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Encino, Sherman Oaks & hood living

News and events in Valley+Los Angeles. Housing. Style. Encino & Beyond

By Inna Ivchenko | Agent in Encino, CA
  • 5 Deck Makeover Projects Under $300

    Posted Under: Remodel & Renovate in Lake Balboa, Design & Decor in Lake Balboa, Home Ownership in Lake Balboa  |  June 6, 2013 6:56 PM  |  1,190 views  |  No comments

    5 Deck Makeover Projects Under $300

    Want to upgrade your deck but watching your budget? Here are 5 easy deck makeover ideas, many well under $300.

    You won’t have to plug them in or wire anything, either. Their solar-charged batteries are renewed every day, and the lights are built to withstand all kinds of weather.

    Types and cost:

    • Paper lanterns (made from synthetic, weatherproof nylon; $20-$30) are made for hanging and come in all sorts of fun shapes, sizes, and colors.
    • Carriage lights can be fixed on top of a pillar or railing newel post. $45-$150.
    • Solar illuminated replicas of old-fashioned mason jars can be set on any flat surface, about $35.
    • Rope lights have small LED bulbs inside a flexible cord. A 25-foot-long rope with solar charger and stand is $25.

    What else:

    Suspend lanterns from overhead trellises, railings, and nearby trees, where they’ll shed a soft, colorful glow. Wind rope lights around rafters and railings.

    2. Install a stone landing at the foot of your deck stairs
    3. Put up a privacy screen

    4. Paint a faux floor rug on your decking
    5. Wash and refinish your wood decking

    2. Install a stone landing at the foot of your deck stairs

    Dress up the transition from your deck to your yard with a little hardscaping -- a stone landing at the bottom of your deck stairs. Stones are a natural compliment to wood decks, and they’ll help prevent mud from forming where there’s heavy foot traffic.

    Cost: Flagstone is priced by the pound; you’ll spend $60-$100 for enough stone for a 3-by-4-foot landing.

    How-to: Techniques for installing a landing are the same as putting in a patio, although you’ll have to temporarily support your existing stairway while you work around — and under — it.

    What else: You should be able to add a landing in less than a day. It’ll get done faster if you hire a pro, but it’ll cost you another $150-$200 in labor.

    3. Put up a privacy screen

    Whether you’re relaxing alone au naturel or entertaining friends, a little home privacy is always welcome. You can add some vertical supports and fill in a variety of cool screening materials that are as nice for your neighbors to look at as they are for you.

    Types and costs:

    • Bamboo fencing comes in a 6-by-16-foot roll for $20-$25.
    • Lattice panels are either wood or plastic, $15-$30 for a 4-by-8-foot panel.
    • Grow climbing plants on a trellis ($20-$100) to create a living privacy screen. Plant climbing vines in tall containers ($40-$120) to raise them above the deck surface and give them a head start filling in your screen.
    • Outdoor fabric resists moisture and fading; $12-$120 per yard. You’ll pay another $20 to have a seamstress cut and hem a 3-by-5-foot panel.

    How-to: Your privacy screen should integrate with your deck; make the framework using the same basic materials as your deck railing and structure.

    Add some flash by building a frame with 2-by-2- or 2-by-4-inch uprights spaced 1 foot apart, then weaving aluminum flashing between the uprights.

    What else: Make sure to position your privacy screen where you’ll get maximum benefit. Sit on your deck and check your lines of sight.

    4. Paint a faux floor rug on your decking

    Punch up a boring old deck with a faux rug. This is a fairly low-cost project with a big wow factor, and one you can share making with your (well-behaved) kids. It works best on a newly cleaned deck (see below.)

    Cost: Most of your cost will be deck stain or paint in various colors. Because you won’t be using that much stain per color, you can buy quarts. Figure $15-$20 per quart.
    How-to: Figure out a size, sketch out the design on your decking, and then all you have to do is paint or stain between the lines. You can use painter’s tape as a guide, but a little leakage is likely on a wood decking surface.

    What else: Keep a few basic cleaning supplies on hand for any drips or spills. After the stain is dry, coat the entire deck with a clear deck sealer.

