Warming Up to Idea of a Greenhouse

Question: We would like to add a greenhouse room on the west side of our home and wonder if you might tell us the advantages and disadvantages of this type of room. Do they get extremely hot in the summer and are they drafty and cold in the winter? Can you put us in touch with companies that specialize in greenhouses?

Answer: The answers to your hot and cold questions lie in how well your greenhouse is built. In some cases, a greenhouse can actually serve as a passive solar structure that will help heat adjacent areas during winter months.

To get an overall look at greenhouses, I suggest you contact the Greenhouses for Living Information Center, 350 5th Ave., Suite 6124, New York, N.Y. 10001. The center was established as a national resource center to provide unbiased technical and practical information on sun spaces and greenhouses, although you can’t overlook the fact that the editors and review board are into the design and manufacture of sun spaces.

The center publishes an annual “Greenhouses for Living” guidebook, which provides information on maintenance, as well as manufacturers of greenhouses and their addresses. The 1986 edition can be purchased for $9.50, plus $2.50 for postage and handling, from the address above.


Q: We have to remove the old and put new putty around the frames of the windows in our old house. Can you tell me the safest and quickest way to do it without running the risk of breaking the windows?

A: Other than chipping away, the only device I’ve seen advertised was a “Putty Chaser Set” for $10.50 in a Brookstone catalogue. It’s a carbide cutter that you put in your one-quarter-inch electric drill and a flexible guide that you attach to the window. I haven’t seen it work, but it might be worth a try.

The Brookstone store in Beverly Center doesn’t have the item in stock, but you might check other Brookstone stores in Torrance, Costa Mesa, San Diego, Santa Monica, Woodland Hills--they’re all over the Southland.

Or it can be ordered by mail from Brookstone Co., 127 Vose Farm Road, Peterborough, N.H. 03458. Add 63 cents sales tax and $3.95 for shipping and handling (total of $15.08).


Q: I want to add bookshelves in my den, not just a few, but on one entire wall. I have seen the modular kind that have strips going up the wall and metal shelf holders are inserted in the strips, but I don’t like the way they look.

I would prefer having them all wood. Don’t tell me I can build the shelves, because I can’t. One, I don’t have tools and two, I couldn’t saw a straight board if my life depended upon it. Do you know where I can buy shelves that don’t use the metal strips?

A: There’s at least one manufacturer here in California that offers modular shelving with wood shelves and wood corbels to support them. It is Woodland Products Co. Inc., 1480 E. Grand Ave., Pomona 91766.

A leaflet describing the shelves also contains installation instructions that point out you’ll need molly or toggle bolts for attaching to a plaster or panel wall.


In requesting the leaflet, ask for the retail dealer nearest you.

Q: We’re redesigning our kitchen quite lavishly, if I do say so myself, and I don’t want to miss putting in anything that we can possibly afford. One thing I have considered is a shelf with lamps over it to keep food warm, just as you see in some of the fast-food places, except on a smaller scale. Who manufactures these?

A: I’m sure there are many manufacturers, but among them is Thermador/Waste King, which has a sales office at 5119 District Blvd., Los Angeles 90040. The infrared lamps are in a hood of stainless steel or enamel colors. It’s called a Keep-Hot Hood.

Write the sales office for a dealer near you.