troy Palmer-Hughes


The living room of the “Family” is a study in contrasts (top), while the “Girls” living room (below) enjoys funky and casual comfort.

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The 5 Star Homes at IKEA Costa Mesa, CA.

look and tons more storage than one usually finds in a bathroom. The attached closet is filled with seemingly unending drawers; very clever pull-out hanger rods would be super in MH narrow closets. For all those little, loose items that fill our life, there’s a thin drawer lined with shallow recesses and a fuzzy texture surface so things don’t slide around. Spot lighting highlights the corners so you can find everything; there’s even a full size mirror and art inside—how often to you find art in a closet? We came away from our visit with so many good ideas!

IKEA Goes 5 Star

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The kitchen in the “Family” home is solidly contemporary.

This “Girls” bedroom is understated yet comfortable. 36

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hen IKEA wanted to demonstrate how their wares can enhance any facet of our homes, they didn’t just think outside the box—they determined that they needed to build a bigger box. In this case, full modular homes provided by 5 Star Homes of Stanton, CA. These same homes were set up on display at the Orange County Fairgrounds. It’s a testament to the efficiency of the modular housing construction process that the houses could be disassembled, moved and set up again, this time at IKEA’s Costa Mesa location. Space, power outlets everywhere, lots of windows, especially letting natural light into the kitchen from above the cabinets, and great vaulted ceilings—these are some of the things that most struck us about the homes. These modulars are definitely not my momma’s mobile home. They look like traditional “stickbuilt” housing on solid foundations; the 5 Star gentlemen tell us that they can also be installed on raised foundations. The level of customization that is possible and economically feasible is one of the attractive aspects of modular housing. In the first home we visited, the living and dining areas are separated by a free standing fireplace with the firebox open on both sides. One of the things that makes the master bedroom so serene is the lack of the distraction of a closet. Instead of the traditional closet doors in the bedroom, the house builders customized the design so the closet opens into the adjoining master bath, creating a spa-like personal world with His and Her spaces, a huge tub and shower. Troy Palmer-Hughes works out of a converted 1950’s-era mobile built into the side of her canyon home in Box Canyon (near Simi Valley). In addition to contributing to UM, she and her husband produce film and do other assorted odds and ends. w w w .umhm ag .c om


Remodel, Redecorate or Recycle at the ReStore!

The Habitat ReStore is a not-for-profit discount home improvement center where used, salvaged and surplus building materials are sold far below retail prices and the revenue from sales goes directly back to the local Habitat for Humanity affiliate to build more homes for low income families.

•• •• •

New and nearly new Windows: Wood, Vinyl, Aluminum Interior/Exterior Doors, French Doors, Swing, Sliders Electrical Fixtures, Lights, Fans Tubs, Toilets, Sinks, Vanities, Faucets Kitchen Cabinets, Counter Tops and much more! Habitat for Humanity ReStores

Santa Barbara www.sbrestore.org 6725 Hollister Ave. (805) 692-2226

Santa Maria www.nsbhabitat.com 2053 Preisker Ln. (805) 928-5399

San Luis Obispo www.hfhsloco.org 784 High St. (805) 546-8699

Ventura County www.habitatventura.org 167 Lambert St (805) 485-6065

Sacramento www.shfh.org 8351 Umbria Ave Bldg 5 Bay1 (916) 440-1215

Garden Grove www.restoreoc.org 12827 Harbor Blvd (714) 590-8729

Gardena www.shophabitat.org 17700 S Figueroa St (866) 746-7434

Pasadena www.sgvhabitat.org 770 N Fair Oaks (626) 792-3838

Riverside www.habitatriverside.org 2121 Atlanta Ave (951) 787-6754 x113

San Diego www.sdhfh.org 10222 San Diego Mission Rd (619) 516-5267

San Diego www.sdhfh.org 10222 San Diego Mission Rd (619) 516-5267 x511

Grass Valley www.vvhabitat.org 13355 Grass Vly Ave (530) 274-3761

Modesto www.stanislaushabitat.org 630 Kearney Ave (209) 575-4585 x112

Oakland www.eastbayhabitat.org 9235 San Leandro Blvd (510) 777-1447

Bakersfield www.habitatbakersfield.org 622 Jackson St (661) 327-7067

For more ReStore locations, go to: www.habitat.org


D ESTI NATI O N S

Log Cabins in the Woods A seasonal lake-front escape at Big Bear Lake By audrey moe PHOTOS BY BRENT WINEBRENNER

