joseph eichler

Who Was Joseph Eichler?

joseph eichlerEichler homes continue to be hot properties for families and individuals who appreciate a sleek, modern design. Emphasizing change, boldness and optimism, they typically consist of a U-shaped floor plan with an atrium, glass walls and radiant floor heaters. Spread across California (including the Bay Area), they embody home design flair and affordability. To learn more about Eichler homes, let’s look at who Joseph Eicher was and why his approach to custom home building has made such a huge and lasting impact.

The Man and the Philosophy Behind Eichler Homes

  • Master builder: Developer Joseph Eichler (1900-1974) is credited with building nearly 11,000 single-family homes in California. Inspired by his own Frank Lloyd Wright home, he hired local modernist architects to design houses that were different from the cookie-cutter homes that other developers were building. According to eichlernetwork.com, he never held a hammer, wrench or saw, but that did not stop the successful Bronx-born businessman from becoming a master builder.
  • Establishing modern standards: Houses built by Eichler Homes, Inc. have come to epitomize the Mid-Century Modern style of architecture that is still in demand today. With functional layouts, clean lines, distinctive roofs, big windows, open foyers and plenty of natural light, they introduced an appealing indoor-outdoor living style that was in stark contrast to the tract houses of that era. Industry experts credit Eichler with setting the tone for what we consider standard or desirable in a home today.
  • Delivering style and affordability: Although they are highly-coveted architectural works of art, Eichler’s homes were built with both style and affordability in mind. At the time, the modern style was associated with luxurious custom homes rather than middle-class residences. Parents Magazine once said that an Eichler home was the best in the country for raising children!
  • Remodeling potential: Over the years, Eichler-built homes have received numerous awards and continue to be in high demand. The clean lines offer plenty of remodeling potential. However, selecting the right contractor is key to adding modern comforts and efficiencies while retaining Joseph Eichler’s original vision. 

Eichler Home Remodelers Balance Traditional and Contemporary Style

By creating easily accessible outdoor spaces, incorporating large windows and walls of glass, providing expansive backyard views and so on, Joseph Eichler sought to bring homeowners closer to nature. Our remodeling specialists skillfully incorporate 21st century floorplans and conveniences while keeping the most beloved features of your original Eichler intact.

As a residential contractor that has successfully completed hundreds of renovations, additions, and new homes, we believe in a client-first approach. Count on the experienced team at Flegel’s Construction to preserve the original Eichler vision while offering increased functionality and style for your home.

We have customers across Silicon Valley, including in Palo Alto, Los Altos, San Jose, Cupertino, Mountain View and Sunnyvale, CA. 

Call 408-269-1101 or contact us online to learn more about Joseph Eichler and discuss your custom home building or remodeling project.

Custom home building

What’s Involved in a Teardown to Build a Custom Home?

Tearing down a home to build a brand new one is an ideal option when you love where you live but want to enhance your living space. Why give up your excellent location, strong ties with the community, perhaps an easy commute to work, proximity to social and entertainment facilities, etc. simply because your home’s structure is not ideal?

Building your new dream home on your current property allows you to increase living space and design every square foot to your taste. Custom home building can also significantly increase the value of your property. Before you get started, learn what’s involved in a teardown and trust an experienced construction company for the job.

3 Considerations for Custom Home Building Involving a Teardown

  1. Determine costs: If your current house is too small or outdated, a complete rebuild might make more sense than renovation. While the expenses associated with both options will vary, large scale makeovers can amount to a sizeable sum. Often, the cost of moving to a new area can be much more than staying put and rebuilding. Speak with an established architect or builder for an accurate idea of what the demolition and new build is going to cost. If your custom home will be valued at double or three times the price of the current one, it is worth starting afresh at the same location.
  2. Check local building regulations: Teardowns and rebuilds require permits. Your city will have regulations for what you can and cannot do, especially if you live in a historic district. Homes built before a certain date may need special demolition permits because of the materials used in the original structure. Obtaining the necessary permissions takes time and can be challenging due to the complex paperwork required. With proper planning, your new home construction can be a satisfying and stress-free experience.
  3. Find a trusted home builder: A contractor who has worked in the area will be familiar with local building codes and can prevent common problems. Before engaging the builder, you must check that their experience is relevant to your project. It is important to hire a builder with a track record for quality work, completed on time and within budget. Obtain visual and tangible evidence of their project management skills before you sign on the dotted line.

