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Water-wise Landscaping - Ukiah Daily Journal, May 20, 2009

Value Engineering - Getting Bang for Your Homebuilding and Remodeling Buck - Ukiah Daily Journal, February 13, 2008

Donations Help to Build Backboard for Boonville Tennis Team - Ukiah Daily Journal, August 25, 2007

Design-Build in Mendocino County - Ukiah Daily Journal, April 25, 2007

A Home Worth Loving - Ukiah Daily Journal, November 1st, 2006

Classic Home Receives Modern Upgrades - Ukiah Daily Journal, August 9th, 2006

Greg Hoyt Construction Receives Gold Award - Ukiah Daily Journal, May 10th, 2006

Mendocino College Garden Project - Eagle News, Mendocino College, December 1997

 

 

 


 

 

 

Water-wise Landscaping

Ukiah, California - With the recent stir of water rationing this season, homeowners Susan and Neill Bell are glad to have made the decision in October of 2008 to replace their water-thirsty front lawn with a more water-wise palette of lower maintenance plants.   They have not only cut their water and maintenance bills, but are enjoying the additional bounty of fresh herbs, fruit and flowers from the innovative landscape which includes dwarf fruit trees and edibles along with the sturdy ornamentals.

This kind of undertaking, however, doesn't happen overnight but actually began last summer when they contacted landscape designer, Cathy Hoyt of Greg Hoyt Construction Inc.   Hoyt comments, "The Bell's had quite a list of requirements for the new landscape ranging from practical to aesthetic.  The major starting points, however, were water conservation and low maintenance."

Timing is everything when it comes to landscaping and the Bell's hit it right on the money.  According to Hoyt, the best time to put in this type of landscape is in the fall before the weather turns cold.   She says, "Plants do a lot of root growth in the fall which serves to give them a jump start for surviving the summer with less water.   Spring planting puts you in the position of applying a greater amount of summer water to establish your new landscape."

Hoyt adds, "The only disadvantage to fall planting is that nurseries are winding down for the season and some plants just aren't available."  With the summer to coalesce design ideas, the Bell project was right on target to begin in mid-September.

One of the other challenges of the Bell's design was to create durable, yet attractive access into the side yard.   Outdoor entertaining is an important part of the Bell's lifestyle and the narrow walkway that previously escorted guests was far from adequate.   An abnormal slope at the rear of the site and the neighbor's large fir tree added to the complexity of the design solution.

To solve these issues, Hoyt graded and terraced the site to establish proper drainage and provide a suitable area for the new walkway.   An innovative series of concrete pads were designed to form an ample passageway from the front to the side yard.   The concrete pads were spaced about 5" apart to allow for interplanting with low, walkable ground covers of 'Elfin' thyme and Herniaria glabra.

The pad widths increase before reaching the back gate to create a simple, yet elegant courtyard which serves as a reception area for backyard festivities as well as enhancing the use of the large wrap-around porch adorning the front and side of the Bell's home.

Plant material was carefully chosen to meet not only the variety of exposures in the yard (from full sun to shade), but also to be water-wise, easy-care, and useable.   Says Hoyt, "I have always loved the idea of including edibles of all kinds into a landscape.   There are quite a few [edible plants] that perform nicely in our challenging climate and limited water conditions.   It just seems more practical to get at least something back for the water used."

The edible plant list contains several forms of Oregano, Thyme and Salvia, to name a few, but is also complemented with structural plant material such as Dwarf fruit trees, Pineapple Guava and a Mandarin Orange.   The fruit trees were on Neill's wish list and with the use of dwarf varieties, they will be easily kept within bounds with only minimal pruning.   In time, the trees will provide a natural screen across the front, increasing the privacy in the courtyard garden.

Not only was the plant palette to reflect these practical aspects, but Susan expressed the desire to be able to cut fresh flowers from the garden throughout the year.   For this, Hoyt included a selection of 'well behaved perennials' such as Achillea, Echinacea, Aquilegia, Liatris, Coreopsis, Alstromeria, and many others.

The focal point of the courtyard is a potted Japanese maple, flanked on each side by sturdy redwood-framed wire grid panels supporting Mandevilla vines.   The Japanese maple, often associated with higher water use, was planted in a large specimen tub which allows its water needs to be efficiently met using drip emitters.   The trellis structures serve additionally to mask the plain redwood picket fence that borders the area.   Two existing Camellias were left intact and provide winter color for this area.   With the attractive new concrete hardscape, this courtyard oasis is functional year-round.