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omeday I want a log cabin on a lake in the mountains.” These were Pat Michner’s words when she married John and now, she has her wish. Two years ago at the Home Show in Anaheim, they purchased a log cabin style home made by Laurel Crest Manufactured Homes. “We kept going back and asking questions, until I’m sure they were sick of us,” Pat says, “but the unit had the rustic atmosphere we wanted.” From their front row lot in Lakeview Pines Mobile Home Park, in the San Bernardino Mountains of Southern California, they enjoy the view across the road to the peaceful waters of Big Bear Lake. “The mountain on the opposite shore is especially beautiful in the winter with snow,” says John. “I have a stressful job and coming up here to the lake and mountains is a complete change of pace. I don’t even turn on my computer or cell phone.”

Mo b i le

To complement their 392 square feet of interior living space, they added another 200 feet of redwood decking. A towering Jeffery Pine shades the exterior of their compact log cabin home. With combination kitchenliving room, bedroom and bath, they use the open loft as guest sleeping quarters. The home’s interior is flooded with light and the walls glow with warmth from mellow-toned wood trimmed with cedar. The Michners live full time in Orange County, but retreat to the mountains nearly every weekend. John says, “Are we happy in our log cabin style home? I can only say if we could go back, would we make the same decision again? The answer is, Yes!” Several rows back from the highway at Lakeview Pines, Lisa and Phil Freeman live in a similar Park Model Home. They bought their log cabin already in place and just across a driveway from a willow-lined creek bed that flows mainly in the spring. w w w .umhm ag .c om


Lisa says, “Moving from a three bedroom home in Cathedral City to less than 400 square feet was quite an adventure, but it gives lots of freedom. We like living smaller. We even belong to the Small House Society, dedicated to living small and leaving a smaller footprint on the planet.” They set up their bed in the loft, so the downstairs bedroom can function as an office and workroom for their business. Overnight guests sleep on a living room sofa bed. Their twenty pound Maine Coon cat, Simon, is totally content in the mountain setting where he sprawls on the living room couch. The Freemans have lived in their cabin for three years and are totally addicted to the ambience of wood cabin living. Further east into the town of Big Bear Lake, Angela and Daniel w w w.u m h m a g . c o m

De Bassio and their three children vacation at Lakeside Village Mobile Home Park. Their log cabin type unit built by Shamrock Park Homes was inherited from Angela’s mother. The only catch was that it had to be moved from Napa, CA to Big Bear Lake, a distance of nearly 500 miles. Daniel says, “I checked out eight or nine parks before we chose this location. We like it because it’s a seasonal recreation park with lake front and a boat dock. Our view of the lake through the pines is a bonus.” Angela adds, “We can walk to the village main street from here and yet feel as if we’re a world away, and we’re only two hours from our home in Costa Mesa, so it’s very convenient.” “Our model, The Waterford, with 398 square feet plus loft, two bay windows and full bath is well made,” says

Daniel. “The insulation is so good that in winter, we can raise the blinds and the heat from the sun keeps the house warm during the day. This home was a floor model purchased in Sacramento in 2004, so it has all the extras. We did add a 10x30 foot deck for outdoor living, which we use a lot. After all of the effort to move this unit, get the permits, etc, we are really happy. It was all worth it.” Audrey Moe is the author and illustrator of Beachwalk, An Everyday Journey through Sea, Sand and Soul and Desertwalk, A Search for Secrets of the Desert. The De Bassios’ Shamrock Park Homes Waterford model fits instinctively amongst the pines (opposite) with the lake just moments away (top left). Interior views and all-year access make this the perfect family escape. Upw a rdly

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IU NP V AE SN TD MOE UNTT A Southern California wildfire victim goes modular and beats his neighbors home.

