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Home Improvement 2006  

Favorite projects

  Our interactive package takes you on a room-by-room tour of new ideas at various cost levels.
Remodeling room by room
  Room addition  
Project: Room addition remodel
Whether homeowners are living with out-of-date floor plans or just wanting to add style, comfort or convenience to homes they still love, a little extra space can make a big difference.
Aging baby boomers are putting master suites on the main level. Families are reconfiguring older floor plans with separate rooms into spacious great rooms with open kitchen areas. And sometimes that dream bath needs just a little more square footage.
Homeowners spent $8.2 billion with professional contractors for room additions in 2004, according to statistics from the Remodelors Council of the National Association of Home Builders. But spending was down one-third from 2003.
Typically, people are adding space "either for comfort, a place to relax or entertainment," says John Gordon, director of professional business for The Home Depot.
In order, the most popular standard room additions are bedroom, bathroom and kitchen, according to 2003 statistics from the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University.
While a good room addition adds value, a bad one can hurt you. "In terms of curb appeal, it will turn people away if you don't have a good addition," says Sal Alfano, editorial director of Remodeling magazine. Inside and out, it has to look like it fits with the rest of the house.
You don't want to tackle a room addition as a DIY project. But if you're very skilled, says Tom Silva, general contractor for the TV show "This Old House," you can handle some of the smaller tasks involved. Some good advice: "Make sure that your contractor knows room additions," says Silva.
To get an idea of prices, shop fixtures and features, says Bob Garner, president-elect of the National Kitchen & Bath Association. Visit showrooms and talk to designers before going to a contractor to get an idea of prices, he says.
It also pays to be realistic about the time frame. Some homeowners think "projects can be done quickly without any flaws, or that in a week, you can knock down a house," says Garner. "In this business, that doesn't happen. Consumers need to know what to expect."
That can be more difficult with a renovation because contractors often encounter surprises.

-- Posted: April 12, 2006

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