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Roots of Home: Our Journey to a New Old House Hardcover – Bargain Price, October 14, 2008

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Roots of Home: Our Journey to a New Old House + Creating a New Old House: Yesterday's Character for Today's Home (American Institute Architects) + The Farmhouse: New Inspiration for the Classic American Home
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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Adobe haciendas, Low Country cottages, sturdy Pennsylvania Dutch farmhouses, white-columned neoclassical mansions - these and many other building types contribute to the rich architectural diversity that makes America's streets and roads such a feast for the unhurried eye. In this insightfully written and lavishly illustrated book, Russell Versaci and Erik Kvalsvik offer a guide to the characteristic features of the historic styles that left their mark on our nation's domestic architecture - and in the process, they suggest ways to preserve and adapt these features in the creation of contemporary homes of real distinction." -- Richard Moe, President, National Trust for Historic Preservation

"ROOTS OF HOME teaches us about the history of the houses that shelter our souls. Russell Versaci's insatiable love of old houses shines throughout his brilliant book." -- Alexandra Stoddard, author of THE DECORATION OF HOUSES and LIVING A BEAUTIFUL LIFE

"This book reminds us that good architecture is a blend of craft and artistry - and that practicing one's craft in a given manner, in a contiguous area, over time, is the surest route to mastery. Versaci narrates an engaging journey of architectural discovery which melds the educational value of the Historic American Buildings Survey with the appealing delivery of This Old House. His analysis is in service to the public, his fellow architects, and future patrons. Versaci is at his best when highlighting and explaining discreet building elements or architectural forms from the past. These `telling details' not only inform the veracity of the book, but the authenticity of the new homes he advocates." -- Chase W. Rynd, President and Executive Director, National Building Museum

"This is an important book. When the great challenge in modern life is the creation of the sense of identity of place, Roots of Home opens a door to the architectural history that has made different parts of the United States unique. An antidote to the spread of bland, anonymous places, this will allow the reader to anchor a place into its cultural background, illustrating not only the origins of the local architecture but how it has developed to suit its unique climatic and functional condition. The book is history but much more than history. It's is notable for not only revealing the origins of the particularity of each place but in giving examples of how to carry that character into the modern world. Everyone who cares about the identity of place should have a copy." -- Robert Adam, Principal, Robert Adam Architects; Founder, International Network for Traditional Building, Architecture & Urbanism (INTBAU)

"Russell Versaci's new book, ROOTS OF HOME, makes you want to grab your GPS, fill your gas tank, and take a long leisurely road trip to discover our amazing architectural heritage. ROOTS OF HOME is a must read if you are thinking about building a new house or restoring an old one. In the French, English, or Spanish styles, cottage, plantation, or cabin, you will find thought provoking inspiration to help you make the right decisions."

"This book reminds us that good architecture is a blend of craft and artistry - and that practicing one's craft in a given manner, in a contiguous area, over time, is the surest route to mastery. Versaci narrates an engaging journey of architectural discovery which melds the educational value of the Historic American Buildings Survey with the appealing delivery of This Old House. His analysis is in service to the public, his fellow architects, and future patrons. Versaci is at his best when highlighting and explaining discreet building elements or architectural forms from the past. These `telling details' not only inform the veracity of the book, but the authenticity of the new homes he advocates."

Review

"Russell Versaci's new book, ROOTS OF HOME, makes you want to grab your GPS, fill your gas tank, and take a long leisurely road trip to discover our amazing architectural heritage. ROOTS OF HOME is a must read if you are thinking about building a new house or restoring an old one. In the French, English, or Spanish styles, cottage, plantation, or cabin, you will find thought provoking inspiration to help you make the right decisions."

"This book reminds us that good architecture is a blend of craft and artistry - and that practicing one's craft in a given manner, in a contiguous area, over time, is the surest route to mastery. Versaci narrates an engaging journey of architectural discovery which melds the educational value of the Historic American Buildings Survey with the appealing delivery of This Old House. His analysis is in service to the public, his fellow architects, and future patrons. Versaci is at his best when highlighting and explaining discreet building elements or architectural forms from the past. These `telling details' not only inform the veracity of the book, but the authenticity of the new homes he advocates."
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 265 pages
  • Publisher: Taunton Press (October 14, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1561588679
  • ASIN: B0030EG14W
  • Product Dimensions: 9.5 x 0.9 x 11.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,226,457 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By S. Daniel on October 15, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
What an amazing book! This book is both an architectural feast and a field guide. Russell Versaci's text and Erik Kvalsvik's photography make this book a treasure that all lovers of traditional architecture and home will want to own. The book is divided into four parts: Our Spanish Heritage, Our French Heritage, Our English Heritage, and our Continental Heritage. In each part, several styles of homes are explored. There is pertinent historical information in each section as well as descriptions of the details of each sort of architecture. There are maps, exterior photographs, interior photographs and detail photographs. Anyone looking for information on restoring or designing a traditional home will find plenty of helpful information in this book. This is not a book that will just sit on your bookshelf or stay on your coffee table. Rather, it is a book you and your entire family will pick up again and again just to read--and to enjoy--long after your building or restoration project has been completed. Versaci deserves a heartfelt thank you from everyone who loves old homes and homes built to look (and feel) like them. Whether you are looking for the correct dormer design or the proper chimney shape for your house--you can find it here. I would encourage anyone to buy this book without fear that they would be disappointed. It's that good!

