August 2008’s Touted Tomes

Get Your House Right: Architectural Elements to Use & Avoid

By Marianne Cusato & Ben Pentreath with Richard Sammons & Leon Krier
Sterling Publishing Co., Inc.,
New York, NY

Cusato, Pentreath, Sammons and Krier’s group effort is a well-researched and comprehensive “Dos and Don’ts” for designers, architects and builders.

Beginning with a foreword by H.R.H. Prince of Wales regarding the importance of traditional building, this book is a guidebook on avoiding common structural errors when erecting traditional buildings.

With 1,000 line drawings to illustrate errors and their respective solutions, the authors say this book is a much-needed reminder of the language of traditional architecture so the style can be produced properly in the future.

Chapter one of 13 begins with nine things to know about successful design; some of these topics include the “less is more” approach, “common sense” design, and designing with texture, location and sustainability in mind.

Throughout the chapters there are building checklists with helpful hints on each topic.

Chapter two on schematic design suggests a design plan begin with a blank sheet of paper. From there, the plan can be continued with the development of the basic composition. Additional suggestions found throughout the chapter include designing from the roof plan to the ground and using the 15%-35% rule, which relates to the percentage of all wall openings.

Chapter three covers the five orders of building, and how to organize these orders. There is also an evaluation of Greek and Roman Doric orders and comparisons of various orders against one another.

The following chapter discusses arches and pediments, while chapter five explains why windows offer design possibilities beyond serving as mere channels for light and ventilation.

In subsequent chapters, doors, chimneys and roofs are evaluated, as well as additional components of house design.

Covering the topic broadly allows Get Your House Right to address all the ways in which designers, architects and builders can get it wrong. This detailed resource provides a wealth of information and acts a refresher for anyone in the design field.

Living With Light: Decorating The Scandinavian Way

By Gail Abbott
Cico Books
New York, NY

As Gail Abbot’s new book illustrates in exceptional detail, the use of light is the cornerstone of Scandinavian and northern European interior design.

The book begins with an introduction about the light polarity in Scandinavia and how Scandinavians maximize light’s reflection. A pale color palette is ideal for achieving the bright look of the Gustavian Provincial Style and this book guides designers through specific ways to complete this look.

Divided into six sections, including “Light on White,” “Reflected Light” and “Light on Texture,” each section explains the essentials to creating a look heavy on light.

In “Light on White,” Abbott speaks about kitchens and baths. Using white as a reflective surface is a big trend in Scandinavian kitchen design. Contemporary high-gloss units and white-painted tongue-and-groove doors in a featured London kitchen illustrate this style. Accessories such as stainless steel worktops and sinks, and steel Crittal windows with slender glazing bars allow light in from the outdoors. For a larger family kitchen, an antique cast-iron wood oven sits next to an electric glass hob, blending Old World style with a 21st century look.

A country-style bathroom shows how white can transform this space as well. In the bedroom-turned-bathroom, tongue-and-groove walls and bare floorboards are all painted white to accentuate the light. The round basin plumbed in beneath the wooden countertop finishes the look of the all-white bathroom.

In “Light on Color,” color accents are added to the mostly white style, such as in the large kitchen where red and white shades let in the maximum light, or the blue glass hanging lamps suspended over the working areas brighten the room.

“Reflected Light” exhibits reflective surfaces and mirrors and how these help create additional light for a room. Seen in the backsplash, sinks and worktops in kitchens and white tiles, mirrors and skylights in the bath, this section shows how accessories can illuminate a space nearly as much as the lighting fixtures. The text ends with source material on the featured designs themselves.