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Ann Architect, Renovation Design GroupAnnie Architect, Renovation Design Group

Renovation Solutions is weekly column on architectural home design by Ann Robinson and Annie Schwemmer, Principal Architects of Renovation Design Group, a Utah architectural firm focusing on home renovation design.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Give the gift of architecture

By Ann Robinson and Annie Schwemmer

You have 23 shopping days left until Christmas. So, we thought we would give you some ideas.

How about giving the gift of architecture? There are lots of ways to do this. Some people love architecture as others love paintings or symphonies.

Remodeling magazine subscriptions or architectural books make great Christmas gifts.

For those who appreciate architecture as an art form, beautiful coffee table books would make a lovely gift. Most bookstores have an architecture section. There you may find books on Tuscany architecture, English cottages, castles in Europe, pagodas in Japan, urban cityscapes, Frank Lloyd Wright or any number of other architectural subjects.

You will also find educational books. If someone on your list is contemplating or even just dreaming of a remodel, there are wonderful but still beautiful books available to get their architectural juices flowing. Most educational architecture books will have a specific focus.

We recommend anything by Sarah Susanka. She has an incredibly approachable writing style with a natural ability to explain architectural concepts in everyday language. Some of our favorites are: "Home By Design," "The Not So Big House," "Not So Big Solutions for Your Home," "Inside the Not So Big House," and "Outside the Not So Big House." As you can see, Susanka's focus is on not-so-big residential architecture, so don't think you have to have a huge project to have an interest in architecture.

Another series we like is from Taunton Press. It focuses on updating various traditional home styles. Any one of these titles would be a nice gift for someone who lives in a certain style of home. "Updating Classic America: Bungalows," "Updating Classic America: Capes," "Updating Classic America: Colonials," and "Updating Classic America: Ranches" are a few titles in the series. Other titles from Taunton Press that we recommend are: "The New City Home," "Patterns of Home," and "Garage."

Another great architectural gift is a magazine subscription. Take one glance at the magazine rack at The Home Depot or Lowes, and you'll see just how many choices you have for home and architectural magazines. Some of our favorites are: "This Old House," "Fine Homebuilding," "My House in the Mountain States," "Inspired House," "Residential Architect," and "Renovation Style."

Finally, for that person who has been talking about remodeling for years but hasn't taken any steps toward it, this Christmas you could do something to get the ball rolling. How about contacting an interior designer or your favorite architect to request a gift certificate for future services?

A great Christmas gift to yourself would be to start an architectural study of your home in the new year. Even if family finances don't allow for a remodel next year, it is never too early to start thinking about it, gathering ideas, and learning more about what your dream remodel might entail. Remember, a master plan is the first real step toward making that dream come true! As always, we welcome your home architect design questions at

© 2008 Renovation Design Group. All Rights Reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any form or by any means without the prior written permission of Renovation Design Group.

If you are considering a remodel project, please Request a Free Consultation with Ann or Annie.

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