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Homes in progress

From noon to 5 p.m. Sunday, three Pinellas homes in various stages of remodeling will be open for tours.

This is Remodelors Exhibition Day, a feature of the fall Gallery of New Homes, which is sponsored by builders associations in Pinellas and Pasco.

"This is a way for us to find qualified customers and to show off who we are," said remodeling contractor Bill Lindsay of Lindsay Home Design, chairman of the Remodelors Council of the Contractors and Builders Association of Pinellas.

Remodeling contractors will be on hand to explain what they're doing and talk to visitors about remodeling projects and costs.

The three projects:

13179 86TH AVE. N, SEMINOLE: Lindsay added 580 square feet to this 1970s home. He created a master bedroom and bath addition and a new raised entry to the front door. He expanded the family room, adding a vaulted ceiling and new roof. He expects the work to be finished, acknowledging that "it'll be close; we're down to the wire." The project cost about $65,000.

Directions: Take Park Boulevard west to 131st Street, then turn north to 86th Avenue. Travel west to Rita's Italian Ice. Park at Rita's and enter at back of house.

15310 HARBOR DRIVE, MADEIRA BEACH: Contractor Dean Jarvis of Florida Renovators redesigned a "bowling alley" living area in a two-story masonry home built in 1976. He moved a kitchen, replaced a load-bearing wall with a 28-foot I-beam, replaced a stairway, and opened up the back of the house to the water view with sliding glass doors. The project cost $44,000 and should be just about finished, Jarvis said.

"I design and build around the kitchen. It's the heart of the house. People gravitate there. It's an entertainment area today," Jarvis said. Dated laminate countertops have been replaced with solid-surface material, and the room was expanded into an L-shaped kitchen-living area. He also created a bed and bath suite for the owner's mother.

Directions: From Gulf Boulevard, turn east on 153rd Avenue. Turn right to Second Street E and bear right to Harbor Drive.

917 MONTICELLO BLVD. N, ST. PETERSBURG: Contractor Bob Kelzer of R-Systems Inc. is transforming a 1,000-square-foot, two-bedroom bungalow into a 2,500-square-foot executive home. This project is in the beginning stages.

Kelzer will use steel rather than wood for framing load-bearing and non-load-bearing walls, and plans to use as much steel as possible throughout the project, including the roof system and roofing panels that look like shingles.

Steel is used in only about 1 percent of residential construction, Builder magazine reported last month. Wood is the primary material for exterior walls in 85 percent of single-family homes, and masonry block makes up the rest. Steel framing is used for interior walls in only about 8 percent of single-family homes. Although steel is more stable in price and supply, builders have been slow to use it, citing a lack of trained labor and technical know-how. One of Kelzer's goals is to educate consumers, other builders and policymakers about steel's potential.

His project will be open Sunday and Nov. 9, 16 and 23 (and beyond that if there is interest) so consumers can follow the progress of the whole-house remodeling project.

"Most people can't visualize what can be done with a home," Kelzer said. "I want to help people visualize the project, touch, feel, look, ask questions."

Directions: Take 38th Avenue N to Dr. M.L. King (Ninth) Street. Travel north four blocks and turn northwest onto Monticello Boulevard.