Best residential arhitecture books according to redditors

We found 211 Reddit comments discussing the best residential arhitecture books. We ranked the 107 resulting products by number of redditors who mentioned them. Here are the top 20.

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Top Reddit comments about Residential Architecture:

u/BigBankHank · 34 pointsr/DIY


For those with any interest in getting architectural details right when you're DIY'ing, I cannot recommend this book enough. I bought 10 years ago and it's hands down my favorite/ most recommended reference ever.

I'm a contractor, the product of an interior designer mom and a lumber/building supplies wholesaler dad. Grew up with Arch Digest, Fine Homebuilding, JLC, and a million other design & home improvement publications littering the house.

u/anomoly · 29 pointsr/todayilearned

Bill Bryson's book At Home: A Short History of Private Life is another good read that covers these relationships, along with an incredibly interesting history of other aspects of day-to-day life. I very much recommended it.

u/rhombusrhombus · 20 pointsr/todayilearned

Bill Bryson's At Home: A Short History of Private Life covers this in great depth. Highly recommended reading.

u/mnewberg · 17 pointsr/minimalism

If you want to dive in deeper in to correct housing elements I would suggest finding a copy of Get Your House Right. Once you read that book you realize how poorly some houses are designed, and how easy it would be to fix.

Much of the stuff the book highlights is visually wrong, but it goes into detail why it is wrong, and how to correct.

u/Jibart · 16 pointsr/thesims

Love this! I am actually doing a personal challenge where I am building each type of house.


This is another great resource, goes in depth!

u/chrhardy · 16 pointsr/Design

Sounds like what you want is Virginia Savage McAlester's book A Field Guide to American Houses.

She walks you through each style that is found in the US, explains the key features of each and give well drawn diagrams and photographic examples of each. Really well done.

u/_9a_ · 15 pointsr/thesims

That wasn't uninspired, you just took inspiration from old European manor homes! Hallways are for servants!

Seriously though, they were. The concept of connecting hallways was so servants could move unseen through the house and just appear where they were needed. No need for the nobs to see the peons. If you're interested, I highly suggest At Home, by Bill Bryson, a room-by-room historical perspective over the evolution of a western home.

u/jssj13 · 13 pointsr/RealEstate

Why build yourself? Are you looking for something in particular? Building a house in not an easy endeavor.

I'm saying that as a "builder" now working on my second build. I'm not a traditional builder, but I was/am working with smaller in-city lots and am building specifically for long term hold rental properties. My properties had to be custom designed to fit the lots and are for student rentals, so I designed them with smaller bedrooms without master suites, low maintenance long term items (spray foamed the entire exterior of the house, standing seam roof, etc) I literally built the house myself. I was the GC and did a lot of the work myself. It took me about 15 months (demo to CO) for the first one and the second we broke ground about 3 months ago. The drawing and permitting process took ~6 months prior on both. It was an extremely rewarding experience once I finished, but it was extremely stressful on the family and I just can't imagine a normal person doing it. I literally was on my job site 95% of the days over those 15 months.

I'm a huge fan of building science and while I like the idea of Passivehaus, I'm would caution that reaching those higher limits may not be worth the effort if you aren't a building science nerd like I am. More often than not many "normal" contractors will either lie to you saying they know what you want and know how to do it or will have the deer in the headlights look. If you want to get to the higher standards you will have to find those specific contractors and they are not cheap nor are they always readily available.

Agreed with the other user on low maintenance material. The current house I'm building I found a new siding that is definitely more expensive, but is actually dyed through (composite) and therefore will never need to be painted and it being a composite means no caulk. Again that is a tradeoff of upfront cost versus down the road cost.

Lastly before I built my first house I read for almost 2 years. I was/am a full time landlord so am fairly free so that reading was really "studying" and "preparing"for me. One minor note regarding the book list is that I wasn't looking for a builder as I had time and wanted to try and build a house. So many of the books I read were more granular and not so much about permitting and budgeting, etc. I figured I would figure out that stuff as I went along and I did. One big caveat, I didn't finance my build, but if you are you will more than likely need to hire a licensed GC/builder.

Books I read:

  1. I read a lot of the IRC code book (make sure you municipality uses the IRC). This was to ensure that I could check on the people that I hired.

  1. Read a lot about building science. Not in any particular order of preference.

    Green from the ground up

    Green Home Building


    Buildings don't lie

    Complete visual guide to building a house

  2. A lot of the Taunton Press For Pros by Pros (framing, wiring a house, siding, plumbing, concrete, trim, windows) books. Those were for my education on the utilities as I did most of this myself. Some of this may be too granular for you, but still lots of great info in there.

