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Photo: Kingsley-Bate

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A P R I L / M AY 20 0 9

Our exterior t terior paint has none of the bad ad stuff. -toxic, non-hazardous to skin aand lungs, low It’s non-toxic, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), and contains e no vinyl, latex, cheap mineral ely ral fillers. absolutely aiintenance-free wall coating is the smart, This maintenance-free a choice for homes. It insulates, able ates, blocks out UV sustainable fl flects 90% of energy, and won’t n’t fade, chip, flake, rays, reflects or peel over time. m money, and the wear and tear on our planet. me, Save time, hee paint cycle. Trust breathable, e, flexible, and Stop the Rh Shield. Sh ld durablee Rhino

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A P R I L / M AY 2 O O 9

[ C O N T E N T S ] 8

I N S P I R E D B A C K YA R D S 8

The Great Escape


Old World Charm Meets New Age Know-How

Create your own getaway at home with these budget-friendly ideas for your outdoor living space. By Heidi Doerfert

The Legacy Paver Group proves to be an elegant cost saver in home hardscape projects. By Deborah Burstyn


Yard Smart


Save $100,000 on Your Home

Synthetic lawns add years of enjoyment and are good for the environment. By R.L. Xander A simple step that saves big bucks over the lifetime of your home—and it’s green too! By Melinda Peacock




Hunter Green

Conserving energy has never been so beautiful. By Heidi Doerfert

CLCA 16 Make A Good Impression

Great ideas for adding value to your home. By Joan Waters

CCIDC 18 Borrowing Outdoor Space for Everyday Living

Ideas for creating a unique living space. By Patsy Zakian-Greenough, CKD, CID, CAPS, CGBP

ON THE COVER Kingsley-Bate St. Tropez chaise. Photo: Kingsley-Bate ( 4

April/May 2009 THM North Bay

Volume 7, Issue 2 • April/May 2009

A Weekend of Fun


The Bay Area’s best resource for your lifestyle at home. PUBLISHER/EDITOR



Michael A. Frieburg Stephan Raimist • Pat Silberman FEATURE WRITERS

Deborah Burstyn Heidi Doerfert Patsy Zakian-Greenough Melinda Peacock Joan Waters R.L. Xander ART DIRECTOR

Jeff Clinton WEBMASTER


Diane Nasadiuk



190 North Wiget Lane, Suite 280 Walnut Creek, CA • 94598 © 2009. All editorial (headline, subhead, story, captions) published in Today’s Home is copyrighted and remains the sole property of Today’s Home. All rights reserved. Reproduction or reprinting without permission is strictly prohibited.

Today’s Home is looking for highly motivated Account Executives with 2 years of advertising and marketing experience. We offer a dynamic environment, excellent growth opportunities, competitive earnings, and a benefits package. Full and part-time positions available. Please e-mail resumes to

HE TIME IS RIPE for home improvement—and at the forefront is “investing green”—transforming homes to reduce energy use, lower utility and water bills and help the planet. In addition to featuring the latest information on “green” products and services, as well as news on conservation rebates offered by our state and local governments, the 33rd annual Marin Home Show & Benefit Jazz Fest will feature loads of state-of-the-art kitchen and baths, spas, sunrooms, home theaters and more on display. For the home garden there are full landscape displays in the expansive Garden & Landscape Pavilion. Also this year, the premier of the “ArtiGras Island” with dozens of fine artist from across the country who will present, on the Home Show’s beautiful Lagoon Island, their paintings and sculptures. With more than 350 exhibits, the Marin Home Show offers the best and newest products for home and garden projects, with experts on site to answer all your questions. One of the longest-running events at the Marin Center, the Home Show has always been ahead of the curve, supporting and introducing environmentally friendly products. With global warming and continuing drought conditions plaguing Marin County, as elsewhere, this year’s show will present cutting-edge firms such as rainwater cache and recycled greywater systems. Companies that offer the latest in energy-saving solar and heating, energy-efficient appliances, hybrid and electric cars will also be featured. If that’s not enough to get you jazzed, the Benefit Jazz Fest with two big days of live entertainment will surely ramp up your mood. This year’s headliner is the electric Pride & Joy with performances Sunday in the Benefit Jazz Tent. Opening Saturday’s music lineup, promising young Marin musicians will RD perform in the Jazz Jam PlayOff. Six awardwinning Marin high school bands will be showcased in the Home Show’s upbeat “battle of the bands.” With the support of local sponsors $8,000 was raised and given Saturday, May 30 • 10:00 AM to 7:00 PM last year to the participating high school Sunday, May 31 • 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM music departments. Marin Civic Center Exhibit Hall and Fairgrounds There’s no place like beautiful Marin or its fabulous Home Show, a communityminded event that’s informative, entertaining and will help you kick off your next home-improvement project. This is the perfect time to make your current residence the best it can be.

