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Emergency Preparations: Lighting

Emergency Preparedness: Lighting

Emergency Preparedness: LightingThe recent devastating earthquake in Italy and 27th anniversary of the October 17 Loma Prieta earthquake are both reminders to make sure your emergency kits are up to date. One thing of importance is to have backup lighting sources available. We can experience power outages during even mild rainstorms, and a major earthquake could leave us without electricity for days at a time.

With the many options of lanterns, flashlights, and headlamps available these days, there is no reason for candles, which can be dangerous. Review your home and work emergency kits and update if necessary.

Personal Flashlights: A ll f amily m embers and coworkers should have easy access to a flashlight, which should be checked regularly. I recommend Fenix® P D35, w hich p roduces a brilliant beam of light. With a maximum output of 960 lumens, this light is brighter than many search-and-rescue flashlights on the market while remaining a fraction of the size and the cost. Powering this incredible technology is either two lithium CR123 batteries, or a single, rechargeable Li-Ion 18650 cell. (Sku 300396, $79.99) Powered by two AA batteries, the Mini Maglite® LED is very compact for a purse, backpack, or desk drawer. Maglite is known for its quality and durability. (Sku 34090, $14.99)

Area Lighting: Dedicated area-type lanterns like the Rayovac® Sportsman 9-watt lantern can be set on a high shelf and illuminate a large space. This will allow you to perform tasks or play a board game with the family while the power is out. (Sku 3165784, $34.99)

Headlamps: A wellfitting headlamp makes it a lot easier to read, cook, or perform any task because your hands are free. The Energizer® LED Headlight offers various settings and a pivoting light. (Sku 3529773, $19.99)

Should you have any questions on lighting or emergency preparations, please feel free to reach me at or by calling the Cole Street store at 415/319-6705.

—Glen, Cole Street Safety Coordinator

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Home Painting by Todd

Todd painting a home

ToddSummer and fall are excellent times in the Bay Area to undertake a home painting project. If your home is in need of a paint job, consider Todd, a proud member of our Repair Referral Service. Todd began painting over 35 years ago while in college at the University of Vermont. After graduating with a bachelor of science degree in geology, he found himself in San Francisco, where he began working with a painting contractor restoring Victorians.
With an ability to finish difficult and daunting projects and a keen eye for detail, Todd earned a painter’s license and founded his own painting company in 1994. Todd’s philosophy for these last 22 years is based on providing a great product for a fair price. He understands the need for the right tools, the right paint, a great crew, and a clean, solid methodology. Todd knows that there is a big difference between “working harder and working smarter.”
Todd painting a home“Creating a great product in an efficient way,” Todd says, “involves building a solid foundation through great communication, thinking ahead, and completing a series of building blocks in a careful, efficient, and thorough manner.” All of Todd’s newly hired employees receive personal training and oversight in order to improve their skills and strengthen their contributions to the team effort. Todd hires and trains people who are able to think ahead, work conscientiously, and double-check their work at each phase, ending with great results.
One of the most common sayings in the painting industry goes: “Prep is everything.” On older homes, this often involves thorough removal of old, peeling paint before anything else happens. Fortunately, Todd is EPA-certified for lead paint removal and has decades of experience in keeping the work environment clean and safe. Once the paint has been removed, it’s time to apply wood hardeners or primers as needed, refasten any loose boards, replace any rotted trim, apply epoxy fillers, caulk, prime again, and then, finally, paint.
Todd works in both the City and the East Bay and can be reached through our Repair Referral Service at or 415/753-2653 ext. 3.

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Sewing Circle: How to Hand Mend

Sewing Circle: How to Hand Mend

Tuesday, July 12, 5:00 pm–7:00 pmSewing Circle: How to Hand Mend
956 Cole Street

It’s unfortunate that we live in such a disposable world these days. Oftentimes, it seems more convenient to toss something and replace it with a brand new item instead of trying to make repairs. We all probably have a piece of clothing that needs a stitch (or nine), but many of us seem to never get around to doing that mending. With home economics (wood shop and auto shop classes, too) no longer offered at many schools, some younger folks may have never even threaded a needle. We’re here to help!

Join us at our Cole Street store for a sewing circle on Tuesday, July 12, and learn how to hand stitch minor tears in clothing or sew a patch on jeans or a jacket. Just bring your clean clothing, and our friend Alicia Pucci from Sew-it-All will lead us in the repairs. A former home economics instructor, Alicia now teaches private sewing lessons, sewing classes, and specialty workshops in her charming Marina studio

Hand mending is a valuable skill for anyone. Who wants to go on a date or a job interview with a missing button that could have been fixed in a matter of minutes? Everyone is welcome to stop by and repair a few pieces of apparel, pillows, curtains, or other household items in need of mending. We’ll be serving tea and cookies.

