(This is Part 1 of a two-part series. Read Part 2, "Buying cheaper fridge, floors makes financial sense.") As anyone who's remodeled will know, there's practically no limit to how much you can spend on a building project. Now, for people with money to burn -- and judging by the traffic in high-end design showrooms, there are plenty of them -- it may seem perfectly reasonable to blow a few thousand dollars on a Scandinavian dishwasher or a hand-painted Majolica toilet with gold hardware. For the rest of us, though, there are more cost-effective places to invest remodeling dollars. This makes it all the more puzzling when I come across projects in which budget-conscious homeowners pinched pennies on basic building materials, yet happily shelled out serious money for the latest fluff in coun...
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