Whenever I see an interesting house on my daily dog walks, this book is the first I go to in order to determine the style of the house, and the characteristics of the architectural style. Each chapter (arranged chronologically) goes through architectural styles that have been popular in America for the past 300 years; the characteristics and identifying features of each architectural style is reviewed in detail, and illustrations of the common forms of the style are included. Also included are pictures of actual houses that typify each architectural style.
Get Your House Right clearly illustrates what is right in classical architectural design, from a scale, proportion, and design perspective – and what is wrong (or, more accurately, when classical elements are used in an entirely wrong way). All of this is illustrated with simple, clear drawings (clearly marked AVOID and USE!). It is also extremely useful as a reference for the vocabulary of architecture – I always refer to it when writing a post about architectural elements (such as my last post on stone door surrounds and porticos). I often lack the basic vocabulary to describe what I am seeing, but this book helps tremendously by defining the architectural elements in clear terms. It is a book designed for the non-architect house enthusiast in mind, and it a great reference.
One of my favorite patterns from A Pattern Language is ”Light on Two Sides” (and I wrote a blog post on this which is one of my all time favorite posts). As Alexander states:
When they have a choice, people will always gravitate to those rooms which have light on two sides, and leave the rooms which are lit only from one side unused and empty.
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