Visit the annual

Marin Home Show for

home improvement ideas and inspiration.



Marin Home Show & Benefit Jazz Fest

The 33rd Annual Marin Home Show & Benefit Jazz Fest takes place Saturday, May 30, from 10:00 AM to 7:00 PM; and Sunday, May 31, from 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM, at the Marin Civic Center Exhibit Hall and Fairgrounds. Admission is $8. Saturday tickets are good for a free Sunday return. Children 14 and under are admitted free both days. For more information, call (415) 456-5209 or visit THM North Bay THM April/May 2009


HUNTER GREEN Conserving energy has never been so beautiful. BY



ARBON FOOTPRINT. ENERGY EFFICIENCY. GOING GREEN. We’ve heard these terms a lot lately, but they are more than just environmentalist catchphrases. Our economy and the condition of our earth demand more people take notice of the usable power we waste each day. When we think differently about how we use our resources and choose products that reduce our own energy bill, we can also have a positive impact on the planet. Some corporations, like the window fashions leader Hunter Douglas, want to lead by example. In February, Hunter Douglas announced the launch of Hunter Green, an initiative to make consumers aware of the superior energy-saving benefits their products offer, create awareness and action around energy conservation, and support social programs that have a positive global impact. To take it a step further, Hunter Douglas also created the GREENGUARD Environmental Institute (GEI), an independent, non-profit organization that establishes acceptable indoor air standards for indoor products, environments and buildings. More than any other company in the industry, Hunter Douglas products have met rigorous standards and virtually all are GEI Certified. “Not only do we want to reduce our own carbon footprint as a company,” says Donna Lobosco of Hunter Douglas, “we want

Duette® honeycomb shades withTruRise®.

to help our customers in their conservation efforts while adding beauty to their homes with our stylish window treatments.” Green meets gorgeous with the Duette Architella line, a favorite of Tim Donaldson, owner of The Blind Man and an authorized Hunter Douglas dealer. “The Duette is the most versatile product in the lineup because of its unique ability to adapt to any window. The fabric and color selections allow it to fit into virtually any décor. Another great feature is its energy efficiency.” Tim explains another timely buzzword—R-value. “An R-value is a measure of thermal resistance. The bigger the number, the better the insulation. Typically, the walls in your home have an R-value of 17, a window about 2.” Tim says that by adding certain window treatments, like the Duette Architella honeycomb shade, you can triple your window’s R-value and reduce energy loss by up to 50 percent. “That keeps green in your pocket!” Tim notes. Hunter Douglas window treatments decrease energy usage in two other ways: they control solar heat by allowing it into your home in the winter and minimizing the amount that comes in during the summer. And, they enhance the use of natural light by diffusing and dispersing sunlight deep into a room, so you can turn off the lights more often! To find out how you can go “Hunter Green” with beautiful window fashions, visit Hunter Douglas at or call (800) 274-2985. THM

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April/May 2009 THM North Bay

We Make Green Beautiful.

Stylish solutions for saving energy at the window.

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Hunter Douglas Window Treatments meet both your design and energy needs. 40% of the heat that escapes from your home leaves through the windows, and 50% of the solar heat that enters a room comes in through—you guessed it—the windows. Obviously, energy efficient treatments can translate into considerable utility bill savings, especially if your windows are on a cold north exposure in the winter or a sun-saturated west wall in the summer. Saving energy is a beautiful thing with Hunter Douglas.

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(707) 578-0849

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Ask about our full line of Hunter Douglas products. ©2008 Hunter Douglas Inc. ® and TM are trademarks of Hunter Douglas Inc.

