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Remodeling For Today'S Times

Thinking of moving in mom and dad during the economic downturn? You're not alone. Reports say nearly a fourth of today's Baby Boomers expect a parent to move in with them, creating room conversions. And vice-versa. Bob Villa says about a third of Americans between the ages of 18 and 49 are moving back in with mom and dad during these tough economic times, further stimulating room additions. There were 1.2 million more multi-generational households added last year over 2007's total of 5 million.

That means that Baby Boomers have to convert existing rooms into bedrooms for dad and mom, or parents have to clear out their den or hobby rooms and covert them back into a bedrooms for their financially struggling children. In short, the party is over for runaway housing.

My mother used to brag about how many families jammed into apartments where new immigrants lived in New York and Philadelphia. She said no one really complained. It was commonplace to have grandparents living with you or kids who returned from college or military service and were getting back on their feet.

Room additions can be as small as 80 square feet or more than 2,000 square feet. Builder Tim Carter suggests that the most important elements in room additions or conversions are joining the floors correctly and providing adequate heat, air, and ventilation. DoItYourself has a blow-by-blow description of a $15,000, two-room, 24x24' addition one family undertook over a five month period to expand their home to accommodate a family of six. The family did the slab, frame, siding, electrical, and heating/air conditioning themselves. Ambitious!

For those who prefer to let professionals handle the work, Repair-home has an online tool you can use to get estimates from local contractors for room additions as well as bathroom, kitchen, and basement remodeling.