"We couldn't be more pleased with the results" say the Bells.   "We look forward to many years of enjoyment from all of this."

This bold step of change for the Bell's has yielded a conclusively positive outcome on all fronts - reduction of water use, increased 'useability' and aesthetics, reduced maintenance, fresh bounty for the table, and the biggest bonus - good timing.   Little did they know last fall, the value their decision would have in the current state of water affairs.

For more information and pictures of the Bell landscape, you can visit the Project Gallery at www.hoytconstruction.com.

Value Engineering - Getting Bang for Your Homebuilding and Remodeling Buck

One of the buzzwords in the building industry lately is 'Value Engineering' (VE).   One encounters the term frequently in the trade journals and broadsheets but the average Joe Homeowner can be left in the idiomatic dark.   VE was actually developed by General Electric during World War II as a systematic method to determine the "value" of goods and services by using an examination of function.  Value is defined as the ratio of function to cost and can therefore be increased by either improving the function factor or reducing the cost.

In the home-building industry then, value engineering is the process of comparing the functionality (or design) of a home or home improvement project, to its cost.   Cost is quite easy to tabulate but 'functionality' is a little more obtuse as it is often more of a 'perceived assessment' subject to variation.   A home's functionality rating varies from person to person because of each individual's unique desires and needs, and might best be reflected as a 'degree of satisfaction'.   One man's castle is another man's cave.

The question then arises, "Are you satisfied with your cave?"   If not, then most people pursue one of two options - remodel their home or find a new one.   Either way, the pursuit is toward the best value for the money.   It may come in the form of more space, extra bedrooms, modern kitchen, smaller payments, bigger yard, new location, different color - any number of permutations depending upon who is equating the function and cost factors, with the path to success rooted in VE principles.

Local design/build firm, Greg Hoyt Construction Inc., employs VE in all of their projects.  Owner, Greg Hoyt says, "Value engineering is more than just good shopping - it's knowing your products and making a good match with your customer's needs and lifestyle.   Everyday we work with home improvement products and see exactly how they perform.  Then it is simply a matter of matching the product and its performance with the needs and budget of our clients."

As a design/build firm, GHC works with clients from start to finish on problem solving building projects that create or increase the functionality of a client's home through the use of VE principles.   Hoyt says, "It's a balance that is struck as we guide our customers through the various choices necessary to achieve the results needed within the budget or timeline available.  The interesting part about this work is that no two projects are alike because no two clients are alike."

Simply put, VE is a cyclical evaluation process in which ideas are generated with the possibility of solving a certain degree or aspect of 'design dysfunction' present in a home, while maintaining a financial cost that is within the home owner's limits.  Ideas are modified and evaluated until a plausible solution is achieved.

Anderson Valley architect, Ron Verdier, also makes use of VE as an important tool in home design.  "Value engineering is a valuable tool which helps the design team bring a project or parts of a project into the owner's budget.  We always recommend to an owner to have a contractor on board in the early stages of design so that we can value engineer the project if necessary.   Through the contractor's VE we can find cost saving alternatives which will allow us to maintain the project's aesthetics", says Verdier.

The journey from idea phase to plausibility and budget evaluation phases, usually takes homeowners through a series of value judgments where they must determine which set of parameters are the most important - appearance, cost, longevity, maintenance requirements, etc.   The result of this series of decisions determines the final result.   For simple do-it-yourself projects, it is often just a matter of visiting the hardware store and choosing a product that is not too expensive, but will give reasonably boastful results.

Larger projects however, have a far greater quantity of choices through which a skilled VE professional (Verdier and Hoyt for example) can guide.   Often, the parameters that seem the most important in the beginning of the process, give way to others as the full picture comes into view.   The bottom line is that the VE process gives you the best solution to your home building or improvement needs for the money you have available or care to spend.

Hoyt adds, "Building value into your home is important.   It is worth the time it takes to plan and evaluate just exactly what is necessary, and finding the right people to help you achieve that is an important first step."

For more information Greg Hoyt Construction Inc. can be reached via website: www.greghoytconstruction.com or by phone: 462-6082.   Verdier Architects can be reached through their website: www.verdierarchitects.com or by phone: 895-2110

 

 

 

Donations Help to Build Backboard for Boonville Tennis Team

In its continuing tradition of contributing to the communities they work in, Greg Hoyt Construction Inc., Ukiah Valley Lumber Co., and Sheet Metal Works have donated the building materials for a tennis backboard at the Boonville High School tennis courts.  