Work with a Custom Home Builder Who Can Deliver Your Vision

At Flegel’s Construction Co., we welcome the opportunity to build your custom home. Understanding what you want and need, enables us to construct a functional, attractive home that you will love. We are happy to work with your designer/architect to ensure your project is a success. Our commitment to building trusting, collaborative relationships has earned us customers across Silicon Valley, including in Palo Alto, Los Altos, San Jose, Cupertino, Mountain View and Sunnyvale, CA. 

Call 408-269-1101 or contact us online to learn more about what’s involved in a teardown for custom home building.

Latest Trends in Luxury Home Building

What’s the Latest in Luxury Home Building?

Latest Trends in Luxury Home BuildingBuilding a custom home gives you the freedom to design every square foot of space to your taste. From the layout to choosing the building materials and interior finishing, you can select what works best for you and your family. Before your architect finalizes the blueprint, explore the latest trends in luxury home building, so you can decide exactly what you want.

Hot Trends in Silicon Valley Custom Homes

  • Lighter-colored flooring: Washed wood finishes like ash, grey and white as well as stone floors are the newest hot favorites. These lighter shades brighten up the room and also show less dirt. If you prefer dark flooring, consider slightly lighter tones. With specialty designs and multi-tonal colors, engineered wood flooring provides an exotic look.
  • Open concept floor plans: Today’s contemporary homes are moving towards open concept floor plans because they appear more spacious and allow better flow. For example, in an open concept layout, the kitchen, family room and living room flow into each other and are great for large gatherings. A vaulted ceiling will add a dramatic impact and give it a lofty feel.
  • Multi-functional rooms: Many custom home owners want their rooms to work smarter; meaning, they serve multiple purposes. Your living room may be a place for the family to congregate, entertain guests and also be a relaxation area. You can plan your décor and furniture accordingly.
  • Stylish kitchens: Choose your design, materials and appliances carefully. The kitchen is the heart of your home and a big selling point too. Stainless steel and granite are seen in most homes today. You may want to explore more luxurious options like engineered stone counters and glass appliances. As with flooring, lighter-colored and white cabinets are making a comeback.
  • Statement features: Glass and metal are dominant decorating features today. Some homes have replaced walls between the living, dining and family room areas with metal and glass doors that disappear with the press of a button. Others have huge decorative motifs to embellish the staircase. If contemporary is not your style, consider metallic art. You can also make a distinctive statement with color. Use bold shades or furnishings to accent certain walls and areas of a room.
  • Outdoor kitchens: These are almost a standard feature of modern luxury homes. They can be fully equipped with an oven, grill, refrigerator, sink and a bar for barbeques and dinner parties. Some even include large television sets.

Work with a Trusted Luxury Home Builder

At Flegel’s Construction Co., we consider it an honor to build your custom home. By working to understand exactly what you want, we are able to realize your vision. We are happy to work with your designer/architect to ensure your new home construction project is a success. We have customers across Silicon Valley, including in Palo Alto, Los Altos, San Jose, Cupertino, Mountain View and Sunnyvale, CA. 

Call 408-269-1101 or contact us online to learn more about the latest trends in luxury home building.

 

joseph eichler

City hopes to restore Eichler harmony

New guidelines aim to promote compatibility, ease friction between neighbors

City hopes to restore Eichler harmony
The city of Palo Alto has compiled guidelines that describe the characteristics of homes developed last century by Joseph Eichler. Photo by Veronica Weber. by Gennady Sheyner / Palo Alto Weekly

City hopes to restore Eichler harmonyEver since they made their Palo Alto debut in 1950, Eichler communities were intended to be more than the sum of their boxy, glassy parts.

