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News

Spooktacular moved indoors


Due to rain, today's downtown Los Altos Halloween activities have been moved to the indoor courtyard of Play! at 170 State St. Enter from the back on the parking lot side to participate in crafts, games and fun. Activities continue until 4 p.m.

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Schools

Gardner Bullis School debuts new Grizzly Student Center

Gardner Bullis School debuts new Grizzly Student Center


Photo by Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Students line up to check books out of the library in the new Grizzly Student Center at Gardner Bullis School.

Gardner Bullis School opened its new Grizzly Student Center earlier this month, introducing a lea...

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Community

Home improvement workshop scheduled Wednesday (Oct. 29)

The County of Santa Clara is hosting a free informational workshop on 6:30 p.m. Wednesday at Los Altos Hills Town Hall, 26379 Fremont Road.

The workshop will offer ways single-family homeowners can increase their homes’ energy efficiency. Eligible i...

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Comment

Off the fence: TC recommends 'yes' on N

The Town Crier initially offered no position on the controversial $150 million Measure N bond on Tuesday’s ballot. But some of the reasons we gave in our Oct. 15 editorial were, on reflection, overly critical and based on inaccurate information.

We ...

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Special Sections

Long-term solutions emerge as water conservation goes mainstream

Long-term solutions emerge as water conservation goes mainstream


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Forrest Linebarger, right, installed greywater and rainwater harvesting systems at his Los Altos Hills home.

With more brown than green visible in her Los Altos backyard, Kacey Fitzpatrick admits that she’s a little e...

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Business

Local realtors scare up money for charity

Local realtors scare up money for charity


Photo courtesy of SILVAR
Realtors Gary Campi and Jordan Legge, from left, joined Nancy Domich, SILVAR President Dave Tonna and Joe Brown to raise funds for the Silicon Valley Realtors Charitable Foundation.

Los Altos and Mountain View realtors raise...

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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

DAVID S. NIVISON

DAVID S. NIVISON

David S. Nivison, 91 years old, and a resident of Los Altos, California since 1952, died Oct. 16, 2014 at home.  His neighbors had recently honored him as the “Mayor of Russell Ave., in recognition of 62 years of distinguished living” on that ...

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Travel

Falling leaves: Four places in California to see autumn colors

Falling leaves: Four places in California to see autumn colors


Courtesy of Castello di Amorosa
Castello di Amorosa in Calistoga, above, boasts a beautiful setting for viewing fall’s colors – and sampling the vineyard’s wines.

Yes, Virginia, there is fall in California.

The colors pop out in...

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Stepping Out

ECYS opens season Sunday

ECYS opens season Sunday


Ramya Krishna/Special to the Town Crier
The El Camino Youth Symphony rehearses for Sunday’s concert, above.

The El Camino Youth Symphony – under new conductor Jindong Cai – is scheduled to perform its season-opening concert 4 p.m....

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Spiritual Life

Christian Science Reading Room hosts webinar on prayer and healing

Christian Science practitioner and teacher Evan Mehlenbacher is scheduled to present a live Internet webinar lecture, “Prayer That Heals,” 7:30 p.m. Nov. 14 in the Christian Science Reading Room, 60 Main St., Los Altos.

Those interested ...

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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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