First on the block

By ARNIE COOPER PHOTOS BY BRENT WINEBRENNER 40

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igh in the hills over Santa Barbara sits the community of Mountain Drive, once an enclave of free-spirits famous for hot-tubbing and naked wine stomps during its heyday in the 1950’s and 1960’s. But beyond its storied past, the area is also ground zero for wildfire. Thanks to an explosive combination of tinder dry chaparral and hot, moisture-sapping “sundowner” winds, even the slightest provocation can send a fire raging through the canyons in a matter of minutes. This is precisely what happened back on November 13, 2008 after embers from an improperly extinguished bonfire at a nearby ruin known as the Tea Gardens encountered 70 mile per hour winds. It was just after 6pm when Gary Reisenweber, who was working downtown, received a call from his 17-year-old son Oliver. “They’re asking me to evacuate. There’s a big fire up here. What do I do?” Oliver nervously asked his father. “Then evacuate.” Reisenweber told him. “But before you do, grab the important papers underneath my desk. If you have time, check on [an elderly woman neighbor] then get out of there.” Fortunately, the woman had already been safely whisked away and father and son soon met up at a friend’s house out of the Tea Fire’s reach. For several hours, the flames continued dancing around the foothills, finally quieting down after midnight. Reisenweber tried to remain hopeful. His house, after all, had survived the Coyote Fire back in 1964. But the almost 2000-acre Tea Fire, which destroyed over 200 homes, was not as forgiving.

When Reisenweber sneaked back up to the property at 6 am—before the security detail had woken up—he stared wide-eyed into the pile of rubble where his three bedroom wooden home had stood for decades. “All I could see was a chimney standing there.” Just ten months later, Reisenweber and I are chatting in his shiny, new kitchen, admiring the sweeping vistas of the Santa Barbara Channel Islands and surrounding mountains. And though, at this writing, the house was still being finished, Reisenweber’s choice to go modular made him the first on the block—the whole neighborhood really—to return home. Craig Jensen, a Los Angeles-based contractor and Reisenweber’s friend, says that after a disaster hits, most people want to return to their normal life as quickly as possible. “When you’ve lost everything and just want to get back, you don’t want to deal with a bunch of contractors and subcontractors,” Jensen says. So with stick-built homes taking up to a year or longer to complete, a manufactured home provides the quickest and most affordable solution. What’s more, thanks to the inherent precision of constructing a home in a factory, waste is limited, resulting in not only significant environmental benefits but also the ability to have a budget with fewer hidden surprises. Good thing. Reisenweber, who was insured with Federal Insurance, a subsidiary of Chubb, learned the hard way that his policy didn’t cover wildfires, except those caused by volcanoes—none of which can be found in Santa Barbara. continued on page 47

The platform base of Reisenweber’s home at the Cavco Litchfield factory.

Within a short time, the home is ready to roll, with the help of the California Highway Patrol (opposite). Negotiating one of the tight corners.

After careful placement (opposite), the home is now home. Upw a rdly

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I N T H E PAR K

California Treasure The De Anza Mobile Home Park

Amazing oceanfront position is the norm for the De Anza Mobile Home Park near Santa Cruz, CA. A view of Natural Bridges State Park (above), along with the lagoon (opposite top). 42

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aving a stunning, oceanside home is what dreams are made of, but here in De Anza, it’s a reality. This impressive retirement community is situated on low cliffs overlooking Natural Bridges State Park, Monterey Bay, and the Pacific Ocean. It’s located just two and a quarter miles from the Santa Cruz pier and right next door to the University of Santa Cruz. Many of the manufactured homes are perched directly on the bluff, or just across the street, giving them spectacular views of the sea, while others are on an arroyo overlooking a quiet lagoon. The entire park is beautifully maintained with a broad pathway surrounding the lagoon, a picturesque bridge from one section of the park to another, and a pathway leading to a lovely cove for swimming, sun bathing, fishing, or checking the tide pools. The lagoon has swans and wild ducks, plus a fountain. Though some do not have ocean views (at least one resident added a viewing deck over his house to correct this), all of the homes in the park are lovely. The well-designed clubhouse also has magnificent views of the Natural Bridge and ocean from both the large main room and the more intimate library. The library has a TV for viewing sports and videos. Or when alone, it is a wonderful place to just meditate. Below the main room is an outdoor heated pool, fitness center, an indoor Jacuzzi, and sauna. Residents may use the rooms without charge. The HOA puts on events and classes as well. It’s a dreamy place to be. —Toni Gump