Characterized by glass doors and large windows, flat or low-pitched roofs and ample backyards, developer Joseph Eichler’s homes famously celebrated indoor/outdoor living. They also promoted a community ethos through use of common space, as evidenced by the community center, neighborhood park and swimming pool in Greenmeadow, one of two Eichler neighborhoods on the National Register of Historic Districts.

Yet these very qualities that have long united Eichler owners have also created rifts in many of the city’s 31 subdivisions. Large new Spanish-style homes in Eichler enclaves like Faircourt have sparked outrage — and calls for action — from longtime homeowners. Some have appealed the approvals of proposed new houses that they deemed incompatible; others argue that two-story homes should be banned altogether.

The conflict hit its crescendo in 2015, when residents from four different tracts petitioned for “single-story overlay” districts, which prohibit new two-story homes and second-story additions. In a series of tense meetings, the council approved the requests from two neighborhoods (Los Arboles and Greer Park North) and rejected two others (Royal Manor and Faircourt).

In each case, the council weighed arguments of those who characterized two-story homes in Eichler neighborhoods as architectural blasphemy — a garish indulgence that threatens the privacy of neighbors and diminishes the aesthetic of the community — and those who see two-story homes or second-story additions as ways to accommodate multi-generational families and as legitimately entitled by property rights.

In an attempt to bridge the divide, council directed staff to draft special guidelines for constructing homes and additions in Eichler neighborhoods. On Feb. 22, the city’s Historic Resources Board approved the guidelines, which are now set to go to the City Council for final approval this spring.

Even though the new guidelines are voluntary, they are already causing frustration and confusion among some Eichler owners. At the Feb. 22 meeting, some argued that the guidelines don’t go far enough in protecting neighborhood character while others claimed that they are too proscriptive.

Michael Nierenberg, who owns a two-story Eichler, argued that the city conducted insufficient outreach. Staff sent postcards to each of the more than 2,000 Eichler homes, but only about 150 people, Nierenberg noted, were interviewed before the guidelines were crafted.

He was one of several residents who rejected the idea of “freezing Eichlers in time” by restricting design options.

“As new materials come along — and new looks and things — we might be missing out on siding, roofing and things that might make your house better, not worse,” Nierenberg told the board.

Manas Madal, who lives in Fairmeadow, argued that adopting the new guidelines would infringe on the property rights of homeowners. If approved, the guidelines should stay voluntary and not subject to regulation by the city.

Others lauded the guidelines as a good step, even if they took issue with certain details. Diane Reklis, who has lived in an Eichler for 40 years, said the document has “lots of good stuff in it” but raised concerns about the document’s provisions on accessory dwelling units. The guidelines allow homeowners to build detached housing that is up to 17 feet in height and 900 square feet in area.

If these small houses are positioned in the rear of the property (as the guidelines suggest), they will require occupants to walk past the main residence, possibly intruding on privacy, Reklis said. She also noted that 900 square feet is quite large in the context of Eichlers.

“You’re taking half the size of a current Eichler and sticking it in the backyard,” Reklis said.

The recommended 126-page document includes guidelines on everything from placement of doors and design of windows and roof forms to broad issues relating to cladding materials, massing and height. They encourage the builder to employ post-and-beam construction (which is synonymous with Eichlers); use roofing materials with a “flat, visually unobtrusive appearance”; and avoid historicist styles such as Mediterranean Revival and New-eclectic.

It also includes guidelines for constructing basements and first-story additions. Whenever possible, the document states, the project should avoid direct views into neighboring windows that may require additional privacy, including bedroom and bathroom windows.

Board Chair David Bower said that in recent meetings on the new guidelines, the issue that kept coming up was privacy. Residents said they were particularly concerned about second-story add-ons and neighbors peering through windows into their yards. The guidelines address these issues, he noted.

“While I don’t think they are a perfect approach, I think they are a good start,” Bower said.

Board member Michael Makinen pointed to another public concern: uncertainty over how the guidelines will be used. Though they are currently not subject to any regulations from the city, that can change, he noted.

