I bought this for my dearly beloved for Christmas. Of course, I read it, too.
A FIELD GUIDE TO AMERICAN HOUSES
by Virginia Savage McAlester
My dearly beloved is a big fan of houses. He loves to study the architecture and
details of housing everywhere we go. So, when I saw this book reviewed in the
Wall Street Journal, I knew it would be perfect for him. At the beginning of the
book, there are charts with diagrams to help the reader identify the type of
house he/she is looking at. For example, a sketch of a roof with a 2 or 3 word
description, and the book recommends looking at one or more type of house to see
which it is. However, it's also very good for reading, with chapters on the
layouts of early towns and so forth. There is also a section on the housing used
by various Native American groups. Each chapter about a style of houses includes
a few pages of history, etc, before sketches, details about characteristics of
the type, and photos of actual houses of each style from various parts of the
country. Good for a long reading session, but it's also a fast and easy
reference for when you just want to know what you've just seen.
Of course, I read the whole book, cover to cover. It also caused me to think about a post Karin did recently about a house she admired in her area, and to recall "the one that got away". It was a fabulous house, but we passed on it because the estate was selling off the house alone, without most of the acreage, because, naturally, they wanted to build a subdivision on it. We gave up on the house because of that; the driveway to the house was slated to become the road, and the 3 acres which were offered with the house were almost entirely in the front yard. It had other problems, including that the "mechanical plant" (translation: furnace) was in the garage, and not included with the house. It also had a mammoth wing off the back of the house, with thousands of square feet of servant rooms. I'd have been loathe to demolish it, but it really was useless. Ah, well, I'm well served here; I love my house. And, yes, my house style is listed in this book: "French Eclectic".
Happy Thorsday, everyone!