Portal:Home improvement

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The Home improvement Portal


Home improvement is the process of renovating or making additions to one's home. Often, a professional handyman is hired to perform the improvements but, typically, most improvements are done on an amateur DIY basis by the homeowner.

A homeowner can hire a general contractor to oversee a home improvement project that involves multiple trades. A general contractor acts as project manager, providing access to the site, removing debris, coordinating work schedules, and performing some aspects of the work. Sometimes homeowners bypass the general contractor, and hire tradesmen themselves, including plumbers, electricians and roofers. Another strategy is to "do it yourself" (DIY). Several major retailers, such as Home Depot and Lowe's, specialize in selling materials and tools for DIY home improvement. These stores even host classes to educate customers how to do the work themselves.

Bob Vila is a well-known author and television host in the home improvement field. Also, the sitcom Home Improvement uses the home improvement theme for comedic purposes.

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Coloured glassbrick.jpg

Glass brick, or glass block, is often used as an architectural element in underground parking garages, washrooms, municipal swimming baths, and other areas where privacy or visual obscuration is desired, while admitting light. Glass brick is often used to create visual privacy barriers that allow light to pass, unrestricted, but distorts visual coherent light to such a degree as to provide reasonable privacy. Additionally, glass brick provides light without compromising security. A typical size of glass brick is 8 by 8 inches, such that it falls within the lattice of standard 8 by 16 inch cinderblock walls. In terms of ease of decontamination, glass brick is as good as ceramic tile, so it is ideal for washdown/decon areas, as well as for wet areas such as changerooms, washrooms, and municipal swimming baths.

The latest trend in public washrooms is to have all the fixtures outside the room, located in backworld service entrances behind the walls. Some washrooms have glassbrick windows that run all the way around the washroom, to create an illusion light from all directions.


Lou Henry Hoover House from NW.jpg

The Lou Henry and Herbert Hoover House, located on the campus of Stanford University in Palo Alto, California, USA, is a large, rambling house, resembling "blocks piled up." It was designed by Lou Henry Hoover, wife of Herbert Hoover, 31st President of the United States. After several consultations the Hoovers convinced Arthur B. Clark, a Stanford art professor who practiced freelance architecture during the summer, to be their architect. Clark agreed on the condition that Mrs. Hoover design the house and that Clark would serve in an advisory capacity.

The problem of size was solved by the hillside site with the house disappearing into the slope of San Juan Hill and hence appearing much smaller. The irregularly shaped house was built on a reinforced concrete slab foundation and rises two stories in the front and three stories in the rear. Resembling early International style homes, Mrs. Hoover's designs were modeled after North African Algerian homes. Elements of Mission Revival Style architecture can also be found in its design.

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