41 of 41 people found the following review helpful
A Stylish Guide to Styles,
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This review is from: A Field Guide to American Houses (Revised): The Definitive Guide to Identifying and Understanding America's Domestic Architecture (Hardcover)
This book is a "must" for anyone who likes to look at houses. Its novel, central purpose is to aid in identifying the architectural styles of American homes. It does this in a manner analogous to "field guides" for birds, bugs or plants, but instead of wings and beaks or leaves and bark, it describes roof lines, window treatments and the many other visible characteristics that define each style. Introductory chapters offer an engaging historical background for floor plans, construction techniques and exterior features; these chapters are clear, concise and accessible even to a novice. The chapter on neighborhoods, new for the 2nd edition, presents a fascinating account of how geography and advances in transportation have influenced people's decisions to live in communities and the homes they were likely to build in a given locale. The author is well aware that illustrations are crucial in a volume of this nature; she provides hundreds of straightforward line drawings that clarify structural and decorative concepts, plus hundreds more instructive photographs of actual dwellings. In the chapters on individual styles these figures complement one another to convey both the essential elements of each style and the range of variations that may be encountered "in the field". Add an exhaustive reference section at the end and you have a versatile work that will enrich the afternoons of casual weekend wanderers while also serving the needs of serious students of architectural history.