    5. Wash and refinish your wood decking

    The ultimate deck makeover is none other than a good cleaning. Applying a coat of deck sealant afterwards ensures your wood decking looks great and will last for decades.

    Cost: There are many brands of deck cleaning and brightening solutions. Some require the deck to be wet; others need the decking to be dry. Some are harmful to plants and you’ll have to use plastic sheeting to protect your landscaping. Consult the instructions carefully.

    You’ll pay $15-$25 per gallon, enough to clean 300 sq. ft. of decking.

    How-to: Scrubbing with a good cleaning solution and rinsing with a garden hose is more foolproof than scouring your decking with a power washer that may damage the surface of the wood.

    What else: After you deck is cleaned, apply a coat of deck stain or clear finish. The sealer wards off dirt, wear, and UV rays, and helps prevent deck splinters. A gallon covers 250-350 sq. ft., $20-$35/gal.

    Brought to you by houselogic.com/articles

    Whether you're looking for Valley or Los Angeles home with a beautiful deck  or not, and would like an experienced honest real estate agent to assist you, look no further!

    Call us know: 310 867 0698, we'll find a beautiful home for you and help to negotiate all terms of the purchase!


    Living in a HIGHLY SOUGHT-AFTER BUILDING of West Hollywood!

    848 N Kings Rd #305 West Hollywood, CA 90069

    MLS# 13-655211


      848 n kings rd. #305 West Hollywood

    Motivated Seller!


    848 n kings rd. #305 West Hollywood

    848 n kings rd. #305 West Hollywood

    848 n kings rd. #305 West Hollywood

    Spacious 2-Bed 2-Bath condo with an over-sized balcony in West Hollywood!
    Top floor clean unit.
    Open Floor plan.
    Central conditioner.
    Open floor plan.
    Large Master BA.
    Wet bar.
    Two side by side secure parking spaces.
    Extra storage.
    ~~HOA dues includes earthquake insurance & basic cable.

    848 n kings rd. #305 West Hollywood

    848 n kings rd. #305 West Hollywood

    848 n kings rd. #305 West Hollywood

    If you would like to purchase a property in Los Angeles or Valley area, call me today.
    I will work hard to assist you with the most important purchase of your life. Put my experience to your benefit. Call me today to get started on your home buying search!
    /Click the link below to search for a properties/

    If you desided it is time for you to sell your house, call me now!
    I'll look out for your best interests, give you my professional opinion, and skillfully negotiate the top price for your house and  the whole transaction for you. With my expertise, knowledge, research and my team of dedicated professionals, your home is as good as sold.

  • Energy and Money Saving Tips ( cont.)

    Posted Under: Remodel & Renovate in California, Going Green in California, How To... in California  |  January 2, 2013 12:52 PM  |  916 views  |  No comments

    Did you know that the typical U.S. family spends more than $1,600 a year on home utility bills? Unfortunately, a large portion of that energy is wasted. And electricity generated by fossil fuels for a single home puts more carbon dioxide into the air than two average cars.

    As long as you’re remodeling, why not cut your utility bill and make your home a bit healthier?

    ( cont. of Energy and Money Saving Tips 1)

    Carl Seville, author of Green Building: Principles and Practices in Residential Construction, shared some simple, inexpensive ways to make remodels and additions more energy efficient from the standpoint of energy usage and conservation of resources.

    Try these eight tips from Seville:

    1. Check for water intrusion, condensation, and excess moisture before you begin the project. Fixing those issues during remodeling can improve your home’s indoor air quality (excess moisture encourages mold).

    2. Use the least amount of framing allowed by your building code when adding walls. Not only will you have to pay for less lumber and fewer nails, the contractor will have more room to put insulation in your walls, making your home more energy efficient.

    3. Resist the urge to splurge on multiple shower heads. Opt for a single low-flow shower head rather than installing a car wash-style plethora of shower heads.

    4. If possible, add new HVAC ducts to parts of your home that are heated and cooled, rather than placing them in a space with unconditioned air (like the attic). If that’s not possible, insulate the ducts. Have an HVAC diagnostician analyze your system to make sure it’s sized correctly and balanced to properly exchange old and new air.