The class is free, but please register by e-mailing or phone 415/674-8913 ext. 4. (Children 12 years of age and up welcome. Clean clothing only. Needles and thread will be provided.)

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Meet Marc: Our Master Locksmith

marc-locksmithYou may already know Marc Estoque, our Master Class Locksmith. Marc, a native San Franciscan, has been working with COLE HARDWARE for more than 20 years; in fact, he has over 30 years experience installing and maintaining locks in the many Victorians and Edwardians in San Francisco. He takes pride in his work and offers unparalleled customer service in the COLE HARDWARE tradition.

A typical call for Marc these days is a “rekey” (combination change) whereby, for any number of reasons, a customer needs his or her locks changed. Marc also gets calls when customers are locked out of their house or car. In most cases, Marc can provide a fast 30-minute response time.

Marc says, “People should take a few minutes to recall who might have copies of their property keys, such as a former housemate, dog walker, tradesperson, contractor, and so on.” Many people in San Francisco live in shared housing. Locks and keys are rarely changed when a property is bought, sold, or rerented, which means former tenants and their friends, associates, and others might still have keys to your home. Marc suggests that homeowners, business owners, and property managers consider purchasing a lock system that will block unauthorized duplication of keys. This concept is called “key control.” COLE HARDWARE carries locks that operate with high security and patented keys. Marc advises his customers to consider master key systems as another option.

When asked what advice he could give to our customers, Marc said, “Customers should consider getting a security consultation if they have any doubts or concerns about the overall security of their property. Additionally, they should install quality locks such as Schlage or high-security locks like Medeco.” If a customer would like a security consultation, Marc can do a complete walk-through of the property. He will look for any security vulnerabilities and point out any substandard hardware (locks, windows, doors, and so on). He will then provide a written summary that will include suggestions as well as hardware recommendations. A standard security consultation is $150. If customers choose Marc to upgrade their security, the $150 fee is applied to the final bill. For the month of March, Marc is offering a special price of $49.99 for a security consultation—a $100 savings!

Marc is versed in the many different high-security locks and their installations, including commercial applications such as magnetic card readers, biometric (fingerprint reader) locks, and push-button entry systems.

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Meet Carla, Our Color Expert

MeetCarlaMany of you may recognize Carla as a crew member at our Cole Street store. She might even have helped you choose paint colors. What you probably don’t know is that she has her own interior/exterior color consulting business. She can help you select colors in your own home with the actual lighting, fixed elements, and room flow that play an integral part of a well-designed color scheme and are impossible to bring along with you to a paint store.

For paint, context is everything. The setting is critical to whether a particular color will be just okay or will truly shine. And it’s not just about painting a room—it’s about creating a collection of spaces that mesh together to create a mood that wasn’t there before, one that reflects who you are. You may even be surprised by a side of your personality that suddenly blossoms in your newly painted space.

If you’ve ever walked into COLE HARDWARE and been overwhelmed by the sheer number of colors available, you are not alone. Add to that the fact that there are nine different undertones in neutrals, some of which do not pair well together, and the task of choosing paint colors can be daunting. Choosing the right colors for your home is important, and this is where Carla can help. She will take the time to understand your personal aesthetic. She will help you select colors to enhance each interior space and create flow throughout the entire home.

Carla can help you choose exterior colors that work with your home’s architecture, fixed materials, and setting to create a beautiful result. She can also consult with you when you are choosing materials for a remodel or a new build, such as a granite countertop or floor tile. She will show you the wall color options that will coordinate with your choice of materials. This can be eye-opening and a tremendously important step in the process because you may not like the paint colors that will work best with your chosen materials.

Carla has the knowledge to explain to you why a particular color is right for a given space. She can quickly narrow down the multitude of possibilities to a few excellent options. Carla has a great eye for color, a background in design, and she has studied color extensively. She loves the “hands-on” nature of her consulting work—seeing new spaces, touching materials, and experiencing different color combinations in the real world rather than on a computer screen. She has been specifying color in a professional capacity for a number of years. Carla finds real joy in helping clients find colors that make their homes a place they love to spend time in. One of Carla’s favorite client comments was that the color selection process was fun rather than being stressful. And, of course, the client raved about the finished result.