Boonville tennis coach, Dick Browning, had made the request earlier this spring.  Hoyt helped sponsor Boonville's "1st Annual Boontling Classic Tennis Tournament" in April after hearing that coach Browning was paying the out-of-pocket expenses to take his team up to the USTA sponsored Konocti Tennis Tournament.   Earnings from the tournament were meant to defray Browning's costs.   After receiving the proceeds from the tennis tournament, Browning said, "We could put this money towards a backboard."  Instead the organizers insisted on his using the money to cover his expenses with a pledge that a backboard would be forthcoming.

Local residents again enlisted the aid of Hoyt Construction.  On Saturday, August, 18, the Hoyt Construction truck, loaded with green, pressure-treated lumber and a special MDO plywood, usually reserved for making exterior signs, pulled up to the Boonville Courts.  A dozen locals showed up shortly after with nail-bags and screw-guns instead of their usual racquets and cans of balls.  Browning himself, showed up smiling and shouldering 2X4s onto the court, despite having to catch a flight in a few hours to his mother's 94th birthday celebration in Pasadena.

The local tennis players, noticing a lack of younger players and recognizing the need for youth activities in Anderson Valley, have been banding together to improve the playing conditions at the courts.  High School principal, J.R. Collins, among the makeshift construction crew, noted that a decade ago there was a thriving group of tennis enthusiasts in the valley, but trends and court conditions have waned.   For the spring tournament, Principal Collins conscripted the high school wood shop class to build three new picnic benches.  The present players are now researching community grants for resurfacing the courts as well as installing lighting for night play.

Hoyt, which credits a large amount of its growing business to Anderson Valley residents, readily agreed to fund the project.   Speaking about the project Cathy Hoyt said, "We've had great success working in the Anderson Valley and are extremely pleased to have the opportunity to offer something back.  Especially gratifying is the project's efforts to engage the youth of the valley."

Two companies that Hoyt often deals with also contributed.  Ukiah Valley Lumber Co. sold the lumber and paint at very favorable prices and Rick Carley of Sheet Metal Works in Ukiah was more than happy to join in the mix by donating the metal cap that will help weather-proof the backboard.   All labor for the project was donated by local residents.  The Anderson Valley is well known for its community activism.  Mike Bowman who keeps a list of local players and whose wife Maureen is on the board of the Elder Home Project says, "Mention a good cause and volunteers abound.  More than a dozen volunteers appeared Saturday morning.  The backboard was completed and had its first coat of very bright green paint by lunch time."

 

 

 

Design-Build in Mendocino County

"Design-Build" is a common catch-phrase in the building industry that's becoming as trendy as drive-thru Starbucks on every corner.   Also known as 'Design-Construct', Design-Build is a system of home construction under which one company carries a project through from the design and generation of working documents, to the actual construction and completion as well.

Avant garde as it may currently be, the practice makes good sense according to Greg Hoyt of Greg Hoyt Construction Inc., who has been doing just that since the start of his contracting career nearly 20 years ago.   Early on, he recognized a large niche market of homeowners that choose, for a variety of reasons, not to use an architect.   Who designs the rest?   For most, this job of design is turned over to builders and designers resulting in the rise of the design-build approach in the industry.

Case-in-point, GHC Inc. recently completed a new home in Willits for Warren and Kathleen Lewis, owners of Ukiah Valley Lumber Company.  When the Lewis' first came to Hoyt to build their house, they were surprised to learn that Hoyt's office performed design work too.  The Lewis' were moving out of their sprawling family ranch house, and wanted a smaller home, more suited to a life with visiting grandchildren and family nearby.  They found a house plan in a book that came 'oh-so-close' to what they wanted, but fell short of some important details.

On their initial visit to Hoyt's office, the Lewis' brought along a rough rendition of their dream house, copying many of the attributes from the house plan they had found.   For instance, they liked the wrap around porch, but wanted to include the southern side of the house to let in the winter sun.   They loved the exterior elevations, especially the bay window in the dining room, but wanted two bedrooms instead of three, and something had to be done about the windows in the master bedroom; they had to be higher to allow more light into the room without compromising wall space, and for placement of some of their bedroom furniture.  The Lewis' knew what they wanted, but organizing it into the footprint of their plan was another story.

