At Home in Berks August 2017 - 8

FEATURES

Bonus Rooms Vary Greatly

IN DESIGN AND PURPOSE

T

he term "bonus room" first came into play in the real
estate business during the 1990s, and it's caused a fair
amount of confusion since then.

Originally, what was billed as a bonus room typically was
extra space that couldn't be called a bedroom because it didn't
include a closet, or had a low ceiling, or lacked a door or window providing access to the outside.

Because it technically should not have been used as a bedroom, it didn't count as a bedroom when the value of the home
was assessed. This meant that the property taxes wouldn't be as
high as they would be if the room had actually been built as a
bedroom.
That resulted in confusion about whether, when a house
was for sale, it should be advertised as a two-bedroom or
three-bedroom home - a debate that still occurs.
These days, though, a bonus room often is referred to as any
unused space that can be remodeled and turned into usable
space for you and your family. If you have unused space, or
space that could be better utilized, consider converting it into
an area to be enjoyed. You might create a guest room, a home
office, a crafting room, a man cave or a family theater space.
Internet sites such as houzz are full of ideas for bonus
rooms, such as converting space above the garage into a pub
with views that look out over the neighborhood, a pool table
and a full media wall. Another featured bonus room is a small
8

AT HOME IN BERKs August 2017

space that was cleverly turned into a game room, complete
with four old-fashioned video games, a pub table and a
freestanding TV. A room with sloped ceilings might not be
suitable for a room for adults, but could make a cute bedroom
for two little girls.
Regardless of what you choose to do with your extra space,
there are some things you should keep in mind as you consider
plans for a bonus room.
Before you start any kind of construction or remodeling
project, check with your municipality regarding regulations.
According to Larry Kehres, president of L.A. Kehres Building
& Remodeling, Inc., Leesport, you don't need a zoning permit
to convert space already inside the footprint of your home. If
creating new space that's not part of the original structure,
however, a zoning permit would be required.

LOCATION
How you utilize your extra space may depend on where it is
located. If it's on the bedroom level of your home, it might not
make sense to covert the space into a home theater. A home
theater, however, might work well in a basement area. Space above your garage
might make a great game room, or
enclosing an attached, screened-in
porch could give you a year-round
sunroom. Your remodeling



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