Use your imagination. A Portland architect went for the "ugly duckling" house that wouldn't sell (a plain Jane ranch house in the leafy enclave of West Hills), saying, "A tight budget forces you to look at things you normally wouldn’t, and use your money in more creative ways. We bought the smallest, cheapest house in a nice neighborhood and turned it into this funked-up modernist thing by creating a workable composition while keeping as much of the original as possible. We couldn’t have gotten the total package we ended up with otherwise.”  Top Renovation Tips from the Pages of Dwell by Kelsey Keith