    There were many more books, but these are the ones I thought worthwhile to buy.
u/JesFineSaysBug · 13 pointsr/RetroFuturism

Lloyd Kahn (one of the creators of Domebook I and Domebook II) and a builder of many domes made this same revelation in 1973 and swore off domes forever with the publication of the book Shelter, where he advocates for simple usually rectangular homes using local materials. In his editorial/essay in the book he calls domes "smart but not wise", which pretty much sums up the issue.

More info here:

His book Shelter is still in print and available on Amazon. Recommended and insightful reading:

u/poirotoro · 11 pointsr/RoomPorn

Also, the majority of America (and the world) is untrained in the rules of classical architecture. Including me! But I ended up working in historic preservation/documentation, so that's given me enough on-the-job experience to understand what is "correct" and what isn't.

One of my favorite books in this vein is Get Your House Right by Marianne Cusato. She went through (what I understand to be) the near-fanatically Classicist architecture program at Notre Dame, and it really shows. It has some spot-on illustrations, if a bit rigid in philosophy.

u/bserum · 9 pointsr/Houseporn

I'm no expert, but I do have a copy of A Field Guide of American Houses. So with that caveat, my guess is that this is a modern (read: millennium mansion) interpretation of the classical Georgian style house with a center-gabled roof.
> Identifying Features: Paneled front door, usually centered and capped by an elaborate decorative crown (entablature) supported by decorative pilasters (flattened columns); usually with a row of small rectangular panes of glass beneath the crown, either within the door or in a transom just above; cornice usually emphasized by decorative moldings, most commonly with tooth-like dentils; windows with double-hung sashes having many small panes (most commonly nine or twelve panes per sash) separated by thick wooden muntins; windows aligned horizontally and vertically in symmetrical rows, never in adjacent pairs, usually five-ranked on front facade, less commonly three-or seven-ranked.

u/disposableassassin · 9 pointsr/architecture

It's always been like this... I think someone should take the Field Guide to American Houses and create a Style Flowchart, like a Taxonmy Diagram, and we can link to it in the sidebar. 99% of the time the house has no style, and falls into the category of "Contractor's Choice".

u/DiamineRose · 9 pointsr/thesims

Warning: Novel incoming.

One option for finding floor plans is the archive of Sears catalog houses here.

However, I'm going to take a different approach with the rest of my response, because it sounds like you have a lot of the same issues with gallery houses that I do.


The easiest way to get around this is to understand the design process so that you don't need to copy other's plans. I suggest two of my text books from design school:

  • The Interior Plan by Robert J. Rengel. Amazon. A used 2011 version can be had for less than $20.

    It's a professional book, but it's meant for 1st and 2nd year students so it's not overly technical. I like it because the drawing style is loose and approachable, and it's a very comprehensive. It will walk you through the creative process and will give you planning tools you can use to come up with your own floor plans later on. There are sections on both commercial and residential design, separate sections on individual rooms, and then how those rooms fit together into a whole building. It even talks about furniture placement!

  • A Field Guide to American Houses by Virginia & Lee McAlester Amazon. Again, get the old version used. Less than $10.

    This one focuses on exteriors and has both photographs of homes in styles throughout history and line drawings showing what elements make those homes an example of that style. Because it separates out the elements, it's easier to adapt them to new buildings.

    If you really want to get into it, I think it's worth it to get the books. They'll have a depth of information you just can't get online - especially in terms of picking up the design process and explaining why things work.


    In terms of adapting real-world measurements into the Sims...I don't advocate for it. Every time I try, the proportions are messed up visually and/or the room sizes don't translate well for sims furniture and activities. I find that it's much, much better to base room sizes on the furniture layout you want and how much open space you need around those arrangements. In other words - work from the inside out.

    Say you see a floor plan with furniture on it - a couch, chair and coffee table. It doesn't matter how big those pieces are in real life and it doesn't matter how big the room is, either. Why? Because you know how big that furniture is in the sims and that's all that matters. You need a room that will accomodate a 3x1 tile couch, a 1x1 tile chair, and a 2x1 tile coffee table, plus walking space. You can do a similar thing by translating building facades into 1 or 2-tile windows and doors. I usually work from what minimums I know work in the game and then add space depending on how luxurious I want it to be. Just keeping in mind how much space each item takes up in the game is immensely helpful.


    I like to harp the most central part of really good design: build for your clients' reality.

    Don't build a house for humans. Build a house for Sims. Maybe it's just me, but it annoys the crap out of me when I see fake garages and storage rooms in TS4 houses. It's a waste of potentially useful space and family funds. Also, Embrace the weirdness and don't forget about cool things like bubble blower lounges and rocket ships! If your sim has a weird hobby, don't forget to dedicate space for it.

    One last thing! Minimize your corridor space! It's dead space so please, please don't make long rambling hallways. Looking at good plans will help you avoid that. Our professors nagged us on this all the time.