Hoyt says, "Many of our clients fall in between those going to an architect and those that choose to act as owner-builder.  They either can't or don't want to do it themselves.  Most often, these clients have a fairly clear concept of what they want, but lack the detailed design and structural expertise to put all the pieces together."  Two years ago, faced with an expanding business and not enough time to do the drawings himself, Hoyt upgraded to the state-of-the-art CAD (computer aided design) software known as VectorWorks, and hired a full time designer/draftsperson.

Plans off the internet can sometimes be had for as little as a thousand dollars.  It's rare, however, to find a set that doesn't require additional alterations such as orienting the house to the site for views, solar gain, or engineering requirements, and there is no guarantee that they will make it through the local planning department.  The initial desired savings is sadly lost at this point.

The day the Lewis' walked into the Hoyt office, they signed a design contract that a short time later, culminated in a floor plan and a 3-D computer model which met their aesthetic and practical needs.  The Lewis' were charmed at being able to see their future home rotated in space, exposing all the elevations, very happy with the new design that is truly theirs.

Today, as a veteran of the genre, Hoyt has come to appreciate the many advantages this system affords his construction practice.   Hoyt is able to control planning and building schedules, which makes changes much easier to manage, but also facilitates the whole process to run more smoothly and cost effectively.

Rising from his conference table, at one of the several meetings with the Lewis', Hoyt chuckles as he says, "Now, you're going to remember the lowest figure I give you, and I'm going to remember the highest figure."   Typical of his candor, he then completes the thought with, "How smoothly everything goes, completely depends on the quality of our communication."

Due to the importance Hoyt places on the free flow of communication, the Lewis' appreciate that the difference between the lowest figure and the highest figure depends on the choices they make about the finishes in the house; flooring, ceiling heights, countertops, light fixtures, to name a few.  The GHC staff helps with those choices by keeping a detailed 'Selection List' which documents the decisions made and outlines those that are still pending.   Kathleen, also quite excited to pick things out, becomes busy clipping pictures from magazines, the internet, and a myriad of other sources, to collect in her personal project binder, which she then takes everywhere to facilitate the coordination of all items selected.

Once the drawings were submitted to the building department, Hoyt introduced the Lewis' to the project manager that would oversee the actual building of the home.   Hoyt is not out at each site every day.  He relies on his project managers to keep him updated regularly.   "At first in remodeling, I had small enough jobs that it was practical and feasible to do all the work myself.   As the jobs got bigger, I saw that I could only be in one place at a time and realized I needed more people in order to increase my capacity."   Still desiring to maintain consistent quality control, Hoyt uses a project manager system in which his most skilled tradesmen oversee each job from start to finish.   "That," says Hoyt "is probably the most significant advantage of the Design/Build concept.   Things are far less likely to slip between the cracks."

During the construction, the Lewis' were kept abreast of the progress in the field through daily contact with their project manager, who also kept them informed of the remaining selection deadlines (such as when they needed to have a final decision on paint colors, etc.).   Because of the continuity of having the same company in charge of design and construction, many of the questions that arose in the field were quickly and easily solved.

Design-build is not limited to new construction projects and even though Do-It-Yourself has become a national homeowner's mantra, remodeling projects of all sizes are commonly handled by design-build firms as well.   Major additions and home makeovers are excellent candidates.   Major remodels are never simple, though they can be made easy depending on who is doing your work.

Sitting in their new living room recently, Kathleen says of their building experience, "We visited the site nearly everyday but never felt it was necessary.   When we left town for a few days we knew everything was in good hands."

The Lewis' literally moved into their new home from next door.  Their daughter, son-in-law and three grandchildren (two of which are twins, born during construction), now reside in the old family home.   Kathleen kept a daily photographic record of the project which can be viewed as a slide show on the GHC website, along with other pictures of the finished home.   And Warren's appreciation for Greg has only grown, "that guy knows a lot about construction."

 

 

 

A Home Worth Loving

UKIAH - If you worked for the designer that had just won the National Association of Home Builders 2006 award for "Best Design Center", who would you have build your major home remodel?   Anne Fashauer, a project coordinator for the Philo, California based design firm, Taylor Roberts Inc., chose to work with Greg Hoyt, the contractor that built the award winning complex.

