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Holiday Home Improvement
October, 2005 - Issue #12
In the next three months, a minimum of two major holidays will be celebrated, an untold number of guests will trample through your home and you'll lose approximately a million hairs stressing out about the whole ordeal.

Don't fret - with a little pre-planning, you'll be the envy of your neighbors and still maintain your hair count.

Cleaning

Kim Blaquera, owner of ChemDry (254-6150) suggests that homeowners schedule their holiday carpet cleaning two weeks ahead. Cleaning costs usually average around $330 for an entire home, making carpet cleaning a comparatively affordable home improvement. Blaquera also suggests that customers, especially those who have family members with allergies, ask cleaners about the detergents they use. "ChemDry cleans without detergents or products with animal fats, so there's no risk of sensitivity, but that's not the case with all companies," she adds.

Jose Esquilvel, owner of Nice & Clean Maid Service (263-9613), knows that this time of year can be stressful on homeowners. He sees a regular increase in business during the holiday season, especially considering that cleaning services are within the price range of many potential clients. While Esquilvel's company provides free estimates, average homes run between $75 and $90 per cleaning session.

Electrical Work

Older homes may need electrical work done in order to handle the additional strains of guests and extra holiday electrical use. Simple re-wiring, says Mac of Mac's Electric (818-581-1122), can be accomplished in a day, with new panels, whole house fans and larger upgrades taking as long as several weeks to accomplish.

Healthy Water

Holiday meals should be full of good cheer, not bacteria. Home water-filtration systems are a popular upgrade in Santa Clarita, and new technology makes them easy on the environment, too. Condition, soften and purify your home's water with membrane technology (not salt or potassium) - it leaves healthy minerals in the water while removing chlorine, bad tastes, and residue that scales your home's appliances. Greg Marshall, owner of Safe H2O Systems (259-5657), takes the process an extra step by adding a UV light to all his products. The light kills off any bacteria in the water, leaving it equivocal to the quality of bottled. His home-filtration systems begin at an affordable $280 for under-the-sink models.

Pools, Spas and Landscaping

Hydro-Spa (297-4393) may spend the summer installing larger spas, but the fall and winter is filled with older adults and families hoping to take advantage of hot water therapy during the colder months. Terence O'Brien of Hydro-Spa says that spas that comfortably accommodate four people can be had for below $3,000. His company usually outfits above-ground units in 15 days, including masonry. In-ground spas usually run closer to six weeks.

At the beginning of the fall season, kids head back to school and homeowners make plans for pools before the holidays, and cooler weather, set in. "During this time of year, contractors' schedules become more flexible before the holidays," says Jim Schaffert, owner of Nautical Pools and Masonry (259-2004). The heavy rains earlier in the year delayed many projects, and fall seems to be the season to play catch-up. If you're still considering a pool, now is the time to make the call.

Russ Gallo of American Construction (295-7201) finds that the landscaping portion of his business is the busiest in the fall. "Our outdoor lighting and landscaping services, especially for entryways, is always a popular choice now because people want to impress their guests," he says. Quality landscaping work begins at around $5,000, according to Gallo, and homeowners usually spend more on the landscaping in the front of the house to improve curb appeal.

Flooring

Brent's Carpet One (255-3337), in business for 25 years, has seen many a change in the world of flooring. In the last two years, hard surfaces have surpassed carpet sales at Brent Griffiths' well-respected business. According to Griffiths, Santa Clarita's unique geography means that flooring companies must take cement slab moisture levels into consideration when looking for life-long results. His company tests the cement, then applies an appropriate moisture barrier as needed.

Furniture

Mission Living Furniture (295-0509) sees a great increase in dining set sales during the third quarter. "People want new pieces for Thanksgiving and Christmas," says Angelica Kasparoff of Mission Living. When shopping, she suggests that clients find out where the products are made. "For a thousand dollars more, you can purchase an American-made product with a 20-year or lifetime guarantee. You won't see that with foreign brands. Once customers see the purchase as a lifetime investment, the value becomes clear," she continues. Mission Living Furniture offers quality wood and arts and crafts pieces that usually start at $1699 for a seven-piece set, and traditionally take four to six weeks to build.

Best Furniture (424-1079) offers dining sets and more at discount prices. Whether you are dying to upgrade your couch, mattress, dining furniture, bedroom furniture or accessories, if price is an issue, Best Furniture is the "best" place to go.

Kitchen

Nick Oz of Dannick Designs (775-7430) knows that having a well-planned and attractive kitchen is especially important during the holidays. While a complete custom kitchen usually takes four to six weeks, a smaller improvement, like granite or stone countertops, can be completed in much less time and is significantly less expensive (with a starting price of $2,500). Oz says that earth tones are becoming increasingly popular in kitchens.

Home Theater and Motorized Systems

Marc Wolfe of K&M Systems (295-5668) has what every movie/sports/TV lover desires: home theater systems. "A lot of people are purchasing flat screen plasmas - they're impressive for holiday parties and Super Bowl," says Wolfe. A simple quality system can take a couple of weeks to install, and starts at $5,000.

Auton Motorized Systems (257-9282) are a great pairing with home theater systems. These television lifts and concealment systems dramatically conceal your plasma or LCD screen and compliment your superior home theater installation.
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