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CUT CORNERS WITH SLY CREATIVITY

The home of architect-builder Glenn Pollock and his wife, Judy, is a very personal expression of a couple of artistic people with a definite sense of what they want in their own residence.

In the course of building, they have incorporated a number of custom details, outlined some shortcuts and developed some design maxims to help other would-be remodelers.Some of Glenn's architectural projects have been featured in a number of Sunset Books and West Coast newspapers. Here are some of their tips:

Put your money where you can see it:

- Smooth-finish Sheetrock, when trimmed out with wood, has the look and feel of plaster walls.

- Modular cabinet box units shave costs. Get a custom look with custom-designed doors.

- Painting the kitchen cabinet box units allows addition of owner-built units without worrying about matching wood type and finish.

- Use of modular cabinets permitted the "cloud-lift" arrangement (staggered heights) of wall cabinets.

Be creative:

- Use 12-inch deep wall cabinets as base cabinets for a built-in dining room buffet. Go custom with doors, if you wish.

- Simple tile work is easy to master and has a more expensive look than plastic laminate at similar cost.

- For uneven sized tiles, like Mexican pavers, consider a running bond pattern - it breaks up the lines of grout so that tile alignment is not so critical.

- For advanced tile work, get samples and cut out a bunch of the shapes from colored cardboard or paper and play with the combinations.

- White plastic fluorescent light fixture grills can be used for supply and return heating outlet covers. Frame with wood trim.

- Lacquered common copper pipe can be glued with epoxy to form shower rods, bath towel bars - even parts of light fixtures.

- Elevating the refrigerator 9 inches off the floor makes for easier access to lower shelves. ("If I'd thought of it early on, I would have put a drawer under there for more storage," Glenn says.)

Be practical:

- If you are doing your own wiring, maximize outlets and lighting. You can always turn off lights if they're there, but you can't turn them on if they're not there.

- One outlet in each room at switch height eases the chore of vacuuming.

- Beams, girders and headers can be built-up from 2-by lumber. It's much easier handling 2-bys than solid 6-by-8s or 6-by-12s.

- Butt joints, which are easier than mitered joints, simplify the application of wood trim.

- Use standard-dimension lumber for trim. The Pollocks used 1-by-4s for horizontal trim and ripped 1-by-6s in half (about 2 5/8 inchs) for vertical trim.

- Don't fill finish nail holes with matching putty immediately. The wood will lighten or darken with age but the putty won't. The Pollocks stopped filling the nail holes: "After a while you never notice them."

And finally, estimate your costs and time - then double them.