“Yeah, we’re calling it voluntary but is it really voluntary? I think there is a feeling … that they may be more than what we advertise as voluntary.” Makinen said.

It will ultimately be up to the council to decide how to use the new guidelines. The board considered various approaches toward incorporating the Eichler guidelines into the city’s review process but refrained from specifying the exact nature of how or whether the rules should be enforced. They agreed that, when possible, the city should defer to neighborhood preferences. The board did vote 5-0, with Brandon Cory absent, to recommend that the new guidelines at least be used in tandem with the existing Individual Review process when considering two-story homes and second-story additions.

Councilwoman Karen Holman, the council’s liaison to the Historic Resources Board, recalled the city’s tendentious path toward the new guidelines and expressed hope that the new document will help tone down the acrimony and reduce the number of appeals being filed by residents concerned about the new house going up next door.

“We have neighbors fighting neighbors … because of new construction, additions and such in Eichler neighborhoods,” Holman said. “I see these (guidelines) as a resource to help abate those appeals and those battles within neighborhoods.”

Originally posted at https://paloaltoonline.com/news/2018/03/02/city-hopes-to-restore-eichler-harmony

Not Sure If You Should Maintain or Upgrade Your Eichler Home? Retain the Original Vision with Expert Home Remodeling As an Eichler homeowner, you may be skeptical about renovations because you are anxious to preserve the original look of your home. A deteriorating façade can, however, increase your maintenance expenses every year. With rising home prices and the growing trend towards generational living, you may want to increase the existing interior space. Perhaps you dream of a modern kitchen and luxurious bathroom—two remodeling projects that provide greater comfort and significant returns on your investment. If you are trying to decide whether to maintain or upgrade your Eichler home, here is a quick overview of important dos and don’ts outlined in an eichlernetwork.com article. Eichler Home Maintenance and Renovation Guidelines • Replace old fencing: A rotting and sinking fence is unattractive and unsafe. Retaining the distinctive Eichler look can be a bit of a challenge. Homeowners who have walked the fine line suggest using the carport as inspiration. Mimicking the glass inserts, for instance, can give a sophisticated appearance. You may choose a cedar fence with bamboo posts for a rustic look. • Replace old siding: Repainting or staining worn out siding is just a temporary solution. The three most common types of Eichler style siding are available at eichlersiding.com. The company also offers custom solutions to replicate the specific type your home needs. • Restore exterior lighting fixtures: A light sandblasting can remove the dirt and corrosion from your anodized aluminum fixtures. Powder-coating or re-anodizing will restore them beautifully. You may want to consider adding motion sensors for enhanced security. Keep in mind that if the corrosion is severe, re-anodization might give mixed results. If so, look for contemporary lights that will blend nicely with the Eichler design. • Change the old front door: Finding the right replacement for your front or garage door is challenging. To upgrade the look without taking away from the Eichler charm, architects recommend custom doors. It is also possible to automate your original garage doors with electronic sensors. Except when broken, it is not necessary to replace them. • Aim for an integrated look with your home addition: This is perhaps the hardest part of any Eichler home renovation project. Inappropriate remodels not only look out of place, they will also lower your property value. It is best to hire a professional home remodeling contractor with extensive knowledge of Eichler designs. Eichler Home Remodeling Specialists At Flegel’s Construction Co., we work hard to exceed your expectations of workmanship and service quality. As Eichler home renovation specialists, we create a harmonious blend of past and present. You can count on us to preserve the unique, mid-century architectural features of your home while giving it a modern touch. We are happy to work with your designer/architect to ensure your Eichler home renovation project is a success. These testimonials from our happy clients in Silicon Valley including Palo Alto, Los Altos, San Jose, Cupertino, Mountain View, CA, speak for our quality. Call 408-269-1101 or contact us online to learn more about how to maintain or upgrade your Eichler home.

Should You Just Maintain or Upgrade Your Eichler Home?

Not Sure If You Should Maintain or Upgrade Your Eichler Home?