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This is Factory Constructed Housing! The California Manufactured Housing Institute is a non-profit professional and trade association founded to advance the availability of factory constructed homes by promoting their sale and the development of

YOUR HOUSING RESOURCE!

desirable sites and communities in California.

www.cmhi.org Address: 10630 Town Center Drive, Suite 120 Rancho Cucamonga CA, 91730

Phone: (909) 987-2599 Fax: (909) 989-0434 E-mail: info@cmhi.org Upw a rdly

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RETRO

A Historic Family-Owned Park Reno, Nevada’s Chism Trailer Park

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hism’s Trailer Park, believed to be the oldest mobile home park in Nevada and one of the most historic in the nation, began life as Chism’s Auto Camp in 1927 and still stands on land owned by the Chism family for around 140 years. Today, the park, about a mile west of downtown Reno, is run by brothers David and William Chism, who share ownership with another brother, Gordon, and sister Betty Cordes. Enjoying about 1,000 feet of Truckee River frontage, the park provides 124 mobile home spaces, 28 sites for RVs, four studio apartments and two houses for rent, plus the historic Chism family home, now used for weddings and other functions. David Chism said his greatgrandfather, Gardner Chism (who used to drive sheep from Idaho to California), bought a 120-acre apple orchard when he retired and built a home there in 1880. Besides the reminders in local street names—Chism, Gardner and Arletta (named after his daughter)— his legacy lives on in the trailer park that occupies the last 12 acres of that orchard site. It was Gardner’s son Harry who launched the original auto camp to coincide with the 1927 Nevada Transcontinental Highways Exposition, held in nearby Idlewild Park. Coincidentally, Harry Chism designed and built that municipal park in the early 1920s when he was the city engineer. The five-week exposition celebrated the completion of the Lincoln and Victory highways 44

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(Highways 50 and 80 respectively), two major routes that opened Nevada to automobile tourism just three years after Ford rolled out its first RVs. To capture a slice of the business generated by the new craze for auto camping, Harry Chism developed a campground comprising about 16 cold-water cabins, a kitchen tent, a shower tent, a convenience store, a small gas station and office space. When he died two years later, his son John took over. Although it was during the Great Depression era, auto camps remained popular in the 1930s, and this one slowly expanded to include mobile homes and eight motel units, later converted to apartments. David Chism says between 10 and 15 government modular homes were added for returning World War II veterans using the G. I. Bill to attend the University of Nevada. However, they lasted only until about 1950 when David, then a child, recalls seeing them being hoisted onto flatbed trucks and driven away. John Chism used that space for more permanent mobile homes. He also changed the motel units, converting four into studios while the other four went to the Schurz Indian Reservation, outside Carson City. In 1958, he slightly expanded the park by adding a nearby vacant lot, and two years later he bought the old Chism home and two acres next door. One acre remained with the house while the other made room for another ten mobile homes. Shortly afterwards, the original cold-water cabins were removed,

making way for the first six RV spaces. When the present owners took over in 1980, they eliminated another six permanent spaces to increase the RV capacity to its current 28. David Chism says an early trend at the camp was the transition from tents to trailers, then genuine mobile homes on wheels; however, through the 1960s and ’70s, these increasingly gave way to manufactured homes anchored to foundations. Chism says these permanent homes also grew wider—from 10 feet, to 12 feet, to 14 feet to double and even triple width. “They soon reached a point where they couldn’t be easily moved and mobility went out the window,” he said. The typical lot here is 12 feet by 50 feet, which Chism says is too small for most modern mobile homes, which require two spaces. However, at $425 monthly rental per space, paying for two is not economical for most people. The result has been a gradual move towards more RVs, a trend which the Chisms expect to continue, especially since the latest recession has seen more people in foreclosure taking to RVs. Of the park’s remaining trailer homes, most date from the ’50s and ’60s. However, one of the tenants goes back even further … Rose Metzger, aged 90, a former nurse who helped deliver David Chism, has lived there since 1945! Frank Nelson is a Santa Barbarabased freelance writer and the author of two lighthearted travel books, All You Need is Luck and A Little More Luck. w w w .umhm ag .c om

Photos courtesy the Chism Family

By FRANK NELSON


Archive photos show how little has changed over the 140 years the park has existed. The main house (middle right) as it appears today near the California border, along with the park entrance (bottom right).

