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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.

Friday, December 02, 2005

Give the gift of architecture for Christmas

By Ann Robinson and Annie Vernon

Whether someone on your list simply appreciates good architecture or is gearing up for a major home remodel next year, books, below left, magazine subscriptions, above, and even gift certificates for future services are great ways to give the g

You have 23 shopping days left until Christmas, and while you are out frantically trying to find just the right perfume or ski jacket or CDs, we have a few more ideas to add to your list. How about giving the gift of architecture?

There are lots of ways to do this. Some people love architecture like others love paintings or symphonies. For those who appreciate architecture as an art form, beautiful coffee table books would make a lovely gift. Most bookstores have a section on architecture, and there you will find all kinds of architectural compilations. You may find books on Tuscany architecture, English cottages, castles in Europe, pagodas in Japan, urban cityscapes or Frank Lloyd Wright.

In that same section of the bookstore, you will also find educational books. If someone on your list is contemplating (or even just dreaming of) a remodel, there are wonderful (and 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 because 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

As you can see, Susanka's focus is on not-so-big residential 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
  • Updating Classic America: Ranches

Additional titles from Taunton Press that we recommend include —

  • The New City Home
  • Patterns of Home
  • 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
  • MyHouse in the Mountain States
  • Inspired House
  • Residential Architect
  • Renovation Style

Finally, if you've been talking about remodeling for years but haven'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 architects to request a gift certificate for future services. A great Christmas gift 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. As always, we welcome your home architect design questions at

© 2005 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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