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Maximize Your Bath and Home-Office Space

The tight confines of older homes are pushing homeowners to come up with stylish designs that maximize space. The bath and home office are two prime examples of how older homes are being stretched to accomodate today's lifestyles. Expand your space with these approaches recently covered by Better Homes and Gardens Magazine.

Bath Remodel
Typical, older bathrooms offer a challenge for homeowners working within a modest remodeling budget. Unless you're ready to knock out walls, replace windows, or move plumbing connections around, and endure the extra cost and inconvenience of a major remodel, you're left with redesigning the existing space. Here are some tips to make it work:

    1 - Do as much work as possible yourself. Bring in pros to handle the tasks you're not comfortable with, such as electrical or plumbing installations.

    2 - Keep the fixtures in their original location--toilet, sink and bathtub. One way to open floor space is to replace the vanity with a pedestal sink. Consider form and function carefully before replacing the toilet. Newer toilets are more streamlined but their smaller, water-saving tanks provide a less powerful flush.

    3 - Use design to take advantage of storage and counter space-- smaller, custom cabinets above the toilet; or curved counters, for example.

    4 - Replace the bulky, old-fashioned radiator with a smaller, more energy efficient unit.

Home Office Storage
It can be a challenge managing your business items when the home office has to double as a library or study. Where do the files go during nonbusiness hours?

If you're fortunate to have a closet or storage area, you've got a place for these items. But you don't want this space to be obtrusive with file cabinets staring out at the family. Debbie and Andy Charles handled the dilemma by installing a maple bookcase that acts as a door, according to Better Homes and Gardens. In the closed position, it joins together with the wrap-around, wall bookcases. During business hours, it swings open to reveal the 5 x 9 1/2 foot closet. The Charles' had to hang the combination door/bookcase carefully with adjustable hinges, and to make sure that the back surface was finished with the same care as the front.