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Colonials: Design Ideas for Renovating, Remodeling, and Build (Updating Classic America) Hardcover – April 15, 2003


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Frequently Bought Together

Colonials: Design Ideas for Renovating, Remodeling, and Build (Updating Classic America) + Colonial Style: Creating Classic Interiors in Your Cape, Colonial, or Saltbox Home + New Rooms for Old Houses: Beautiful Additions for the Traditional Home (National Trust for Historic Preservation)
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Product Details

  • Series: Updating Classic America
  • Hardcover: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Taunton Press (April 15, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1561585645
  • ISBN-13: 978-1561585649
  • Product Dimensions: 11.2 x 9.7 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #435,982 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Architect Matthew Schoenherr, AIA, has 25 years' experience in the residential design and the construction industries. He is principal in the firm Z: Architecture, which has completed more than 200 additions, renovations, and new homes. He is the author of Taunton Press' book Updating Classic America: Colonials. Matthew lives on the Connecticut shore with his wife and three sons.


Linda Mason Hunter is a freelance writer who has written for numerous magazines including Better Homes & Gardens, Home, Fine Homebuilding, Historic Preservation, Family Circle, and Country Living. She is the author of The Healthy Home and Southwest Style. She lives in Des Moines, Iowa.
Wendy Jordan is senior contributing editor of Professional Remodeler and former editor of Remodeling. She is the author of The Kidspace Idea Book and Taunton's New Kidspace Idea Book. She lives in Washington, D.C.


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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

77 of 80 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 9, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Readers interested in historically authentic renovations or new construction of colonial, federal or classical revival style houses will not find much of interest in this book. The houses and furnishings pictured for the most part present eclectic blends of contemporary and historic styles. I would describe many of the "colonials" pictured in the book as postmodern eclectic. A number bear no recognizable relation to the colonial style.
The text is typical of what you would see in popular shelter magazines like Southern Living or House Beautiful: pleasant, generally informative and upbeat but not very detailed, and of little interest to more advanced readers.
One should examine this book in a store rather than buying it online, because the content suggested in the title is not what the book contains.
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25 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Penumbra TOP 1000 REVIEWER on January 24, 2007
Format: Hardcover
The author, Matthew Schoenherr, is an architect who not only admires the colonial style, he has a lot of experience with remodels, renovations and new construction. There are lots of photos, floor plans, diagrams, and useful text in this book. He covers all the basics about what makes a home a colonial. There are explanations of various styles of roofs, windows, doors, chimneys, moldings, and other details that make a house "colonial."

What is kind of odd about this book is how few of the homes end up looking really colonial after the work is finished - especially the interiors. Most of the photos show rooms with lofty and/or vaulted ceilings, banks of windows, curved doorway arches, and other stylistic anomalies. Apparently his clients like the "idea" of a colonial style home but they want a very contemporary interior. The rooms are beautiful, but they tend to look like "Martha Washington meets Judy Jetson in Tuscany" more than they resemble anything I've seen in Williamsburg, VA. This is something that goes beyond having a colonial home with a multi car garage, large bathrooms, and a spacious kitchen. Schoenherr refers to this as blending colonial design with modernism.

The book is very logically laid out. (Well, he is an architect!)

Chapter 1 discusses the history of the colonial home in America, and covers what makes a home "colonial" style. He covers everything; the Early American Saltbox, Georgian, Dutch Colonial, French Colonial, Federal and Adams style, Classical Revival, and Post WWII Colonials - even the differences between northern and southern colonials.

Chapter 2 is about remodeling an existing house. What types of additions work when you need to expand? Do you really need to expand at all?
Read more ›
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25 of 28 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 23, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Most home design books use lots of visuals and minimize on the text. "Colonials" has so much more. It's actually a pity that the title directs one to a particular era or style, because this book is a comprehensive compendium of design, renovation and construction ideas that apply to a much broader design style than simply Colonial.
This is a design book where the text is important. There are highlighted features where the author gives informational snippets about everything from variations in roof design to conservation and wetlands, and even hints on lighting; all useful whether you're building, renovating or remodeling. Far more than a coffee table book, this book will get dirty from hands-on use!

As a collector of design and remodeling publications, this one gets my highest recommendation.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By John Matlock on June 3, 2006
Format: Paperback
Colonial style homes have been built since -- well you can guess when. Modern colonials are built to suit modern taste. That is, the kitchens are large, there is a lot of storage space, it has a multiple car garage.

But if you have or are buying an older home, it may well not have all of these modern features. This book is a picture book with a fair amount of text showing how some colonial homes have been made more contemporary in the inside without changing the classic colonial front appearance. In many cases there are additions at the rear of the house to give the desired additional room.

Some of the houses being updated really go back a while, the earliest I noted was built in 1741. The level of remodelling/updating varies from house to house, some are really extensive, some done within a smaller budget. There's even a section on building a new colonial home.

I found this to be a great idea book.
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16 of 21 people found the following review helpful By J. nishball on May 29, 2003
Format: Hardcover
A wonderful reference book for anyone contemplating a remodel or a new house with colonial styling. The photos are first class, and the text is conversational while providing real information grounded in history. A book to pick up again and again for inspiration. Classy!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By love books on June 22, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I think this book was exactly what we were looking for. We were creating a new front entrance, adding a garage and great room and we also resided and replaced the roof. We found plenty of great pictures that captured the style of colonial homes. I think all the ideas and pictures in this book were perfect, adding the class and style of today but with keeping the old character of this time period. Great for a coffee table book too!
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10 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Raise the Ranch on February 2, 2004
Format: Hardcover
My husband and I are in the process of turning our little ranch into a classic center hall Colonial. This book has been such an inspiration, in both text and pictures. The details are superb and the author shows so many variations that we can pick and choose what features we like (and can afford!) while knowing we are still sticking to the traditional style. I would reccommend this book to anyone interested in have a modern "historical" home.
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