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Staying Put: Remodel Your House to Get the Home You Want Paperback – November 15, 2011
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Duo Dickinson is not only a talented architect and author, but also an irrepressible spirit who isn't afraid to tweak the whiskers of the king or call a spade a spade. This book is not only about a subject that is extremely timely, given the state of both the housing market and the economy, but also an absolute delight to read. How many books do you know that can give you multiple and frequent full-throttle belly laughs while delivering basic and simple advice about how to make friends with, and even come to love, the house that until recently you'd imagined you'd be moving up from sometime in the not-too-distant future? Duo's latest opus does just that. I loved every page of this fact-filled, practical book. It's worth your time to read, even if you're not planning to remodel any time soon. But my guess is that by the time you're finished, you may be closer to a remodeling than you thought.
--SARAH SUSANKA, FAIA--architect and author of "Not So Big Remodeling, "and" The Not So Big House" series
A book whose subject is home renovation but is just as much about common sense as it is about aesthetic sense. Dickinson, whose designs tend toward the traditional and the comfortable, argues that our obsession with the now-burst real estate bubble propelled people to design houses for resale value rather than for livability, and to imagine that by constantly moving up, they'd get the home they always wanted. You may not be so eager (or able) to trade up now, but the architect shows you how a so-so house can become just right. These pages are crammed with good advice (avoid gutters at all costs; add wide eaves instead) and realistic assessments of the way we live now. Straightforward before-and-after photographs fit the mood of this cheerful, no-nonsense book. -PILAR VILADAS, "T: The New York Times "
Could there be a more perfect book for this American moment? Figuring out how to hunker down happily--replacing unsustainable fantasies of shelter porn with long-term,
"Staying Put: Remodel Your House to Get the Home You Want "($24, The Taunton Press, 2011) is an everyman's guide to innovative, thoughtful renovations that make the most of what you've got....Whether it's a growing family that needs more space, or an empty-nest couple looking for a "fresh" start, Dickinson has it covered. His passion for visually appealing home improvement, while staying on a budget, results in basic strategies that will allow you to turn the house you have into the house you love.
--Alyssa Lusky"boston.com" (01/20/2012)
"This lengthy first chapter, on its own, makes "Staying Put" an essential resource for every homeowner contemplating a remodel, upside down, house-bound or not. Dickinson puts his years of experience to very effective use, creating decision tools for homeowners to understand the properties of their home and their visions vis-a-vis the most common remodeling disasters, which can involve spiraling costs and unsatisfactory outcomes. He empowers readers to make informed decisions about which projects to take on and whether to remodel at all. And if the dozens and dozens of images in the book are not enough, the companion site stayingput.com offers many more for your inspiration." --Tara-Nicholle Nelson, Inman News
About the Author
Architect DUO DICKINSON truly knows the ins and outs of home remodeling. Recognized as a maverick within the profession he's spent 30 years trying to reform, Duo is a successful author of six books on residential design, including "The House You Build." "The New York Times "captured his design philosophy as: "Design it small, make it as beautiful as possible, and practice every trick in the book to keep it as cheap as possible."
More About the Author
- Julie E. Washington, Cleveland Plain Dealer
"Staying Put is a starting point, a guide to the process, and a collection of ideas to inspire."
- Brianna Snyder/Life@Home, Times Union
"If you're a home-improvement television buff or are seeking inspiration for your own home, you'll get hours of enjoyment and education out of "Staying Put" and its extensive before-and-after project inventory. But every homeowner (or homebuyer, for that matter) considering whether to take on a major remodel should invest in the book for the first chapter's guidelines on whether it's worth it, and how to pick projects that set you up for success at converting your home into the home of your dreams."
- Tara-Nicholle Nelson, Inman News
"Here's an architecture book for our times, when many homeowners are under water on mortgages, and the cycle of trading up has either stopped or slowed way, way down. In "Staying Put," architect and writer Duo Dickinson has assembled a terrific and practical guide to help us make real improvements to our homes."