    5. Be sure to insulate around recessed lights that protrude into un-insulated attic spaces — these are major sources of air leaks.

    6. If you’re wasting water, you’re wasting energy. Look at high-efficiency or solar water heaters, and insulate your water pipes. If you want hot water faster, move the water heater closer to the faucet or install demand pumps to drive hot water to the fixture.

    7. Install wall-mounted efficiency toggle switch plates for the outlets where you plug in your televisions and computers to make it easy to cut off the power to electronics you’re not using.

    8. A humidistat that automatically turns on the bathroom fan when moisture rises beats depending on teenagers or tenants remembering to use the fan. Reducing bathroom moisture reduces the chances you’ll have mold.

    What are your tips for smart energy savings during a remodel?

    What do YOU do to stop living in a 'typical house' and save your money?:

    Find out how much you might 'typically'' pay for:

    Start making small changes today.

    Call/text or email me Today for all your real estate needs!

    Yours truly,

    Inna Ivchenko

    GRI, PSC, CHS #01828994
    Leal Real Estate Group, Inc.
    310 867 0698

    The best compliment you can offer is a referral!

  • Avoid money sucking, gut wrenching DIY nightmares... and increase your homes value at the same time tips, #3

    Posted Under: Remodel & Renovate in Los Angeles, How To... in Los Angeles  |  April 7, 2012 12:00 AM  |  752 views  |  No comments

    Avoid money sucking, gut wrenching DIY nightmares... and increase your homes value at the same time tips, #3.

    Do it yourself

    There are more tips and thoughts about DIY/ cont./

    7. Know your limitations.

     “Everyone is not good at everything”.  

    Me?  I'm an expert on space.  I can tell you exactly if a couch is going to fit in a room.  I'm brilliant at color and form and instinctively I I can see what a room could be...  all its potential.   But give me a hammer and I fall to pieces.  I can’t drive a nail into a piece of wood to save my live...   sad... but true.   I know it's tempting to think we can do everything ourselves.   But if you want to sell your house, it's a good idea to keep your eye on the prize.  The "prize" is selling.

    8. On the Job Training

     If you want to attempt a home fix upgrade or repair, and you have no experience, how about offering your help to a friend, with experience, who is doing a similar repair?  You’ll get great knowledge and probably a free lunch to boot.   Not a bad deal at the end of the day....

    9. Hire a Professionaldo it yourself, Inna Ivchenko blog


     ''But I’m trying save money and do the work myself.  Why would I hire a professional?  Are you crazy lady? ''

    You can still do the work yourself, but hire a professional as a consultant.  They can give you great advice on how to avoid money sucking pitfalls.  Obviously they won’t guarantee your work but they can set you on the right path and go a long ways to piece of mind.  Also they  are a great safety net in the off chance that kids, pets, spouses,  life….  Pull you away from the project.  You’ll have a professional ready to step in and complete the job.  Remember if  your wanting to sell your house, time is money…

    Thanks for reading!

    Looking forward for your thoughts and comments!

    If you need any local vendor~let me know~ I'd be happy to help and  provide you with the names of local professionals with great recommendations!

    Inna Ivchenko

    John Aaroe Group

    Los Angeles/Valley Realtor, PSC, GRI. Specialization: Short Sales. # 01828994

    Notary Public

    (310) 867-0698

    (818) 232-7747

  • Avoid money sucking, gut wrenching DIY nightmares... and increase your homes value at the same time tips, #2.

    Posted Under: Remodel & Renovate in Los Angeles, How To... in Los Angeles  |  April 6, 2012 11:53 PM  |  751 views  |  No comments

    Avoid money sucking, gut wrenching DIY nightmares... and increase your homes value at the same time tips, #2.

    Do it yourself

    do it yourself, Inna Ivchenko blogThere are more tips and thoughts about DIY/ cont./

    4. Materials


    Don't buy cheap materials.   Penny wise pound foolish is a bad thing when you’re trying to sell your home.  If your redoing a floor...  1/2" ply may be cheaper than 3/4 but it’s not as sturdy and it will cost you more in the long run. 

