New Life for Old Houses: A Guide to Restoration and Repair by George
Classic Country Estates of Lake Forest: Architecture and Landscape Design
1856-1940 by Kim Coventry, Daniel Meyer, Arthur H. Miller
(Norton) 290 illustrations, 16 pages of color.
at the luxurious homes of
Log Houses: Classics of the North
by Peter Christopher, Richard
(The Boston Mills Press)
Richard Skinulis, a
is a style book, an idea resource, a log-building primer, and a tribute to the
allure of log houses. These authentic log houses rise out of the landscape as if
they grew there, yet many grand old structures were abandoned in the first half
of the twentieth century. Small wonder why in this age of mass-produced suburban
dwellings, the log home stands for adventure, enduring craftsmanship, and rugged
Recent decades have witnessed a renewed interest in preserving and building new log houses. The restored and handcrafted northern log houses featured in this book are some of the most beautiful in the world.
The book also includes a how-to guide for historic and modern building techniques.
Log Houses details excellent examples of the five main construction methods:
Great Houses of London by David Pearce (Vendome) is an account of buildings and their designers; it is about their owners too. The great town house, more than any other major building type, expressed the tastes and aspirations of a single person, and usually one rich and powerful enough to have his own way. Such a client was not easy for the architect, especially prior to the formalization of the profession in the nineteenth century. When that did happen, and an architect such as George Basevi could be appointed for the overall design of large numbers of grand houses ‑ such as those comprising most of Belgrave Square ‑ the resulting residences lacked the individuality of the aristocrat's private palace, no matter how opulent the furnishings. Most of the powerful families who created major town houses were free‑holders, although there were exceptions, especially on the Grosvenors' Mayfair estate.
The architect was appointed by the noble client to produce a distinguished design and, at least as importantly, to carry out a complex and subtle floor‑planning exercise. In Georgian times the life of the aristocracy gradually became more formal, its activities compartmentalized ‑ receiving, sitting, eating, withdrawing, reading, music‑making, card playing, sleeping, dressing, bathing ‑these were all given separate spaces. Classes of people and types of occasion were graded. In later palaces the family customarily had a suite of rooms for living privately on the ground floor and another for living publicly, when the occasion demanded, on the first. Miracles of organization were achieved by Robert Adam, for example, even in narrow‑frontage houses. There were back stairs, passages and jib doors so that servants could appear unobtrusively ‑ like Jeeves, they were supposed to float silently in and out of rooms. For servants who were meant to be seen at times, such as footmen, there were places where they could stand out of the way, yet be ready to come forward when required. The nineteenth century saw households even more inflated and hierarchic, and entertaining grander and more formal. Fifty to 60 servants were present in large town houses. The family expected privacy, not only from them, but also from its younger members and from its guests. Such careful architectural planning was a world away from the medieval courtyard houses which, to a considerable extent, just grew' and in which a great deal of the life centred on the single great hall.
Those early mansions were sited in the City, Westminster and the Strand area between them, the centuries passed the fashionable locations spread north and west. In Round About Piccadilly and Pall Mall of 1870, Wheatley wrote of the quarter centred upon St James's Square: `It has been from its proximity to the court, frequented by the ruling powers in state and general society for about two centuries. In former times society, or the "world", consisted of a small circle of persons who were almost all known to one another, and lived within this district.' Before 1660 `St James's Fields' were just that. The thirteenth‑to‑nineteenth‑century migration by the rich and powerful is reflected in the structure of this book. Great Houses of London starts in the walled City of London, explores suburbs such as Holborn, Bloomsbury, Soho, Piccadilly, St James's, and Marylebone, and ends in Park Lane, from which aristocrats were driven by the noise of motorbuses, the demands of hoteliers and the effects of taxes.The east‑west progress broadly parallels the chronological one over six centuries. But there are diversions; apart from describing a number of important houses in a particular location and period, most chapters also present an exposition in aesthetic, architectural, political or town‑planning terms. There are some 40 major houses and perhaps a hundred lesser ones. Each chapter recounts the story of a few of these with an emphasis on the theme of the chapter concerned. The conjunction of houses and themes is contingent in that some private palaces could have been discussed under several headings. In the interests of readability, the history of a house, once embarked upon in detail, is carried forward to its conclusion.
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