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O P E N R O AD

Ojai Valley of the Moon

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SEE

Many visitors just like to saunter through the town, viewing the art galleries and studios (25 of them!), along with shops, antique and gift stores, the Ojai Museum or Bart’s Books, an enormous outdoor bookstore. You can see a play at the Ojai Art Center Theater, or study the pottery of Beatrice Woods in her studio, or look at the gardens at Krotona School of Theosophy. There are beautiful places to hike, including the nine-mile Valley Trail. Afterwards, you can go to Meditation Mountain to watch the sunset.

TASTE

Casa Barranca Wine Tasting (organic) 208 E. Ojai Ave. Deer Lodge Wild game 211 E. Matilija The Ranch House Garden setting among bamboo, bakery and herb garden 500 S. Lomita Ave.

Garden Terrace Fresh and imaginative food 1002 Ojai Ave.

RELAX

Lavender Inn Romantic B&B w/ culinary school in an 1874 Schoolhouse Blue Iguana Artistic and stylish 11794 N. Ventura Ave. Camp Comfort RV hook ups 11969 N. Creek Rd. Foster Park RV hookups 438 Casitas Vista/Santa Ana Rd.

VISIT

Mobile home parks Ojai Oaks 950 Woodland Ave                       Golden Oaks MH Estates 1273 S. Rice Ojai Valley Estates 1975 Maricopa Hwy           Mira Valle MH Park 1202 Loma Dr Ojai Villa Estates 70 W. Baldwin Rd   w w w .umhm ag .c om

Photos courtesy Ojai Chamber of Commerce

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ucked into the mountains between Ventura and Santa Barbara—and just 85 miles north of Los Angeles—lies this wonderfully artistic and spiritually diverse community. It’s no wonder that this little paradise was the location for shooting the 1939 movie Lost Horizon (ShangriLa); one sees hues of honeyed light throughout the day and a soft “pink moment” as the sun begins to set. Here one can find serenity for the soul through meditation, practitioners of the healing arts, retreats, spas, or just walking along the many paths and through the lovely parks. In the evenings there are varied opportunities for wining and dining as well. Ojai Village, as the natives call it, is blessed with both a river and beautiful Lake Casitas nearby for boating, fishing and kayaking. All year round there are festivals of one kind or another, featuring wine, art, jazz and other kinds of music, films, poetry, storytelling, and ever so much more. There are bicycle races, a Peddlers Fair and the longest held amateur tennis tournament in the US, with its famous Tea Tent decorated with spectacular floral arrangements. It’s ranked among the top three “best tennis town in the US,” and there’s golf too, both private and public.


