by Mike Litchfield. Taunton Press, 2011. Paperback, 224 pp., 200 color photos, $24.95
There's a growing need for sensible and affordable shelter in North America these days, and Mike, the first editor of Fine Homebuilding, and the author of the bestselling book Renovation, has put together an immensely useful book here.
The book addresses a real need. For one (big) thing, baby boomers' parents are aging, and a cottage in the yard or an apartment above the garage beats a rest home or a retirement condo in both financial and human terms.
In many cases, for the cost of renting a house or apartment for a few years, or for the cost of an elder and/or loved one in a rest home, you can create a rent-free or mortgage-free home. The book covers, in this order:
1. Is an in-law right for you?
2. Design of in-laws
3. Choosing appliances, fixtures, and materials
4. Plans and permits
5. Methods of construction, and the pros and cons of each:
a. Basement units
b. Garage conversions
c. Stand-alone units
d. Bump-outs, carve-outs, and attics
6. Current sources for finding architects, green materials, and products