Retain the Original Vision with Expert Home Remodeling

 Maintain or Upgrade Your Eichler Home

As an Eichler homeowner, you may be skeptical about renovations because you are anxious to preserve the original look of your home. A deteriorating façade can, however, increase your maintenance expenses every year. With rising home prices and the growing trend towards generational living, you may want to increase the existing interior space. Perhaps you dream of a modern kitchen and luxurious bathroom—two remodeling projects that provide greater comfort and significant returns on your investment. If you are trying to decide whether to maintain or upgrade your Eichler home, here is a quick overview of important dos and don’ts outlined in an eichlernetwork.com article.

Eichler Home Maintenance and Renovation Guidelines

  • Replace old fencing: A rotting and sinking fence is unattractive and unsafe. Retaining the distinctive Eichler look can be a bit of a challenge. Homeowners who have walked the fine line suggest using the carport as inspiration. Mimicking the glass inserts, for instance, can give a sophisticated appearance. You may choose a cedar fence with bamboo posts for a rustic look.
  • Replace old siding: Repainting or staining worn out siding is just a temporary solution. The three most common types of Eichler style siding are available at eichlersiding.com. The company also offers custom solutions to replicate the specific type your home needs.
  • Restore exterior lighting fixtures: A light sandblasting can remove the dirt and corrosion from your anodized aluminum fixtures. Powder-coating or re-anodizing will restore them beautifully. You may want to consider adding motion sensors for enhanced security. Keep in mind that if the corrosion is severe, re-anodization might give mixed results. If so, look for contemporary lights that will blend nicely with the Eichler design.
  • Change the old front door: Finding the right replacement for your front or garage door is challenging. To upgrade the look without taking away from the Eichler charm, architects recommend custom doors. It is also possible to automate your original garage doors with electronic sensors. Except when broken, it is not necessary to replace them.
  • Aim for an integrated look with your home addition: This is perhaps the hardest part of any Eichler home renovation project. Inappropriate remodels not only look out of place, they will also lower your property value. It is best to hire a professional home remodeling contractor with extensive knowledge of Eichler designs.

Eichler Home Remodeling Specialists

At Flegel’s Construction Co., we work hard to exceed your expectations of workmanship and service quality. As Eichler home renovation specialists, we create a harmonious blend of past and present. You can count on us to preserve the unique, mid-century architectural features of your home while giving it a modern touch. We are happy to work with your designer/architect to ensure your Eichler home renovation project is a success.

These testimonials from our happy clients in Silicon Valley including Palo Alto, Los Altos, San Jose, Cupertino, Mountain View, CA, speak for our quality. 

Call 408-269-1101 or contact us online to learn more about how to maintain or upgrade your Eichler home.

 

custom home builder

Tips for Selecting a Custom Home Builder

custom home builderOne of the most critical decisions you will make about your custom home is selecting the right builder for the job. Compare the services offered by different companies to be clear about what you are paying for, what to expect, and how the process works. The design and construction project can be complex, and you want it done within your budget, and on time. The ideal building partner understands your needs, helping you confidently navigate the process to ultimately deliver your dream space. Here are some key considerations when selecting a custom homebuilder.

  • Credentials: Look for depth of experience, check licenses and ask about professional affiliations. Seasoned professionals have a reputation to protect and are more likely to execute the project according to plan.
  • Quality: This is your dream home and you may live here for many years. You don’t want to deal with the inconvenience of frequent breakdowns and ongoing repair expenses. Examine the track record of your shortlisted builders and ask about the type of construction materials they will use. An investment in quality today will offer years of comfortable living, and fetch top dollar if you decide to sell.
  • Customer service: Building a custom home requires a significant investment of time and money. Choose a team that takes the time to listen to your needs, answers questions, and provides information to help you make informed decisions. This will give you an indication of the type of customer service you can expect.
  • Communication: Established home builders in Silicon Valley know that transparent, clear and ongoing communication is vital to timely project completion and customer satisfaction. They will use a variety of methods including in-person meetings, phone and online communications to provide updates and answer queries.
  • References: Ask for references from previous clients and be sure to check them out. We recommend going to construction sites (if possible) and homes they have built. Take a close look at their work and material quality. Speak to crewmembers, if you get the chance, to assess whether you will be comfortable working with them.
  • Take your time: Carefully evaluate all the information you have from potential builders. Trust your instincts and avoid contractors that try to rush your decision with high pressure sales tactics.

