Remodel to get the home you want
There's no need to buy a new home or tear down an existing one to create the home of your dreams. It's possible to remodel and completely change the interior and exterior of a home without sacrificing good design.
Architect Duo Dickinson has authored a new book, Staying Put — Remodel Your House to Get the Home You Want, to show practical ways of reworking a house in order to make it more livable and better suited to changing lifestyles. And to do it in an affordable way. This is the architect's seventh book on residential design.
"I think you could make a strong case that what is truly green is often what costs the least," Dickinson said.
As an example, in Connecticut, where Dickinson lives, "we use white oak flooring and it's remarkably green because it's probably milled 40 miles from your site. Or if you're anywhere north of a certain latitude, hyperinsulating your roof or attic cavity makes green sense because it will always save you money over a period of time and the most sustainable thing is to not remove structures that are viable. The greenest house is the one you don't tear down."
The book features more than 60 remodeled homes, with hundreds of beautifully photographed before and after images. Dickinson said, "The attitude in the book is to stop thinking of homes as being stage sets where you put your accoutrements — living your life with a background effect around you as opposed to truly possessing a home."
Dickinson's sense of humor shows in the book, along with his passion for well-designed architecture. The book provides cost-saving options and smart solutions to help readers turn the home they have into the home they want.
The book teaches simple strategies for working with what you already have, such as getting more living space by opening up your floor plan. Another option is to stash your stuff in newly found storage spaces, such as under a staircase. Removing walls and opening up that same staircase can add light to a room and make it feel more open and livable. Creating deeper eaves better protects windows from the elements and lowers utility bills.
The concept of going green isn't new. Dickinson said, "The vast majority of people want to do the right thing and be green and sustainable. That's not cutting edge. That's traditional."
Staying Put — Remodel Your House to Get the Home You Want
The Taunton Press
Photos courtesy of Duo Dickinson (before photos) and Mick Hales (after photos).
For more information, see our Remodeling a Green Home research center.
Teena Hammond Teena Hammond has published more than 2,000 articles in People and W magazines, Women's Wear Daily, and in dozens of newspapers and books. She also wrote a home improvement, remodeling and decor column that ran in Gannett newspapers nationwide. She's interested in all things green and would love to hear from you with your story ideas.