Thoughtful Home Improvements Can Have a Big Impact

by Susan Herst

Ten years ago in the suburbs of Chicago, we remodeled the kitchen in our 1920’s home.  By reconfiguring existing space, we created a rather grand kitchen with an island without bumping out exterior walls which would have increased our footprint and made our already small yard smaller!  The trend was to create the family room off the kitchen; we really felt like we were working against all the pressures from the architect, neighbors, and family to work within our existing footprint.  I remember hoping that there would be a premium someday for homes whose exterior walls were still intact after 100 years.

Whenever I read Sarah Susanka’s books, I believe that day has come.  She advises her clients to not “rebuild their whole house, when in fact the house of their dreams is right under their feet.  The point is to determine where there is existing space they may not have recognized…. Ideally you want to stay within the footprint of the house.”  Music to my ears!

But here is the surprise… new data about the financial value of improving a home suggests that the entryway is where you get the BIGGEST bang for the buck.  Sarah agrees, “If you walk into a home that does not welcome you, that’s unfortunate.  I’m talking about having a gracious entry, ideally with natural light.”

So think about less invasive, thoughtful home improvements and don’t forget to consider the entryway!  Read more in Sarah Susanka’s book, Not So Big Remodeling.

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