DIY craftsmen build a Craftsman
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Build your own Craftsman house? L.A. family pulls it off

DIY craftsmen build a Craftsman
By Marcianne Crestani
It’s the ultimate DIY project: building your own house. For Don and Natalie Kick of Granada Hills, the challenge wasn’t just to construct their own 2,800-square-foot Craftsman. It was to build the house while home-schooling their two daughters, expecting daughter No. 3 and running a business from home. For a peek at the results, keep clicking ... (Mariah Tauger / Los Angeles Times)
DIY craftsmen build a Craftsman
The Kicks had spent two years renovating their ranch house, pictured here in a “before” photo, when they realized what they really wanted was a two-story Craftsman. So they went for it. They gutted the old house and converted a garage into temporary living quarters. They recruited Don’s father, Ray, to help with construction, and they turned to Don’s mother, Karen, to run Don’s graphic arts business from a nearby shed. (From Don Kick)
DIY craftsmen build a Craftsman
This photo shows the remodel in the making. The Kicks took on 80% of the construction work themselves. “We were naïve,” Don said, bemused by the thought of it all. “I think that’s what saved us.” (From Don Kick)
DIY craftsmen build a Craftsman
The Kicks didn’t merely survive the project. They pulled it off with some style. Pictured here in the foreground: What had been the family’s temporary living quarters now serve as an office for Don’s graphic arts business. The garage next door was converted to a woodshop. The design of these accessory buildings matches the aesthetic of the main house, in the distance. (Mariah Tauger / Los Angeles Times)
DIY craftsmen build a Craftsman
A sitting area by the entrance to the main house. (Mariah Tauger / Los Angeles Times)
DIY craftsmen build a Craftsman
The Kicks in the front living room. From left, that’s Rachel, 10; Sydney, 8; Allie, 2; Natalie holding baby Autumn; and Don. (Mariah Tauger / Los Angeles Times)
DIY craftsmen build a Craftsman
Light streams through a living room window where stained glass glows with a pinecone motif. Don and father Ray did all the woodwork themselves, including the paneling and built-in bookcases. (Mariah Tauger / Los Angeles Times)
DIY craftsmen build a Craftsman
The long view, from one end of the living room toward the sitting area by the entry. (Mariah Tauger / Los Angeles Times)
DIY craftsmen build a Craftsman
Back by the entry, the sitting area points toward a study and the Craftsman kitchen. (Mariah Tauger / Los Angeles Times)
DIY craftsmen build a Craftsman
“The plumbing was the least amount of fun,” Don says. “But you just have to keep plowing ahead with it.” His father, who used to own an auto repair shop and taught Don his woodworking skills, did all of the electrical work. Their motto was, “Make it simple. Make it beautiful. Make it your best.” They built the kitchen cabinets themselves. The Douglas fir throughout the house had been salvaged from an old bakery in downtown Los Angeles by the Reclaimer in Sylmar, and Don bought the whole lot. (Mariah Tauger / Los Angeles Times)
DIY craftsmen build a Craftsman
A personal touch in the kitchen. (Mariah Tauger / Los Angeles Times)
DIY craftsmen build a Craftsman
Allie cranks an apple peeler over the farmhouse sink. (Mariah Tauger / Los Angeles Times)
DIY craftsmen build a Craftsman
Certain jobs were turned over to subcontractors because Don and Ray lacked the machinery, skills or desire. In particular, they outsourced pouring the concrete footings and the foundation, along with hanging the drywall. But the Kicks finished all the woodwork themselves with guidance from a pro: Brian Miller, whose portfolio included a Craftsman classic, the Greene & Greene Blacker House in Pasadena. (Mariah Tauger / Los Angeles Times)
DIY craftsmen build a Craftsman
The dining area opens to the back porch, which also connects to the master bedroom. (Mariah Tauger / Los Angeles Times)
DIY craftsmen build a Craftsman
The master bedroom. (Mariah Tauger / Los Angeles Times)
Rooms for kids
Rachel shows off a cabinet built by her grandfather in her family’s Craftsman home. (Mariah Tauger / Los Angeles Times)
DIY craftsmen build a Craftsman
Don and Ray built the stairs themselves. The first floor’s three bedrooms, two bathrooms, laundry room, playroom and other spaces are all finished, six years after the Kicks first embarked on renovations. Now father and son are nearing completion of the upstairs, which has a great room and a third bathroom. (Mariah Tauger / Los Angeles Times)
DIY craftsmen build a Craftsman
Sydney plays in a large covered porch upstairs, where the girls have created a miniature town out of scrap lumber from the woodshop. It consists of more than 25 structures, including a bank, a jail, a corral and a Goodwill shop — all of a diminutive size that’s fitting for a family that squeezed into a 441-square-foot converted garage for two years. (Mariah Tauger / Los Angeles Times)
DIY craftsmen build a Craftsman
Rachel and Syndey in their father’s woodshop. Formerly a three-car garage, the shop is equipped with a table saw, jointer, band saw, disc sander and drill press, among other machinery. (Mariah Tauger / Los Angeles Times)
DIY craftsmen build a Craftsman
A family endeavor, through and through. (Mariah Tauger / Los Angeles Times)
DIY craftsmen build a Craftsman
Allie, left, Sydney and Rachel play on the swing set made by their father. Don says that as much as he loves his house, “we’d never do it again if we knew what we had to go through.” Wife Natalie, however, disagreed. “It’s just like childbirth,” Natalie said of remodeling. “You forget the pain.”

Related: Hear the Kick family in our audio slideshow or read Marcianne Crestani’s full article.

More galleries: Check out more Homes of the Times

West Coast scene: Follow headlines via our Facebook pages for home design and gardening (Mariah Tauger / Los Angeles Times)
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