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AROUND HOME : Do-It-Yourself Design

September 03, 1989|MARTIN ZIMMERMAN

YOU'VE FINALLY MADE the big decision to renovate that tired old bathroom or even to build your dream house on a hillside view lot. What do you do before you call in the architects and contractors, before you take out a second mortgage?

Simple. You design it yourself.

With the help of a series of home design kits from Stanley Tools called "Project Planners," even if you can't draw, you can still produce a detailed guide that will show the professionals exactly what you have in mind.

The kits are an inexpensive means to create plans in four categories: homes, kitchens, decks and landscapes. Each kit, priced from $19.95 to $29.95, includes a scale ruler and hundreds of drawn-to-scale peel-and-stick symbols--doors, appliances, fireplaces, furniture, shrubs and lighting fixtures. The symbols attach to a board with grid markings for scale; the kitchen kit is three-dimensional so you can stack cabinets and appliances to check the effectiveness of your design.

Perhaps the best feature of the kits is the flexibility of the models; they are a real plus for those who can't quite visualize just how close their favorite sofa will be to the swinging kitchen door. The peel-and-stick symbols can be put anywhere you want; if that location doesn't suit your fancy, just move it.

On a practical level, the planning kits can help homeowners save time and money as well as avoid serious--and costly--mistakes. In an era when even a simple kitchen remodeling can cost $10,000--with the sky the limit at the top end of the scale--any mistake can be a financial setback.

And, if nothing else, the kits are really great fun to play with, sort of dollhouses for adults. When was the last time you got to lay out your own vision of Tara?

"Project Planners" from Stanley Tools are available at Hennessey & Ingalls in Santa Monica; A.C. Vromans in Pasadena; Rizzoli Bookstore in Costa Mesa; Squires Lumber in Colton; Upscale in Santa Barbara, and at Waldenbooks, B. Dalton Bookseller and Brentano's.

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