Remodeling Ideas for Staying Put

comments (0) November 9th, 2011     

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VictoriaNorth Victoria North, product manager
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See how a home was remodeled to include natural light in the Before & After gallery on
Buy Duo Dickinsons book Staying Put to get even more great tips.
Sometimes you dont need to create an addition to add a garage.
See how a home was remodeled to include natural light in the Before & After gallery on

See how a home was remodeled to include natural light in the Before & After gallery on


With the housing market in a tough spot, it is difficult to get the home you want without breaking the bank. Author Duo Dickinson shares ways to renovate your home rather than moving out in his book Staying Put (The Taunton Press, 2011).

Duo's Dos and Don'ts on is a great resource for design ideas that will save you money in the long run. Everything from picking the right paint color to choosing the right style of windows can make a difference in how you see your home. Here are just a few of Duo's tips, but you can find even more great information, and a Before & After rennovation gallery, on the website.

Duo's Dos and Don'ts

Style is not a religion: flexible aesthetics help
Stick-built American homes are genius in their flexibility. However, when an extremely rigid style (academically perfect Classical, historically perfect Colonial, consistently frenetic Victorian, pristinely abstracted Modernism) ends up making mountains out of mole hills of perfected details, orientations, scales, and alignments, things can get very expensive. If the perfect is necessary, it will be the enemy of the good, and often striving for perfection in renovating a house means that the renovation ends up being so costly when bid that nothing happens. So when you think about remodeling your home, know that although its style may be charming, it doesn’t necessarily have to be “picture perfect.” If your home is its own Bible, Quran, or Torah, it may be time for a little heresy.

Color is cheap
Drywall was made to be painted. The effect can be dramatic, especially when you mix and match the colors to provide contrast. Cool colors tend to recede and warm colors tend to be more “present”; when colors are coordinated the modest cost of paint provides a bonanza of empowering impact. It is by far the least expensive way to completely transform any interior and can add “snap” to a shabby exterior--especially if contrast and complement is part of your color selection. 

Windows with hinges are better than windows that slide
Windows are the most vulnerable part of your home, especially the operable ones. They inherently cut into the watertight rain slicker that is your home’s surface, and no amount of flashing or careful detailing can ultimately defeat the fact that you’re cutting holes into a wall to get light and air in.

Windows that slide (double-hung windows or sliders) lose their ability to keep drafts out of your house more quickly than windows that are cranked shut and pulled tight (hinged units such as casements, awnings, or hoppers). Windows that open in are particularly problematic. Clad windows will always last longer than non-clad windows, but windows that are made purely out of vinyl do have a “memory” and over time can change their shape and actually have a less effective seal. Pulling tight against weatherstripping makes a better seal. Sliding against weatherstripping is inherently problematic and over time makes the seal less effective. 

posted in: home design, staying put

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