The Taylor Robert's compound, completed in 2005, consists of offices, reception area, design rooms, online ordering center and a furniture warehouse.  Fashauer, on site almost daily, had a better view of the work in progress than the building inspector.  For instance, the Hoyt crew had a peanut gallery of Taylor Roberts staff while pouring over 90 cubic yards of cement, with Fashauer in the front row asking questions throughout.  Long before the commercial project was over, she was on a first name basis with the entire crew.   Fashauer comments, "The [Greg Hoyt Construction] crew was very professional and organized and friendly and the site was kept so clean."

While cost was an important consideration, Fashauer wanted someone she could trust to complete the job in a timely manner, as well as help her with design issues.  She gained an appreciation for Hoyt's ability to get the job done.  "I really liked Greg's work.  I didn't get other bids.  I got some flak for that but I really liked how well the Taylor Roberts' job went."  Before the Taylor Robert's project was completed, Fashauer talked with Hoyt and made a commitment so that she could be entered into his busy calendar.

Hoyt, whose main business is remodeling, met with Fashauer at her home in the mountains above the Anderson Valley.  The dated ranch-style house, built by her uncle in the late 1960's, lacked many of the amenities Fashauer needed for the lifestyle she was seeking.  "I had a long list of things I wanted.  The list was divided into 'must have' and 'would like.'"  At the top of her list was updating the design (the kitchen and garage were at opposite ends of the house), while accommodating a private space for her mother who lives with her.

Fashauer, constantly exposed to the avant-garde of interior design, knew she was asking a lot to update her aging ranch-style house, yet retain the charm of the woodsy environment, all within her tight budget.  But Hoyt was confident they could accomplish everything she was asking for.  "Being a designer/builder allows me to keep both the building requirements and budget constraints of the project in mind throughout the process.  The results of which are a smoother running job that is more cost effective."

Partly financing the remodeling effort with a limited timber harvest from her property as well as a Zinfandel vineyard in its 5th year (the first year these grapes generally come into full production), Fashauer was aware that the major remodel she was hoping for had to be done judiciously.  "Some of my cabinets came from IKEA and we got great deals on the carpet and vinyl flooring and lighting fixtures from some of our suppliers."  One of her favorites is a china cabinet that wasn't selling from the Taylor Robert's warehouse.  "And my boyfriend did most of the excavating."

Besides the new second story master bedroom suite, Fashauer is particularly pleased with how her enlarged living room, with its exposed rafters, seamlessly matches the original.  "You can't even tell where the old living room leaves off and the new ceiling begins."  She also loves how Hoyt created an open plan between kitchen, dining and living areas connecting them with a soffited passage way.  A particularly ingenious design feature is the perimeter soffit in the kitchen that permits down-lighting while still allowing for the dramatic raked ceiling, including a gable niche above the sink.  The down-lighting shows off Fashauer's custom kitchen cabinets, one of the areas she chose to spend on more expensive materials.

Of the design Hoyt says, "In Anne's house the greater challenge really wasn't combining two living areas, but fixing the flow of the existing space.  You want to do that without adding a lot of new square footage. We only added a 384 sq. ft. kitchen to the front of the house, the same end as the garage, and then only 525 sq. ft. more for the master bedroom and bath over the garage saving a considerable amount on foundation work.  We left part of the original kitchen as a kitchenette for her mother's more private side of the house."

Hoyt has been designing and building for twenty-six years.   "My first design/remodel job was my own home," and as a result, is wary of what often passes for the designer's job.  "I am much more concerned throughout the whole process with the needs of the client.  The design process informs the building process in a much more intimate way.  When I get plans from other designers, often those needs aren't met either in terms of the building itself or the budget.  Experience has shown me that budget is often the last thing on a designer's mind.  The reality is, no matter how wonderful the design is, if the client can't afford it, they are not going to be happy."

Design challenges aside, what delights Fashauer the most is the wide expanse of windows in her kitchen/dining area overlooking her Zinfandel vineyard.  At the kitchen sink or sitting at the window bench fronting the dining area, she can watch the sun rise over the glistening, dew laden grapes.  "Yes, of course you can do a story about my house," she said when approached about the article, "I love my house."  (More photos of Ms. Fashauer's home can be seen on the Greg Hoyt Construction website, www.hoytconstruction.com .)

Classic Home Receives Modern Upgrades

UKIAH, CALIFORNIA - August 9, 2006 - Ukiah Daily Journal - Owning and living in a classic or period home presents its array of advantages and disadvantages ranging from striking and handsome exteriors, to small, disjunctive rooms and ill-planned add-ons.

