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Published: Thursday, 2/21/2002

Clear the deck

"Who needs a kitchen? Let's barbecue on our new deck or patio." The male motto seems to be: sunny and char.

According to a survey by Champion Mortgage, a retail home equity lender based in New Jersey, nearly twice as many women as men put the kitchen first on their remodeling wish list. Men's first remodeling preference involved a deck or patio.

After a kitchen re-do, women chose an additional room, redecorating an existing room and, finally, building a deck or patio. As their other choices, men also chose an additional room second, followed by the kitchen and then the garage.

But both men and women were united in plans to start a home improvement project in the next twelve months, despite a weak economy.

Nearly 47 percent of the American homeowners surveyed said they will be remodeling and, if time and money were not an issue, they'd spend an average of $17,000 on the project.

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