1716 locust

Karol Dewulf Nickel

WHY IS HOME IMPROVEMENT SO IMPORTANT TO US? WHY DO WE POUR OUR BLOOD, SWEAT, AND TEARS-PLUS A LOT OF HARD-EARN ED CASH–into a structure that could provide adequate shelter whether or not we fussed over it? What propels us to get up early on a weekend to add a new deck, paint the living room, or install light fixtures? It can’t be that we’re just after a tax deduction or a return on our investment. So why are our homes always a work in progress?

I think the reasons are more emotional than practical. It’s because our home is an extension of who we are. A home may not have flesh and blood, but it has a personality. While it may not be a family member, it is a large part of our family’s memories and aspirations. When our home is in order, we feel good about ourselves and about our place in the world.

Remember when you bought your first home? Chances are you didn’t just fall in love with what was there, you also loved what it could become. You envisioned your furniture arranged in the family room, the color you would paint the kitchen, and the patio you would add out back for barbecues. That’s how it was for first-time home buyers Andra and Frank Mollica of western Connecticut, whose story, “Made for Each Other,” begins on page 169. The couple lived in apartments for 30 years before taking the real estate plunge, buying a 1939 saltbox that they remade as their own. Their wait was well worth it. Their passions–Andra loves crafts and Frank is a woodworker–enliven every room and exterior space.

The Mollicas could be poster children for our new contest. Called the Better Homes and Gardens Better Home Better Living Contest, it celebrates a phenomenon most of us have experienced: When you better your home, you better your life. And every little improvement counts. Whether you paint a wall, dress a table, or completely remodel your kitchen, you can enter our contest. With prizes valued at more than $100,000, why not enter several of our 20 different categories? Our story and entry details begin on page 36. We’re looking forward to seeing your entry in our mailbox.

COPYRIGHT 2004 Meredith Corporation

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