Greg Hoyt Construction, a Ukiah-based building and remodeling company, was recently able to work with the owners of a classic Italianate style home in Ukiah, that had been experiencing this juxtaposition and wanted to put the balance in their favor.  With the help of designer Gail Hendersen of Hendersen Design Group (Healdsburg), their home's list of disadvantages was carefully crafted into creative, beautiful, and yet practical solutions that have preserved and enhanced the essential character of their residence, while giving them the livability that they need.

While adding only 113 square feet of space and reallocating other existing areas, this four bedroom/two bath house with leaky, non-functioning windows, cramped entryway and dysfunctional back porch, was transformed into three ample bedrooms with built-in storage, walk-in closets, two spacious bathrooms, and a more spacious, inviting entry.   A redesigned and rebuilt roofline over the existing kitchen and rear porch, further provided usability of every square inch of precious space.  Each modification, both inside and out, was carefully designed and constructed to enhance the feel of this masterpiece home down to the sweeping curves atop the new cedar fence and open redwood cabana at poolside.

The house has been in the family since the current owner was 12 years old, but its past goes even farther back.   Because of this, it was important to preserve the style and design integrity, not to just add on a 'whole new wing'.   Finding a designer and contractor that would work within those parameters was an important first step in the process.  It proved to be an auspicious choice overall, as there were a number of 'unexpected discoveries' once the actual work was in progress that needed the expertise of qualified craftsmen.

Because the family was residing in the home during construction, the main aim of Greg Hoyt Construction was to manage the remodel in such a way as to avoid disruption of the flow of family living as much as possible.   This was made easier by the layout of the home, allowing targeted construction areas to be masked off keeping the intrusion of dust and debris into the rest of the home to a minimum.  It also allowed the family the full use of at least one undisturbed bathroom throughout the process.  Taking into account the family's daily schedule, aided by daily communication during the course of construction, the inconveniences of living amidst a remodel were held to a minimum.

Beginning with the upstairs, the daughter's bedroom remained untouched while the space of another bedroom was reallocated to create a walk-in closet and enlarge the existing upstairs bathroom.   This bathroom received a large tiled shower, vanity, and an ample linen closet.  The third bedroom, the guest room, had its closet space modified to accommodate built-in storage and a TV cabinet.

As each room was modified, new solid wood, double-hung, windows were installed that matched the existing unique window style, typical of the Italianate motif.  The energy efficient ratings and dual glazing will cut winter fuel bills and the new functionality will increase utilization of fresh air throughout the rest of the year.

Stairwell and entry modifications followed, being perhaps the most dramatic change in the house, accompanied by the refurbishing of the downstairs living room and music room.  The structure of the existing stairwell allowed GHC to elevate the ceiling height in the foyer producing a more open and inviting entrance.  The living room and music room received new wiring, sheetrock and were enhanced with a dark stained hickory, pre-finished hardwood floor throughout.  A vintage set of pocket doors between living and music rooms were refurbished to working order; a pleasant surprise that was originally thought impossible without replacing the wall.  As in the upstairs, new windows and paint completed this downstairs area.

One of the last portions of this extensive remodel was the construction of the 9'x13' master bath, the only new portion added to the home.   Included here were custom-made, deep cherry-wood cabinets, with carefully chosen white marble tile for the vanity top to maintain the period feel of this home.   Generous glass block windows add light while retaining privacy in the new walk-in tile shower and commode areas.  A classic white, octagonal tile was used on the floor throughout the shower and bathroom, while the shower walls utilized a square, cobalt blue tile.  A lavish multi-head shower system was installed that included a large rain head, two side jets and a hand-held unit.  A Jacuzzi tub with larger picture windows overlooking the garden completes the room's accoutrements.

Finally, the previous downstairs bathroom was converted into a walk-through closet and entrance hall to the new bath.   Several modifications were made to the master bedroom at this juncture as well, including window replacement, new sheetrock, wiring and paint.

The exterior of the house remained relatively unchanged except for new paint.  A painted cedar fence with automatic gate was added towards the front of the house improving security while maintaining the period ambiance.

The owners, who are happy to tell of their experience but prefer to remain un-named for privacy sake, attribute the success of this remodeling experience to using a construction company with a capable, yet personable, crew.  "They stayed on the job from start to finish and the project manager was very conscientious about keeping us informed and respecting our privacy."  Adding that "keeping a sense of humor and flexibility" was a key to maintaining sanity when one is dealing with an older home and chooses to live within the construction zone.  Some of the 'surprises' included finding that the original roof rafters weren't even attached, and after removing layers of old flooring, finding that nothing was underneath to support it.  These and other discoveries represented a need for flexibility in both timeframe and budget, since it all needed to be rectified before further work could be completed.