- Bud Dietrich, AIA, Houzz
"He guides a novice with humor and an easily understood roadmap."
- Christine Brun, Dallas Morning News
"The book starts with the premise that, OK, the economy stinks and you're stuck in this house that you hate. Homeowners no longer have the luxury to buy a "starter home" and move on."
- Donna Doherty, New Haven Register
"These pages are crammed with good advice (avoid gutters at all costs; add wide eaves instead) and realistic assessments of the way we live now...Straightforward before-and-after photographs fit the mood of this cheerful, no-nonsense book."
- Pilar Viladas, New York Times
"Could there be a more perfect book for this American moment? Figuring out how to hunker down happily--replacing unsustainable fantasies of shelter porn with long-term, real-life shelter love--is the new name of the game, and I know of no more expert, charming guide than Duo Dickinson."
-Kurt Andersen, host of public radio's Studio 360 and author of Heyday
"How many books do you know that can give you multiple and frequent full-throttle belly laughs while delivering basic and simple advice about how to make friends with, and even come to love, the house that until recently you'd imagined you'd be moving up from sometime in the not-too-distant future? Duo's latest opus does just that. I loved every page of this fact-filled, practical book. It's worth your time to read, even if you're not planning to remodel any time soon. But my guess is that by the time you're finished, you may be closer to a remodeling than you thought."
-Sarah Susanka, FAIA, architect and author of Not So Big Remodeling, and The Not So Big House series
"People used to fix up their houses mainly to impress potential buyers--whose standards, they figured, were higher. But nowadays nobody's buying, so why not impress yourself? If you follow Duo Dickinson's excellent advice, you'll end up with a house you won't want to leave even to go to the grocery store."
-David Owen, staff writer for The New Yorker and author of Green Metropolis: Why Living Smaller, Living Closer, and Driving Less are the Keys to Sustainability
Graduating from Cornell in 1977, Duo Dickinson opened his own architectural practice in 1987. He is licensed in 8 states, and has a staff of 10 working in his Madison, Connecticut office. In over 30 years of professional practice he has built over 500 projects in over 10 states, with budgets ranging from $5,000 to $5,000,000.
His work has received more than 30 awards, including Architectural Record Record House, Metropolitan Home Met Home Awards, and Connecticut and New York AIA design awards. He is the first non-member award-winner of the Society of America Registered Architects' 2009 Special Service Award.
His design work has been published in over 70 publications including The New York Times, Architectural Record, and House Beautiful.
Mr. Dickinson has written 7 books, including The Small House and Expressive Details for McGraw Hill and The House You Build, published by Taunton Press and as a paperback entitled House On A Budge. His next book, Staying Put, will be published by Taunton Press in the fall of 2011.
He is a commissioned blogger for the New Haven Register, and is blog, Saved By Design, has been up since the summer of 2010. Additionally he is a Contributing Blogger for Architecture Boston Magazine.
His weekly radio show "The Real Life Survival Guide" can be heard Sundays on WNPR and is also available as a podcast: http://reallifesurvivalguide.com/.
He is the Contributing Writer for Home Design for Money Magazine. Additionally he is the architecture critic for the New Haven Register, contributing writer in home design for New Haven magazine. He has written articles for more than a dozen national publications including Residential Architect, House Beautiful, Home, Fine Homebuilding and was a contributing writer for the "By Design" column for This Old House magazine.
Mr. Dickinson has taught at Yale College, Roger Williams University and at the Harvard Graduate School of Design Summer Program. Additionally he has lectured at dozens of universities, AIA associations, and at national conventions and gatherings.
Mr. Dickinson was the co-host of the CNN/Money Magazine web series "Home Work". He is the Co-Founder of The Congress of Residential Architecture (CORA). He was under contract with Lightworks Producing Group to create production ideas for cable television programming focusing on residential design. He is in production with Bruce Barber on a regional radio program "The Real Life Survival Guide" going on air in 2011. He has appeared on a variety of national media platforms, including CNN's Open House, NPR's Studio 360 and Weekend Marketplace.
