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Designing Your Perfect House: Lessons from an Architect Hardcover – November 1, 2008

4.6 out of 5 stars 94 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"This is such a good book!  I've seen many while trying to create homes for prospects, but  not one as detailed and user-friendly as "Designing Your Perfect House".  Hirsch certainly is providing a guide for creating a house that becomes a home."  Irene Watson, Readerviews.com

" Color photos and drawings profusely illustrate Hirsch's major points.  " Designing Your Perfect House: Lessons from an Architect" is not just another "How to" or "do it yourself" manual.  It is an informed and informative guide through the whole process of taking your concepts and dreams and making them into a lovable, livable, home." " Recommended for anyone wishing to design their dream home."  Midwest Book Review,  Oregon, WI

" We have been building custom homes for over thirty years, and this is the first time we have seen the design process so thoroughly explained and easily understood for prospective home owners (as well as builders). Bill Hirsch's liberal use of illustrations, check lists and photgraphs aid in refining the reader's ideas and organizing the design process."  July Malloy, Brightleaft Development Co, LLC

" The decision to build a new home can be daunting for an amateur.  Architect Hirsch takes one through the process form idea to completion.  Drawing many examples from his own practice, he explains the process and philosophy of residential design as seen from a professional's view and discusses what to consider when creating one's dream home. Recommended"  Library Journal

From the Author

As an architect, my job is not to impose a vision of what a house should be, instead, the architect is there to realize the client's unique vision.  The consumer needs an advocate in the creative and building process, and the architect's role is to advocate the customer's desires and balance those with the realities of time, money, and energy. I hope that when you read this book, it will help you with the complex issues involved with residential design and construction.  If you are remodeling, or just have an interest in home design, I expect that you will be able to find things of interest as well.  Please let me know what you think!
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Dalsimer Press, Inc; 1 edition (November 1, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0979882036
  • ISBN-13: 978-0979882036
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 0.9 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (94 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #82,748 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Read this book in one sitting. Mr. Hirsch makes many excellent points about house design, especially the feel and flow of a house, symmetry and asymmetry, capturing light, repeating certain motifs, etc. etc. If this is the only book you read prior to designing or remodelling a house, you will be ahead of the game. However, I do think many of the same points are made more effectively, with more extensive illustrations, and in a better organized fashion in two other books: Patterns of Home (Jacobson et al.) and Home by Design (Sarah Susanka). To supplement learning about design principles, a great book to walk you through through nitty gritty details of functionality so that you avoid annoying mistakes like poor placement of light switches, inconvenient door locations, awkward placement of appliances and so forth, try Better House, Better Living, by Myron Ferguson.
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Format: Hardcover
The value of this book is found in its practicality, its convenience and its charm. "Designing Your Perfect House" is a really helpful tool for a current or soon-to-be homeowner who wants to build. When deciding on a book to read, I always want to read reviews that tell me some specifics about the book so I know if it relates. I hope to give you just that.

I'm actually a custom homebuilding consultant. I advise people on picking their contractors, architects, designers, materials and more. It really bothers me when people don't do their homework before deciding to design a home or have one designed for them. After reading this book I feel confident in telling you to start right here! The author takes you through your emotional, thought, and preparation processes that are so necessary when designing your home. He pretty much just covers everything you need to know and it really jibes with my belief that preparation is paramount. He explains how important it is to pick a good architect (as well as HOW to do it) and that everything flows from good design, and that so many mistakes and heartaches can be avoided by taking the time at the early stages.

William J. Hirsch knows his stuff. 30 years of experience allows him to lead you through the steps you need, to make the right decisions and design a home that is perfect for you. From style, to size, to interior spaces, to orientation on the lot, to home value, to priorities, to weather, and so many other important factors, the author has an answer and presents it in a down to earth, easy to understand fashion. If I were you, wouldn't hesitate to invest money in this book. It's worth every cent and I'm very glad I did.

It is very well laid out, full of beautiful pictures, and even helps you choose a good builder. Even if ... well, especially if you're not quite ready to build, buy it now! You'll learn a lot and just as importantly, you'll really enjoy reading it more than once!
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Format: Hardcover
Sometimes the hardest part of any project is deciding where to start first. "Designing Your Perfect House" not only shows you how to find the beginning, but also gives you an advance preview of what the ending will look like. We have been building high-end custom homes for over thirty years and this is the first time we have seen the designing process so throughly explained and easily understood for prospective homeowners (as well as builders). Bill Hirsch's liberal use of illustrations, check lists and photographs aid in refining the reader's ideas and organizing the design process. But the author is careful not to over-simplify a complex task. He cautions the reader to take the time to think things out, warning about: proper site planning, sizing spaces to create the best "people" effect and checking out prospective builders. But lest you think this is a dull "text" book, "Designing Your Perfect Home" includes plenty of good humor and outright fun. It starts with an optical illusion: A Rorschach test of a man playing a saxaphone vs. a woman's face, to illustrate how we can achieve the "Aha" effect. Later we meet; "Just Say No to Avocado", "Why Did They Ever Call it a Living Room?" and my all time favorite; "Windows Are the Eyes and a Door is the Mouth of the building". When I got to the end of this very readable book I kept hoping that this would be the beginning of a series: "Designing your Perfect Home Remodeling Project....?"
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
As other reviewers have noted, this is a great book to help someone walk through designing their own home. I found myself in a position where I had to come up with potential floor plans for an awkwardly-shaped lot, and this book was the best resource I found.

However, this book could also be titled "How to come up with and/or appreciate good floor plans." Hirsch presents a pretty simple process, but I hadn't seen it described anywhere this clearly, and it helps you evaluate any floor plan or design you encounter, not just new ones! He presents a good framework for how to come up with usable spaces, and make the most of your design/building dollars.

And another note: this is also a good Kindle title. That is, the book reads well on a Kindle, even with some of the larger photos and floor plans.
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Format: Hardcover
I LOVED this book! It is smart, accessible, and just plain lovely. I am in the process of designing my dream home and was about to make a lot of decisions I would have regretted if I did not read this book before finalizing my floor plans. I am on a limited budget and was letting finances make a lot of my design decisions, such as cutting hallways to save on square footage and not considering how things flow together. I was just trying to get the most in the smallest space so I could spend money on some luxury items I want. I am somebody who can appreciate when a house "feels right," but really didn't understand why. After reading Designing Your Perfect House, I feel better able to understand what will contribute to making my dream house "feel right." Finances will still be a part of my decision making process, but so will the feel of the house. And I now know where a little money might go a long way - like in soundproofing and using another shade of wood in doorways to mark transitions in a classy way! Those luxury items I'm going to have would have made little difference if my house felt wrong. I feel like I now have the information I need to help me prioritize my decision making and create the home I imagine.

In addition, when I finished reading this book, I was so excited and felt like I knew the author and liked him. I felt so comfortable, in fact, that I emailed him with a question I had about where to put my laundry room. I've never emailed an author in my life. To my amazement and delight, he emailed me back that same day and answered my question.

This book is the best investment I've made in my dream home so far!!!
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