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News

Street crack-sealing project begins Monday, May 4

The City of Los Altos is beginning a city-wide street crack-sealing project on Monday (May 4).

City officials said the traffic impact for this project will be minimal. No streets will be closed and vehicles can resume normal traffic flow shortly aft...

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Schools

Homestead students use projects  to solve environmental problems

Homestead students use projects to solve environmental problems


Alisha Parikh/Special to the Town Crier
Homestead High School junior Maya Dhar, a Los Altos resident, left, and classmate Carolyn MacDonald support the school’s AP Environmental Science classes at the Arbor Day Festival April 23.

As summer app...

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Community

CHAC appoints new leader

CHAC appoints new leader

Naomi Nakano-Matsumoto, LCSW, has been named the new executive director of the Community Health Awareness Council (CHAC). A seasoned nonprofit leader, Nakano-Matsumoto is scheduled to assume duties July 1. She takes over for outgoing executive direct...

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Sports

St. Francis swimmers shine

St. Francis swimmers shine


Megan V. Winslow/Town Crier
St. Francis High’s Benjamin Ho competes against Sacred Heart Cathedral Thursday. The junior swam on all three victorious relays at the home meet, which the Lancers won easily.

Flexing its power in the pool, host St....

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Comment

Halsey House deserves preservation: Other Voices

Halsey House deserves preservation: Other Voices


Many contributing supporters to the Friends of Historic Redwood Grove believe that the Halsey House, designated a historic landmark by the Los Altos City Council in 1981, deserves to be saved and renovated for adapted use by the community.

Set in ...

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Special Sections

Sneaky shots: A photographer’s guide to capturing the proposal

Sneaky shots: A photographer’s guide to capturing the proposal


Elliott Burr/Special to the Town Crier
A stealthy photographer scouts locations ahead of time to find not just a place to perch, but also the ideal position for the subjects.

It’s showtime.

You’re about to ask the person in front of...

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Business

Pharmaca celebrates grand opening over weekend

Pharmaca celebrates grand opening over weekend


Megan V. Winslow/Town Crier
Pharmaca is coming to 400 Main St. with a grand-opening celebration scheduled Saturday and Sunday.

If natural health and beauty products are your cup of tea, expect to find them – and hot tea – this weekend at the gran...

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Books

People

JANE BUTTERFIELD PRINGLE LYND

JANE BUTTERFIELD PRINGLE LYND

October 30, 1924 - April 8, 2015

Jane Butterfield Pringle Lynd, daughter to Liebert and Elise Butterfield of San Francisco, passed away quietly at her home in Palo Alto surrounded by her family, following a short illness. Jane was a proud third ge...

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Travel

Cuba libre: Local residents join mad rush of travelers

Cuba libre: Local residents join mad rush of travelers


Natalie Elefant/Special to the Town Crier
Los Altos resident Natalie Elefant noted the vibrant street performances as a traveler in Cuba.

The U.S. restored diplomatic relations with Cuba late last year, enabling Americans to import $100 worth of cig...

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Stepping Out

'Birds' landing in Mtn. View

'Birds' landing in Mtn. View


Ray Renati/Special to the Town Crier
The Pear Avenue Theatre production of Paul Braverman’s “Birds of a Feather” stars Troy Johnson as mafia boss Sean Kineen, left, and Diane Tasca as private eye Frankie Payne.

Pear Avenue Theatre’s world premi...

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Spiritual Life

Magazine

Practice prudent pruning: Maintaining manzanita, ceanothus and toyon

Practice prudent pruning: Maintaining manzanita, ceanothus and toyon


tanya kucak/Special to the Town Crier
Shrub manzanitas are known for their sinuous mahogany trunks and branches. If the foliage hides the bark, prune selectively to open the center so that the bark is visible year-round. This Montara manzanita is ...

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Inside Mountain View

Up to the challenge: Local leaders unite to help at-risk youth

Up to the challenge: Local leaders unite to help at-risk youth


Courtesy of Challenge Team
Jeanette Freiberg, bottom of pile, has fun with family members. The Challenge Team named Freiberg, a student at Mountain View High School, its 2015 Youth Champion.

There’s an ongoing joke among members of the Challenge...

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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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