Ask an architect

Q We wish to build a ``grandma apartment'' on a part of our lot. Is there a source for plans which are not too costly? We want it to have a large room with a small cooking and washing area as well as window seats near the eating area. We prefer that it face south. Virginia Ramirez

Oxnard, Calif.

Most stock plans are developed by housing-system manufacturers for use with their products, such as log homes or panel systems. There are so many variables in designing a home that the most economical approach would be to call a couple of architectural offices and ask them if they have a good draftsman who is able to handle your project on a moonlight basis.

Give as much information as possible, such as your requirements, the site size, location of existing buildings, and budget. Then ask for a price quote for the services. Your local city department of building and safety might also be able to give you a few names of draftsmen or designers.

The best investment you can make in any building program is in a good set of plans. If the plans are clear, concise, and complete, this allows you to get good comparative bids from several contractors and tends to help the construction process go more smoothly.

Q Will you tell me how to paint a plastered ceiling with an oil-base paint and still achieve an unblemished finish? After many paintings I still am getting a blotchy, uneven reflection from light through the window.

Mrs. H. V. Rowe

Dearborn, Mich.

As a coat of paint is extremely thin, the underlying surface is easily telegraphed through it. The blotches are most likely where the plasterer removed his trowel, thus pulling up the surface slightly and giving it a texture. Ceilings show up these irregularities when painted with gloss enamel because they are an unbroken plane and the eye quickly picks out the flaws.

My advice would be to paint the ceiling with a flat enamel. You also can texture it with drywall mud which has been mixed with paint and rolled on the ceiling, giving it a light stipple texture, or spray for an orange-peel texture prior to your next coat of paint. Q The kitchen linoleum in the house we bought is covered with padding and carpeting and the padding has discolored the linoleum. We would like to remove the discoloration and make use of the linoleum. Any ideas?

Mrs. C. Walpole

Cass City, Mich.

Try a commercial grade of floor wax stripper. If that doesn't work, then try ammonia or household bleach, which should do the trick. Always try out on a small area first.

If you have a question about designing, improving, or maintaining your home, send it to the Real Estate Editor, The Christian Science Monitor, One Norway Street, Boston, Mass. 02115.

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