As long as I can remember, I’ve been fascinated by house floor plans. Seeing how homes were laid out, how big rooms were, where things were in relation to one another… It always interested me, perhaps for the same reasons why maps appeal to me. In any case, as an adult, that interest has led to more practical reasons to look at floor plans, since it’s sometimes tricky to find a house that fits your family’s needs, finding something compatible with the way you actually live, not just the way you intend to live.
Will there be a basement? An attic? Dormers? Will it be shaped like a box, or will it have wings? How about a porch? How will storage be handled? There are countless aspects of how you live in a house that are important when you’re choosing one to buy, rent, or build. I’ve spent more than my fair share of time with the Not So Big House books and A Pattern Language to have narrowed down my personal priorities in a home. But still, every time I study floor plans, I encounter a new way of arranging things and new, great ideas for a future house.
The new book American Homes: The Landmark Illustrated Encyclopedia of Domestic Architecture is a feast for the eyes and the brain. It is filled with over 1,000 illustrations, home elevations, and floor plans. There are dozens of home styles, ranging from the Longhouse to the Saltbox to the German Colonial to the A-Frame to the Passive Solar. My interests also lie in architecture, especially house architecture, so I was very excited to learn about this book.
Perfect for study, inspiration, or as a starting point for planning your own house, the deconstructions in this book make it easy to visualize how the types of houses are put together. A selection of building methods, architectural features, different versions of the style, measurements, and descriptions are included.
Even more than learning about different kinds of houses, the book delves into the history of the house in this part of the world. Why were log cabins built the way they were? What are the advantages of a pre-fab house? What would a house in space look like? Learn about the history of American house design and you learn a bit about American history in the process.
If you’re like me and you love to peruse housing books, American Homes is great fodder for your imagination or your concrete plans. I know I’ll be studying each type of house and picking out the features that I like best.
Note: I received this book for review purposes.