    Ninja Edit: I thought it might be helpful to list out my process steps, so here it goes.

  1. Make a written list of spaces and equipment needed based on the family who will be living in the house. Be sure to include hobbies and activities. This is meant to force you to think about details. For example, how many kitchen applicances you want will change the size of your kitchen - so decide early!

  2. Draw a bubble diagram (loose circles) to figure out room placement and room relationships. How do you want the house to flow?

  3. Start adding shape to the rooms. Include doorways, windows, furniture.

  4. Use sims furniture size and walking space requirements to determine total tile dimensions for each room. Then add together for the whole building. Note: I draw plans inside out. Then build it in the game outside in.

  5. Choose a lot size based on the house size and desired yard size. So this is where I start building in the game.

  6. Refine room dimensions based on exterior details you want. Make sure that the windows and doors will space properly on the facade. Make small changes based on furniture sizes, activities, etc.

    I know it's a lot of front-end work, but it saves so many issues down the road. You never have to run out of room, or have too much of it, or have to go back and re-do stuff if you plan a little.
u/mofrojones · 9 pointsr/Construction

In addition to his technical writing Larry wrote a memoir shortly before his passing.



I found it to be a good read.

u/popo707 · 8 pointsr/Carpentry

I'm fairly new to the trade. Been in for about a year now. The way I got in was by looking on craigslist for carpenter apprentices. A local contractor picked me up and I've been on the job learning since. It's very rewarding, expecially when you finish a project or big job, and it is very difficult at times too. Moving stacks of lumber around and working outside on roofs when it's over 100 out isn't fun. I would say with my company we dabble in many things from framing, finish work, remodels, and custom projects. I've heard of guys on this sub who had been working on prefab stuff in shops hoping to get out and work on real homes, but there are plenty of guys who love that stuff because being inside with ac is always nice. I've heard big companies that build track homes are pretty fast paced and a lot of people leave because the pressure and stress amd repetitivness. Also, attention to detail and listening to directions are very important no matter the job. Other than that tools are #1. If you don't have the tools you're useless. Not all jobs do you provide your own tools, but if you're not with some big company you will most likely provide that on your own. You can find some pretty good lists online of general tools you should have. Skilsaw (Mag77), bags, sawsall, grinder, impact, drill, holehawg, levels, nailers, hoses and compressor are some pretty basic things you should have and have experience with. Look up "Larry Haun" when you have a chance. He has good material that you can read/watch through. Other than that listen to advice from the OGs on the job and be confident in your measurements before you cut. As long as you're willing to learn there will be someone willing to teach you. Good luck out there :)

u/Darth_Dave · 7 pointsr/booksuggestions

Have you read anything by Bill Bryson? A Short History of Nearly Everything and At Home are two of the most entertaining, well written and informative books I've ever read.

u/s6sbdsadfh · 7 pointsr/SeattleWA

We're nowhere near AI are we? Have you seen how Amazon automatically sorts product categories? "The House of Government: A Saga of the Russian Revolution" on Amazon is listed as the top selling book in Moscow Travel Guides. I see these kind of screwups daily.

u/Rabirius · 7 pointsr/architecture

For identifying the elements and composing with them:

Classical Architecture by Robert Adam is really great.

Get Your House Right: Architectural Elements to Use & Avoid by Marianne Cusato is also very useful.

Regarding the second point, it comes from a reading of Vitruvius and his principle of decorum. For a good overview, I recommend Architecture, Liberty and Civic Order by Carroll William Westfall.

u/SanBlasBobbie · 7 pointsr/Sims3
u/Morvahna · 5 pointsr/architecture

As someone who recently purchased A Field Guide to American Houses for personal reading (and to figure out what house style I've always liked but not known the name of), this is amazing. Great work!

u/Tommy27 · 4 pointsr/Carpentry

I just picked up his book A Carpenter's Life. .
His thoughts and views about the world and his experiences in life make him even more endearing.

u/brainflosser · 4 pointsr/history

I love the Mental Floss History of the World and Mental Floss History of the United States. Those two may be exactly what you're looking for. Also, check out Sarah Vowell. Assasination Vacation is great. Bill Bryson's work is excellent. A Short History of Nearly Everything is mind-blowing and I've heard great things about At Home which is next on my reading list. :)

u/WhatAManLooksLike · 4 pointsr/architecture

First off, thank you posting this. I love when actual questions are asked instead of just seeing renderings on the subreddit.

I know that it's already been said, but Pallasmaa and Holl are both very good authors. They actually worked together on a book of phenomology that is very good.