INVESTMENT

continued from page 41

Says Reisenweber, “I inherited the policy from ex-owners so I figured they knew what they were doing and I never really read the whole thing.” This oftrepeated scenario is something to keep in mind when purchasing any insurance policy. But the 67-year-old driving instructor wasn’t completely out of luck. The policy included a California Fair Plan extension, which yielded $138,000. Unfortunately, it fell far short of the amount necessary for replacing his modest 1300-square-foot home. Those million-dollar views come with a price—construction costs that would normally run $250 per square foot jump to $350 in hard to access locations like Reisenweber’s. Luckily, Mr. Jensen came to the rescue. “He brought me to the computer and said, ‘Gary, look at all these Manufactured homes.’ I was like ‘Wow!’ Then I looked at the prices. ‘You gotta be kidding me!’ I told him.” After exploring the many options, Reisenweber chose a three-bedroom, two-bath double-wide, with a great room and fireplace, built by Arizona-based Cavco Litchfield. (Reisenweber had the company remove one of the bedrooms so the living room could be expanded.) The home also includes a wildfire package that features fire-resistant siding plus double-paned windows with tempered glass on the exterior. And, although the 1213 square foot house is a little smaller than his original house, Reisenweber couldn’t be happier with its bargain basement price of just $89,000. “It’s built with 2 by 6 instead of 2 by 4 construction so it’s really well put together,” Reisenweber says with a big smile. The city of Santa Barbara was also pleased; unlike some other locales, it was very open to the idea of using a manufactured home for a fire rebuild. Not that there weren’t challenges. Beyond the 8-month permitting process (due in part to a delay by the fire department), delivery of the home (which came in two sections) required a police escort and some smooth talking by Jensen to convince neighbors that trimming some low hanging oaks was actually in their best interest. The biggest test came at the hairpin turn that led to Reisenweber’s property. Because of the steep terrain, rails had to be built with 2 by 12 foot boards, so that a special remote-control tractor could inch each 24,000-pound section slowly onto the foundation. “This is probably one of driver Edgar Smith’s more difficult moves, and he’s done it for fifteen years. It’s amazing what you can do,” say Jensen. The process, which took two full days to complete, was even covered by the local media. Says Reisenweber, “We were able to get a message across that people who are financially strapped could go this route. I’m the first to live in a new home in this particular neighborhood. See, this took less than two weeks to build. Everything worked like clockwork.” [We will follow up on this home on our website once it is complete: www.umhmag.com —UM] w w w.u m h m a g . c o m

People should think things out fresh and not just accept conventional terms and the conventional way of doing things. —R. Buckminster Fuller

Home is the nicest word there is. —Laura Ingalls Wilder

Protecting Your Rights through Education, Communication & Unity

We serve oWners of mobile/manufactured homes in rental parks Call: 1-800-929-6061 Email: comocal@yahoo.com Write: P.O. Box 4821, Chatsworth, CA 91313 Upw a rdly

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A Trailer Tragedy

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t’s another beautiful, late-summer afternoon in the affluent Mobile Home “Estates” that is the current envy of the less-fortunate. Table saws spew sawdust like confetti glittering in the late sun. Rap music gloriously rattles foundations, the generous sharing of it appreciated by all. Proud mothers can be heard on every cul-de-sac, their voices rich with compliments as their high school, knowledge-hungry children screech into the driveway with yet another dent in their “I’ll pay you back” first car. Yes, life is good. Such an ease 48

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By Onnah Roll

Episode Six

comes with familiarity, and as our “Ladies” of the Estates, beautifully familiar and eternally dependable, go about their day, we too can sigh in content. Doris sits on her newly-painted porch, alone with a glass of wine and a cigarette, permitting the cool, lateafternoon air to breeze away the stress of the day. She soaks in the calm before the rest of the Royal Court is due to arrive, releasing her tension for the sun to take possession of when it finally completes its descent. Suddenly, crippling her serenity,

her next-door neighbor, Molly, a thirty-something, artsy type, pulls into the neighboring carport, tires screeching and including an olfactory addition to the scene. Doris’s heart jumps as Molly slams her car door with a groundrattling thud and, oblivious of Doris’s friendly wave, she storms into her singlewide, her front gate echoing the sentiments of the car door. Though she finds the interruption momentarily disturbing, Doris, ever ready to lend a patient ear, snatches her cordless telephone from the table with purpose, then, hesitating to dust the cobwebs from the crowdedly-stored digits, dials her emotionallycharged neighbor’s phone number. Molly doesn’t answer, which is not at all unusual. She often sequesters herself to her sun porch where she obsessively paints her watercolors when her boyfriend (a moody, progressive-jazz trombonist) isn’t there to infiltrate her creative process with the “chalkboard effect.” Doris decides to leave a message on the machine, “the convenience of modern-technology, my foot.” She is well aware of the possibility that it may be days before Molly realizes that she has a message waiting. (She’s not known as the social butterfly of the park.) Doris, attempting to funnel her positive energy through the phone line, leaves an up-beat message. “Hi Sweetie! It’s Doris! How are you?” She pauses, hoping for an answer. “We haven’t chatted for ages. It seems like it, anyways. I just wanted to make sure you’re okay, dear, ‘cause you seemed so upset when you drove up. I’m just sitting out on the porch w w w .umhm ag .c om

