Home Improvement

Quarantine Fatigue Gets Grilled

The numbers behind outdoor cooking Eager for a change of pace during the pandemic, many consumers made outdoor cooking their go-to activity, extending the art form beyond traditional grilling, or even the traditional grilling season. Consumers spent more than $4.9 billion on grills, smokers, camping stoves, accessories and fuel in 2020, according to new Enhanced Retail Tracking Service information on the home improvement industry from The NPD Group, which blends retailer point-of-sale data with insight from NPD’s receipt-based checkout information and additional data assets combined with advanced modeling. “The need to cook more meals at home, combined with the desire to experiment with new ways to create those meals, helped fuel growth for almost all types of grills,” said Joe Derochowski...

Hardware for the Handy: What DIY dreams are made of

Some of us realized during the stay-at-home lockdowns the real reason why we can’t croon any DIY home improvement theme songs or figure out which end is up on a hammer. It’s not because we’re too busy volunteering for charities or trapped at the office or marching for world peace. It’s because WE LOATHE, and want nothing to do with, DIY home improvement projects. But for others, sheltering-in-place during the pandemic was heavenly, and hardware stores, household reuse/recovery warehouses and tool-lending libraries were meccas. Haunting the aisles or communicating online, handypersons waxed euphoric over hammers, nails, electric drills, hot glue guns, air compressors, light fixtures, paint, doors, windows, lumber, toilets, sinks, fencing and oodles more. Project-minded people exchanged tips...

Design for Living

An interview with Brook Bradbury of Lincoln Park Design During a phone call to arrange this interview, Lincoln Park Design’s Jennifer Walker and Brook Bradbury are quick to remind that their firm’s name is spelled like the 16th president, not the alt-rock band. This naturally elicits a laugh since it’s difficult to imagine the winners of the East Bay Express’s Best of the East Bay 2021 for Best Interior Designer could ever be confused with an early-aught’s avatar of nu metal, yet it does say something about the duo’s fastidious attention to detail. In a word, their vision is fractal, which is to say it appears the same at different scales—consistently inspired and frequently genius. What follows is a deep-dive into Lincoln Park Design’s creative process as described by partner Brook Bradbu...

Chef Talk

Dominica Rice-Cisneros’ Bombera and Anthony Salguero’s Popoca While many home cooks began pandemic obsessions with sourdough starters or experimented with varieties of banana bread, two East Bay chefs launched new ventures. After 10 delicious years, Dominica Rice-Cisneros closed Cosecha in Swan’s Market. The Old Oakland market hall accommodated packed crowds, who ate alongside each other on community tables. Covid-19 altered that public way of eating, forcing chefs like Rice-Cisneros to sell to-go meals. Cosecha, she says, began taking on water financially. More and more money went to vendors, which left her with diminishing profits and savings. Additionally, the restaurant’s refrigeration system broke down, as did the 20-year-old, roof-mounted compressor. Rice-Cisneros quickly under...

Permanence

The East Bay Permanent Real Estate Cooperative East Bay Permanent Real Estate Cooperative Director Noni Session is rarely asked to describe her dream landscape for Oakland and the broader Bay Area. Having demonstrated housing crisis foresight by founding, and in 2018 launching, the community-centered development cooperative known as EB PREC that permanently removes land and housing from the speculative real estate market to establish affordable, community-controlled co-op housing and mixed-use projects, the assumption is of a pinnacle reached, a vision fulfilled. EB PREC began with the ability, under California law ABA 16, to sell limited, five-year term shares invested in equity housing cooperatives and community land trust projects. Sold to non-accredited individuals with a projected 1.5...

Haute Decor on a Dime

Tips for budget interior decorating I’d just finished introducing a coworker to the pleasure of dancing in formal dress at one of the Gaskell’s Balls held at the Scottish Rites Temple on Lake Merritt. At the stroke of midnight we walked back to her Deco-era apartment building with only the most platonic of intentions. She was cute as a bug’s ear, as my grandpa would say, but we were certainly not compatible. For starters, there was the matter of home decor. At that time I was an advocate of late Victorian clutter, while she was an arch minimalist. As she turned the key and welcomed me inside, I immediately thought of Gertrude Stein’s celebrated quip in reference to the city of Oakland: “There’s no there there.” She was known around the office for being—how shall we put it?—a little high st...

Renovation Revelations

  How much does it cost to renovate a house in the Bay Area? It seems the inner monologue of a lot of locals might sound like the Clash’s “Should I Stay or Should I Go?” on repeat. Is the Bay Area, which is a notoriously expensive place to live, worth staying in? If you own a home, the answer is a resounding “Yes!”—particularly if you have plans to remodel it. Every dollar put into your home can yield many more dollars out as the housing market continues its inevitable climb. Most renovations will theoretically add value and increase your home’s equity. According to ComeHome, an online home valuation tool, remodeling a bathroom increases the value of the home by 12% and a kitchen redo increases the value of the home by 19%. And the investments don’t need to be mortgage-worthy endeavor...