Mr. Dickinson sits on 7 not for profit boards, including the New Haven Chapter of Habitat for Humanity, Katherine Hepburn Cultural Arts Center, and Madison Cultural Arts. 20-30% of the ongoing work in his office is dedicated to pro bono or at-cost work for not-for-profits, totaling over 50 projects for over 30 organizations over the last 25 years.
Top Customer Reviews
This is the book's real strength. It has tons of good ideas that might sound good on paper, but are shown using photos of actual jobs Dickinson has done. The man must be a remodel machine. He has taken endless ugly ducklings and turned them into elegant swans. For those of us who like to do it ourselves, this book provides the inspiration. Just one caveat, the workmanship in the execution of the ideas is pretty, pretty important. So make sure you can chew what Dickinson encourages you to bite off-- or hire a professional. Hell, maybe hire the author.
Even though I will probably never have the appetite to remodel another house, this book is welcome on my shelf. Duo Dickinson, (or maybe his editor?) is a terrific writer and has a sense of fun and pragmatism that is refreshing. He gives good advice and understands budget, codes, contractors and subs. He knows enough to advise the homeowner to move out for the remodel when it is ambitious. Having this book is a great start when contemplating a project. There are a lot of ugly houses out there, and my hope is that this inexpensive book will inspire some of their owners to get cracking. It's a lot of work, but there's nothing so satisfying as turning ugliness into elegance. This is your guide. Go for it.
What is so refreshing in this day of fashion posing as substance in the architectural press is Duo's insistence on focusing in on the "how" over the "what."
A must for anyone wishing to optimize not only their home but their way of optimal living!
Curtis B Wayne, Architect
First, the photos are the most essential element of the book, as they (attempt to) illustrate the points made in the text. But they are all too small. The book format should have been larger, and the page layout should have devoted more space to photos. And as another reviewer noted, some photos span the fold between pages, making them difficult to view. Many of the photos are smaller than 3"x4", which is inexcusable!
Second, each topic is very lightly treated. There's a dearth of the kind of design rationale that you expect to find (and which can be found, e.g. in books like The Not-so-big House). Remodel examples are essential in this kind of book, but the examples should be illustrative of principles that the reader can apply to her own projects. The attempts at design principles (such as "Always Connect", p. 104) are simplistically treated. There are different reasons for connecting rooms and corresponding ways of achieving them -- connected for traffic flow, connected visually, connected audibly, etc. For some ways of living, the kitchen should NOT "connect to every other public room in your house" as commanded on p. 105.
Last, the plans shown (for only some of the examples) do not show the locations from where the photos were taken, making it difficult at times to understand what we are seeing in the small photos. For example, the plans on p. 100 do not show the elevated bar/counter-top, which in turn makes it confusing to understand why there is a spurious column interrupting the bar, especially when it was a non-bearing wall that was removed.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
It isnt what I had expected but I honestly just made the assumption it was what I was searching for. Ive an older small home and limited resources for remodeling. Read morePublished 3 months ago by ldgsmiley
Don't sell, don't move, take a breath and read a wonderful book by an amazing architect.Published 14 months ago by CLTyler
A great reference to help you hit the high points of extensive remodeling - full of ideas and general indications of low-med-high cost options when making decisions. Read morePublished 15 months ago by Jeanne M. Lowe
This is an easy-to-read book that gives you a great overview of what it's like to go through a remodeling project from design to completion. Read morePublished on July 27, 2013 by Fiction Librarian
Many answers to my questions about how to determine to move or not. Would recommend to others thinking about remodeling.Published on July 10, 2013 by charlotte brooks
I read this book as a matter of interest because Duo is our architect, and he now is at work on the house we are building in the San Francisco Bay Area. Read morePublished on January 8, 2012 by Neal L. Johnson