Photo: Homecrest Outdoor Living (

The Great Escape

Create your own getaway at home with these budget-friendly ideas for your outdoor living space. BY


[ I N S P I R E D


N THIS TRYING ECONOMY, SPENDING MONEY ON A ONE-TIME, exotic vacation this summer may not be in the cards. But imagine transforming your outdoor space into a getaway that will bring you pleasure for many years to come! When gas prices first began to rise, the media coined the phrase “staycation.” This idea of creating your own personal sanctuary at home not only offers more bang for your buck, but also an alternative to the stress of traveling. So, how do you begin to take that humdrum backyard and turn it into an outdoor retreat? First, think about how you want to use the space. Will you be entertaining a crowd or are you looking for a quiet, Zen-like corner to relax? If your yard is big enough, you may be able to have the best of both worlds. Ask yourself where your ideal vacation spot would be. Are you jetting off to the tropics or taking in the English countryside? The answer can give you the inspiration for the look and feel of your outdoor space. Just as your walls and floors define the style of your home’s interior, hardscapes and landscapes define it on the outside.

Plan Ahead Whether you want to give your yard a boost or do a complete transformation, the first step is having a plan. “A master plan for the outdoor living space, including the hardscape, planting, lighting and irrigation, is instrumental in having a successful project at the end,” explains Sandra Diehl, owner of Avant Garden Design in Vallejo. Carefully mapping out your desires for your backyard will prevent a hodge-podge look and also enables the contractor to give you a proper bid. Sandra stresses the importance of having an irrigation system in place so all of your beautiful plants and flowers flourish instead of deteriorate. To craft an outdoor space with a retreat-like feel, she recommends using structures and plant material to create privacy. “An overhang or pergola gives an instant feeling of intimacy and comfort.” Instead of one main area, designate a couple of different spots for relaxation such as a cozy corner to read or a table for two near a bubbly fountain to spend time with your spouse. A great tip: don’t plant flowers or shrubs that attract bees near your sitting areas. Transitional elements such as gates, arbors and pathways will make you feel as if you’re entering a special place. If you’re looking to rev up your space, a tropical oasis may be just what the doctor ordered. Sandra recommends palm trees like the Mexican Fan and Date Palm, Native Hibiscus such as Rose of Sharon, Birds of Paradise, and Day Lilies. Use hot hues like reds, oranges and hot pinks! And, don’t forget to turn on the lights. “Lighting is one of the forgotten, but important elements to a great outdoor space.” Whether it’s to guide you safely down a path in the evening or to highlight your favorite tree, proper illumination definitely sets the mood.

The H2O Factor

Water is an essential element in transforming your yard from tired to tranquil. Fountains, waterfalls and ponds add soothing sound, but carefully consider which one best fits your lifestyle. Sandra advises to think about how much time you’re willing to spend on maintenance. “Obviously, a coy pond will require a lot more attention than one without fish.” If you want the beauty of water without the upkeep, a pondless water feature may be great option. Once installed, they are virtually maintenance-free which is good news for busy homeowners. Of course, nothing says exotic escape like a pool! You may be pleasantly surprised at how affordable a swimming pool can be. Richard Evans, President

B A C K Y A R D S ]

of Cookie Cutter Pools, says success is in their motto: “Keep it simple with lower overhead.” Cookie Cutter is a large construction company with a few decades of experience. They offer a menu of 3 Pool Sizes and Shapes, 3 Colors of Brick Coping and 5 Plaster Colors. Richard says this allows Cookie Cutter to purchase their equipment and products in bulk and they can pass that savings on to you. A basic pool can start at as little as $24,000. And, you’ll be splashing around sooner than with a traditional pool builder. “We build pools in less than 30 days!” says Richard. While the basic pool packages are the most economical way to go, Cookie Cutter offers custom touches and upgrades and can build any shape-and-sized pool you desire. During your free consultation, Cookie Cutter can help you pick the best pool for your lifestyle and budget.

