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Blueprint for a renovation

June 23, 2005|Steven Barrie-Anthony; Samantha Bonar; Alexandria Abramian-Mott

House Transformed: Getting the Home You Want ... With the House You Have; Matthew Schoenherr; Taunton Press, $32

Tear down or renovate? It's the ultimate question for those looking for modern kitchens or more square footage. This book offers 19 examples of homeowners who took the route of renovation.

Connecticut-based architect Schoenherr packs the book with before-and-after photos and familiar wish lists: opening up small, boxy rooms; updating bathrooms and kitchens; and tying expansions to existing architecture.

But what about the $64,000 question (or the $500,000 one): How much does each of these changes cost? Schoenherr rarely addresses the bottom line beyond mentioning that some homeowners were on a tight budget.

For The Record
Los Angeles Times Friday June 24, 2005 Home Edition Main News Part A Page 2 National Desk 1 inches; 33 words Type of Material: Correction
Book review -- In some copies of Thursday's Home section, a photograph with an article on the book "House Transformed" that was credited to Taunton Press should have been credited to Ken Gutmaker.
For The Record
Los Angeles Times Thursday June 30, 2005 Home Edition Home Part F Page 6 Features Desk 0 inches; 30 words Type of Material: Correction
Book review -- In some editions of last week's Home section, a photo accompanying an article on the book "House Transformed" should have credited Ken Gutmaker instead of Taunton Press.

The dance between fantasy makeovers and financial reality never takes to the floor, leaving the reader with lots to dream about -- but too many practical matters to ponder.

-- Alexandria Abramian-Mott

Sorting out excess stuff

Scaling Down: Living Large in a Smaller Space; Judi Culbertson and Marj Decker; Rodale, $15.95

Paring down can be the best way to simplify your life.

Whether moving from a large house to a small condo, merging two people's possessions or making space for a home office, we often face decisions about what to keep and what to toss.

Culbertson and Decker provide practical tips for sorting and discarding excess stuff and address the often overlooked emotional challenges of paring down.

Common stumbling blocks include the fear of getting rid of something we may later regret throwing out, reluctance to examine parts of our lives and the need to preserve family history.

The authors tell readers how to tame their wardrobes and set up a filing system for essential documents. (No one should own more than one four-drawer filing cabinet, because 90% of what's on file is never looked at again, the authors say.) Quizzes and worksheets help readers identify what is most important.

The pair are clearly of one mind with Voltaire, who wrote: "Neither abstinence nor excess ever renders man happy."

Samantha Bonar

From Web to real world

AOL Home

AOL keyword: Home

Too stubborn to hire a decorator? AOL members can try out the Internet portal's self-help home design tool, part of the premium content available only to subscribers using the AOL keyword: Home. The Web-based program doesn't work miracles, but it does help transform two-dimensional fantasies into real-world remodels.

Click to view rooms from different angles, read practical design techniques and participate in message boards. "Home calculators" take the guesswork out of how much paint you'll need for a room, how many yards of carpet for the den or how many shingles to redo the roof. AOL's shopping guide also lists retailers.

-- Steven Barrie-Anthony

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