Handyman--Licensed--Bonded--General 'B' Contractor
Serving the Oakland and Berkeley area since 1976

My card:
My friend Valerie Wong, a graphic designer and owner of Wong & The Design Office, helped me create it. She used the blueprint Henrik Bull, below, had drawn for his deck project.  Dan Eilbeck, her husband, is a longtime friend.  I traded the hours working on their house and rental to pay for her time.

Click to email me.

The California Contractors State License Board website has resources for property owners and builders.

Gail Durkin, in Rockridge, had an old arbor across her little driveway.  It had tapered-square pillars on either side that were sided with shingles, like her house.  They were rotted and blew over in a wind storm.  I took out the old concrete piers, poured new ones with Simpson post anchors, and built an arbor supported by redwood 8x8's with a gate for privacy.  

In Berkeley, the Schroeders have a studio house on a smallish lot with a garage in front.  Their son had recently graduated from college and planned to live at home for a while.  His bedroom is in a finished portion of the garage and I was asked to design/build a bathroom with toilet, sink, space heater, etc...  Link to pictures:  Schroeder's project page.

outside   finished   inside   inside-done

An architect, Henrik Bull, and his wife, Barbara, live next to a creek on the Arlington in Kensington.  Their old deck was rotting and they wanted to replace it, lowering it by about 7" and re-using the lower steps he had built himself, cutting one step out.  The elevation had to be precise in order for his steps to fit right.  I broke out a little laser level for the first time and it worked out pretty well.  The benches are of 3x12 "Super-select" and better redwood  from Lumber Baron, the planters are 1/2" pressure-treated plywood over p.t. 2x4, wrapped with 1x8 redwood, the decking and steps are of IPE, Brazilian walnut that is really nice stuff.  We were going to overlay the porch with 1x4 t&g IPE but had trouble locating some and heard some bad experiences, so I did tile, instead.  The Bulls are happy with it.

Here's a slideshow of pictures taken when the project was done, before and after the landscaping was complete:  Bull's deck.

complete0002   complete0003   complete0005   deck_after_plantings0005

Ed Walker accepted my proposal to remodel his bathroom:  Ed's Place

tub_rough    progress_shower    toilet_rough    vanity_rough    step
A year later, he commissioned me to turn his backyard workshop into a studio:  Ed's Studio

before0003   painted0003   progress0005   painted0001

In 2014, my brother gave me the commission to build Paul's Pergola

wip-0001   wip-0003   fin-0014   fin-0024

In 2017, a little detective work was needed to complete A Sump Pump Project

20170503   0015w   20170516   20170517

Stephen Lau and Wendy Liao gave me two bathroom remodels involving tile in their home.  The first entailed a complete gut, moving the toilet closer to the wall, installing new drains and water supplies for the vanity and shower, moving the heater register from the floor to the wall, reinforcing and leveling the floor for tile....

The owners chose tile and fixtures.  Steve took pictures of the finished bathroom, seen here: lau's first bathroom

A year or two later, the folks gave me the commission for their other bathroom, Master Bath

Amy and Franco Romano have a deck off the kitchen on the second floor.  It was rotting and needed replacement.  I designed and built a new one on the same foundation with more practical pressure-treated frame, rot-free, low-maintenance Trex decking, redwood railing.  I expanded it a little toward the driveway and added a cantilever toward the garage to give them a little more space for themselves and company:  Romano's deck.

new framing   steps   privacy   steps done   done

This deck was for the Schroeders, whose project I did putting a bathroom in their garage. It is a small house on a small lot and working with lumber of any appreciable length is like trying to build a ship in a bottle!

Part of the deck was replaced not so long ago, and was to be saved, but the part that runs down the side of the house past the back door and wraps a bit around the back, up to the new portion, was built by Jim and his dad some 25 years ago, was rotting, falling down, and needed to be torn out, replaced. This is how it looked in the rear corner of the property, where the fences on two property lines come together:

I tore out all the old redwood and replaced the framing with pressure-treated fir. 'Sleepers' attach to the back porch with concrete screws (Titen) and 2x6 joists hang from that framework. It has to match up with the saved section and the entry steps at the side are to be re-used:

The new decking is 5/4 x 4 (1" x 3 1/2") Santa Maria, one of the South American hardwoods that is supposed to be certified 'Green', sustainable, and is currently in fashion as a substitute for the disappearing redwood. It is beautiful, weather/rot-resistant, and hard, requiring that each of the circa 500 stainless steel screws have a pilot hole drilled before screwing. This is from the entrance with the original steps hanging on the edge, the sun low in the sky!:

Saturday, I worked more than 12 hours to get finished. The lumber yard is only open in the morning on Saturday, so I tried to get everything I would need first thing. Luckily, there were some short pieces of nice redwood that had been cut up for recycle and I imagined using them in the design of the new railing section at the back, which was to have two shelves for cactus plants. As evening approached and that part was to be done, I discovered I had not quite accurately visualized the lengths that would be needed: the new 1x6 redwood board I had bought for the top shelf was 1" short, the upright 2x4 middle support needed to be longer than either of the two boards I had picked up for this purpose, and I thought long and hard about how to use what I had in a sound, attractive assembly. The sun has set, I would clean up in deepening darkness, and I was pleased to have finished with a satisfactory, I think, resolution:

Another fence project can be seen >HERE<