    I had a client opt for cheaper 1/2 inch ply on a redo of a hard wood floor...  the finished floor was beautiful , that is until you stepped on it and the squeak, squeak, squeak, sounded like a herd of mice was partying underneath the floor...  We got the offer....  contingent upon my clients brand new floor...  being replaced.   Need I say more?

     do it yourself, Inna Ivchenko blog


    5.  Take your time and be precise


    Do what the pros do...  Take your time.  (And they get paid by the hour)  "Measure twice and cut once"  that’s the mantra of my favorite General Contractor.   And if you think you might make a mistake, err on the long side.  You can always make a piece of drywall shorter; it's real tough to make it longer. 

    Mistakes cost time and money, your time and your money.

    6. Safety

    Use proper safety equipment - and by that I mean industrial strength safety equipment not ray bans and playtex.  Wear Heavy Gloves if you’re carrying metal, wood or rock.  Wear a hard hat if you’re cutting trees or building scaffolding. Use a sealing tool pouch for nails. 

    Remember you pets don’t know the difference between a new toy or a sharp staple or nail.  

    Use a good respirator and make sure you take constant breaks if you’re working with any kind of chemical at all.  And most important, wear safety goggles at all times.

    How do i know?~ I do! Years in Real Estate, Ukrainian Dad who was fixing all by himself( of course, i was helping!) and a life of a single mom, when I do try occasionally DIY!:)( less and less though recently)

    /to be continued/

    Thanks so much for your comments on my  blogs about DIY 1-2-3!

    Can't wait to read  your thoughts and stories!

    If you need any help or advice, let me know, I work with the best vendors in town. You'll like the quality and prices!

    Inna Ivchenko

    John Aaroe Group

    Los Angeles/Valley Realtor, PSC, GRI. Specialization: Short Sales. # 01828994

    Notary Public

    (310) 867-0698

    (818) 232-7747

  • Avoid money sucking, gut wrenching DIY nightmares... and increase your homes value at the same time

    Posted Under: Remodel & Renovate in Los Angeles, Property Q&A in Los Angeles  |  April 6, 2012 11:49 PM  |  585 views  |  No comments

    Avoid money sucking, gut wrenching DIY nightmares... and increase your homes value  at the same time tips, #1.

    Do it yourself

    Avoid money sucking, gut wrenching DIY nightmares... and increase your homes value at the same time tips.

    To DIY or not to DIY, that is the question.... I have many owners wondering if they should take the plunge and do the work themselves, or bite the bullet and pay for a professional. 

    Do it yourself


    Obviously every situation is different, but over the years, I’ve seen some clients make some "doozeys"   so here;s my guide to the top DIY mistakes and how you can avoid them.

    1. Time

    Ask yourself, "Do I have the time to do the project?"  Be realistic, Job, home, kids...  all are big drains on your time and they are not going away because of a home project.  You want to get your home to the market as quick as possible but a half-finished driveway, partially attached siding, or unfinished trim can turn buyers away faster than garlic to a vampire.

    busy homeowner

    2.  Permits

    The mantra of real estate is "Location, location, location..."  But if you;re going to fix up your house to sell in today’s market you should also be thinking..."Permits, Permits, Permits".  

    Yes I know its paperwork.  

    Yes I know it takes time.  

    Yes I know it;s a hassle.   But the reality is, if your home doesn;t have the proper permits it can be near impossible to sell.  You want to get the most money possible from your house, and you know potential buyers want to pay as little as possible. 

     An un permitted repair starts an immediate negotiation....  and not in your favor.

    3.  Space

    Make sure you have the space to put all your construction materials.  I had one client that elected to become their own contractor and redo the driveway....  It was a great idea until the trucks showed up with all the raw materials and the owner realized there was no place to put the rocks and asphalt.....

    “If you want anything done well, do it yourself. This is why most people laugh at their own jokes.”

     Bob Edwards 

    Stay turned for more tips or/and share your own!



    Inna Ivchenko

    John Aaroe Group

    Los Angeles/Valley Realtor, PSC, GRI. Specialization: Short Sales. # 01828994

    Notary Public

    (310) 867-0698

    (818) 232-7747

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