Mountain Views News     Logo: MVNews     Saturday, January 26, 2013

MVNews this week:  Page 11



 Mountain Views News Saturday, January 26, 2013 

One Of A Kind: Featuring unique homes and gardens and the people who create them Story and Photos by Chris Bertrand 

LeVeque Construction 
Blends a Reality 
Check with 25 Years 

As the economy 
picks up this spring, 
are increasingly 
considering a remodel 
to update, upgrade or 
reconfigure their homes. Before pulling out the 
checkbook for the latest and greatest remodeling 
trend, Jim LeVeque of LeVeque Construction 
highly recommends value planning between a 
general contractor and the client.

Born and raised in Sierra Madre and working 
across the San Gabriel Valley since 1988, LeVeque 
and his brother Anthony are celebrating their 25th 
business anniversary this year, continuing what 
they love to do best: delivering the best value for 
each client’s project, whether it’s a kitchen or bath 
remodel, a ‘down to the studs’ complete makeover 
or a custom built home.

“Gone are the days where homeowners just 
hand us a remodel wish list without carefully 
planning the budget and prioritizing their dream 
list,” chuckled LeVeque. “It’s critical to prioritize 
and plan to make sure the essentials are covered, 
as well as evaluating the realistic timeline for a 
needed return on their investment in the project.”

Depending on that timeline reality, the answer to 
which parts of a project to choose, or deciding the 
price point may be quite different. “Do they have a 
five year plan to up or downsize? Do they plan to 
retire there and ‘age in place’ or do they intend to 
flip the house and sell immediately?”

“It’s really important to take a look at maximizing 
the return on a remodel investment. I regularly 
switch between two hats, as I have a degree in 
Finance and Real Estate from Cal Poly, so I can 
analyze the project from a financial point of view,” 
pointed out LeVeque. “When I put my hardhat 
back on to discuss the construction and aesthetic 
aspects, clients can feel comfortable that they’re 
fully informed in making their decisions.”

Trends in 2013 home remodeling are revolving 
around several themes, according to Anthony 
LeVeque, Jim’s brother and business partner in 
charge of electrical, landscape, and technology.

“The biggest trend we see is moving multiple 
generations back under one roof,” said Jim. 
“Grandma and Grandpa are moving in… Kids 
in their 30’s and 40’s are moving back home, 
sometimes with their children.”

“As families consolidate their living arrangements,” 
he continued, “we’re fixing up a main family home, 
remodeling upstairs, downstairs, garages and 
basements to accommodate living together but 
separate. By reconfiguring baths, adding privacy, 
widening passageways, fitting in a kitchenette or 
a separate entrance, we’ve had great success and 
delighted clients.”

Sometimes, seemingly insurmountable floorplan 
and accessibility issues can now be solved with 
new products available. Tony LeVeque recounts 
their experience with a recent Rose Bowl area 

“We were working with a family with wheelchair 
bound grandparents in a tri-level home. Most of 
the living area was inaccessible for the couple. Well 
into the project, the owners asked if it was possible 
to make some type of change to allow wheelchair 
access to the upstairs. We were able to find a spot 
off the front door to add a compact elevator in an 
aesthetically attractive way.”

“Five to seven years ago, these products were 
a real luxury,” reflected Tony. “Now, they’re not 
mainstream, but definitely a lot more affordable 
and achievable, allowing wheelchair access to 
more of the home, instead of being relegated to 
one level.”

“Energy efficiency and consistency are two big 
areas in today’s remodel requests,” says Anthony. 
“Of course, LED lighting options are expanding 
exponentially, with their attendant electrical usage 
reduction, and reduced heat generation, especially 
compared to halogen and incandescent lighting. 
Insulation products available today are definitely 
more green and better for the installer as well 
as the homeowner living in it, using recycled 
components. We rarely use fiberglass anymore.”

