WoodCentral's Book Reviews
The House You Build

The House You Build
by Duo Dickinson

Taunton Press: 2004
hardback, 202 pp., $34.95
ISBN 1-56158-616-1

     This new release in Taunton's architectural series is a bountiful idea book for remodelers. Take, for instance, the author's comments on drywall: "When your budget is tight, your palette of materials usually shrinks, but that doesn't mean there's less room for artistic expression." He is not talking about paint, but about adding layers of applied walls with gaps that create shadow lines for visual effects above stairwells or in recessed niches, creating three-dimensional shapes for big effects in small spaces.
     This book is a beautifully photographed catalog of such effects, using stock materials and low cost substitutes where necessary, and adding custom trim and reinforcements to achieve a desired end result. There are contemporary homes here as well as traditional, with double-hung windows ganged and wrapped around corner walls, prefabricated roof trusses to cut down on the number of load bearing interior walls, and a customized, sweeping curve to an entryway assembled of standard materials with simplified layout methods.
     It is surprising how dramatically a wide gable over a newly expanded entry can add to the appeal of an otherwise standard home. These are photos of completed remodels for inspiration in making changes, and the text includes construction details with floor plans, as well as a breakdown of costs in site development, project budget and design fees. Every decision included, points to an economy of design, and proves that a truly custom built home ought to be attainable within a reasonable budget.

. . . Barb Siddiqui