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DIAMOND CERTIFIED EXPERT CONTRIBUTORS IN THE Bay Area – Handyman – Home Repairs CATEGORY

Franco Corvasce is a 15-year veteran of the remodeling industry and owner of FC Remodeling, a Diamond Certified company since 2015. He can be reached at (415) 801-4071 or by email.

Franco Corvasce

diamond certified contributor profile and expert article

Franco Corvasce: A Well-Rounded Education

By James Florence, Diamond Certified Resource Reporter

RICHMOND — Franco Corvasce has been in business for himself since 2009, but in order to go solo, he first had to receive a well-rounded education in the construction field. “I started out working as an installer for a custom cabinet manufacturer,” he recounts. “After about four years, I went to work for a kitchen and bathroom remodeling firm. Between these two companies, I learned how to do every stage of a project, from plumbing and electrical to finish work. The comprehensive knowledge and experience I acquired gave me the confidence to start my own business.”

Today, as owner of FC Remodeling, Franco says his favorite part of his job is pleasing his clients. “I enjoy fixing things for my customers and making their spaces better looking and more functional. They’re happy when I’m finished, and that’s very satisfying.”

Born and raised in San Francisco, Franco resides today in Richmond with his daughter, Corrina, and his son, Andre. Outside of work, he takes advantage of every opportunity to enjoy the beautiful and diverse Bay Area landscape. “My kids and I like to go camping, take road trips and go on walks along the Marina Bay Parkway,” he affirms. “I also like to go fishing when I get a chance.”

In his life and career, Franco espouses the importance of putting forth his best effort. “I believe in doing things right the first time,” he says. “On every job, I try to be the best I can be and treat the client like family. I want to do the best job possible for every customer because I feel that’s what they deserve.”

When asked the first thing he’d do if he were to retire tomorrow, Franco says he’d do some traveling. “I’d definitely take a couple of vacations. I’d probably go to Hawaii first, and then maybe Italy to visit the family I have there.”

Ask Me Anything!

Q: What’s your favorite season?
A: Summer—there’s just more to do, and my kids and I get to go camping and take road trips.

Q: Music or talk radio?
A: Music.

Q: What’s your favorite style of music?
A: I like anything that has guitar, whether it’s rock and roll, blues or jazz. I just like the sound of the guitar—plus, I like to play it a little bit.

Q: What’s your favorite snack?
A: Trail mix

Q: What kinds of movies do you like?
A: Clint Eastwood westerns like “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly.”

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An Easy Way to Prevent Dry Rot

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RICHMOND — One of the most important home maintenance steps you can take is to seal gaps and seams in your kitchen, bathrooms, and other moisture-prone areas. Even in the case of small cracks or gaps, if water is able to… Read more

Expert Video Tip

Video: Sealing Your Bathroom

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RICHMOND — Host, Sarah Rutan: When it comes to preventing water damage in your home, one simple maintenance step can potentially save you thousands of dollars in… Read more

Leo Diaz is president of Diaz and Sons Construction, a Diamond Certified company. He can be reached at (707) 985-8990 or by email.

Leo Diaz

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Leo Diaz: A Family Operation

By James Florence, Diamond Certified Resource Reporter

SANTA ROSA — Leo Diaz found success as a contractor thanks to both a family background and an entrepreneurial streak. “Growing up, I had several family members in the trades, including my father who was an electrician,” he recounts. “I’ve basically been working my whole life. Even as a kid, I was doing lawn maintenance and other jobs for my ‘clients’ around the neighborhood.”

Following high school, Leo enlisted in the U.S. military, where he took part in Operation Desert Storm during his three tours of duty. After finishing his service, he relocated from his home state of Maryland to California to be with his wife, Heidi, whom he met while stationed in Alameda. In 1999, he started his own construction business, and two decades later, he’s joined by his two sons, Lorenzo and Maximus. “It’s a real family operation,” he affirms.

Today, as president of Diaz and Sons Construction, Leo says his favorite part of his job is turning his clients’ visions into reality. “I enjoy sitting down with a client, getting an understanding of what they want to accomplish and bringing that to fruition for them.”

A resident of Santa Rosa, Leo expresses his appreciation for life in the Bay Area. “Maryland is a nice place, but it has cold winters and hot, humid summers. Here, there’s no humidity and we get blue skies almost all year long. Also, there’s an endless amount of things to do. I love mountain biking in Trione-Annadel State Park, as well as golfing and fishing.”

