When you need more living space, by-pass the attic, forget the backyard, and turn to the basement. That space that you are most likely using primarily for storage is prime remodeling territory. For many homeowners, it's the best-kept secret in space expansion. Before you say "no way", consider these facts:

Finishing the basement is a simple and cost-effective alternative to adding square footage to a house. In fact, the cost of finishing your basement, with all or most of the same features [the skylights are the only exception] you would get with an all-new...

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They like their house, but with their first child on the way, Pete and Kathy Haduch feel they need more space.

The upper level of their Cape Cod-style house in Baltimore County was used mostly for storage expansion. But they weren't sure that improving their 50-year-old dwelling was a good investment.

"I'm comfortable in the house," said Pete, an avid collector who owns nearly two dozen pinball...

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"Once relegated to the back of the house, the kitchen has in recent years come out of confinement. But the challenge in creating an open-faced kitchen - one that's part of a dining area, family room or so-called great room - is downplaying its utilitarian nature.

Beyond choosing appealing materials and colors, a key factor is combating excessive uniformity and rigidity by creating a lively interior landscape and skyline using cabinets and structural elements. Thinking in geographic terms can help a kitchen relate to the spaces around it and yet set it apart from them..."

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"The concept of a tabula rasa - a blank slate - is usually associated with philosophy or psychology, but itís a useful concept in thinking about dwelling places and building or renovating them.When you buy a new house, youíre getting a partial blank slate; you choose from models offered by a particular builder, and from a series of finishes the company offers. You can get a blanker slate by having a home design by an architect, but your site will always affect the design..."

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"American bath culture is changing.
We used to crave jetted tubs and pulsating showers that blasted our bodies like waves pounding the shore. Baths and showers were invigorating, exhilarating, energizing. They left us whistling Zippity Do Da and bouncing around like the guy in the Irish Spring commercial.
But these days, we're over vigor. We want to be soothed..."

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"An editor of a down-to-earth home magazineómeaning Better Homes and Gardens rather than Architectural Digestótells this story relating to creature comforts: One of the entries in the publicationís home improvement contest came from a woman who had enriched her bathroom by installing a TV and a VCR so she could watch a movie while blissfully soaking in her bubble bath..."

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"Tiling a Wall, floor or counter top is like covering it with a shell: The result is relatively thin, yet durable enough to withstand water, dirt and traffic.Such toughness doesn't sacrifice beauty, either. Tile comes in a spectrum of colors and shapes, from subtle to bold.While you'll also find a stupefying selection that includes marble, glass, brass and other materials, ceramic tile easily is the most popular, versatile and affordable..."

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"Now that Oprah Winfrey and an army of soul-searching self-help authors are encouraging us to re-examine our inner lives as we approach the beginning of a new millennium, perhaps the time is right to take a look at our attitudes toward buying or building ever-larger homes.
A number of architects and authors across the country have been exploring over the last couple of years the idea that the small home can offer many advantages to livingóand doesnít necessarily mean living in a sandbox..."

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