The surrounding terrain received a few renovations as well, with the addition of a built-in swimming pool and accompanying landscape.  A new cabana embellishes the exposed aggregate decking around the pool, complemented by a soft-scape of lavenders, grasses, and sun-loving native plants in the surrounding beds.  An attractive fountain has been built into the pool circulation system accentuating the sound and feel of water.

One of the most important pieces of advice that these classic home owners would give is to find the right contractor.  They mentioned that relationship and communication abilities are worth far more than just getting the cheapest price.  They express," Having someone you can work with is worth every penny."  Was there anything that they would do differently?   "Yes, we would have called on Greg Hoyt Construction earlier in the process, knowing what we know now."

Those interested in seeing more pictures of this and other remodeling projects, you can visit the GHC website: www.greghoytconstruction.com, or call GHC at 462-6082.

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Greg Hoyt Construction Receives Gold Award

UKIAH, CALIFORNIA - May 10, 2006 - Ukiah Daily Journal - Greg Hoyt Construction was recently the recipient of the 2006 Gold Award as builder of the new Taylor Roberts Design Center in Philo, California.   This prestigious national award is in recognition of excellence for "Best Design Center" and given by the National Sales and Marketing Council and Whirlpool Corporation.   Taylor Roberts is an interior design firm specializing in model home merchandising.

The award-winning project entailed the construction of a 2-story, 5000 sqft office complex including design workstations, client meeting rooms, design sample libraries and 1600 sqft of interior design inventory storage.   The Mediterranean style stucco building, complete with tile roof and olive tree studded courtyards, is a showplace of interior treatments.  "As the general contractor," says Greg Hoyt, owner of Greg Hoyt Construction, "it is quite rewarding to receive such recognition for bringing the hopes and dreams of a very talented group of interior designers into reality."

In business since 1990, Greg Hoyt Construction is one of the prime residential and light commercial, design/build and remodeling companies located in Ukiah to serve Mendocino and Lake Counties.   Hoyt adds, "Our main aim is to provide a building or remodeling experience that is as smooth and enjoyable as possible for our customers."   In addition to work such as that for the Taylor Roberts firm, GHC produces projects from simple additions to whole-house remodels and new construction.   Their main office is located at 744 Talmage Road in Ukiah.

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Mendocino College Garden Project

UKIAH, CALIFORNIA - December 1997 - Mendocino College Eagle News - One of the highlights of the fall semester at the Mendocino College Agriculture department, has been the visualization of a two year project known as the California Garden.  Friday, November 7th, was the ribbon cutting ceremony marking the culmination of an 8-week college short course designed to give students hands-on experience bringing concept into reality and the privilege of leaving a permanent contribution to the college.  Also involved in this landmark occasion, was the irrigation class, taught by Dale Higgins.  These students, aided by the college maintenance staff, were instrumental in designing and installing the irrigation system for the garden.

The California Garden is part of the master landscape plan for the MC Agriculture Department.  It demonstrates current California design style and technique, as well as an extremely wide variety of plant material, indicative of the state's enviable climate.  The completion of the garden marks a new phase of development at the Ag unit, one that brings the ornamental side of horticulture into the mainstream for the Ag students.

Local businesses were getting involved as well, with donations of time and materials from Greg Hoyt Construction, Cold Creek Compost, Evergreen Gardenworks Nursery, Oak Valley Nursery, PG and E, and Big 4 rents.

"Involvement and support from both the students and community has been simply wonderful", states Cathy Hoyt, designer and instructor for the project.

Although many California native plants are included in the California Garden, it is not restricted to such.  A partner project, the California Garden II, will contain solely native vegetation and demonstrate many plants' abilities to withstand summer drought.  The California Garden II is now in the preliminary planning stages along with Japanese, shade, ornamental grass and rock garden portions of the master plan.  The completion of the master landscape plan will be a tremendous boon to the college Ag Department and students, allowing on-campus viewing of cutting edge plant material and design, as well as hands-on experience 'making it all happen'.

The California Garden, located at the Ag unit (far east side of campus), may be viewed any week day from 8:00am until 3:00pm.  Better yet, check out our classes available for Spring and come be a part of the action!

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