Cost vs. value

By Jaci Conry
Globe Correspondent / January 13, 2011

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When it comes to creating space in your home, it is both cost effective and eco-friendly to use what you already have, rather than add on to your home’s footprint, says Charlie Allen of Charlie Allen Restorations in Cambridge.

“Create living space in attics and basements. These are great areas to tap into, basements in particular have a ton of square footage,’’ he says.

As a gauge to how much you can expect to spend on such a renovation, Remodeling magazine’s annual Cost vs. Value report estimates the average cost of remodeling projects in different regions of the country.

The 2010 report indicated that in New England, the average mid-range basement remodel costs $64,519 and you can expect to recoup 70 percent of that value when you sell the house. The addition of an attic bedroom typically costs $51,428, with a recoup value of 72.2 percent.

While Alexis Smith spent just $18,000 to create a new bathroom in her Brookline home, the average cost of adding a bathroom in New England is estimated at $41,710, and just over half that amount (53.3 percent) is typically recouped at resale.

Want to eek out just a little bit more room? Allen suggests creating closets under stairs or next to a chimney, where there is often unused space. Meanwhile, be prepared for what you might find once walls and floors are opened up, says Katie Hutchison, whose architectural firm, Katie Hutchison Studio is based in Salem. “Try to turn the unexpected into an asset rather than a liability.’’