“Some of our clients have ‘had it’ with unreliable 
power and frequent interruptions especially 
in the last two years,” reflected Anthony, “and 
are installing 
hardwired backup 
generators run 
on natural gas. 
Two companies, 
Kohler and Onan, 
long known for 
their commercial 
backup power 
for hospitals, 
etc. now offer 
great residential 

“With natural 
gas, there’s no 
diesel storage 
tank, and they’re 
soundproofed to 
make them quiet. 
We install them up 
on the roof where they’re hidden. The technology 
actually self tests the unit regularly. The systems 
are designed to sense when power is lost, then 
starts up to transfer the load within 20 seconds. 
When utility power is restored, it automatically 
transfers back, again within 20 seconds.”

Another area that initially might be regarded as 
decadent is installing radiant heat floor heat in the 
bathroom. “Especially if a household has residents 
on different schedules, like one showering at 430 
a.m. and another not til 8, radiant floor heat is a 
great alternative to heating the whole house in 
the morning,” said Anthony. “When our feet are 
warm, the ambient temperature doesn’t need to 
be as high to be comfortable. The radiant systems 
with time and temperature settings actually save 
rather than waste energy.”

One of the most “comforting” trends isn’t new at 
all. As American as apple pie and Mayberry, the 
resurgence of the front porch as the outside living 
room is a favorite project for the LeVeques.

“We’re seeing homeowners wanting to reconnect 
with their neighbors and utilize the front porch 
as an outdoor living space. They want to wave to 
their neighbors, watch the kids play out front, and 
have coffee or a drink out front. We love creating 
a personal, welcoming area, and it definitely adds 
value to the 
home. When 
it’s time for 
resale, buyers 
seem to be 
really drawn 
to a home with 
a welcoming 
front porch!”

is celebrating 
25 years 
of quality 
in the San 
Gabriel Valley. 
They hold 
CA General 
and several additional specialty #72993 B1, C10, 
C20 and HIC licenses. Follow them at www. or call 626-305-9490.

Have a story idea for “One of a Kind”? Contact 
Chris today with the details at C.Bertrand@ .



 There is much debate among real estate professionals about the value of holding an Open House. 
Some insist these events help get the house sold. Others argue it's an outdated practice in the digital 
age of virtual tours. However, it's been estimated that nearly half of all buyers who visit open 
houses first learned about them on the Internet.

With all the time and money that an agent puts into marketing your home, an Open House puts 
those very targeted buyers inside your home and in front of your representative. One of the best aspects 
of the Open House is the feedback that visitors provide, feedback that can suggest you change 
your approach or make needed improvements.

Aside from interest generated by the Web, the signs your agent places may also attract curious passersby. 
While they may not be making a purchase themselves, they may very well know someone 
who is. An Open House also helps to create a sense of urgency among those who visit, particularly 
when they see that other buyers are showing interest.

Obviously, a successful Open House exposes your property to a broad base of buyers, but even if 
only three people visit and one makes an offer, it was clearly worth it. Not all homes are ideal candidates 
for this type of marketing, so ask your agent about the possibilities.

City of Monrovia Department of Community Services 
321 South Myrtle Avenue . 626.256.8274 
Sponsored by Friends of the Monrovia Public Library 
Sign up online at 
Click on the calendar icon to find your event. No Internet? Call 626-256-8274. 
Walk-ins welcome 
Gardening with Edibles & Natives 
Sustainable gardening is particularly important in Southern California. Native 
plants thrive in our dry climate and can create exciting landscapes too. And what 
is better than eating fresh picked produce resulting from your own loving care? 
John Lyons from The Woven Garden is an 
expert on native and edible gardens. He 
designed a garden titled The Edible Labyrinth 
for the 2009 LA Garden Show, held at the 
LA Arboretum. John’s garden was dubbed 
“the most intriguing installation at the LA 
Garden Show” by Sunset Magazine’s senior 
garden writer. 
Join us for a full afternoon of inspiration, 
timely planting and gardening tips, and 
innovative garden design. 
Saturday, February 9 
1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. 
Library Community Room 
This program is part of the Discover Your World Cultural Program Series 
Mountain Views News 80 W Sierra Madre Blvd. No. 327 Sierra Madre, Ca. 91024 Office: 626.355.2737 Fax: 626.609.3285 Email: Website: