Remodeling and House Work

This is a boring homeowner post. Be warned!

R and I have some money right now that we’re wanting to do useful things with, investment-wise. Our home has, at a guess, lost 10% in value since we bought it a year and a half ago.

While I still have the rebuilding of our brick porch to consider (yowza!), I’ve thought about having our bathroom or kitchen remodeled/redone. Both were partially done by previous owners, who did a kind of craptastic job with parts of it. For example, the tile floors are cracked in places because the subflooring had more flex than the large tiles could accommodate.

Then there is the back room, which is a separate addition off of the back deck. It is where the washer and dryer live but most of the space is used as a meditation/ritual space. The flooring is nasty, cheap vinyl (with a rug over it right now) and the subflooring isn’t the greatest. Since one of the main crawlspace access points is underneath the room, I’ve seen it from below often enough.

So, it wouldn’t hurt to invest some money into redoing or improving parts of the house. I have two general questions though, and they are both Bay Area related:

1) Where does one find reliable people to work on these things in the area? - As we all know, contractors are a dime a dozen but, as we learned with our old house, they often mostly suck. I’d like to find some reliable in the East Bay to do work for me on this stuff, like a kitchen remodel.

2) What are ecologically sound resources for this work? - There is an “EcoHome” place nearby that focused on ecological building materials. Before I had any work done, I’d want to talk to these people.

In the short term, I think I’d like to see our kitchen redone to be actually nice and the floor and walls ripped up in the back room and replaced with a nice wood floor, clean walls, etc. and a real partition for the laundry machines so they aren’t simply behind the curtain that we put up.

We also have two tiny windows (roughly two feet by two feet) on either side of our fireplace in the living room. We’ve thought of having these replaced with nice glasswork or something but we have no idea of where to find people for that sort of work.

Any thoughts or suggestions from people?