Thursday, March 27, 2014

Thorsday Book Review

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!

6 comments:

deana sidney said...

I wish I could remember where I saw an article about the author... I think it was in the NYTs. You should check because it was full of great photos of her house. Very cool collection of stuff.

I love your story about the one that got away. I had one like that too... still hadn't gotten central heating but wow, it was magnificent with fireplaces you could walk into... oh, and not much electricity either. Cooler heads won the day and I didn't get the house.
It was something.

altadenahiker said...

I don't think I've ever given a book as a present without reading it first. And sometimes that's not enough, so I buy a second copy for me.

This books sounds right up my driveway. If there's a label for my house, I'm sure the word "rustic" is somehow involved.

Jerry E Beuterbaugh said...

Surely this is a site well worth seeing.

SissySees said...

I love books like that. There was one on the lost houses of VA or something like that... Sadly, I grew up across the field/road from one that was featured there and knew still others.

Sue said...

That sounds like a fascinating book, one that I'd pick up over and over again. I love giving books as gifts for any occasion. Yesterday I gave our vet a book because I broke one of his rules last week. I made an appointment for one dog and arrived with two.

Pam said...

This sounds like such an interesting book!