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How to Design and Build Your Own House
 
 
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How to Design and Build Your Own House [Paperback]

Lupe DiDonno , Phyllis Sperling
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)


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Book Description

October 12, 1987
This book guides you systematically through the whole process of designing and building your own house. It offers practical assistance from the moment you begin thinking about the kind of house you want. It helps you focus your ideas and translate them into working plans. It shows you how to estimate costs. Then, step by step, it shows you how to construct the house -- explaining and illustrating every step systematically so that you can proceed confidently from beginning to end.

Here are complete, clear instructions on everything you need to know, including:
-- How to decide what you want the house to be like -- inside and outside, and in relation to the environment and neighborhood
-- How to translate your ideas and decisions into working drawings
-- How to deal with all the components of a house: structural (roof, floor, walls, columns, foundations), mechanical (plumbing and heating), electrical, interior and exterior finishing materials
-- How to establish the exact dimensions of everything, how to decide and specify where components go (from windows, heating ducts, and electrical outlets to toilets and showers)
-- How to choose and specify those parts of the house (windows, doors, furnace, hardware) that can be purchased prefabricated and ready to install
-- How to estimate costs of everything specified
-- How to incorporate the latest energy-conserving materials and equipment
-- Step-by-step directions on how to build the house section by section, from excavation and foundations to floors, walls, and roof; fireplaces, chimneys, and stairs; plumbing, heating, and electricity; wood shingles, gutters, and waterproofing; how to lay brick and principles of brick construction...everything!

Practical information is provided on purchasing materials and tools. And, throughout the book (exactly where needed) are pertinent instructions on basic techniques such as how to mix and work concrete, build forms, lay block, toe-in a nail, install a lockset, cut gypsum board and tile. Tables are included for calculating heat loss, loads, distances between structural elements, and so on. And the 748 line drawings illustrate every aspect of design and construction.

With its clarity and authority -- and its extraordinary wealth of specific, detailed instruction -- this is the single most comprehensive and useful book ever published on how to design and build your own house.


Editorial Reviews

From the Inside Flap

This book guides you systematically through the whole process of designing and building your own house. It offers practical assistance from the moment you begin thinking about the kind of house you want. It helps you focus your ideas and translate them into working plans. It shows you how to estimate costs. Then, step by step, it shows you how to construct the house -- explaining and illustrating every step systematically so that you can proceed confidently from beginning to end.

Here are complete, clear instructions on everything you need to know, including:
-- How to decide what you want the house to be like -- inside and outside, and in relation to the environment and neighborhood
-- How to translate your ideas and decisions into working drawings
-- How to deal with all the components of a house: structural (roof, floor, walls, columns, foundations), mechanical (plumbing and heating), electrical, interior and exterior finishing materials
-- How to establish the exact dimensions of everything, how to decide and specify where components go (from windows, heating ducts, and electrical outlets to toilets and showers)
-- How to choose and specify those parts of the house (windows, doors, furnace, hardware) that can be purchased prefabricated and ready to install
-- How to estimate costs of everything specified
-- How to incorporate the latest energy-conserving materials and equipment
-- Step-by-step directions on how to build the house section by section, from excavation and foundations to floors, walls, and roof; fireplaces, chimneys, and stairs; plumbing, heating, and electricity; wood shingles, gutters, and waterproofing; how to lay brick and principles of brick construction...everything!

Practical information is provided on purchasing materials and tools. And, throughout the book (exactly where needed) are pertinent instructions on basic techniques such as how to mix and work concrete, build forms, lay block, toe-in a nail, install a lockset, cut gypsum board and tile. Tables are included for calculating heat loss, loads, distances between structural elements, and so on. And the 748 line drawings illustrate every aspect of design and construction.

With its clarity and authority -- and its extraordinary wealth of specific, detailed instruction -- this is the single most comprehensive and useful book ever published on how to design and build your own house.

