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Expert Advice: How to Throw a Dinner Party with Minimal Effort, from an SF Creative Director

George McCalman is the Lois Weisberg in my life. He has a gift for meeting interesting people, forging an immediate bond, and—here’s where the Lois analogy comes in—instinctually connecting them to other people in his orbit to yield new friendships and creative collaborations. George wasn’t a born connector, though. When I first met the creative director and artist in the early 2000s, in fact, he wasn’t one to mix his social circles (I was then firmly stuck in his “work friend” group). “When I turned 35, I freaked out because I realized none of my friends knew each other,” he…


How to Fill a Hole in a Brick Wall

Project details Skill 1 out of 5 Easy Estimated Time 4-6 hours Since it’s such a small repair, it may be a challenge to get a mason to fix a small hole in a brick wall. In this guide, we share how you can tackle this project on your own with materials you can buy and tools you can rent. What to Use to Fill Holes in Brick Walls? You’ll need mortar, matching brick, and a few other tools. To fill the hole in a brick wall you use mortar. In the case of this project, we were able to…


The BS* + Beer Show: Construction Instruction

This episode of the BS* + Beer show features Gord Cooke, Mark LaLiberte, and Justin Wilson—the three principals of Denver-based Construction Instruction—explaining their approach to educating residential building professionals. They talk about the impetus for starting the program and dive deep into the value of experiential training, pointing to the efficacy of hands-on demonstrations—their primary teaching tool. They talk energetically about Ci Live, a turbo-charged, in-depth program covering applied building science, climate-specific construction, building enclosure details, HVAC mechanicals, drawing plan optimization, and more. If you care about building better homes and want to learn how to do it, watch this…


Widow’s Walk: An Inside Look at an Uncommon Roof Feature

Builder-at-large Justin Fink is on the job with J&J Custom Builders to take a look at some unique roof framing. Here’s what he had to say about it. The flat section is just a big box joined by double LVL beams, with regular joists going down by blocking to stiffen everything up. In the corner, there are valley rafters for the hip roof that go all the way down to the wall plate. In all four corners, there’s a little birdsmouth at the top. You don’t need any posts here going down to the floor because all four corners are…


Current Obsessions: October Still Life

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How To Repair a Chain Link Fence

Compared to charming white picket and stunning gothic wrought iron, chain link fences get a bad rap. Sure, chain link fences are as basic and practical as they come, but they’re also incredibly durable and long-lasting. And, since only a few things tend to go wrong with them, learning how to repair a chain link fence is relatively easy. How To Repair a Chain Link Fence: Bent Rail Chain link fences are sturdy but fallen tree limbs or fence-hopping teenagers can bend a top rail. Fortunately, chain link fence repairs are fairly straightforward. Tools and Materials: Step One: Untie the…

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