Dinner, Alfresco Style One of the best things about a vacation is the food. Imagine being able to prepare an entire meal on your patio while enjoying the company of your family and friends. Outdoor kitchens are becoming a must-have for the staycationer. Scott Costa of Costa Construction, Inc. in San Ramon says he’s seen a definite rise in demand for outdoor kitchens. “The stand-alone grill is really becoming a thing how simple or elaborate these elements are. Scott advises picking the right grill for your needs. If you are going to be serving up burgers to dozens of guests on a regular basis, you may want to go with a grill in the range of 48-53 inches wide. Think about how you work in your indoor kitchen and try to mimic that on the outside. “I recommend placing the kitchen in close proximity to your back door in case you need to get extra supplies,” says Scott. “Although, some homeowners do prefer to put their outdoor kitchen near the pool for a resort-like feel.” Adequate storage and a built-in refrigerator will help you avoid running back and forth from the patio to your house. Scott says that it’s ideal to build an overhang or pavilion to protect your kitchen from the elements. If that’s not in the budget, durable covers can keep your island and grill looking new for years. Another costeffective tip is to go with a propane grill so you don’t have to tap into your home’s gas line.

Outdoor Decor Patio furniture not only offers a place to lounge, it can really bring your overall vision to fruition. For a restful retreat, think natural materials. A pair of bamboo or wooden chairs with cushions in earth tones and end tables with clean lines offers instant calm. To evoke cottage charm, wicker always fits the bill. All-weather wicker is not your Grandmother’s wicker. It is woven with resin and is affordable, easy to clean, and weather resistant. If the Tuscan countryside is calling your name, use wrought iron pieces to create your own private bistro. Rich tones in mustard, olive green and deep red will having you shouting, Bellissimo! Your outdoor oasis needs accessories just like the inside of your home. These added touches take your patio to the next level. From textured area rugs to wall art to chandeliers, you can find furnishings made specifically for outdoor use. From simple to showstopper, an outdoor re-do can make you feel like you’re on vacation all year-long! For more information on outdoor remodeling or to find a contractor, please visit us on the web at THM

North Bay THM April/May 2009


Old World Charm Meets New Age Know-How BY


an innovative driveway for the 2009 HGTV Dream Home in Sonoma. Legacy Pavers started in 2000 as Dream Driveways. As their projects evolved to include patios, courtyards, walkways and more a name change seemed in order. Kaslar chose The Legacy Paver Group because “The enduring beauty of stone pavers truly creates a legacy.” The warmth of red brick, the elegance of flagstone, and the charm of cobblestones—these custom elements of a home’s exterior used to be the preserve of the wealthy. The masonry work and material costs were beyond the reach of the average homeowner. That’s why so many homes are surrounded by flat expanses of asphalt and concrete. The relatively recent invention of concrete pavers—interlocking pre-cast pieces of brick or stone—changed that. But pavers are more than just a pretty face. Kaslar points out that pavers save costs in the long run because of their durability. “As individual pieces, pavers can withstand more pressure than concrete, which is a solid slab that can buckle and crack. Good installers offer a warranty on the installation that you can’t get with concrete. And asphalt really has no value from a cosmetic standpoint, and it crumbles. Once pavers are in, provided they’re installed correctly, they’re not going anywhere.” Today’s permeable pavers also allow rainwater to filter through to the aquifers preventing run-off, erosion and flooding. Maxine Andrews and James Osborn selected pavers for their driveway and an interlocking product called Versa-Lok for the retaining wall system. A challenge that called for Legacy Paver’s expertise was their wish for an aesthetically pleasing but complex series of curved circular walls instead of simple straight lines. “We took an unusable space and turned it into eye candy. It looks really nice. We had to back away from the desire to do it ourselves and embrace the idea that there were benefits to a contractor working on the project,” explained Andrew. “I contacted the product manufacturer and asked them for referrals. I had a rough sketch and I e-mailed it to 20 contractors. I then made ten appointments for contractors to review the site, and then got six or seven proposals to review. We looked at the proposals and they were all slightly different and had different price bids. Legacy did not provide us with the lowest bid, or the highest, for that

Legacy Paver Group proves to be an elegant cost saver in home hardscape project.