About the Author

Lupe DiDonno and Phyllis Sperling are both distinguished young architects, both graduates of Pratt Institute's School of Architecture. They have had work exhibited in the "Women in American Architecture" show at the Brooklyn Museum. They are members of the American Institute of Architects and are practicing architects in New York City. Sperling and DiDonno are also the authors of How to Redesign & Renovate Your House or Apartment.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Knopf; 2 Rev Exp edition (October 12, 1987)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0394752007
  • ISBN-13: 978-0394752006
  • Product Dimensions: 10.8 x 1 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #132,647 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
58 of 59 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Tells what to think about July 17, 2002
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
Anybody can sit down and draw a rough floor plan. But this book tells you to think in terms of how you use space rather than rooms. That simple piece of advice makes you think differently about what you want in a house and what you need. If you are thinking of building, GET THIS BOOK. Even if you're going to a contractor or architect, get the book and sit down with your whole family to make plans. You'll find out about personal privacy issues, how your rooms and spaces should flow, how to make your house more efficient not from an energy standpoint, but from a "how I use my house" point of view.
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71 of 74 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars How to Design and Build Your Own House October 1, 2001
Format:Paperback
I used this book to design and build my first house 15 years ago. I am now a general building contractor and continue to use it so much that that first copy is worn out and I'm buying a replacement. It offers a wonderful combination of design ideas, structural tables, and common sense advice.
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48 of 50 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent overview of process! October 22, 1999
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
Great attention to many points which must be considered for design and building a home. While the material (particularily the pictures) are dated, the overall advice is timeless. Impressed that it admits not everyone is suited to the demands of the process.
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42 of 44 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Broadest coverage, patiently explained January 27, 2003
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
It's not easy to cover such a huge subject, but these two architects do a remarkable job. The illustrator gets equal billing, and it's well-deserved, as the drawings alone are worth the price of the book. The best part is on design. I've never seen a book that allowed you to figure loads and size columns, or provided a worksheet to calculate heating requirements. The final section on construction is more of an overview but the important issues are always addressed. You'll need to supplement your reading, especially since newer technologies--housewrap, truss roofs, engineered lumber--are not covered, but everything in this book is useful.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good Starter Book February 23, 2006
Format:Paperback
As a person who is looking to build their own house the book provided a good start. It gave a great overview of how to design living area and incorporate ideas to the plan. As others have pointed out it is not current to todays innovations, however, it is a great start. I would use other construction type books to supplement the education received via this book. It also contains many formulas for calculating loads and other calcs for construction. I wish it covered more regarding slabs other than the crawl space one used in the example house that was being designed. It did go into detail about some of the more overlooked things in building a house - ie: stair and fireplace design. Overall, I don't think it would be for an experienced builder, however, it gives someone like me who does not know much about overall design and homebuilding a great start.
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25 of 32 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars out of date December 12, 2003
Format:Paperback
Many of the concepts are timeless but the edition I received was 15 years old and much of the technology and materials in house building have changed.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good reference March 26, 2008
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Great reference for all the phases of building. A good general overview, does not go in depth on each portion. A good reference if you plan to build your own house.
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29 of 43 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Misleading.... July 18, 2006
Format:Paperback
I bought this book a few years ago after reading the great reviews. After reading the book I was like "wow this stuff is extremely complicated you almost have to have a college degree or something to do this stuff" Well then I took Carpentry in Vo-tech and learned that things that they make seem extremely complicated in the book are really very simple. For example choosing lumber. You have a whole chapter in the book about different types of lumber, different species of tree, curing the wood and complicated tables to figure out what kind of species of wood you use. Well really its rather simple you go to local builders or home depot and just ask what wood is used for framing etc. usually a type of pine, but it varies for different regions.

While technically all the information is correct in this book its not in presented in an easy down to earth style. In my opinion the author(s) is purposely discouraging people from doing it themselves. He presents everything in an over complicated way and then encourages you to hire a proffesional repeatedly. If I was going to hire proffessionals to build my house why would I buy this book to begin with? Could it be that this guy makes (or did) make a living building houses and wants to maintain a level of job security? Though I can say most aspects of carpentry are like riding a bike, its very easily explained on paper and doesn't take much intellectually to comprehend, but like bike riding, its a skill that must be learned from repeated practice. Therefore, unless you have some background in doing stuff yourself or a knowledgable person helping you or you are planning to contract out the majority of the work I would not recommend building your own house either. The first factor is that a contractor has expensive equipment.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
very good book
Published 18 days ago by Nacho
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Great ideas and information. Fast delivery.
Published 1 month ago by Gary McCluskey
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
thanks
Published 3 months ago by Hassan
3.0 out of 5 stars It's okay
not what I wanted
Published 9 months ago by Joel Hadfield
5.0 out of 5 stars QUALITY PURCHASE
This book has great DIY info for anyone wanting to design and bulid their own home. The price was fair, the shipping was fast, and the product was in excellent quality.
Published 14 months ago by Gerald L. Hill
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Book
Good information. Lots of information that I had forgotten about. Great reference book to have while drawing out your house plans.
Published 16 months ago by tags
5.0 out of 5 stars Came in perfect condition
The item came well maintained; very happy to give to my in-laws as a present. I hope that it helps them.
Published 22 months ago by Kristina Parsons
4.0 out of 5 stars Careful, it is an engineering book
I bought this thinking I'd give it to my mother as a Christmas gift... not a good idea. When you open it up and read through it, it is an engineering book with the formulas for... Read more
Published on January 4, 2013 by Cary Diehl
5.0 out of 5 stars We couldn't have built our house without this book
This book is proving incredibly useful as my wife and I build most of our own house. We used it for design, and then to guide us through the process of setting out, laying the... Read more
Published on October 10, 2012 by Steve Rawcliffe
4.0 out of 5 stars Good roadmap
This book gives you an insight into the complexities of building your own house. Organization seems to be key.
Published on June 22, 2008 by Michael P. Quinn
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