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Home Renovation Tips From Tom Dougherty of Centreville, Delaware

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Don’t make a fuss. Tom Dougherty’s country house is relaxed and accessible with warm surfaces that are not too precious.

Open things up. A casual dining area is open to the kitchen. There is no wall between the kitchen and living room, inviting interaction among guests. An added bonus: a view of the fireplace from the kitchen.

Think ahead. Wood-burning fireplaces are plumbed for gas. A large space over the garage can be converted to comfy quarters for parents or long-term guests.

Get natural. Two patios, a small, second-floor deck and a breezeway between the house and garage extend the living area into the outdoors. Inside, there are no curtains to block a view of the countryside.

Sweat the small stuff. The homeowner spent a lot of time on-site during the renovation to ensure such details as precisely matched bricks on the facade and just the right shades of field stone in the fireplace.

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