HEN TIMES ARE TOUGH, quality counts more than ever. So how can homeowners economize on projects without sacrificing their dreams? By working with a contractor who can do it all—provide design, craftsmanship and the flexibility to make needed changes as the project becomes reality. That’s why after a rigorous bidding and review process, homeowners Maxine Andrew and James Osborn chose The Legacy Paver Group for their project— a driveway and multi-level retaining wall for their terraced backyard in the East Bay hills. “We’re the type of contractor who can design on the go so you don’t have to spend $4,000 on architectural plans,” explains Legacy principal Hayley Kaslar. “This way you’re budget’s not blown before you even start.” Kaslar, originally from England, learned the business from a pro – her dad, Nigel Howat, who honed his masonry skills in Europe. Kaslar and her husband Sean can take a homeowner’s sketch and infuse it with their blend of Old World charm and New Age know-how to see it through from design to installation. Their on-site project management team further customizes plans with the homeowner throughout the process. “The results are spectacular,” said Maxine Andrew. “We saved on design fees and enjoyed working with The Legacy Paver Group. When we look at our driveway and terraces, we feel a sense of pride and accomplishment because of our participation in the project.” Legacy’s reputation for superior work and customer-friendly style has even impressed HGTV producers who selected the Santa Rosa-based firm to create 10

April/May 2009 THM North Bay

createashower for your life

Finished, Framed & Frameless Enclosures

Customizable High Quality matter,” Andrew said, “but they instilled us with the confidence that we could work together closely, and they could guide us through the technical aspects of the projects.” A key visual element to complement a home is its surrounding hardscape and how it integrates the home with the landscape. But what looks good on paper doesn’t always work in the real world where factors like grading and elevation need to be considered. That is why homeowners throughout the Greater Bay Area and North Bay trust their homes to The Legacy Paver Group. The Legacy Paver Group— (415) 328-6233, (707) 538-1071 or THM

Practical Functionality Since 1935

800.675.6225 1795 Yosemite Avenue San Francisco

North Bay THM April/May 2009


[ I N S P I R E D

B A C K Y A R D S ]

Yard Smart

Synthetic lawns add years of enjoyment and are good for the environment. BY



EVIN STEFFEE FOUND HIS CALLING ALMOST BY ACCIDENT. The longtime landscape contractor had a client who wanted a putting green right on his lawn. That request sent Steffee on a search that led him to turf, a synthetic lawn product with extraordinary staying power. His client got his putting green and Steffee started Dream Greens, the first and finest dealer of synthetic grass in the Bay Area. “I’ve been doing this longer than anyone else in the Bay Area,” Steffee said of the business he opened in 1999, and he knows his product. The top of the line turf that Kevin uses was developed for use by athletes and contains no lead. It stands up well to those two scourges of suburban living: kids and dogs. Both children and pets need space and a good surface on which to run and play. As Steffee noted, his product was made to survive the onslaught of 300-pound linebackers. It is as at home on a golf course as a residential yard. As noteworthy as the strength and good looks synthetic turf offers is the list of what it does without: no mowing, no watering, no seeding, no fertilizing, no pesticides, no toxic runoff, no muddy footprints, no grass-stained clothing. It is a purchase likely to please an environmentally conscious homeowner. “People out here are environmentally friendly, and want to do the right thing,” Steffee said. In a year when water officials are talking about drought and water rationing, not having to water a lawn to keep it lush is a big plus. Indeed, over time the water savings help offset the cost of the


April/May 2009 THM North Bay

installation, which is expected to wear well for up to 20 years. In some areas, homeowners are eligible for a rebate from their water districts for putting in a synthetic lawn. What’s more, turf works in areas where traditional lawns never grow, such as under old growth oak trees, or where they take a beating, such as under play structures. Steffee offers design services and said he can work with unusual surfaces or slopes. The product itself is a far cry from the old-fashioned fake plastic grass that everyone used to make fun of. The grass blades of the new product are indeed made out of plastic, but the secret to its success is the infill used in the turf. It is a patented mixture of ground-up recycled tires and rounded silica sand. The natural look is created by first putting down the synthetic grass blades, then adding the infill. The final step is to rake the blades until they stand up. It is the infill that provides both the cushy feel and the drainage. It takes about a week to install most synthetic lawns, but Steffee’s definition of his job is a broad one. “We do more than provide the turf,” he said. “We can help with overall design, drainage issues, patios, walkways, etc.” Don’t consider an artificial lawn without talking to Dream Greens. Reach Kevin Steffee at Dream Greens at (415) 461-4455 or check out their Web site at THM







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CALL TODAY! (415) 461-4455 For more info, visit Contractor’s License #797676 North Bay THM April/May 2009


[ I N S P I R E D

B A C K Y A R D S ]

