Making the home you have now work better for you

We all have something about our living spaces that we would like to either replace entirely or improve.  Such as that wall between the kitchen and the dining area; if you opened that up, it would be so much nicer to be able to pass things across the counter to the dining room, and for the one cooking to be able to carry on a conversation with those already in the dining room.

Of course, removing walls, upsizing a bath, adding storage; these things take some pretty specialized knowledge.  How do you know that wall isn’t a load bearing wall?  Are you SURE you would like the way your house “flows” if you closed off a door and added to the size of the master bath on the other side? 

That is the value of hiring skilled, experienced experts.  There is a nice article by Barbara Kavovit, I found it reprinted in About.com: Interior Decoration.  The article describes some of the content of a book by Barbara titled “Invest in Your Nest”.

She refers to some remodeling projects as “growing the space your have.”  I think that is a very apt description of projects such as improving your mostly unused basement into a nice playroom or bedroom; closing off a sunroom and making it useable year-round, or even insulating and finishing off an attached carport into a nice large family room.

Some of her ideas are probably for those with more experience in dealing with multiple contractors than the average person might have, such as her recommendation to save money by being your own general contractor.  It also requires more of your time, something most of us do not have enough of as it is, without adding the tasks of monitoring 3 or 4 contractors.   

Finishing the existing raw space in your home for livability requires the help of specialists in several trades: plumbing, carpentry, electrical, and others, including flooring and possibly stoneworking for tile work. ”

Well put, but I would not personally have the time or expertise to deal with so many contractors and make sure they were doing their jobs on time, within budget and according to my wishes!

However, each homeowner has their own level of knowledge in this area and amount of time to budget towards the project.

Either do it solo, or hire a general contractor to manage the job and then go for it!

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