My favorite chapters? The Swedish Log Cabin chapter and the Texas German Hill Country Ranch chapter. There is just SO much to enjoy in this book. There is everything from the Anglo-Caribbean Plantation to the New Hacienda--and every style of house is explored in detail and photographed in a way that will make it difficult to tear yourself away from this book.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on January 16, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Versaci is a student of all that's right about the rich architectural history we too often take for granted. Instead of rejecting the heritage of forms and styles that have grown from our culture like so many modernists of today, Versaci embraces them and shows us how much there is to learn from them. I have his earlier book, Creating a New Old House: Yesterday's Character for Today's Home (American Institute Architects) on the "suggested reading" list in my book, Designing Your Perfect House. This book is a must read for anyone who sees the beauty in traditional architecture and wants an expert guide to take them by the hand and show them how to add some of that magic into their new house.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By C R Gruver on January 14, 2009
Format: Hardcover
This book is an excellent overview of the roots of American architecture. Written well with outstanding photography I use it as a resource and gifts for clients to illustrate how to capture traditional building elements.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Lars Rimfalk Jensen on April 7, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
In my wife`s study of Historic Preservation - this book has been a very good supplement to keeping traditions alive
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By V. Vesper on February 23, 2012
Format: Hardcover
I picked this up in the library as an afterthought. Based on the title, I sort of expected it to be about a couple building a new house in a historic style. It is not that at all, and is so much better! I'm going to have to order one!

The book gives a comprehensive history of architectural styles in the US. Not only the "pure" styles, but the combinations and why they came about. Remember that architecture evolved the way it did for a reason. Some people may scoff at traditional architecture and wax poetic about modern styles. But whatever you may prefer visually, you have to stop and appreciate the purpose and efficiency of the traditional designs.

For example, do you live in the hot, arid southwest? Well, build an adobe house with walls 2-3 feet thick and see how much more comfortable it stays than a regular stick-built house. Do you live in the hot, humid gulf coast states? You're going to want to build your foundation of stone or concrete or brick, and maybe even put it up on piers or stilts to keep it away from damp and termites. You'll want your porches and windows to face the correct directions for cooling, too.

There's alot of talk about green building and energy-efficient building today. I think we could all take some lessons from history. How did people build their homes to deal with their local climates before they had central heating and air?

In addition to the practical uses for historic knowledge, the fact is that the photos in this book are absolutely gorgeous. These are houses that someone could easily feel "at home" in. Nothing cold or modern or stark. I know some people like that minimalistic look, and that's fine -- but I perosnally don't see how that could ever warm your soul like these traditoinal homes do.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By C2finley on March 29, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Wonderful read and really educational. We are building a house next year on a large piece of land in the Md countryside so this is an incredible source of inspiration. Love the way the book is divided into geographical region and the historic renovations profiled are really interesting.
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Format: Hardcover
Interior designers and their clients explore the interior and exterior housing design styles for ideas they can adapt to their own visions of an ideal living space. Explore this fascinating world of new home designs based on old world styles and traditions in the profusely illustrated pages of "Roots of Home: Our Journey to a New Old House". Author and professional architect Russell Versaci, brings part architecture and part history to tell the story of the French, Spanish, English and Continental customs that shaped regional house styles around the country. Included are more than 300 old maps, drawings and photographs of both historic house and new houses in historic styles. Roots of Home presents a rich, captivating portrait of the evolution of American homes and the movement of bring to life in new homes the rich tradition and influences of the past. Beautifully displayed in text and photographs by architectural photographer Erik Kvalsvik, "Roots of Home: Our Journey to a New Old House" is an impressive and recommended addition to personal, professional, community, and academic architecture, design, history and homes reference collections and supplemental reading lists.
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