Additionally, Peter Zumthor is my personal favorite. Most of his work is very accessible as well; he writes very conversationally, unlike many authors whose text becomes dense and mired in big vocabulary. Here is a short interview with Zumthor that is interesting. Happy Hunting.

u/fweng · 4 pointsr/ForeverAlone

Fuck. FUCK. 'Demons', I've just read your post, and every comment that followed, and I've gotta say this to you, and to every single one of you. I can relate. Hugely. I just feel like I'm now at the other side, looking back.
I only joined Reddit a couple of months ago having finally 'got' it, and am slowly building my subscriptions; Funny, WTF, world news, etc. I am very new to FA. I joined because my last girlfriend was 7 years ago and I'm not a womanising creep, thus ForeverAlone.
I am 38 in a month but here's the thing - I feel, finally, like I got comfortable in my own skin only a year or two ago. Everything kinda congealed into me and it 'only' took three and a half decades.
When I was in my early twenties, I was a potsmoking, over-eager mess. I was a try-hard, an amiable buffoon, an idiot. That is because during those adult-forming years, 15,16,17, etc, I was truly alone. I literally had no friends. I was fat and bullied in school. Demons, you say "Even if I were to be designated as the bitch of the group, I'd much rather be included in a clique than excluded." Trust me, you don't. I thought these schoolkids were my friends - after all, they were all I had - but they had no interest in me beyond having me around to make them feel better about themselves. After school, I never saw any of them again. (I did call, but no-one wanted to hang out. I quickly got the message.) This was 1990. Years later, when fucking Facebook appeared, I found them and was about to add them as friends until I saw pictures of the vacation to Spain they went on straight after school, and my heart dropped; It took about 15 years to realise they never invited me... but I digress. The point is being the bitch of any group is NOT acceptable.
After school, I was ForeverAlone with a vengeance. If FA existed then - fuck, there wasn't even The Internet - I would've cried tears of joy although nothing would've changed on the ground and I still would've locked myself indoors (particularly over those lonely weekends), atrophying and not 'developing'.
What changed for me was University. (I'm British, and not sure of the US equivalent term. College? I was 18-21). I took a course 100 miles from home and arrived with literally zero friends in my life (I called this my secret shame). It took a while. It was still awkward. But the friends I made were based on something stronger than those immature and critical fuckers I was at school with and, 20 years on, 95% of my friends today are those Uni guys, or their friends.
BUT... I do have a point. There is no perfect. Neither is there some idyllic, Leave it to Beaver childhood and family unit that is the only way to springboard from into the perfect life. We are all fucked-up mammals with our own insecurities and dreams and desires. There is no right or correct way but at the same time there's no wrong way either. Life is a journey each and every one of us is on and we have to nip and tuck our concerns and make them better so we can make ourselves better.
Now let me see if I can bring everything together into something resembling coherence...
Not everyone here has my experience being physically or mentally bullied at school although I'm sure some of you do. The point is we already have backgrounds and experiences to draw upon and share. This is what makes us us, no matter how unpleasant, or too personal, or even trivial you may think it is to everyone else. Even what you'd consider no personality is a personality.
I used to feel exactly the same when it came to relationships with people. Why couldn't I make people laugh, like X? Why aren't I as interesting as Y? This is all comparison shopping with others, and doesn't help. I was aware of this around my mid-Twenties, and learned to stop caring (or more accurately, I learned to stop dwelling so much) by my early-30s, and that's when some door of perception opened. I'm not these other people. I'm me. I have my own take on things, and my own way of dealing with them - and if I'm unhappy about something, I have to change or die.
I guess it took the passing of time for me to get to this stage, as opposed to having some grand revelation, or cure. I just chilled a little when it came to my own insecurities, seeing it as part of me.
You do have life experiences. Using two as an example - and forgive my assumptions - we have grown up in different countries, so there's a wealth of differences there, as well as similarities. There's also a generational gap of your early Twenties and my late Thirties. We have both different perspectives, and similarities too. As my 91yo grandfather said after I'd shown him some gadget back in 1988, "You're never too old to learn".
And then he died.
So here's my fucking perspective, for what it's worth:-

    1. There are no rules and no givens.
    1. Every life is unique. Just because it feels wrong, doesn't mean it is.
    1. And if it does feel wrong, welcome to Life Experience, Difficulty Setting: HARD. You're going to learn things way beyond the fluffiest, happiest, isn't-everything-peachy? guys out there.
    1. Unhappiness and dissatisfaction is your brain's way of flashing up a warning. You may now take steps to rectify things.
    1. Anything can be changed.

