Home improvements still in the works

Despite downturns in the economy, nearly half of all homeowners say they plan a home-improvement project in the next 12 months.

A survey by Champion Mortgage found that these homeowners, if money or time were not an issue, would spend an average of $17,000.

Gender played a role in priortizing projects. When asked what job they would most like to undertake this year, nearly twice as many women as men put the kitchen first. Besides a kitchen renovation, the women listed: building an additional room, refurnishing or redecorating a room, and adding or redoing a deck.

Men preferred outdoor areas, with their first choice being to build a deck or patio, followed by creating an additional room, renovating the kitchen, and adding to the garage.

I'll take a neck rub with that salad

Paris restaurants are serving up massages along with gourmet cuisine.

At L'Alcazar, a trendy restaurant in Saint-Germain des Pres, free five-minute massages are available on Sundays. In the Bastille neighborhood, candles, incense, sofas, and massages have attracted people to Tamla cafe. The trend has even spread to the Paris subway, where recently 1,500 people took advantage of a free five-minute massage. Sixty-five percent of them were women.

(c) Copyright 2001. The Christian Science Monitor

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