SAVE $100,000



A simple step that saves big bucks over the lifetime of your home—and it’s green too! BY



N 2004, SMARTMONEY.COM DID AN ANALYSIS SHOWING that over 30 years of owning your home, it costs almost $100,000 to paint, patch, and repair the exterior. And that is if you only paint every 8 years! If you paint every 3 years, the total cost jumps to $172,000. There is a better solution that is far less expensive in the long run and far better for the environment. An amazing paint product called Rhino Shield was developed in the 60’s for use on commercial buildings. About 10 years ago, it became available for residential homes. “Paint it once and you are done,” states Jeff Olson, owner of Rhino Shield of California. “You never have to paint, patch, repair or replace it again—ever.” This unique paint is estimated to last 80 to 100 years. Buildings that were painted over 40 years ago still look as though they were freshly painted. In fact, BASF, the world’s leading chemical company, did an independent test on Rhino Shield paint. Using a process that simulates 25 years of weather and aging, the results showed that Rhino Shield paint showed no signs of deterioration. It can be used on practically any exterior house surface, including wood, stucco, vinyl siding, brick, cement block, concrete, Masonite, and stone. It doesn’t peel, chip, or flake and is practically maintenance free. Hmm, which would you choose as a weekend activity: painting the house or having a barbecue with friends? Rhino Shield is just like any other paint in that it comes in every color imaginable. Each batch is custom mixed to match the customer’s color choice. “We even had a customer in Mill Valley request a charcoal black house with black trim,” describes Jeff. Any other paint wouldn’t last a year because the weather makes black paint fade so quickly. “Years later that house still looks like it was newly painted. And the color combination actually turned out great, too!” laughs Jeff. Rhino Shield paint is waterproof and provides soundproofing and insulation. It reflects over 90% of the sun’s energy and qualifies as a low-E coating. The insulating aspect of the paint actually makes your home cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter, which should lower your utility bills. In addition to saving the planet through lower energy usage, Rhino Shield paint


April/May 2009 THM North Bay

is environmentally friendly. It is water based and contains no vinyl, latex, mineral fillers, or volatile organic compounds (VOCs). The secret to Rhino Shield’s amazing benefits is thousands of ceramic microspheres. Manufactured by 3M, these spheres have a vacuum core, which means they are not just hollow they have a void of air within each sphere’s center. 3M designed them to stop thermal conductivity, and it makes the spheres great insulators. Coastal areas often have corrosion problems from the sea spray in the air. An independent test shows Rhino Shield as the most salttolerant coating on the market. For inland areas that are concerned about wildfires, Rhino Shield is a class A fire retardant. In some states its class A fire rating may help qualify for a discount on homeowner’s insurance. “You are gonna love this paint,” insists Jeff. “It will look great forever. No more dragging ladders around, hanging off of gutters, getting splattered with paint and yelling at your spouse,” he adds whimsically. “Forget all that and go on vacation!” When you also consider the lifetime transferable warranty, lower energy usage, green ingredients, fire retardant and salt corrosion factors, hassle-free maintenance, and lifetime cost savings, choosing Rhino Shield for your home becomes the easiest decision you will ever make. To learn more about Rhino Shield of California’s amazing paint, including links to independent test results, go to You can also call them at (888) 868-7575. THM

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Contractor’s License #683909 North Bay THM April/May 2009


[ C L C A ]