      My current worry is the lack of a lady in my life. Almost all my University friends have married, and are now having babies left, right, and centre. I am therefore dipping into the /r/seddit universe, although I'm not comfortable with it. (I wrote THIS post to voice my concerns and got downvoted to HELL.) I remain unsure about the whole 'seduction' side of things, but if you read the replies to my post, you will see a lot of sanity regarding taking steps to get to where I want to be (i.e. meeting the woman I want to settle down with.) Seddit, surprisingly, reccomends THIS book I bought 2 days ago. It has nothing to do with 'seduction' per se, but overcoming depression and negative perceptions of ourselves first and foremost. I have only just started this book but it makes so much sense, it's unreal. I urge you to look into this.
      Finally, and from my perspective of being nearly 40, rejoice in your youth even though it seems futile. Okay, you've never had that first kiss, or a first date. You haven't driven a car, or been to a party. But the fact you're expressing your frustrations here tells me they're IN THE POST.
      Remember, the fact that you're concerned at all marks the beginning of any change.

      TL;DR EDIT - To give you some kind of solution, read, motherfucker! Learn facts, pick up some history, watch documentaries. Fill your brain with knowledge, or comedy, or drama. Watch movies, seek out your favourite directors, get some foreign films under your belt. Explore music. Sample all genres. Listen to classical composers. DANCE. Wander through museums, and art galleries, and cafes. Travel and discover and explore and embrace your very fucking existence, and not only will your life feel more rich and varied but before you know it you'll have a treasure trove of knowledge and conversation in your head, you interesting son-of-a-bitch. Just don't cave in to years of sexual absence and have accidental sex with a Thai hooker. Having said that, you might just get a story out of it. Just be careful who you share those kind of things with.
u/ReverendDizzle · 4 pointsr/booksuggestions

Off the top of my head here are some interesting books I've read (or reread) lately that I think you might enjoy and fall nicely into the young-adult-expanding-their-mind category.

The Purity Myth: How America's Obsession with Virginity Is Hurting Young Women by Jessica Valenti

Really interesting look at what the implications of the American obsession with virginity/purity are.


The Communist Manifesto (edited/annotated by Phil Gasper)

Everybody should read the Communist Manifesto. It's too big of a part of history (and of America's history of opposition to communism) to not read. Gasper's heavy annotations make this an absolutely top-notch edition to read.


At Home by Bill Bryson

Really enjoyable overview of the history of domestic life and it's myriad of quirks and traditions.


Escaping the Endless Adolescence: How We Can Help Our Teenagers Grow Up Before They Grow Old by Joseph Allen

Very interesting look at the current trend in America of lengthening adolescence and how our extension of what we consider adolescence well into the 20s is harming young adults.

u/reillser · 4 pointsr/AskHistorians

I recommend reading 'At Home' by Bill Bryson. He goes through this in detail.
From what I recall, houses used to be just one big room, animals, people, servants all in the one place. Over the centuries, people got bette at building walls, so they built these buildings higher - this showed your wealth and was much less smokey. As there was all that extra room above head height, primitive first-floors came about, pretty much just elevated sleeping areas for the main family in the home. That's when people began sleeping upstairs, hundreds and hundreds of years ago.
Kitchens were at the back of the house so that visitors didn't need to see them. Dining rooms were adjacent to kitchens for ease of service.

I didn't include dates here as I'm sleepy can't can't remember, but the book is a great read

u/Orthodox_Mason · 3 pointsr/architecture

I am going to recommend a couple of books that should provide insight into the language that buildings speak. These books get at the established rules of building design in a practical way. Certainly, the conversation of architecture is an immense and ongoing conversation, but I think these books serve as a good introductory.

The Old Way of Seeing

Get Your House Right

u/kimmature · 3 pointsr/books

Non-fiction. A lot of people seem to discount anything that's not fiction, on the grounds that it will be boring, 'hard', or extraneous to their lives. What's I've found is that I'll often pick up a book because I'm interested in a particular topic, and 'new' non-fiction often takes you into many other related topics, how they've influenced/been a symbol of that society, etc.

A few of the books that really stick in my mind are

The Devil in the White City: A Saga of Magic and Murder at the Fair that Changed America. I'd originally picked it up because I've got an interest in serial killers (yeah, I know), but all of the information about engineering, the history of the World's Fair, Chicago etc. was just fascinating.

Last Call: The Rise and Fall of Prohibition. It's supposedly about Prohibition, but it says a lot more about the political/religious climate of the U.S. from the mid-1800s on, ties prohibition in with women's rights, churches, gangsters etc. And it's a great read.

Pretty much anything by Jon Krakauer. A lot of his books are about 'individualism vs. society', but they cover a lot of ground. Into Thin Air is one of the best extreme sports books I've ever read, Into the Wild is incredibly sad, Under the Banner of Heaven was a very interesting look at Mormon-related culture, etc.

At Home: A Short History of Private Life is just interesting, accessible reading, that touches on everything from why we have closets to when the desire for privacy influenced house design.

Quiverfull: Inside the Christian Patriarchy Movement is ostensibly about a splinter fundamentalist group that started in the U.S., but eventually ends up touching on everything from PACs, to racism, education styles, women's rights, how Catholic/Protestant/Jewish/Islamic fundamentalists are coming to an accord on some fairly major issues, and how that's likely to play out.

