Getting Help From Pros in Fixer-Upper

Question: Recently my husband and I purchased a very nice home through probate. The house is about 30 years old and will require work in the kitchen and bathrooms, such as upgrading, tiling, better layout and perhaps even enlarging the bathrooms.

We have owned several homes and done a lot of do-it-yourself, fixer-upper type work, but it has always been of a minor nature. Now, I wish to have professional-type work done and frankly don't know where to begin finding the decorators for this type of work.

I'm fearful of just hitting the Yellow Pages. It seems to me there probably is some sort of list by specialty of decorators that I could refer to so as to choose just the right person to help me redesign the kitchen and bathrooms.

Answer: The National Kitchen and Bath Assn. is made up of firms that meet certain qualifications, such as 1) been in business two years, 2) shown sound financial capability, 3) retain experienced design personnel within the company, 4) offer design and installation services and 5) have at least two displays in the showroom.

Beyond that, individuals can qualify for certification by a council within the association. To become a Certified Kitchen Designer, one must have seven years experience in the industry, produce affidavits from satisfied customers as well as other professionals in the field, and pass what Executive Director Francis Jones describes as "a stringent multiple-choice examination and a design and specifications exam."

This, of course, is not to say that there aren't others in the field who are qualified, but simply do not choose affiliation with an association or to attain certification.

Nevertheless, the association does provide a basis from which to begin your search for professional help.

To obtain a directory of member firms and another of Certified Kitchen Designers (CKD) and Certified Bath Designers (CBD), write: National Kitchen and Bath Assn., 124 Main St., Hackettstown, N.J. 07840.

You might also ask the association for three free brochures: "Ensure the Beauty of Your New Kitchen," "Plan Ahead With Kitchen and Bath Experts" and "How to Rate Your Kitchen."

Q: About two years ago we extensively remodeled our house, which included replacing all the interior doors. About eight months ago we finally got around to having the doors finished. This entailed removing all doors and putting them back up in their original doorways. The problem is one door refuses to stay put. If the door is moved a few inches from the full open position to slightly closed, the door will continue to swing all the way--to fully closed. This is very annoying. Can anything be done to "tighten" the hinges so the door does not swing quite so freely?

A: I assume you can't get the person who hung the doors to return and repair this annoyance. If you can, do so, because hanging doors is one of the all-time tough do-it-yourself projects.

There's the possibility that in taking the doors down and putting them up that the holes for the screws in the top hinge have become too large for the screws. If they appear to be loose, remove the top hinge, insert a piece of toothpick (or more than one, depending upon the degree of looseness) and glue in place. When glue dries, replace the hinge on the doorway, and you should have a snug fit and a balanced door.

(I've also heard that a piece of a toothpaste tube can be inserted in the screw holes and serve the save purpose, although I've never tried it.)

If the top hinge seems secure, or if after reattaching the hinges, the problem persists, leave the top hinge attached and unscrew the lower hinge. Place a shim behind the hinge at the bottom to level the door. Using a level across the top of the door can determine the dimension necessary for the shim to bring the door in balance.

Copyright © 2019, Los Angeles Times
EDITION: California | U.S. & World