Custom Home Builder Offering Personalized Service

At Flegel’s Construction Co., we treat your building project like our own. Your custom home will receive the personal attention of our owner, Scott. Pre-build discussions, weekly site meetings, easy accessibility and constant communication will keep you informed at every stage. With quality materials and skilled workmanship, our services will exceed your expectations. Our crew focuses on the little things that you might not even notice! We look forward to the opportunity to make your dream home a reality.

We value our happy customers in Palo Alto, Los Altos, San Jose, Cupertino and Mountain View, CA who continue to refer us to their family members and friends. 

Call 408-269-1101 or contact us online to inquire about our custom home builder services in the Silicon Valley area.

Trends in Bay Area Home Renovation

Trends in Bay Area Home Renovation

Quality Workmanship by Home Renovation Contractors

Upgrading Your Bay Area Property to Match the Latest Trends

Trends in Bay Area Home RenovationEven as Bay Area real estate prices continue to climb, homeowners are spending more on upgrading their properties. There are many reasons for this surge in home improvement expenditure. Many families are expanding their existing living space to make room for their next generation Millennials. Some may seek a more luxurious lifestyle, while others may be preparing for a sale. If a home upgrade is in the cards for you, it may help to be aware of these 5 important trends highlighted by trusted home renovation contractors.

  1. Outdoor rooms for entertainment: Are you looking to expand your living or entertainment space? An outdoor living room is an easy, stylish way to increase your square footage, especially if you have a yard with empty or unused space. You can also explore trendy patio and deck design ideas.
  2. Family space and privacy: As your family grows and matures, your needs will change. Teenagers may want a space to hang out with their friends. A newborn baby will need a nursery. An aging senior may require a bedroom on the main floor to avoid stairs. When planning your home expansion, think about the activities various family members will engage in and implement a design that works best for everyone. High quality home renovations will add to your home’s aesthetic appeal and market value.
  3. Bring in more natural light: A brighter home is more inviting. Not only does natural light benefit your health, it can improve your home’s sustainability by lessening your need for artificial light. Some popular trends include glass extensions and replacing outer kitchen walls with glass and metal doors. You can open up your view of the outdoors and enjoy the California sunshine. Increase the size of your windows and install skylights in your family room, bedroom, or dining area to flood your home with natural light. Discover unique designs for outdoor rooms, skillfully implemented by our talented team.
  4. Think solar: Many homes are going solar and it makes perfect money sense. Solar energy can be very cost-effective for your home budget. You may be able to reduce your electricity bills by up to 80%. Tax rebates can help offset your installation costs.
  5. Install low water use landscapes: Given California’s history of drought, many homeowners are opting for low water use gardens to maintain curb appeal all year round. Explore the abundant beauty of native plants that require little or no irrigation. The key to a beautiful garden is not only the plants you select, but also how you put them together. Colorful cactus, silvery foliage, wildflowers, ornamental grasses, and more can contribute to a stunning, water-efficient and easy to maintain landscape.

Why Choose Our Home Renovation Company

At Flegel’s Construction Co., we consider renovating your home a privilege. We work closely with you to understand your goals and provide quality touches that make your property stand out.

As Eichler home renovation specialists, we have the expertise to preserve its unique, mid-century architectural features and give your home a modern touch. We are happy to work with your designer/architect on your Eichler home renovation.

With over 30 years’ experience as a home remodeling contractor, we have a track record of exceeding customer expectations. These testimonials from our happy clients in Palo Alto, Sunnyvale, Menlo Park and San Mateo, CA speak for our exceptional work and service quality.

Call 408-269-1101 or contact us online to learn about the services offered by our home renovation contractors in the Bay Area.

