Capital Improvements and Remodeling/Home Improvement Information

ARB Application Documents

Video Tours of Remodeled Kitchens (5 from Sept. 2010 tour):

  • 902: first to raise ceiling, oven moved next to fridge, peninsula counter reconfigured
  • 906: large stove w/ counter & cabinets on both sides, flat peninsula, centered sink on window
  • 916: lots changed–sink in peninsula; cabinet wall in dining room
  • 932 (2012): kitchen ceiling raised but not over cabinets; peninsula reconfigured, two windows added, dining room cabinet counter wall; also living room modifications including polished slab floor, fireplace framing, and skylights in cathedral ceiling.
  • 94x: raised entire ceiling with cabinet up to top; cabinet/counter wall in dining room, great design ideas
  • 95x: got rid of the peninsula altogether, used Ikea cabinetry throughout
  • 974: new cabinet fronts, ceiling light, flat peninsula counter (w/o step-up)
  • 977: flat peninsula counter, new cabinetry, recessed track lights in ceiling box

Home Remodel Products and Water-Saving Tips (from Harold)

  • Free water saving devices from the Goleta Water District (
    Tip: the District’s 1.25 gpm Niagra shower heads work very well, nothing like the old “cone” ones with integrated shut-off. Note that you have to turn in your old shower head when you pick up your free new one. If you prefer a shower with a hose, my other shower has a 1.5gpm Niagra model that we like a lot, $18 at amazon.
    The .5 gal/min faucet aerators work very well too, you can get as many as you need, no turn-in necessary. Hose nozzles are fine too.
  • Toilet replacement: The toilets originally installed in our homes were 2.5 gal/flush models, superceded in the 2000s by 1.6gpf ones. Nowadays 1.28 or even 1gpf is standard. I’ve replaced all three of mine with three different water-saving models, and one is far superior to the other two:
    • American Standard “Cadet Pro,” 1.28 gal/flush, 12″ rough-in (distance drain to wall–this is standard for our units unless you’ve added thickness to your wall). I highly recommend this model: as or more powerful than the Toto ST-743S (1.6 gal/flush) I installed in another bathroom, and quieter (not to mention those .32 gals more efficient). In Jan. 2015 it was $285 at Economy Plumbing on the 600 block of East Haley–the wax ring kit (needed for install) and tax brought it to $313. Price equivalent to online, and this is a local family business. I can’t tell you how happy I am to be rid of the a different American Std. 1.6 gpf that IL had installed a few years back, which was nothing but trouble from the start.
      Handyman Noe Venes, cell 805-636-4711, installed it for me for under $100, including the haul-away fee for the old one (lots cheaper than a plumber).
  • Washing Machine Graywater System
    The only gray water system that does not need a permit is from your laundry. I found a way to make installation completely reversible, and am very happy with mine, in use since Oct. 2015. My top-loader at 1-2 loads/week produces more water than I need for all my gardening needs throughout the dry season. Video coming soon (if you’re interested sooner, you’re welcome to come to 932 for a tour), but here in short:

    • Instead of the drain hose going into the wall drain, it goes into a 3-way diverter valve. You flip the handle to send the water through flexible tubing through the dryer vent into a rain barrel in your study patio. Easy dip & fill a watering can for any plants you want to water. You need to use a biocompatible (not just biodegradable) detergent (and avoid bleach etc, or don’t use wash water for watering). In moderately wet times just the rinse water is sufficient for our modest planting areas. Lots of websites give info; we can keep it simple without backflow & pressure relief valves: Oasis Design; RootSimple; San Fran City;
      Parts needed (mine cost about $100 total, w/o the rain barrel):

      1. One 3-port diverter valve, $39+$11 shipping from the local S.B. Oasis Design (I got mine for $46 at, but can’t find that site anymore); with some scrap wood and metal straps to attach it to the wall;
      2. Three 1″ screw-to-barb hose connectors (2 straight, one 90-degree elbow) to attach tubing to diverter valve (thread side is 1″ NPT male)($3-5 each at amazon; straight)
      3. Two 10′ lengths of 1.25″ outer diameter (1″ inner diameter) tubing (I got these for $19 total on amazon, but now more expensive there; also sold at Home Improvement etc.)
      4. Two 90-degree elbow barbed 1″ tubing connectors (to make the angle through the dryer vent) (amazon link; $1.65 each + $260 shipping)
      5. Five 1.25″ tubing clamps (to be quite sure the tubing doesn’t slip off the barbs) $ for pack of 10 on amazon
      6. A 1.25″ hollow core drill bit to put one hole in the top of the dryer vent (borrow mine from me for free, or $ at Home Depot)
      7. One sturdy 40-gallon trash can or rain barrel ($
      8. Oasis super-concentrated detergent (available at IV co-op for $24; product info; $42 on amazon)–I find this cleans better than other liquid detergents I’ve used. More info at