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Just do It
Ten Reasons to get Off the "Home Improvement" Fence
October, 2009 - Issue #60
In the entryway of my last home lay what I considered a great aesthetic offence: dramatically cracked and chipped tile flooring. Being clever (and cheap), I covered it with a throw rug - that never stayed put. Like Edgar Allan Poe's Telltale Heart, those marred pieces of porcelain refused to remain silent, loudly announcing their ugliness anew every time a guest strolled through the door.

Replacing them was a great relief. I didn't realize how much I had grown to dislike my home based on this one undesirable characteristic. Looking back, I should have pulled those tiles up earlier.

So, what's your drama? What's driving you mad? And, for goodness sake, why aren't you doing anything about it?

Here are ten reminders that should prompt you to stop the procrastination and start loving "the one (home) you're with." Now get moving!

1. You're afraid of catching cooties from your moldy shower curtain.
It's time for a new, modern shower enclosure - or a tetanus shot. This cost-effective bathroom upgrade can be completed in just a few hours and adds both utility (no more puddles of water on the floor!) and beauty to the space. Preferred Glass & Windows
(298-2165) carries all standard and custom sizes in a variety of finishes like chrome, polished and antique brass, polished nickel, brushed pewter, gold plated and more. You can choose from a variety of tempered safety glass in framed or frameless styles, too.

2. Your 7 year old still won't sleep in her own room.
One word: Bribery. Artist Carolyn Odien's (263-2393) littlest "clients" literally jump for joy when they see the personalized murals she's created. Of course, if you need a reason to love your own space, Carolyn specializes in creating a sense of peace and happiness with her artistic applications. She can even paint columns to match stone floors. Folks regularly have to touch her work to confirm that what they're seeing is, in fact, flat and not three dimensional.

3. You have nowhere to store your Cheerios because you have 20 bottles of wine in the pantry.
Usually I wouldn't suggest that folks keep their drinking "in the closet." This is the SCV, after all. Loving fermented grape goodness is practically a residency requirement. Here's the exception: Closet Wine Cellars (297-1935). Now you can create your dream wine cellar without constructing a new storage space or kicking out the Boomerang Kid. Closet Wine Cellars patented racking system converts closets, storage or any given space while showcasing wine bottles in a secure neckdown position, displaying the labels and allowing for easy retrieval. Cheers!

4. The kitchen is swarming with flies (or your air conditioning bill's through the roof) because you refuse to put a ratty screen on your gorgeous French door.
The home improvement gods are mocking us. The SCV is filled with jaw-dropping entry and French doors that energy-conserving homeowners have felt forced to cover with all sorts of screen ugliness. But it doesn't have to be this way. For 15 years (Happy anniversary!), Phantom Screens of Southern California (799-9226) has served as the leading manufacturer of retractable screens for windows, doors, double doors and even larger patio openings, up to 25 feet wide and 16 feet tall. With extensive color options and innovative installation methods, Phantom Retractable screens blend and almost hide on any door or window. Customers become quick converts once they realize that they can enjoy the views and the breeze from their unobstructed doors and windows.

5. You fear that whatever trend you choose will be out of style as soon as the contractor's dust clears.
As someone who just retired her Members Only jacket and Bongo jeans, I feel your pain. "Tile trends don't change much," comforts designer Lashel Jensen of Ceramic Tile Outlet (252-8887). That's good news for homeowners who want to feel confident in their investment. Check out the gorgeous new porcelain tile line called Athena; it has the timeless look of travertine but not the higher maintenance. Made complete with an extensive trim variety and every size imaginable, Athena is a beautiful addition to the traditional look of so many SCV homes. Still feeling overwhelmed? Schedule an in-home design consultation and rest assured that your new tile will blend perfectly with your kitchen cabinets (and your eyes).

6. You have $5,995 but don't know what to spend it on.
Need a lot of home improvement for just a little cash? The Flooring Connection (297-9800) is offering a complete kitchen - including granite countertops and installation - for only $5,995. If you can only afford one major project, this should be it. Not convinced? Answer this: Would you rather entertain friends in a new kitchen or a new bathroom? I've made my point.

7. You only enter the bedroom if the lights are off.
Round in all the wrong places. Too much jiggle. Likely to make an embarrassing noise at just the wrong moment. What's an out-of-date bed to do? If you suffer from acute bed shame, it's time to upgrade. The Inside SCV staff is seriously coveting the Ambella Home line available at LaViaBella.com (222-7006). Of particular note is the Nathaniel bed, which features a regally-carved headboard and footboard, towering bedposts and a deep mahogany finish. Plus, when you buy it online, it's a whopping $1,200 below retail. Turn those lights on, Baby!

8. There are currently tiny bits of pet hair, dust and granola flakes stuck to the bottoms of your feet.
There are as many reasons to hire a professional cleaner as there are dust bunnies under the couch. You work long hours. Your spouse is (sometimes) a lazy jerk. The kids figured out the ulterior motive behind The Mopping Race. Hiring a pro isn't admitting defeat; it's acknowledging that you have more important things to do than stick your arm elbow-deep in a toilet. I am a huge fan of Clean and Bright Maintenance (433-4035). The friendly crew does a fabulous job, they are licensed and bonded (super important!) and they can give you a free estimate.

9. You have a rectangular television awkwardly displayed in an arched recess.
There's only a few things more unsightly than a square peg shoved into a round hole: The square "peg's" wires, coordinating remote controls and messy stacks of DVDs. Custom built-ins and cabinetry have the budget-minded consumer's ultimate "splurge" justification - utility. Finally, you'll have a place to put all the crap that always piles up in high traffic spots like living rooms and kitchens. Meet your match by consulting with the pros at Custom Woodworks (212-7230).

10. Visitors wonder if you're moving.
Accessories and decor... They're not dust collectors, they're ambience makers. If your home is a blank slate, up its personality quotient by adding framed photos and scented candles on mantles. Incorporate iron work or sconces on walls to add dimension and interest. Decorate a dining table with themed painted glasses. And, do it for a whole lot less by shopping at Rooms to Roam (259-7890).
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