THERE’S NO PLACE like home, and that’s a problem if your roost is overcrowded, under-decorated, or simply unsuitable. The obvious answer is a new house, but after finding mortgage money (scarcer than hen’s teeth) at interest rates that would ruffle anyone’s feathers, you may feel caged in your current nest. But there’s no need to squawk if you’ve got a little cash and lots of enthusiasm. To get you started, our home improvement guide offers stories of three families who turned residential skeletons into showplaces. There are tips on financing and ways to save on energy costs. Finally, see page 147 for our story on contracting hassles. So what are you waiting for? The least you can do is start thinking about refurbishing your own nest.