And because I'm a Tudor history nut, Henry VIII: the King and his Court, and The Creation of Anne Boleyn: A New Look at England's Most Notorious Queen were both very interesting, and go well beyond the standard royal biography. I think that it's pretty awesome that so much new information and scholarship is turning up around facts that we've 'known' for centuries.

Pretty much anything by Nathaniel Philbrick or David McCullough.

Non-fiction is just great, especially right now. I think that we're in a bit of in a Golden Age of non-fiction right now, as there's a demand for it, and authors are making it more accessible and interesting than ever.

u/cursethedarkness · 3 pointsr/Houseporn

My book that I go back to again and again is A Field Guide to American Homes. It has lots of pictures of each style, as well as drawings of details and information on the overall shapes used in the various styles. The 1984 edition is also available for just a few dollars. It's also very good, but it doesn't have the chapters on recent developments (like McMansions), as well as a chapter on how to choose appropriate detailing for what the author refers to as "new traditional" homes. Anyone building a house should read that chapter.

u/brickbond · 3 pointsr/architecture

Colin Davis' book Key Houses of the 20th Century comes with a resource CD that includes a dwg file of each of the houses in the book. The dwg file contains plans and sections. These drawings are not detailed plans but just give you the dimensions and layout of the spaces.

u/Bonhomous_Bosch · 3 pointsr/suggestmeabook

At Home: A Short History of Private Life by Bill Bryson goes into the historical and cultural origins of everyday household things we completely take for granted. Its a fascinating dive into the outrageous and often bloody history of stuff in your house.

u/WizardNinjaPirate · 3 pointsr/architecture

If you read something like Japanese Homes and Their Surroundings you can see how a lot of Japanese architects use traditional features just in a modern style.

u/GodoftheStorms · 3 pointsr/television

It's not a TV show, but Bill Bryson's book At Home: A Short History of Private Life is a good read on this topic. It's a history of all the rooms in a house, including many of the items in it. It's exhaustive and entertaining.

u/ningwut5000 · 3 pointsr/HomeImprovement

Not that person but:
get your house right is a pretty good book on architectural details

u/behemuthm · 3 pointsr/AskMenOver30

At Home by Bill Bryson. It's about the history of domestic living. He moved into an old Rectory and found the original floorplans. The book is broken up into rooms of that Rectory and discusses the history of the living room, bedroom, kitchen, etc.

Fun fact I remember from that book: "Room and board" means "a room with meals" because people used to use wooden boards on their laps as food trays.

I currently have 7 books on my nightstand in various stages of being bookmarked.

u/Joessandwich · 3 pointsr/science

If this interests you, try reading "At Home: A Short History of the Private Life" by Bill Bryson. It's full of info like this and is fascinating!

u/TheRuhrJuhr · 3 pointsr/SantasLittleHelpers

If you'd like to add this one to your Amazon wishlist and I'll send it along. Amazon says it will arrive by the 23rd, just in time.

u/ClownsInCongress · 3 pointsr/The_Donald
u/kingrobotiv · 3 pointsr/badhistory

While we're at it, you know what? Fuck Bill Bryson for telling me the history of chairs.


u/wolf395 · 2 pointsr/booksuggestions

I'll add Fermat's Enigma to my ever growing reading list. If you haven't had a chance to read Bryson's "At Home", do it. It's one of my favorites

u/gordonv · 2 pointsr/AbandonedPorn

There's a reqlly good book called A Carpenter's Life Told by Houses, Larry Haun

If your into house histories, and yes, the does talk about Sears houses, this is a great book. Easy to read also.

u/welmoed · 2 pointsr/homeowners

We've never been able to definitively pin down a style name. It's been called "Storybook" (and the author of Storybook Style agreed with that). But I usually say it's "Tudor with a touch of Heidi."

u/ItsJustaMetaphor · 2 pointsr/Permaculture

There's an out-of-print book simply called "Passive Solar Energy." It's got lots of great information; I bet it will be just what you are looking for as far as the physics of solar energy and thermosiphoning (which is essentially "heated fluid rises because it's less dense than cooler fluid"). I'm an engineer and I really think that book gives you all you need to know to have a basic working knowledge of solar heat gain and how various systems of solar energy capture operate. Here's a list of books I have found helpful and/or interesting in regards to solar energy:

  • Passive Solar Energy - The top link is a link to pdf's of the chapters of the book.

  • The Passive Solar Energy Book - VERY in-depth on passive solar theory, design, and construction.

  • Solar Air Heating Systems - Another design and construction book, specifically about solar air heating.

  • The Solar Greenhouse Book - Name says it all. It's all about passive solar greenhouses.

