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News

Campaign finance reports show lots of loans, few outliers

Campaign finance reports show lots of loans, few outliers


Ellie Van Houtte/ Town Crier
Campaign yard signs are just one expenditure for candidates during election season.

Election finance filings are in, and Los Altos appears to be hosting a few financially lopsided races.

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Schools

Three Los Altos schools earn National Blue Ribbon designation

Three Los Altos schools earn National Blue Ribbon designation


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Bullis Charter School students wear their school spirit clothing to greet their mascot Oct. 3 in celebration of being named a National Blue Ribbon School.

Blach Intermediate, Egan Junior High and Bullis Charter schools ea...

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Community

Sports

Spartans run wild(cat) on Eagles

Spartans run wild(cat) on Eagles


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Mountain View High running back Austin Johnson goes for a big gain after evading Los Altos High defensive tackle Phil Alameda in Friday’s game. Johnson scored two touchdowns for the Spartans.

After unveiling its wildc...

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Comment

Logan, McClatchie, Peruri for LASD board: Editorial

This is a crucial time for the Los Altos School District. Its leadership faces the challenge of balancing enrollment growth versus maintaining the small, neighborhood schools that make it a very popular district to attend. The district must also adap...

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Special Sections

City's minimum-wage hike earns mixed reviews: Raise to $10.30 an hour meets with approval – and concern

City's minimum-wage hike earns mixed reviews: Raise to $10.30 an hour meets with approval – and concern


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Tandava Waldon, left, manager of East West Bookstore on Castro Street in Mountain View, works with a customer. Waldon said the recently approved minimum-wage hike will have little impact on his business. “It’s not such a...

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Business

Delay Social Security? An easy way to decide

One of the most heatedly debated questions regarding Social Security is when to start.

You have the option of initiating benefits as early as age 62 or as late as age 70. The longer you wait, the larger the monthly payment you will receive over your...

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Books

Helping kids catch a few Zs: Local dental hygienist pens meditative bedtime book

Helping kids catch a few Zs: Local dental hygienist pens meditative bedtime book


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Mimi Sommers, who works at a Los Altos dentist’s office, recently wrote a children’s book.

A local dental hygienist recently published a book that aims to ease parents and children during a sometimes anxious e...

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People

SUZANNE MONICA DIMM SPECHT

SUZANNE MONICA DIMM SPECHT

Suzanne Monica Dimm Specht passed Tuesday, Sept. 9th at the age of 84. Sue was born on April 21, 1930 in Portland, Oregon. After graduating from the University of Oregon in with a degree in Music, Sue taught in a little town called Clatskanie, Oreg...

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Travel

Los Altos resident's visit to North Korea proves enlightening

Los Altos resident's visit to North Korea proves enlightening


Courtesy of Sally Brew
North Korea is home to many monuments honoring its “Dear Leaders,” left.

In August, I traveled for 11 days with MIR Corp. to North Korea, a fascinating country that is almost completely cut off from the rest of the world. ...

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Stepping Out

'Trovatore' takes the stage in Palo Alto

'Trovatore' takes the stage in Palo Alto


Courtesy of José Luis Moscovich
West Bay Opera’s production of “Il Trovatore” is slated to open Friday night in Palo Alto and run through Oct. 26.

West Bay Opera’s production of “Il Trovatore” (“The Troubadour”) is scheduled to open this weekend...

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Spiritual Life

Magazine

Local events add color to autumn calendar

Local events add color to autumn calendar


Van Houtte/town crier Visitors make their way through the Children’s Alley.

As Los Altos’ signature Chinese Pistache trees exchange their summer green for vibrant hues of yellow, orange and red in the fall, an abundance of local events also ad...

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Team approach to building offers stability in home design


Courtesy of Amy Fischer
Engaging a team of three experts – architect, general contractor and interior designer – is essential to creating a custom dream home.

When building a custom home, a design-build team is invaluable in protecting your investment.

A team of specialists approaching every angle of collaborative strategic planning on your behalf will ultimately serve as your insurance in better achieving aggressive budgets on a timely schedule. A home built with quality craftsmanship and attention to detail will stand the test of time and allow you peace of mind in the event of resale.

Securing a team of professionals to guide you in the early stages of the development process is critical. It is important to identify and understand the value of your team players before you embark on building your dream home.

The construction development team approach can be thought of as a tripod, with each leg an independent specialist: architect, general contractor and interior designer. These professionals need not be one source, and often it is in your best interest that they are not to ensure maximum creative potential.

Each leg of the tripod offers specific expertise for guidance in making educated decisions. The balanced foundation effect is established with multifaceted viewpoints, experience and qualified direction so that the homeowner may proceed with confidence.

The tripod approach

Architect: The architect produces the floor plan that will accommodate your life functions and designs a home with consistent styling. Included in the architectural development are site studies, planning and zoning approvals, and building-needs assessment. Often architects will follow a project throughout construction to assist with detailing and guidance as necessary.

General contractor: The general contractor serves as the macro-coordinator responsible for the everyday operations of the construction site as well as all communication and management of the supporting trades. An experienced contractor will direct a project using a diligently maintained schedule and budget that includes fixed costs and finish-material allowance costs.

Interior designer: Designers specializing in interiors may more sensitively evaluate a homeowner’s personal needs, including lifestyle-specific space planning, acoustics, lighting and specialty finish-material selections. Documentation provided by designers includes builder-required specifications and drawings that serve not only bidding purposes, but also as contract documents to the subcontractors.

The tripod is the powerhouse team that upholds your vision of your new home. Without the architect, the structural integrity could be compromised or the ramifications of improper planning may not be conveyed. Without the general contractor, budgets could go astray, schedules could be indefinitely delayed and you could suffer costly regret. Without the interior designer, finish-material direction, product usage, maintenance and longevity may be overlooked.

Of course there are additional supporting legs that supplement the tripod. These may include realtors educated in land development, project managers who oversee the entire building team and landscape designers who integrate outdoor living. Project-specific specialists could include lighting, acoustics, audio/visual and fountain/pool designers.

When selecting the professionals that comprise your building team, it is wise to network and interview. Consider asking questions specifically about the value in team-oriented construction. Request referrals from those in the industry and seek advice from those who have built custom homes before.

Common homeowner regrets include lack of guidance and knowledge, poor management of budget and schedule, and improper material selections. By performing your initial research up front and securing your team early, you will alleviate these potential faults and be proud of the home you build for years to come.

Amy Fischer is president of the Los Altos-based Spectrum Interior Design Inc. For more information, visit spectruminteriordesign.com.

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