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Published: Thursday, 2/8/2007

Turn Underutilized Space into a Recreation Room, Home Office or Extra Bedroom

(ARA) - Attics and bonus rooms lurk in the darkness in many homes. But with the additional natural light and fresh air skylights and roof windows provide, underutilized, gloomy space easily becomes a playroom for children, a recreation room or an inviting, productive work area.

Whether as a playroom or recreation area, home office, or extra bedroom, finishing your bonus room with skylights or roof windows may be the highest value, yet lowest cost per square foot option you can choose, says Joe Patrick, product manager for VELUX America. Patrick says that converting upstairs areas with energy-efficient skylight or roof windows make expensive dormers unnecessary.

Labor and material costs can be reduced, he says, and finished attics and bonus rooms typically appraise at 100 percent of the value of other living space while basements typically do not.

Denver-based architect Doug Walter, AIA, observes that many property owners dismiss the idea of a conversion on the grounds that the space available seems too small.

In their search for suitable areas, particularly for children, Walter says, they should reconsider. Children don t require large areas with soaring ceilings. On the contrary, the sloping ceilings of small attics and the little hideaways they make are particularly appealing to youngsters.

Patrick points out that another reason to consider roof windows is that they admit 30 percent more light than vertical windows in dormers, and provide the drama of a sky view that you can t achieve with vertical windows.

And skylights and roof windows, which can be fitted with interior blinds and shades or exterior awnings, offer much more privacy than vertical windows, he says. There are also skylights available with electrochromic glass that can be tinted electronically by remote control to manage light and heat gain while still providing the view to the sky, plus special balcony roof windows that open from the top and bottom to provide access to the outdoors from the roof, Patrick points out.

Courtesy of ARA Content.

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