  • A Golden Thread - Really interesting book about how man has worked with the sun in building design through the history of civilization.

    For earthships/earth-sheltered homes, I recommend these books:

  • Earth-Sheltered Housing Design - One of the most detailed and complete books on earth-sheltering available. Not earthships, but the same ideas apply.

  • Earth-Sheltered Houses - Another essential book for earth-sheltering houses. Author has built several of his own and remains an authority in the subject as well as cordwood building, for which he has also written books.

  • Earth-Sheltered Solar Greenhouses - Combines two subjects for a very Permaculture-appropriate building technique.

  • Earthship Vol I and II - Needs no explaining.

    From my experience in university studying fluid dynamics, I recommend not going any deeper into the subject than what you would find in the solar energy books I listed above. The subject is math-heavy, and the academic study of the topic is not going to help you with what you are interested in with permaculture. It's kind of like studying the abstract physics/math of electromagnetism when all you want to do is wire a house.

    Hope this helps!
u/SpankSearch · 2 pointsr/AbandonedPorn

Funny you should ask!

No, I am NOT BB trying to push book sales:

A UK home. FULL of amazing facts. Not his best I think, but still a great read.

The US used to have forests that went on for thousands of miles.

Since 1600, 90% of the virgin forests that once covered much of the lower 48 states have been cleared away. Most of the remaining old-growth forests in the lower 48 states and Alaska are on public lands. In the Pacific Northwest about 80% of this forestland is slated for logging.

u/harvus1 · 2 pointsr/videos

At home is a great read. It is basically a way of discussing many interesting facts and events throughout history, draped over a rough scaffold of investigation into the beginnings of a house. Highly recommend.

u/mnwinterite · 2 pointsr/videos

I agree, he was a kind person too, very well spoken and well thought out. I posted an article above from the NYT when he passed away. I just bought his [book] (

u/DasGanon · 2 pointsr/techtheatre

Would also maybe throw on "At Home" by Bill Bryson it's not too relevant, but it's a fun history of western houses and can help inspire with Scenic design.

u/nmkcole03 · 2 pointsr/TinyHouses

Cool design!

I highly recommend taking a look at the book “Green From the Ground Up,” it provides great insight into making an affordable, healthy, and quality home, and would apply even better to a tiny house!

u/CallMeTwain · 2 pointsr/whatisthisthing

At Home: A Short History of Private Life

One of my favorite books from my favorite author. Definitely a good read for anyone who wants to learn about the things you'd never think you'd want to know about. Like why forks have 4 tongs instead of 3 or 5 and why we have such an abiding attachment to salt and pepper instead of cinnamon and cardamom.

u/sweater_ · 2 pointsr/AYearOfLesMiserables

I really love the book At Home by Bill Bryson and that’s basically all when I read there were tons of digressions about the Paris sewer system, argot, the battle of Waterloo and so on, I said to myself, “this sounds like a beautiful literary marriage of my favorite things! Sign me up!”

u/kickstand · 2 pointsr/architecture

A Field Guide to American Houses is pretty good. Assuming that identifying American house styles is what you are interested in.

u/hankydysplasia · 2 pointsr/BuildAHouse

I recommend this book:

It has pages on pages of colonial houses. It also calls out design choices that are consistent with the style.

I’m sure you can google or Pinterest more options, but long-term I would be wary of trends.

That house pictured is beautiful though. In going through the process I would start by writing down all your needs for each room based on what you actually do and then when you see interior plans, make sure it does what you want it to.

u/notasgr · 2 pointsr/DIY

Assume it's to do with history of toilets and the British bringing their housing style with them to Australia. [wiki link]( Also, Bill Bryson's book "At Home: A Short History of Private Life" is full of interesting bits about all sorts of rooms/furniture in our homes.

u/burritoace · 2 pointsr/architecture

Are you still in school or working? Either way, I'd recommend talking to a professional about it. I had somewhat similar issues while I was at school and did a few sessions of therapy which I thought helped quite a bit.

I agree that taking some time away from the work is a good way to reinvigorate oneself. Take a long weekend trip somewhere, go for a hike or bicycle ride, see a movie. Put architecture completely out of your mind, take some time off, and then see what interests you as you get back into the swing of things. Good luck!

E: I like the idea of reading some architecture books that aren't heavy theory as a way to help reinvigorate your interest. Here's a couple I've enjoyed in the past:

u/plainjim · 2 pointsr/booksuggestions

"At Home" is a fantastic book by bill bryson. It is a history of "homelife". The book is framed roughly by bill as he walks through his house in england. As he passes through each room in the house (kitchen, dining room, living room, bedroom) he tells the history of humans as it relates to that room. How we slept and courted (in ancient times, as history progressed, up until now), how we ate, how we studied and farmed, etc. It is a page turner for sure, he has amazing style. It is more focused on the changes that occurred from the middle ages until now but does touch on antiquity.

