Small home? Use waste space

Suppose your house is too small for your needs. You may want more space for a hobby or just plain living. Also, assume that you have a low-interest mortgage loan and you don't want to sell the house and thus get caught with today's loan of 14 percent and more.

Or maybe you've found a good buy on a house but it isn't exactly the way you'd like it to be. It may make sense to spend a few thousand dollars to get the space you need, so long as it doesn't put you out on a financial limb.

Perhaps best of all, you may be able to do all, or most, of the work yourself. Besides, it's a lot of fun to really get involved in the job if you have the basic ability, the inclination, and the time.

A young Connecticut couple bought a small house with small rooms: two bedrooms on the second floor and a bath, living room, and kitchen-dining area on the first floor.

With two small children, what was needed most was a separate dining room and more storage space.

While the couple thought about building a one-story addition to the house, they finally settled on a plan that gave them the space they required and at a lower cost. They enclosed an already existing space.

A front porch, for example, ran the length of the living room outside the house. Rather than improve the porch, they decided to enclose it by breaking through the wall that separated the living room and porch. As a result, they picked up a lot of space inside the house.

While it made sense in their case, it may not always work out for someone else.

The point is, existing but wasted space can often be found in almost any house. The young Connecticut couple found that by moving several inside walls, they not only provided the separate dining room but also picked up more storage space, a foyer, and a more rectangular-shaped living room that helped in placing the furniture in the room.

To top it all off, they added a new sun deck outside the dining room.

Of course, you have to be wary before making any structural changes in a house. If you plan to go into the walls, for example, you should be prepared to spend more money than perhaps you had planned. Suppose you find termite damage inside the walls. It could be costly to fix.

Remember, also, any extensive remodeling job must adhere to today's building codes, not the building codes which existed when the building was put up.

How about that house you have your eyes on? It may have more possibilities than you think.

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