 

How to Clean Windows Like a Pro

 

STEP TWO // How to Clean Windows Like a Pro

Wipe clean with a squeegee (Picture Window)

man wiping soapy window pane with a squeegee
PHOTO BY KENNETH CHEN

Starting at the top left, pull the squeegee over the soapy pane in a reverse-S pattern (left-handers would start at the top right). At the end of each stroke, wipe the squeegee’s blade clean with a lint-free rag. Cloth diapers or old linen napkins are perfect for this task.

Dry off remaining drips (Picture Window)

man wiping away excess water on windowpane edges with a chamois
PHOTO BY KENNETH CHEN

Remove any water remaining on the edges of the glass with a damp, wrung-dry chamois, which soaks up wetness without leaving streaks. Dry the windowsill with a rag.

STEP FOUR // How to Clean Windows Like a Pro

Customize the squeegee (Multipane)

using a hacksaw to trim a squeegee to fit a specific windowpane
PHOTO BY KENNETH CHEN

To clean a divided-light window, you need a squeegee that fits the panes. Weingard uses a hacksaw to cut one to size. He trims the metal channel ¼ inch narrower than the window pane, then files the cut edges smooth. With a utility knife, he cuts the rubber blade to the pane’s full width and fits it into the channel so that it projects 1/8 inch at each end.

STEP FIVE // How to Clean Windows Like a Pro

Scrub the panes (Multipane)

man using a natural sponge to clean smaller panes of glass
PHOTO BY KENNETH CHEN

(Multipane)

A handheld sponge or hog-bristle brush works best on multipane windows. Weingard prefers natural sponges. “They’re firmer and more absorbent than synthetics,” he says. Using the same solution of a
squirt of liquid soap in water, he rubs each pane from left to right, top to bottom, working the sponge edges or brush bristles into the corners to loosen dirt.

STEP SIX // How to Clean Windows Like a Pro

Wipe clean with a squeegee (Multipane)

man using a customized squeegee to wipe soapy water from smaller panes of glass
PHOTO BY KENNETH CHEN

Pull the squeegee down each pane in a single stroke from top to bottom. After each stroke, clean the blade with a rag so it doesn’t leave streaks. (If the squeegee squeaks a lot, add a bit more soap to the water.) As above, remove any streaks on the glass with a chamois, and dry the muntins and sill with a rag.

STEP SEVEN // How to Clean Windows Like a Pro

Get rid of stubborn spots

mineral-stained glass windowpane on the left to compare with supercleaned pane on the right
PHOTO BY KENNETH CHEN

Over time, hard-water runoff from masonry or rain falling through metal window screens leaves stubborn mineral stains on glass that normal washing can’t erase. So after a regular cleaning, Weingard wets the glass and gently “supercleans” it either with fine 000 steel wool (if the panes are small) or with Barkeeper’s Friend, which contains oxalic acid. (Other brands of powder may scratch the glass or fail to remove stains.) He mixes the powder into a paste on a wet towel, rubs away the stains, then rinses and squeegees the glass twice to remove the residue. Even with that treatment, the staining generally comes back in about six months.

To get rid of stains for good, Weingard recommends the application of 3 Star Barrier Glass Surface Protectant, a clear polymer coating. “After the stains are gone, you just put the coating on with a strip applicator and squeegee it off,” he says. Protection against staining is permanent, as long as the polymer is reapplied after each regular cleaning.

Originally posted at: https://www.thisoldhouse.com/how-to/how-to-clean-windows-pro

How to Choose Dining Room Chairs

While many dining room tables come with matching chairs these days, there are still occasions that might have you searching for a separate set. Maybe you inherited a family heirloom table or stumbled across the perfect fit for your breakfast nook in an antique shop. Maybe you just don’t love the chairs that came with your table or you’re looking to refresh the space with new seating. Whatever the reason, you’ve got lots of options which is why we threw together this guide to find the right dining chairs and create a cohesive look that you love.

how-to-choose-dining-room-chairs-1
Image from www.Potterybarn.com

First things first, keep in mind that your chairs don’t have to match your table. They don’t even have to match each other as long as each one sits comfortably under your dining table. If you do choose mismatched chairs, it’s important to make sure the one thing they have in common is that they’re the same height so that you and your fellow diners aren’t looking up or down at each other.

