Wordtrade LogoWordtrade.com


Review Essays of Academic, Professional & Technical Books in the Humanities & Sciences



New Life for Old Houses: A Guide to Restoration and Repair by George Stephen ( Dover ) shows exactly what to do if you want to put new life back into your old house--whether it's 50 or 150 years of age. Architect George Stephen explains basic design principles and architectural styles, tells how to protect unique details during the restoration process, how to select an architect, choose appropriate materials and colors, revive windows, doors, porches and other details; restore interiors from ceiling to floor; and save energy through simple modifications. An updated edition of a classic handbook, this practical, easy-to-understand introduction to good design and rehabilitation contains 300 illustrations and an invaluable glossary of building terms. Unabridged republication of the edition originally published by The Preservation Press, Washington , D.C. , 1972. New Preface. Introduction. Glossary of building terms. 300 illustrations.

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.  A look at the luxurious homes of Lake Forest , Illinois , from the high period of the country estate.
Lake Forest , Illinois , thirty miles north of Chicago on the western shore of Lake Michigan , has been one of America 's elite residential communities for one and a half centuries. Spread across the edge of lakeside bluffs and along deep ravines, hundreds of elegant country estates house the families of Chicago 's commercial, professional, and cultural leadership—the greatest concentration of American country estates to be found between the two coasts. Lake Forest architecture and landscaping reflect a significant interplay of leading practitioners and design theories spanning the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. This book offers a tour of the houses, landscapes, gardens, gentlemen's farms, and country clubs that have made the community a landmark of architectural and landscape design. Architectural renderings, landscape plans, drawings, and period photographs of architecture and gardens, many of them not previously published, illustrate the work of these masters and the fabulous lifestyles of a bygone era.

Log Houses: Classics of the North by Peter Christopher, Richard Skinulis (The Boston Mills Press) Richard Skinulis, a Toronto writer and editor, says, “Peter Christopher and I felt a book like this was necessary to document the renaissance of a style of building that seemed only a few years away from becoming a lost art.”

Log Houses 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 individuality. 
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:

  • Hand-hewn with dovetail corners
  • Long log or Scandinavian scribe
  • Stackwall or cordwood
  • French-influenced piece-on-piece
  • Vertical log or stockade

Chapters include

  • The Allure of the Big Wood
  • The Hewn-log House
  • Off the Beaten Track
  • The Log Cottages of Lac Echo
  • Living with Logs
Expansive color photographs by Christopher, one of Canada ’s finest photographers capture not only the magnificent exteriors but also the beautifully-designed interior rooms and surrounding grounds.

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.


Headline 3

insert content here

WT Main | About WT | Review Links | Contact | Review Sources | Arts Bookstore | Search |

Copyright © 2007. All Rights Reserved.

Headline 3

insert content here