If it's not on your list, it's probably at least crossed your mind: should you remodel your home, and if so, how? Since we're approaching the spring home touring season, when houses from historic to modern to remodeled open their doors to the public for ideas and oogling, now is a good time to start scouting what's out there and how it might apply to your own desires for domestic design bliss.

The 2013 Portland metro area Tour of Remodeled Homes coming up March 9 & 10 may be a good way to start. The self-guided tour includes 14 homes scattered throughout the Portland region. Organized by a branch of the Home Builders Association of Metropolitan Portland, the Professional Remodelers Organization (PRO), the focus of the Remodeled Homes Tour tends to be different from that of tours of historic houses or high-end architect-designed homes. Often, the projects are modest in scope, and thus offer realistic options to typical homeowners seeking to eek out some improvements on a budget.

Pragmatic factors are always part of the equation with any remodeling situation. Many times, a project is motivated by an obvious change in lifestyle, and resulting need for new space: a new baby, for instance. Other motivations are squishier: you've been in the house a long while, and are starting to get bugged by little kitchen or bathroom things that you managed to ignore for only so long. Each of these situations begs the question: why not move? But remodeling is often an easier and more financially prudent solution. 

Kitchen and bathroom remodels are, everyone knows, the most sensible remodeling investments. It's unlikely that any addition or remodel will recoup in resale value more than it cost to build, but these projects have the highest rate of return when it comes to selling down the line. Reigning in your own personal taste, if you're on the quirky side, is part of getting the most for your money later on, though. And in this way the Remodeled Homes Tour is especially instructive.

The projects on the tour are aimed to appeal to a broad range of homeowners and circumstances – for instance, a basement remodel, several kitchen remodels, and a number of cases of tearing down walls to carefully bring in light and improve the flow of space. And of course, energy factors are also usually a priority.

A basement remodel from Mosaik Design & Remodeling shows how 1700 square feet went from grungy den to bright, daylighted family room, kitchenette and guest bedroom (and fulfilled helpful new Energy Trust certification standards, the Energy Performance Score, at the same time). A groovy entryway redo from Arciform shows how to lighten up and update the experience of an admittedly also groovy but rather timeworn front door arrival.

Click here for more info on the tour; houses are open from 10 am to 5 pm, Saturday and Sunday March 9th and 10th, 2013. Tickets are $17.50 each, good for both days, and available online.

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