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Creating a New Old House: Yesterday's Character for Today's Home (American Institute Architects) Hardcover – Bargain Price, November 15, 2003

4.3 out of 5 stars 64 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"A book providing the guidance and details necessary to create a new/old house is long overdue. Russell Versaci writes with authority about the value of historical accuracy when creating a house with architectural integrity."

About the Author

Russell Versaci has been practicing traditional architecture for two decades. His firm, Russell Versaci Architecture, is noted for creating thoughtful, carefully executed designs for period-style homes that reflect a mastery of history. His first book, "Creating a New Old House," promotes the author's "Pillars of Traditional Design," a set of principles for creating authentic traditional architecture. Versaci's designs have been featured in national magazines, including "Traditional Home, Southern Accents, House Beautiful, "and "Southern Living," as well as on Good Morning, America.
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Product Details

  • Series: American Institute Architects
  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Taunton (November 15, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1561586153
  • ASIN: B002IKLNBU
  • Product Dimensions: 9.6 x 0.9 x 11.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.8 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (64 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,271,688 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
I have an academic and working background in architectural design, and I recently began designing a house for myself and my family for the very first time. While having a pretty solid education in modern architecture, I confess to have always been in love with more traditional design aesthetics and architectural history. A few months ago, I was searching for a book like this to aid in designing my home, but I could NOT find anything like this. I wanted a home that was rich in architectural tradition yet the home design also had to meet modern day demands in space and utility. I was ecstatic to come across a review for this book at another website announcing the book's publishing date. . . I was concerned at first that this book would be nothing but SLICK coffee table fodder because of the beautiful pictures, but upon receiving the book, I found the book to contain pertinent information that guides the reader/designer on how to accomplish a design that integrates traditional aesthetics and feeling with modern day needs and wants. This book is more than just pretty: it spells out how to achieve a historical, traditional look without mocking the past or being trite. . . and at the same time encourages the designer to meet modern needs.
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Format: Hardcover
I love older homes. And when it came to renovating our newer home we were challenged to put the old into the new. I've been a magazine junkie, culling pictures here and there. But this book is a one-stop shop for classic American styles and details. I love that these houses are not lavishly large (for the most part) but intimate. The strength is in their high quality details.
My husband and I really love this book. We have been able to visually resolve some ideas about mantels, flooring, and window styles to compliment our New England home. The side bars and floor plans are easy to follow. And notice how light plays in the interiors. Sumptuous!
(I just wish I could find an old stlye interior pattern book, complete with example photos, dates and locations. Hint, hint!)
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Format: Paperback
After seeing Versaci's house plans online, I was excited about the potential for this book to be a great resource for traditional design ideas. Yes, there are beautiful houses in this book. Unfortunately, I was disappointed to find that the writing was simplistic & repetitive, and the ideas presented would only be attainable for the very wealthy. Perhaps as an architect, I am biased in favor of the idea that intelligent and soulful building design can happen today even on an average budget. If you fall into this category, look at examples like the houses in the Prairie Crossing development outside Chicago, where the designers draw heavily from vernacular forms without being enslaved to only "authentic" material choices. Many traditional forms developed as a response to a particular climate. Those home builders of yesteryear would kill to have access to some of the materials of today. I take strong issue with the idea that new (pre-1930?) building technologies make "soul-less" houses. Honestly, even vinyl siding can be done well...which is what I was hoping to see in this book.

Speaking of "authenticity," what's with spraying your stone with manure to make it look old? You just spent thousands upon thousands of dollars on beautiful stone walls and now you want to cultivate mildew on them? Just wait 10 years! Owners of REAL old homes have to spend money trying to get rid of mildew, so this strikes me as slightly insane. Other annoying aspects:

-Over and over again, he was describing in minute detail the various (imaginary) additions and renovations that the houses had been through as if they had really happened. This is hard to read and confusing.
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Format: Hardcover
This book is truly a standout and will be for a long time. I don't agree with the disappointed reviewers here. The book accomplishes its goal---to acquaint the reader with the basics of how to go about designing a wonderful new house that looks old. And yes, quality materials are expensive and the best designs are offered by fine architects. After all, this is their specialty. I don't see this book as an advertisement, but rather as an example of what can be designed. The featured architects should not be expected to give away details of their work products-- the fact that many of them provided drawings of their floorplans is more than enough.

This is not a detailed "how to" book, but rather a book of ideas which delineates the tenets of good design which will stand the test of time. After devouring this book, the reader has a jumping off place--and should be able to explore the details that interest him through further research. It would be impossible to include the kinds of details some seem to want in one single book which is devoted to an explication of the idea of building a new old house.

I don't think anyone who buys this book will be disappointed---it's simply that terrific!
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Format: Hardcover
As we all look for something authentic in a country washed over in a sea of fakery and bogus iconography; it is refreshing to see that there are artists and crafts people (and architects) still capable of creating space that is authentic. This is a book for anyone who is considering creating a space that is populated by not just a lot of "authentic looking" details but details that reflect the substance of the structure itself. The structures that are reviewed are not multimillion dollar, 45,000 sq. ft. mansions; rather they are a mix chosen for illustrating Versaci's message.
I read this book and as I embark on yet another new home building project feel a real sense of excitement. Time to find myself an architect who share's Versaci's enthusiasm for an authentic American architecture that is true to itself right down to the foundation.
If you are looking around your home and it appears visually shallow this book will be a real watershed for your vision of the "next" house. I bought several copies for friends who are looking at a possible "next" homes and it has really started them thinking in an all new way about their projects.
Nice book to look at and read.
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