A problem-solver at heart, Carla has discovered while working at COLE HARDWARE how much she enjoys engaging with customers and helping them solve their paint- and hardware-related problems. When color consulting with clients in their homes, not only does Carla get to solve her clients’ color-related problems, but she gets to let her creative juices flow, resulting in beautiful solutions. She helps create dramatic change, and she finds this to be extremely rewarding. If your home is in need of a color makeover, contact our Repair Referral Service at 415/200-3430 or e-mail, and we’ll put you in touch with our color expert.

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HVAC Repair and More

Screen Shot 2016-01-07 at 2.23.59 PMJanuary, when we can experience some of our coldest temperatures, is a lousy time for your home’s heating system to break down. But not to worry—if it should happen, we know a company that can help! Richard and Krissy, owners of their heating and air conditioning (HVAC) company since 1996, are part of Cole Hardware’s Repair Referral Service.

Company president Richard holds C-36 (plumbing), A (general), and C20 (mechanical) state contractor licenses. This means his company is able to provide a multitude of energy-efficient measures, including but not limited to heating and air conditioning, duct replacement, air sealing, tankless water heaters, solar installation, and even window installation! Upgrading your home to be more energy efficient can mean lower bills every month. When your home is more energy efficient, it can be more comfortable—cozy and warm in the winter and cool in the summer.

Their company is also Building Performance Institute (BPI) certified. Krissy, vice president, told us, “When you use a BPI-certified professional, you get a member of the elite—someone who has proven that they have the knowledge and skills to diagnose the root cause of the problems in your house and the ability to provide solutions to fix it right the first time.” That means you get your money’s worth—a comfortable, safe, durable home with improved indoor air quality and lower energy bills.

Like Cole Hardware, they are a certified green business, Diamond Certified, NATE (North American Technician Excellence) certified, and have won a KRON4 “Best of the Bay” for four years. Richard and Krissy offer a five-year parts and labor warranty on any new install, as well as 100% customer satisfaction. “If for any reason within the first year you are not 100% satisfied with your new system, we will make it right, or we will remove the system and gladly refund 100% of your investment—that’s how confident we are in what we do.”

In addition to all of the above-mentioned services, they also offer air purification systems that help those with allergies, asthma, and other breathing issues. Clean Effects, a whole-house cleaner that removes more than 90% of the allergens in a home’s air, is a product the couple has put in their own home because two of their children suffer from allergies. Even when they have horrible days outdoors, the children can be comfortable inside. “Thanks to Clean Effects, their symptoms pretty much disappear,” Krissy said.

Owners of a family business that puts customers first, Richard and Krissy believe in community involvement. They sponsor multiple sports teams and work to bring awareness to many nonprofits and their causes. Their business began when Richard, who worked in the heating and air conditioning sector growing up, decided to open his own business, starting in their garage and building the company for the past 18 years. They now have more than 20 employees. “We’ve been blessed by the community. We know the reason we are still in business is because of our customers,” Krissy said. “We want to give back. We really try to go that extra mile.”

Please contact our Repair Referral Service at (415) 200-3430 or e-mail to reach Richard and Krissy.

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Meet Bill, Our HVAC Expert

meetbillHVAC is an acronym for heating, ventilation, and air conditioning. Cole Hardware is pleased to have Bill, the second-generation owner of his family business, on our team. When asked why a customer should call him for a repair or new furnace installation, Bill said, “I have been in the business since the ’60s, working with my father. I know the business, and I seek customer satis faction on all the work that I do. When I install a new furnace, I give the customer a courtesy call the next day or a few days later to make sure the customer is completely satisfied!” Bill gave us a few suggestions on what you can do at home to keep your heating system functioning. Most customers do not act until their heating systems stop working. The number one thing to do is to replace your furnace’s filter on a regular basis—about every three months. What if the furnace stops working? It might be just a bad valve, which can cost around $500 to replace. But it is time to consider replacing the furnace if the furnace is old (20+ years) and not operating efficiently. Larger homes with greater square footage will require a very efficient heating system to adequately heat the home, known as a two-stage furnace. A smaller home will need just a single-stage furnace, with the cost of labor being about the same to install either size of furnace.Bill is an expert in gas furnaces, and he is able to install and repair gravity furnaces. Gravity furnaces are usually located in the basement or garage of a home, with octopus ductwork that leads to heat registers throughout the home. These furnaces have very few moving parts and are therefore less likely to break down. Most homes in San Francisco have gravity furnaces. Bill repairs and installs many gas wall furnaces, as well. He does not work on electric heaters, radiant heaters, or boilers, as he prefers to be an expert on the heating systems that he knows best!If you would like to reach Bill to solve your heating issues this winter, you can contact our Repair Referral Service at 415/200-3430 or

