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posted: 10/27/2012 4:00 AM

Remodeling for the holidays? Don't go crazy

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By Rosemary Sadez Friedmann
Scripps Howard News Service

Are you gearing up for the fun, hectic, exciting, loving, partying, giving, family gathering season we are entering?

You might be ready, but is your house ready, too?

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If you are expecting to host parties and expecting to invite guests overnight, perhaps it's time to give your house a critical look.

First, let's be realistic about what can and can't be done in time. Major projects -- like remodeling the kitchen or the bathroom or adding a room -- aren't reasonable to consider. Projects that big take several months to complete.

If major remodeling is on your mind, wait until after Christmas. You might find contractors who will promise completion of a major project before Christmas, but be careful. Cutting corners to get the thing done could cost you more in the long run.

What can be done in time?

Well, first you should make a list of what needs to be done. If you are hosting parties, you will want the rooms you plan to use to be arranged so that they allow for mingling and afford a good flow from one room to the other.

Will your kitchen be the center of activity with guests? Will it accommodate your needs? Do the bathrooms look clean and up to date? Does the guest bedroom look inviting?

After answering these questions, you'll be ready to start working out the kinks.

Let's begin with the kitchen. If you need a new countertop, a new sink and some fresh paint, you can get it all done before Thanksgiving. Even new cabinets can be installed by then. If new appliances are needed and replacements fit in the same space as the old ones, the appliances can also be easily added in time. What can't be done is a knock down, tear down, start-fresh approach.

Update the bathrooms -- or perhaps just the guest bath and powder room -- by getting a new toilet, redoing the wallpaper or paint, and getting a new sink and faucets. If necessary, add new cabinets, too.

The guest bedroom should have fresh linens and a new bedspread or coverlet. Old-looking lamps and leftover dull pictures should be replaced. Of course, a fresh coat of paint will help, too.

Ask yourself, would you like to stay in this room if you were visiting? Look at the room from that perspective and take it from there.

Do you have a fireplace? Does the area around it look fresh? Perhaps the trim and molding needs to be re-stained or resealed. Do some pieces of furniture need to be removed and stored, or would rearranging be enough?

There should be enough seating and small tables around for use and comfort, but people like to stand and talk while partying, too. A nice flow makes for better mingling and better partying.

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