“After All It’s a Small World” by Marisa Murrow

T RA I L E R T RA S H T AL E S


here. Well, you know me…I don’t have anything exciting planned. Just the other ladies are coming over shortly, so if you wanna have a glass of wine or something with us, you’re welcome.” Doris feels a tinge of panic for some reason. Doris and Molly have been friends going on four years now, their friendship often expressed in mother/daughter context on account of the difference in their ages. Doris knows that Molly suffers from bouts of deep, consuming depression, a state with which Doris is familiar, and she has the feeling it’s one of those days—one of those days that treacherously last for months. As Doris considers interrupting what is left of her winding-down time to knock on Molly’s door, the trill of her cordless phone shakes Doris from her trance-like contemplation. “Hello,” Doris answers, forcing optimism. Sobs like a freight train hit Doris’s ear. “She’s gone!” the voice finally strains out. “Lucy is gone! She’s dead. She’s dead!” Unable to force another word past the sobbing, the voice goes silent except for quiet, unrecognizable murmuring. The voice is Molly’s. Her dog, Lucy, an elderly King Charles Spaniel, had been ill for some months, so Doris wasn’t completely taken aback by

the news. Doris also knew that Molly wouldn’t want to hear that. She knew what not to say. “Oh, sweetie, I’m so sorry. You must be devastated!” And with empathy and an extra serving of honey, “Listen. I know just how you feel. We just love our babies, don’t we? We really do.” Molly, in agreement, pouts out, “I loved her so much! She was my baa-a-by-y!” followed by short gasps. “I know, honey, I know. It’s so hard. But she had such a happy life with you. Just think of that. Think of all the funny and happy times you had together, like how she used to do handstands when she did her business. She was such a sweetie.” Molly laughs lightly through her tears, bringing slight, unexpected relief. “Why don’t you come over here and have a glass of wine with us,” suggest Doris. “The ladies will be here any second and it will take your mind off of things for a while.” After a pregnant pause, Doris continues, “Maybe you need something stronger. I think I have some Brandy around here somewhere…or you could just have coffee.” “Yep. I need something stronger alright! Do you have a sledgehammer handy? Then I can

just knock myself in the head with it ‘til I pass out. That’s the only thing I can think of that’d be strong enough for this stupid, lame, messed-up, stupid situation!” The sobbing returns with gusto. “No, you don’t! You are not doing anything like that, my friend!” Doris lays down the law. “If I hear you getting self-destructive, I’ll come over there and kill you!” Doris laughs through concern. “But I understand. Come on over if you change your mind. Oh, here comes Lady Pearl!” “I just wanna be alone right now. I just can’t handle talking to people anymore.” “Okay, sweetie,” soothes Doris as she waves Pearl up to the porch. Pearl quickly expresses curiosity as she becomes aware that there will be new things to try to solve this evening. “You let me know if you need anything, okay? You come on over if you need to talk or something.” “Okay,” whispers Molly, adding, “Thank you!” with a child-like sincerity, ending their phone call. Onnah Roll is a graduate of California Institute of the Arts. Her poetry has been published in Sentenial. Marisa Murrow paints colorful aerial landscapes of the Southern California Coast. Visit her website: www.marisamurrow.com

Back Issues

Available! Just go to www.umhmag.com and click on the subscriptions button. It’s that easy!

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LA S T L O O K

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actus Kate was a cowgirl and sharpshooter in the 1800s when Sand Canyon, California was part of the gold rush. According to urban legend this is a “mail-order pre-fabricated house” that you could order from Sears & Roebuck at the time. Kate lived alone in this home. It is rumored that her ghost still lives on the property. Currently, the owners of the property use Kate’s house as a craft and hobby area—and it seems to be okay with Kate. Photo by Meredith Day

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You Dream It ~ We BuIlD It

Specializing in the Design, Sale and Installation of Quality Manufactured Homes Since 1991. www.5starhomes.com

3 Bed, 2 Bath from

$55,995

home only-call for details

5 Star Homes

800.457.8276 óóóóó 11810 BEACH BOULEVARD, STANTON, CA. 90680 óóóóó

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