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Meet Veronica, Our Garden Guru

Veronica Guru

Veronica, aVeronica Gurun aesthetic pruner and garden educator, is the owner and operator of a fine gardening business in San Francisco and part of our Repair Referral Service. She thoroughly enjoys garden maintenance—likening it to creating beautiful paintings from a messy canvas—and implementing small-scale garden installations. Using organic, sustainable gardening practices, Veronica advocates for native and low-water-need plants suitable for our San Francisco microclimates.  A two-time winner of the Pitschel Prize for Environmental Writing, a contributor to Pacific Horticulture magazine , a graduate of City College of San Francisco’s Horticulture Department, and an alumna of Garden for the Environment’s Gardening and Composting Educator Training Program, Veronica is honored to share her knowledge and expertise with the community. To further this endeavor, one Sunday every month, Veronica can be found at the San Francisco Botanical Garden in the Helen Crocker Russell Library of Horticulture leading story time for children.

If your garden needs some love and you would like to speak to Veronica, please contact our Repair Referral Service at 415/200-3430 or

Red Flowers Plants Flowers
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Meet Christophe in Person!

Christophe Picture
Christophe Picture

Christophe is responsible for the care and restoration of George Washington’s writing desk at City Hall in New York City.

October 10
956 Cole Street
12-3 p.m.

October 11
Rockridge Out & About
12-3 p.m.

Christophe Pourny has been restoring antiques from his Brooklyn-based studio for over 20 years. In that time, he has developed a dedicated following with celebrities and many celebrated New York–based interior designers. Having grown up in his parent’s antique store in the South of France, Christophe has a unique appreciation for antique furniture and the restoration process.

One of his proudest achievements is his on going work with the City of New York at City Hall and Gracie Mansion (the official residence of the mayor of New York City). The most celebrated of those projects is the care and restoration of George Washington’s writing desk that lives at City Hall. President Washington led the country from New York before the capital was moved to Philadelphia and then ultimately to Washington, DC. This past July, This Old House magazine featured a story on Christophe and his work on this historic desk.

The Furniture Bible is the first book from Christophe Pourny Studio. With over 500 photos and illustrations, Pourny gives detailed information on his restoration projects and techniques, Bibleas well as an understanding of how quality furniture is made and what to look for when buying antiques. Martha Stewart, also an advocate of the all-natural tonics, creams, serums, and waxes produced by Christophe Pourny Studio, wrote the heartfelt foreword as she is a dedicated enthusiast of antique restoration and a longtime client of Christophe Pourny Studio.


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Meet Andrew: Master Electrician and More!

andrew-electricianMaster electrician Andrew earned his title through the old-school tradition of apprenticeship. In 1985, he began pursuing his fascination with all things electrical by signing on with master electrician Jon. Under Jon’s tutelage, Andrew learned theatrical lighting, both residential and commercial electrical, and the special ins and outs of knob and tube wiring in San Francisco’s famous Victorians. To this day, Andrew lives and breathes knob and tube, claiming “if the system hasn’t been ‘remuddled,’ it has a proven track record of being a very safe wiring method.”

In addition to providing general electrical services, Andrew is skilled at troubleshooting electrical quandaries. He brings a highly developed sense of esthetics to light-ing design, which is informed by his background in theater. Creativity comes naturally to Andrew, and his lifelong pursuit of music took him all over the world as a founding member of ROVA, the Bay Area–based saxophone quartet with whom he has toured extensively and has recorded more than a dozen albums. Andrew’s current musical activities include live music for film (Reel Change) and playing with the improvisational music ensemble Howling Ray and the Bent Tones, which he also records in 7.1 surround sound. Which brings us to another of Andrew’s passions and talents: audio/visual and surround sound. He loves bringing his expertise into people’s homes via designing, installing, and calibrating a whole-house sound or theater system.

As well as being licensed as an electrician, Andrew is a Denon trained and certified custom installer. Whatever the size of your space, it can always sound more fabulous! Andrew is an avid bird watcher, and he volunteers his electrical services at the San Francisco Charlotte Maxwell Clinic, which provides free cancer treatment for low-income women. He is delighted to have joined forces with Cole Hardware, a business model he truly admires and believes in—one that’s committed to enhancing the well-being of the neighborhoods it serves. To reach Andrew for any electrical or sound projects in either San Francisco or Oakland, contact our Repair Referral Service at 415/200-3430 or

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