4 projects to trans­form un­used space in your home

Baltimore Sun Sunday - - HOME SALES - By Diana Cran­dall

It’s a mis­con­cep­tion that home im­prove­ment projects are lim­ited to the sum­mer months.

If you don’t mind con­trac­tors in your home through­out the hol­i­days and be­yond, you may pay less for ma­te­ri­als — and you’ll have an in­cred­i­ble new com­po­nent of your house to show off. Con­sider these four rel­a­tively sim­ple home up­grades.

Re­claim your crawl space.

Crawl spa­ces don’t have to be creepy. You can re­pur­pose this oft-over­looked cor­ner of your home by turn­ing it into a stor­age area.

The most im­por­tant step is in­stalling a va­por bar­rier, which will stop mois­ture from en­ter­ing your home through the space’s damp dirt floors. This pre­vents mold, reduces elec­tri­cal haz­ards and pre­serves pipes. When your pro is fin­ished, store any­thing from sea­sonal items to canned goods in air­tight con­tain­ers to keep pests away — and free up space up­stairs. Home­own­ers re­port pay­ing $0.50 to $0.75 per square foot for a va­por bar­rier, ac­cord­ing to HomeAd­vi­sor’s True Cost Guide. La­bor charges vary based on the size and con­di­tion of your crawl space.

Re­think your un­fin­ished base­ment.

If your base­ment is un­fin­ished and un­der­uti­lized, don’t wait any longer to max­i­mize its po­ten­tial. Set up that home the­ater you’ve been dream­ing of, or add a guest bed and bath to take full ad­van­tage of the ex­tra square footage. Make note: There are sev­eral fac­tors that play into cost, in­clud­ing fram­ing, dry­wall, ceil­ings, floor­ing and any nec­es­sary elec­tri­cal or plumbing work. In HomeAd­vi­sor’s True Cost Guide, home­own­ers re­port pay­ing $6,500 to $18,500 to fin­ish a base­ment, but the re­turn on in­vest­ment — at 69% — makes it an at­trac­tive pro­ject to tackle.

Make the most of nooks and cran­nies.

Per­haps you have a large bed­room and dream of an elab­o­rate win­dow seat, or maybe a well-placed break­fast nook could breathe new life into your kitchen. An in­te­rior de­signer is per­fect for help­ing cre­ate a space that’s both eye-catch­ing and func­tional. De­sign­ers dif­fer from dec­o­ra­tors be­cause they’re li­censed pro­fes­sion­als trained on lo­cal build­ing codes and reg­u­la­tions, and they’re able to work with ar­chi­tects to truly trans­form a space — whether it’s the cup­board un­der the stairs or a main thor­ough­fare. Home­own­ers re­port hir­ing in­te­rior de­sign­ers start­ing at $50 an hour, ac­cord­ing to HomeAd­vi­sor’s True Cost Guide.

Note: This price doesn’t in­clude ad­di­tional ma­te­ri­als for the space.

Has your in-home of­fice be­come a dust col­lec­tor? If you aren’t find­ing the space func­tional, con­vert it into a place you and your family can en­joy. Whether it be­comes a home gym or a play­room for your kids or grand­chil­dren, you should al­ter the room to best fit your needs.

A handy­man can help you set up equip­ment, hang mir­rors or un­wieldy pho­to­graphs, or in­stall pur­pose­ful stor­age. Home­own­ers typ­i­cally pay $60 and $65 per hour for a handy­man, ac­cord­ing to HomeAd­vi­sor’s True Cost Guide.

Con­vert your of­fice space.


An un­used of­fice can eas­ily be con­verted into a play­room, home gym or hobby space.

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