In regard to his professional career, Leo espouses the importance of putting your best foot forward. “Every time I work for a client, I try to give them the best job possible,” he explains. “I want to make an impression on them, so the next time they need work, they’ll call me again. Basically, my goal is for every client to be a long-term client, and the only way to accomplish that is by doing great work.”

Ask Me Anything!

Q: If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go?
A: Alaska.

Q: What’s your favorite restaurant?
A: My house—my wife is the best cook I know of!

Q: What’s your favorite TV show?
A: “Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown.”

Q: Do you collect anything?
A: I collect all kinds of things, including fishing rods, tools and lighters.

Q: What’s your favorite holiday?
A: Thanksgiving, because there’s no gift exchange and it’s all about family.

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Inspecting Your Home Exterior

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SANTA ROSA — As a homeowner, it’s important to periodically inspect your home exterior. A good way to do this is to walk around your home and look closely for any potential issues. By doing this a couple of times each year,… Read more

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Video: Inspecting Your Home Exterior

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SANTA ROSA — Host, Sarah Rutan: To ensure the integrity of your home exterior, it’s a good idea to perform regular inspections. Today we’re in Santa Rosa with… Read more

Gifford Teeple is a longtime veteran of the home repair industry and owner of A Reliable Handyman, a Diamond Certified company since 2005. He can be reached at (510) 200-0450 or by email.

 

Gifford Teeple

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Gifford Teeple: Positively Reliable

By James Florence, Diamond Certified Resource Reporter

EL CERRITO — Following college, Gifford Teeple was unsure what his professional future would look like, but after he relocated to a new setting, things quickly began to take shape. “After finishing college in 1994, I moved from Southern California to Chicago,” he recounts. “My landlord owned 10 other rental properties and did all his own repairs and maintenance. I needed a job, and since I had some prior experience working with an electrician, he agreed to take me on as an assistant. At first, I was just handing him tools and doing grunt work, but over the next several years, I learned a lot and eventually was maintaining all of his properties singlehandedly. After 10 years, I decided to move back to California, where I settled in the Bay Area and started my own handyman business.”

Today, as owner of A Reliable Handyman, Gifford says he enjoys making a positive impact, one repair at a time. “My motto is, ‘Fixing the little things that make a big difference.’ The little things add up, whether it’s a towel bar that fell off years ago or a doorknob that isn’t working correctly, so I like fixing my customers’ problems and bringing them greater peace of mind.”

A resident of El Cerrito, Gifford expresses his appreciation for the dynamic character of the Bay Area. “I love the natural beauty here, as well as all the different neighborhoods in El Cerrito, Berkeley and Oakland. I also appreciate the forward-thinking mentality—the people here tend to be a little more progressive politically, ecologically and spiritually. I also like the fact that we’re close to San Francisco but also close to nature. It’s basically the perfect balance.”

Outside of work, Gifford engages in a variety of active pastimes, from outdoor activities to community events and music. “I love getting out and walking in the woods and by the ocean,” he says. “I also like playing ping pong, attending local events like workshops and film festivals, and playing music. I play guitar and drums, and I’m currently taking a piano class.” Additionally, Gifford likes to further his positive impact through volunteering. “Once a week, I spend a couple of hours at Jefferson Elementary School in Berkeley, where I help students with their reading skills. I enjoy working with kids, so it’s a fun way to contribute.”

In regard to his professional career, Gifford stresses the importance of reliability. “With a name like A Reliable Handyman, reliability is obviously key, so I always want to be someone whom people can count on,” he affirms. “I also think the relational aspect is important. I’m not just an ‘all business’ kind of guy; I like to be personable and interact with my clients in a pleasant and friendly manner.”

When asked the first thing he’d do if he could retire tomorrow, Gifford says he’d spend more time enjoying life and serving others. “I’d definitely devote more time to travel and artistic pursuits, but I’d also sign on for more hours working with kids. Of course, even if I did retire, I don’t think I’d stop doing handyman work altogether. I like working with my hands, so maybe I’d do that on a volunteer basis as well.”

Ask Me Anything!

Q: If you could immediately master any musical instrument, what would you choose?
A: The guitar. I started taking guitar lessons in Chicago and I still play a bit, but it’s been on the backburner since I switched my focus to piano.

Q: What kinds of movies do you like?
A: I like movies that make me think, especially documentaries and thoughtful science fiction films.

Q: Do you collect anything?
A: I collect travel experiences. I backpacked around the world in my mid- to late-20s, and I still enjoy visiting and experiencing new places.

Q: How do you like your eggs?
A: Scrambled.

