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    Creating Your Dream Home Doesn't Mean Starting From Scratch

    One lucky person will get the chance to win a new house from Design Homes on July 26, when Isle Casino Hotel Waterloo draws the winner of the Dream Home Giveaway. However, creating your dream home doesn't mean starting with a vacant lot and a contractor clutching blueprints. An existing home in need of tender loving care can be an affordable answer, and there are many simple projects that can make a dated room or an overgrown yard look like new. These are also projects that will increase the value of your property and give it curb appeal.

    The Kitchen
    A modern, open kitchen is a huge addition to your living space. Older homes often feature kitchen areas that are closed off from the rest of the house. One way to give this focal part of your home the necessary open feel is to create a pass through. The beauty of these is they can be done utilizing a load baring wall since square or arched support can be installed to create an architectural feature that doesn't require the removal of a wall. A counter can be added to create a casual eating area that accommodates seating on both sides.

    Giving a kitchen a facelift doesn't require gutting the entire room down to the studs either. It's inexpensive to replace old countertops with pre-made Formica, granite or Corian. Many home improvement stores can install them for you or it's not terribly difficult to do this job yourself.

    Existing cabinets can be saved with some paint and new hardware. Simply remove the doors and give the cabinet structure a deep cleaning followed by a coat of paint and a clear sealer. Cabinet doors and drawers can be taken outside for cleaning and painting. It's often easier to rent a paint sprayer and lay everything on a drop cloth because a few light coats of paint will create a smoother finish. This can also be done on the cabinet structure, but care needs to be taken to cover everything near the kitchen to avoid the overspray these machines create.

    The Bathroom
    Older homes often lack the large bathrooms that are popular today. It's hard to enlarge or move fixtures due to the expense of changing the plumbing, however, it quite possible to create the illusion of space and create a spa-like feeling. The trick here is to use tile on the floors, shower area and walls, use pedestal-style sinks, and go for the absolute best fixtures. Consider installing a heated floor and heated towel racks along with a soaking whirlpool tub if there's room.

    The Yard
    A yard full of dandelions and overgrown shrubs isn't going to make you smile as you pull in the driveway, but it's one of the easiest things to fix. Overgrown shrubs and trees can be trimmed and tired foliage can be removed from flower beds. It's also easy and cost effective to add new flower beds for flashes of seasonal colors. If you have a green thumb, gardening and yard work can create many hours of pleasure, and the results make a positive imprint on the property.

    However, if you view yard work as drudgery, there are many professionals who will be willing to take on the job at levels that vary from offering some advice to doing the entire job. They'll advise you on what kind of plants thrive in your climate and what style of landscaping best suits your particular yard. In addition, a landscaper can also help create an inviting deck with a few plants, deck furniture and a grill.

    It's not difficult or unreasonably expensive to make a house into a dream home. Carefully choose the improvements that create the appearance you are looking for and be ready to purchase quality products and consult with professionals if there are things you don't know how to do. In the end, a home paradise can be yours.

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