Make A Good Impression Great ideas for adding value to your home. BY JOAN



S THE OLD SAYING GOES, you don’t get a second chance to make a good first impression. Savvy homeowners know that their yards make an impression every day—on visitors, friends, family and the whole. But even if you’re not overly concerned with looks, a well-done landscape can put money in your pocket. A recent study reported the costs of landscaping had a recovery value of at least 100 percent and up to 200 percent, which compares to a recovery value of 70 to 125 percent for a kitchen and 80 to 120 percent for a bathroom remodel. So, if you need to spruce things up a bit, or even add some new features that will expand living space for you and your family, here are some tips from the California Landscape Contractors Association to get your project off on the right foot. Hire a licensed contractor. If the price of your job is $500 or more (including costs of labor and materials), state law requires that the person or company doing the job be licensed by the Contractors State License Board. One of the best ways to choose a contractor is to use the Contractor Search feature on the CLCA website at Once you have a list of prospective contractors and have your initial meetings, ask to visit jobs each contractor has completed. If possible, talk to the homeowners and ask if their expectations were met. Also ask your contractor about liability and workers’ compensation insurance. In fact, CLCA recommends that you ask to see written proof of insurance policies. Make a checklist. Some time before you meet with your contractor, take a tour of your yard, and make a list of improvements or features you want to add. If you like to entertain outdoors, for example, consider an outdoor kitchen-one of today’s hottest amenities. Fountains and water features are among the most popular landscape features today. Many contractors have stunning photographs of the features they’ve created, so ask to take a look. And because a picture is worth a thousand words, showing your contractor photos you collect from books and magazines is a great way to convey your ideas and priorities. Be sure to take a look at a number of projects before you settle on the contractor to install rock or stone. There can be a huge difference in the quality of the work and craftsmanship from mason to mason. Some masons do mostly brick and concrete, and others are experts at using natural stone. Keep up the good work. A good plan will include a professionally installed, inground irrigation system with automatic timer. Be sure to ask your contactor about the latest water-conserving devices.

Project by Gothic Landscaping Inc. of Valencia.

Samscaping Inc., Mountain View.

For more Information contact CLCA at (916) 830-2780. Or, visit them online at THM


April/May 2009 THM North Bay

Gardens For Life

Call for a FREE Garden Consultation 707-769-1600



wind through

a Summer

shade garden

Simple • Tasteful • Elegant

[ C C I D C ]

Borrowing Outdoor Space for Everyday Living


This beautiful entry, now elegant and inviting, serves to welcome family and friends for entertaining or light informal meals. Design: Genie Nowicki, CKD, CBD, CAPS, CGBP, CID of Harrell Remodeling, Inc., in Mountain View.




O YOU EVER WISH YOU HAD MORE SPACE for entertaining or maybe another place to relax and catch your breath? You’ve thought of an addition, but that could be costly and time consuming. Why not consider an existing space that could be used differently? When Certified Interior Designer Genie Nowicki was asked to design a local remodeling project, she did just that. She took an existing entry deck and transformed it into a lovely greeting area as well as a space for entertaining. Here are a few ideas to think about as you start your project: First, select a Certified Interior Designer (CID) to work with you. A CID is certified in the State of California and is qualified by education, experience, and examination. Share your lifestyle history with your designer to identify your needs. To make this entry area accessible to everyone who came to visit, Genie added a discrete ramp that meanders through well-established trees and landscaping. The ramp seems to “float” off the ground as piers were placed under the center of the ramp with iron braces for additional support. She added light along the pathway, which made it safer and a favorite route for all who come to visit. Have you thought about artistic features you could include in your plan? Genie relocated a custom copper water fountain from the interior living area to the entry. The water adds a soothing sound and the sculptural form adds interest. Attractive, correctly scaled planters (with a drip system) and comfortable


April/May 2009 THM North Bay

benches at the front door are key components. It now feels inviting to guests whether for entertaining purposes or just light meals and coffee. Is your space showing signs of deferred maintenance? In this instance, the existing deck required some repair work. Thinking outside the box, Genie was able to take advantage of this opportunity to re-route electrical and gas lines. Because this was a down sloped lot, some excavation was done, deck boards were salvaged and reused for the new ramp and new deck boards were installed by using a clip system. The clip system and waterproof framing underneath the deck will extend its life by eliminating water penetration into the wood. Does your door allow enough light to pass through so that two areas can feel connected? The front door system allows light to spill into the house. And, a concealed Phantom Screen keeps the bugs out while still letting fresh air in. Is your entry a point at which you control all your security? Take advantage of coordinating your systems for easy access and convenience. Remember that good design is always beautiful. You don’t have to sacrifice style for comfort. A remodel should not be built just for who you are today, but for the person you’ll become tomorrow. Patsy Zakian-Greenough, CKD, CID, CAPS, CGBP is the Senior Designer at Harrell Remodeling, Inc., For a list of Certified Interior Designers in your area or to view the CID Pages (a visual directory of CID’s), visit THM

Photo: Bill Enos, Emerald Light Photography


North Bay THM April/May 2009


North Bay April 2009  

Outdoor Sanctuary