Q: If you could time travel, would you go to the past or the future?
A: Probably the future, just to see how far we’ve come in terms of interstellar travel and contacting life on other planets.

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How to Fix a Jammed Garbage Disposal

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EL CERRITO — One of the most common plumbing problems in the kitchen is a clogged or jammed garbage disposal. You may assume this requires the assistance of a plumber, but in many cases, you can easily resolve the problem yourself.… Read more

How to Fix a Running Toilet

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EL CERRITO – If you notice your toilet running intermittently throughout the day, you may think it’s just a minor annoyance, but it’s actually costing you money. A running toilet is caused by water slowly leaking out of the tank into… Read more

How to Replace a Doorknob Set

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EL CERRITO — Do you have an interior doorknob set that’s old or malfunctioning? In most cases, you should easily be able to replace it yourself. Typically, all you’ll need is a Phillips screwdriver (or, better yet, a drill with a Phillips… Read more

Expert Video Tip

Video: How to Unjam Your Garbage Disposal

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EL CERRITO — Host, Sarah Rutan: If your garbage disposal is jammed, you’ll be glad to know this is something you can likely fix yourself. Today we’re… Read more

Chris Hampton is owner of CDH Construction, a Diamond Certified company. He can be reached at (707) 207-6954 or by email.

Chris Hampton

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Chris Hampton: A Simple Motivation

By James Florence, Diamond Certified Resource Reporter

ROHNERT PARK — Chris Hampton’s involvement in the construction trade began with a simple motivation. “I wanted to work outside,” he explains. “At the time, I had been working in warehouses and kitchens since I was 13, and I just knew it wasn’t for me. I started getting into outdoor work like landscaping and concrete, and I gradually gravitated toward fine carpentry like cabinets and trim work. In 2010, I started my own construction and home repair business, and I’m still running it today.”

Today, as owner of CDH Construction, Chris says his favorite part of his job is simply doing the work. “Honestly, I could do without a lot of the administrative aspects of running a business—I just enjoy doing the work that needs to be done. In particular, I like doing high-end, detail-oriented work that requires a lot of skill.”

A resident of Sonoma County, Chris spends his free time on a variety of activities. “I enjoy outdoor sports like hiking and cycling,” he details. “I also do a lot of wood work. I hold onto scrap wood left over from projects and make various things out of it. For instance, I recently made a couple of cutting boards. It feels good to take something that would’ve just been thrown out and make something useful out of it.”

In his life and career, Chris espouses the importance of honest work. “I was raised to believe that whatever job you’re doing, you should do it to the best of your ability,” he says. “It doesn’t matter whether you’re sweeping floors or installing a new set of cabinets—you have a responsibility to do it well. You don’t say, ‘Oh, well, I’m only getting paid this much’—that’s not the issue. That fact is, you made an agreement to do a certain job for a certain amount, so you’re obligated to give your customer an honest day’s work.”

When asked the first thing he’d do if he were to retire tomorrow, Chris says he’d head to the hills. “I’d move out of California and probably go live somewhere in the mountains. It’d be nice living closer to the outdoors. I would probably spend my days hiking and tinkering with wood.”

Ask Me Anything!

Q: Are you an early bird or a night owl?
A: An early bird.

Q: What’s your favorite snack?
A: Granola bars.

Q: Music or talk radio?
A: Music.

Q: If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go?
A: Papua New Guinea. They have some of the world’s largest, most beautiful butterflies, and I’d like to see them in person.

Q: Do you collect anything?
A: Antique tools.

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Considerations for New Baseboards

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ROHNERT PARK — If you’re planning to install new baseboards in your home, there are a couple of things you’ll need to consider. One is the type of material to be used. You essentially have two choices: authentic wood or medium-density fiberboard… Read more

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Video: Considerations for New Baseboards

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ROHNERT PARK — Host, Sarah Rutan: Before installing new baseboards in your home, there are a couple of crucial details you’ll need to consider. Today we’re in Rohnert… Read more

Steve Spratt is president of HPS Palo Alto, Inc., a Diamond Certified company since 2011. He can be reached at (888) 844-0007.

Steve Spratt

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Steve Spratt: A Passion for Preservation

By James Florence, Diamond Certified Program Reporter

LOS ALTOS — As owner of HPS Palo Alto, Inc., Steve Spratt has made a livelihood of maintaining Bay Area residences. However, when it comes to putting a label on his company’s service, he’s quick to distinguish it from the contiguous field of property management. “Our name stands for Home Preservation Services, and we like to think we provide a ‘stewardship service,’” he explains. “Unlike property managers, who tend to wait until things break before fixing them, we promote the ongoing health of our clients’ homes through regular maintenance visits. By proactively identifying potential problems, we can bring them to a homeowner’s attention and address them before an expensive catastrophe occurs.”

