Friday, August 20, 2010

Book Love

I am currently engrossed in this book, which a reader in Adelaide excitedly informed me about (dear reader in Adelaide, you are right, I think it could possibly change my life). Chased around with no luck sourcing it in Brisbane so ended up ordering it from (highly recommended... free worldwide shipping.. and super fast!).

From the Publisher;
   Even as oversized McMansions continue to elbow their way into tiny lots nationwide, a much different trend has taken shape. This return to traditional architectural principles venerates qualities that once were taken for granted in home design: structural common sense, aesthetics of form, appropriateness to a neighborhood, and even sustainability.
   Marianne Cusato, creator of the award-winning Katrina Cottages, has authored and illustrated this definitive guide to what makes houses look and feel right—to the eye and to the soul. She teaches us the language and grammar of classical architecture, revealing how balance, harmony, and detail all contribute to creating a home that will be loved rather than tolerated. And she takes us through the do’s and don’ts of every element of home design, from dormers to doorways to columns. Integral to the book are its hundreds of elegant line drawings—clearly rendering the varieties of lintels and cornices, arches and eaves, and displaying “avoid” and “use” versions of the same elements side by side.
272 pages, hardcover. Sterling (October 2007)

Author: Marianne Cusato & Ben Pentreath
Publisher: Sterling Press

Here's the dustjacket blurb that will suck you in.... promise......especially if you are planning to build, or currently designing, a home:

"Have you ever driven down a street filled with newly built homes and wondered why it just didn't feel right? Or looked at a house festooned with porticos, porches, and columns, and asked yourself, "What's wrong with this picture?" In this comprehensive and authoritative guide, Marianne Cusato explains why so many of today's traditional-style buildings miss the mark; describes the essential elements of a house, how they work together, and how to avoid common mistakes at every stage of the design and construction process.

Creating a well-designed building that looks and feels right isn't a matter of sticking on shutters or applying trim here and there. To be successful both on paper and on site requires fluency in the language of architecture. Written with designer Ben Pentreath, Get Your House Right, teaches you how to speak this language and how to "read" it in every house you see. It covers the vocabulary (components such as windows, doors, and eaves) and grammar (the rules we use to put those components together) in depth and rigorous detail. It also offers practical advice on which elements and materials to choose in order to achieve a beautiful, harmonious, authentic design.

Sorry about the rather tragic scanning quality 

Cusato's nearly 1000 meticulous line drawings illustrate errors to avoid and correct approaches to use when designing the entrance, the eaves, the chimney, and everything in between. You'll learn to steer clear of mistakes including second-story windows that are out of proportion to those below, shutters installed in such a way that they could not possibly close, and arches that defy structural logic. You'll also find solid information on issues of place, materials, and cost; the ways in which homes relate to others in the neighbourhood to form streetscapes and communities; and sustainable building.

.... Get Your House Right is an essential reference for builders, contractors, homeowners, and home buyers. It's also a rich source of inspiration and pleasure for armchair architects, design enthusiasts, and everyone who appreciates a beautiful building."

End of blurb.

I tell you, it's good stuff.
Happy Weekend!



  1. This looks like a fabulous book - where was it when I needed it! I would so love to build again or have another go at building this house - the things I'd change! None of this will happen so I'll just have to make do with enjoying your next journey. Leigh

  2. Looks like your kind of book and I am sure you are devouring it. I too would like to build again one day but am quite content for the time being...

  3. Thank you so much.
    My brother and his wife are starting the build process and we are looking at the possibility in the near future.
    It is quite a daunting prospect and any piece of advice/support is grabbed with two hands!

  4. This looks like it is right up your alley! what a great book - free shipping worldwide?? must go and take a ook! KG

  5. This looks like a fabulous book but I bet I will have already broken many of the rules!

  6. Isn't it great to discover a book that just 'clicks'.
    Sounds like you are in architectural heaven.

  7. I am so glad you are enjoying it, A-M!
    There are so many components of architecture that you just inheritently know look or feel right - but I just love the way this book explains why this is so (and love all the beautiful sketches of the "use" and "avoid"s)
    ... I guess a lot of it may go back to the old "golden rules" of proportion/scale - which all sounds very academic, but I really enjoyed how the author also explains in simple terms how if things don't make sense (like an unsupported door canopy that looks wrong because it feels like it could fall on your head!)- they just won't "feel" right.
    Although we are renovating and not building a new home, I refer to this book all the time for help in reproducing architectural detail (such as arches, door jambs, fan-lights, fireplaces, etc), as the rules are all the same.
    ....and on a different note - thank you so much for putting me on to the "bookdepository" - books arrive within a couple of days, and by not paying the shipping, the cost is so much cheaper than other book stores. What a find!

    Have a lovely weekend,

  8. It´s just what I need! Thank you!! ;-)

  9. Oh hello C, I didn't know whether you wanted to be outed or not! Big statement... but the book will change my life.. thank you so much for bringing it to my attention. I am loving it and learning heaps. Author has another design book that is winging it's way to me from the uk as we speak! A-M xx

  10. Sounds like you to a tee!!! Hope you enjoy reading through it on the weekend xx

  11. I love the way it is written - sounds so to the point. Will go and stalk a copy now..


  12. What a wonderful book. Any suggestions A-M how we could make it a mandatory read to ALL Gold Coast Developers ?
    We have been looking lately at purchasing a new home in our area , I dont think it will happen due to the formless homes with no character being built row upon row. Ooops did I say that at loud (good I meant too ! ). Its sad to live in such a gorgeous part of the world & seeing it built out without any thought to the soul of the area or its people.
    Karyn x

  13. Looks fantastic! Although we finished building 4 years ago, I will still be getting a copy. Letitia x

  14. It's good to know there's a book like that out in the world! Karyn, if you are sad about the Gold Coast, come to California and weep...

  15. perfect day to catch up on a favorite book.

    free shipping worldwide - bonus.

  16. I can tell you will devour this book. Can I just say Well Done re the mani? OPI Russian Navy is divine but by God it need your own bottle for touch ups. Good to know that Mr AM is there to be the Chipped Polish Police in my absence. I've been getting a few hate mail style messages lately so it is always lovely to read your kind and supportive messages xxx PS Loving this rain

  17. sounds brilliant, and like a must read for anyone contemplating building! and anything that ben pentreath contributes too is bound to be bang on the money.


  18. Hi A-M..I tore out the magazine page this book was featured on so long ago and never got around to ordering it. I'm so glad you've given more details here..I'll definitely have a look at it. Rachaelxx

  19. What I love A-M is that you're constantly seeking new ways to broaden your mind on building homes right. From classes to books to photographing things you like, you're constantly hunting for what you love and what you'd like to do in your own home. You'll always be satisfied with the results if you work like that. Sounds like a fantastic read, even for someone home-building/design inept like myself.


  20. Hi AM. Thanks for the info on this book including where to order it! I did just that and will be checking my mail box with great anticipation this week! Thanks so much for sharing. It has come just at the right time for us!
    x Briohny.

  21. I know someone who has it and swears by it, she has been in the process of building her dream house. Swinging by Barnes and Nobels today to pick me up a copy. Thanks, Heidi


Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to leave me a comment. I love hearing from you. A-M xx