Regardless, preparation is key. Start by measuring your table to get a good idea of what size your chairs should be. You don’t want to fall in love with a set, only to have the chairs arrive at your home and realize they don’t fit at your table together.

Next, consider how many chairs your table needs to accommodate and whether your table extends, as well as if you plan to keep it extended with a leaf at all times. Think about how many people you plan to feed on a regular or semi-regular basis. Most long rectangular or oval-shaped tables seat six, eight or ten people, while most square or round tables seat four, six or eight diners.

No matter the shape, most tables are around 30″ high, and most chairs will have 17″ to 19″ of space between their seats and your floor. You want at least a foot of space between the top of the table and the chair seat, and you also want your guests to have at least 24″ of space to themselves, which includes the width of the chair and about 6″ on either side for elbow room so keep this in mind especially if you’re gravitating towards chairs with armrests.

Once you have an idea of the size of the chairs you need, it’s time to decide on a style. Pottery Barn offers a variety of dining room chairs, so browse some examples to determine what might look good in your home. You can choose between open and solid backs, upholstered chairs or chairs made from solid, easy-to-clean materials, such as wood, acrylic, wicker or metal. Keep in mind the size and decor of your dining room when making a selection; you might not want to put a rustic wooden chair in a sleek, contemporary-style room if your home is very modern, but in a more eclectic house that juxtaposition might be exactly what you’re going for.

If you choose upholstered chairs, you have plenty of options. Leather lasts a long time and wears well with age if properly cared for. Cotton and microsuede fabrics come in a wide range of colors and patterns and clean easily in the event of a spill. If you have young children dining with you regularly, that may be important. Also, consider chairs with removable cushions so that you can clean them, replace them if they become damaged or switch them out with the seasons.

Don’t forget about comfort. While chairs with armrests may take up more space, they may be more comfortable in your space. You also want to keep the chairs light so that diners can easily push them in or pull them out from under the table. Cushioned or upholstered backs and seats can also add to your diners’ comfort level.

Originally posted at: https://www.potterybarn.com/tips-and-ideas/how-to-choose-dining-room-chairs/

How to Clean Rain Gutters

Clean gutters to protect your siding and landscape plantings, and prevent thousands of dollars of damage to your foundation.

In a downpour, a clogged roof gutter sends a cascade of water down the side of your house, making canyons of your flowerbeds and saturating your foundation.

Clean gutters of leaves and debris to help prevent damage to your landscaping and siding, and to head off expensive water damage repairs to your foundation that may cost $10,000 or more.

How Often Should You Clean Gutters?

Clean gutters at least once a year — twice a year if you have overhanging trees. Also, clean clogged gutters after big storms. Clogs often occur where downspouts join the gutter system — check these areas closely.

How to Clean Gutters

  • Wear a shirt with long sleeves. Wear rubber gloves.
  • Have a good extendable ladder available. Standoff stabilizers (ladder “horns”) are ideal to keep the ladder from damaging the gutter.
  • Use a small plastic scoop to remove gunk. Buy a gutter scoop from the hardware store ($25) or try a child’s sand shovel.
  • Spare your lawn by dumping the stuff onto a plastic tarp.
  1. After you’ve cleared the muck, flush the gutters and downspouts with a garden hose — also a great way to spot any leaks.

How Much Does it Cost to Pay Someone to Clean Gutters?

If climbing ladders is not your cup of tea, you can hire someone to do the job for you for $50-$250, depending on the size and height of your house.

Should You Try Gutter Covers?

Interested in an ounce of prevention? You can slow clogging by installing gutter covers in the form of mesh screens, clip-on grates, or porous foam. However, the cost can be more than the gutters themselves, and covers need regular maintenance to keep them clear. Expect to pay $6-$8/running foot for gutter covers, installed.

 

Originally posted at: https://www.houselogic.com/organize-maintain/home-maintenance-tips/how-to-clean-rain-gutters/

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