Steve hasn’t always been in the home preservation business; rather, he began his professional life behind a desk. “I graduated from college with a business degree and went into accounting, but I didn’t really enjoy working in an office setting every day,” he says. “So, when my wife’s father, who was a general contractor, asked me to work for him, I agreed. Later, while I was building custom homes, a couple of my clients said they wished they had my expertise when it came to taking care of their homes after the fact. That got me thinking about a way I could make a business out of home maintenance, and pretty soon, HPS Palo Alto was born.”

As a resident of Palo Alto (where he lives with his wife, Italy), Steve says he appreciates the wide range of people his work brings him into contact with. “I have clients who are involved in all kinds of fields, from professional athletes and coaches to renowned authors and Nobel Prize winners. Getting a chance to meet and get to know these people is very fun and inspiring.”

Outside of work, Steve is an avid audio enthusiast who spends much of his time enjoying his sizeable music collection. “I love jazz music, and I collect records and vintage Hi-Fi equipment,” he says. “I recently sold a collection of more than 14,000 records, which is about the same size as the collection I kept.” When he’s not at home listening to music, Steve often accompanies his wife in her livelihood as a rodeo rider. “Italy is a professional rodeo participant, so that keeps us pretty busy on the weekends with all the traveling and competing.” Additionally, Steve takes time to keep in touch with his four grown daughters, one of whom works at HPS Palo Alto.

When asked about a personal philosophy, Steve cites a phrase coined by writer Joseph Campbell. “One of Campbell’s famous quotes is, ‘Follow your bliss,’ and I think my whole life is a result of doing just that,” he says. “When I got out of school, I was trained as an accountant, but that didn’t really excite or stimulate me—I just happened to be good at numbers. However, it did lead me to relationships that eventually got me into the building business, which then led me to where I am today. So, I feel like my whole life is an example of following your bliss and allowing that energy to draw you to where you can perform at your highest level.”

When asked the first thing he’d do if he were to retire tomorrow, Steve says he’d spend more time listening to music—that is, after tackling a long-deferred building project. “My wife wants me to build her a new barn, and I haven’t had time to get to it yet, so I’d probably do that first. Then, I’d set up a permanent listening room for my jazz records, as well as get connected with other audiophiles and just share the enjoyment of music.”

Ask Me Anything!

Q: Do you have a favorite jazz artist?
A: That’s a tough choice. The history of jazz is full of innovative figures like Charlie Parker, John Coltrane and Duke Ellington, but I think I’d have to go with Louis Armstrong. Besides being one of the great musical innovators, he was an unbelievable guy, with a sense of humility I wish more performers would emulate.

Q: If you could immediately master a musical instrument, what would you choose?
A: I really admire trumpeters and how they can make such a wide range of sounds simply by blowing through a piece of metal. However, I’d probably go with piano, just because it’s so versatile.

Q: What’s your favorite thing to do on a rainy day?
A: Throw on a record and make some chamomile tea.

Q: What’s the best gift you’ve ever received?
A: My dog, Bella. My wife got her for me, and she’s been my buddy and traveling companion ever since.

Q: What are your favorite TV shows?
A: “Dancing with the Stars”—which I watch with my wife—and “Ancient Aliens.”

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How to Prevent Efflorescence on Masonry Surfaces

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PALO ALTO — Have you noticed white, powdery blotches on a stone, concrete, or tile surface in or around your home? This phenomenon is known as efflorescence, a common blight that can affect any masonry surface. Efflorescence is seen most often in… Read more

How to Keep Your Washing Machine Mildew-Free

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LOS ALTOS — Modern front-loading washing machines offer several benefits: In addition to their sleek design, they’re more energy- and water-efficient than their top-loading predecessors. Plus, clothes come out of the spin cycle nearly dry, which reduces dryer runtime. However, there’s one… Read more

The Importance of Gutter Maintenance

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LOS ALTOS — There are areas in every home where proactive maintenance is critical for preventing water damage. One of these areas is the rain gutter and downspout system. Few homeowners realize that malfunctioning gutter and downspout systems are one of biggest… Read more

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Video: Tips for a Mold-Free Washing Machine

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LOS ALTOS — Host, Sarah Rutan: If you own a front-load washing machine, there are a few preventative steps you should take to avoid mold issues. Today we’re… Read more

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