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Want Dream Home? Don’t Move—Renovate

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By Barbara Williams

David Goscinski, owner of JJED Remodeling in Dumont, N.J., says he’s had clients request bedroom renovations or upgrade basements that had been crammed with toys and used for play areas.

“Some are putting in home theaters or a man cave,” Goscinski says. “Others are taking bedrooms and making them into offices so they don’t have to pay their bills on the kitchen table.”

Peggy Vandervoot and her husband, Mijo Mirkovic, from Ridgewood, remodeled several times as their three children moved through high school, college and beyond. One child is still attending college, another married and a third moved back home between college and medical school.

“We’re of the mind-set that when your kids go to college, they don’t go away and stay,” Vandervoot says.

“They are always coming back, and now my daughter is married and she may start creating more people that will come back to the house.”

Vandervoot says before they started renovating, they also considered moving, but wanted to stay on the east side of Ridgewood. They found, however, that most of the houses in that section of the village were the same size as their own home. Their house also had a lot of qualities they just didn’t want to give up.

“We live in a flat area on a cul-de-sac with good transportation to New York City, where my husband works,” Vandervoort says. “We would have had to spend a huge amount of money to move to a more expensive neighborhood and we found we would have had to sacrifice something that we already had.”

Instead, they expanded their kitchen and reconfigured a good portion of the house’s general layout.

“We took some space from our dining room and expanded the great room,” Vandervoort says. “The remainder of the dining room became an office and storage space, and we made a much larger living room and kitchen. The whole area just has a lot smoother run.”

Tony Guerriero, owner of The Renovation Co. in Saddle Brook, says he’s had a few requests from similar clients who decided to stay put.

“It’s too early to tell if this is what is to come—at this point it’s kind of random,” Guerriero says. “But when people are happy with their neighbors and comfortable with their town, they don’t want to move.”

In addition to enlarging the dining and living rooms, the Shankses put in a new kitchen and great room. And best of all, David Shanks got his spacious shower.

“We put in a (larger) shower with body jets and pebble stone,” says Bob Olson, owner of Homes Resources in Ridgefield Park, who did a lot of the work in the Shanks home.

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