I highly recommend it. It appears to be exactly what you are looking for. It details how specific technologies and tools changed the way we live. How/where did people shit before the toilet? Did they wipe or use water? What did they eat off of? How was food cooked and preserved? How were jobs allocated?

One fact I gleaned? When you buy a college dorm plan or hotel that includes "Room and board" (which means a bed to sleep in and food), the phrase comes from the fact that in the medieval ages tavern patrons ate their food off of a wooden board laid across their laps.

u/herberta2006 · 2 pointsr/architecture

A Field Guide to American Houses by Virginia and Lee McAlester.

It's designed for exactly this kind of question :)

u/PostPostModernism · 2 pointsr/architecture

I would like to recommend this book as well

My boss lent it to me out of his personal library. According to the prologue (and I would like to note that I haven't confirmed this) it was the last and greatest work done on Japanese architecture (particularly homes) before Westernization. The author spent a long time traveling the country, talking to people and sketching/examining homes. Tons and tons of sketches and descriptions, as well as discussion of the living tradition that developed to create these homes.

u/magpie-birdie · 2 pointsr/HomeImprovement

If altering walls/floorplans is important to you, definitely make sure to bone up on framing and carpentry - there are some great books on Amazon that are geared towards apprentices. They're very easy to understand and will help you figure out how to make changes to your home. At the very least, you'll be familiar enough with basic concepts to ask smart questions of any contractors you hire in the future.

Also, you'll want to learn about the difference between load-bearing and non-load-bearing walls.

If you're looking to find a professional for his/her opinion, assistance or labor, asking elderly neighbors for recommendations is a good place to start. Don't overlook asking around at your local mom & pop hardware, plumbing store or sawmill as well. The "gruff curmudgeon" working the counter for the last 20 years has seen & heard a lot and can be an invaluable resource.

If you find yourself buying supplies locally, it's almost always preferable to buy them on a 'cash and carry' basis at a source that sells to pro-contractors. Sherwin-Williams vs Home Depot, for example. These guys sell products that are meant to last (no pro worth his or her salt wants to come back and redo a job they just finished because something has failed or broken) and that aren't available in big-box stores. The more you buy, the more of a relationship you will build, and this is always a good thing when it comes to DIY. There are a lot of fantastic roofing/plumbing/tile shops in nondescript pole-barns out in the middle of 'nowhere'. You can usually find these shops by reading pro-forums online, searching for products that are mentioned, and then looking for distributors on those product manufacturer's websites.

Last but not least, if you ever find yourself looking for granite or marble counters, pay a visit to your local tombstone/monument company. You can often pick up amazing deals, and if your project is small enough, you can buy their "scrap" trimmings for far, far less than you would pay at Lowe's or a custom kitchen company. (We scored beautiful marble thresholds and window sills for our bathroom remodel for $20 each; the tombstone maker custom-cut them out of a piece of overage he had leaned up against the back of the building.)

u/Bodark43 · 2 pointsr/AskHistorians

You could search for Japanese Homes and Their Surroundings by Morse. Not many photos, as I recall, but good drawings. It was first published in 1886, Dover did a reprint of it and paperbacks of it are out there.

u/kruegersar · 1 pointr/Random_Acts_Of_Amazon

I like big books and I cannot lie really... I love them.

History of your home!
Some badass women!
What did those lyrics mean?

The Magic of Recluce by L.E. Modesitt Jr. Its a huge series, that is the first one.
Or seriously, anything by Dan Simmons. :)

u/mollaby38 · 1 pointr/history

I can't believe no one has mentioned it yet, but you'd love Bill Bryson's book At Home. It's written for a general audience so some stuff may not be new to you, but it is all encompassing and pretty much covers the exact period you're talking about. I'm on my second read through now. It's funny too!

Edit: Oh, just read that you're from Australia. If you live in Melbourne you should go to the Rippon Lea Estate and take the tour. The house has been around since the 1860's (I think). It's like a little museum of life in Australia around the turn of the century. Plus the gardens are fantastically beautiful.

u/brilu34 · 1 pointr/AskHistory
u/Trumpthulhu-Fhtagn · 1 pointr/castles

Go to your local library, the books I linked and ones like them are very often available in the kid's sections. Free!

Depending on what you are trying to do - this book is amazing. It really shakes your preconceptions by exploring how people lived in different times. Not "castles" but an incredible eye opener.

u/tas121790 · 1 pointr/architecture

This book outlines many of the design pitfalls that ruin many houses. "Get Your House Right"

Its from an American perspective though so not sure how much that will help you in Barcelona.

u/alamandrax · 1 pointr/suggestmeabook

currently reading At home: A Short History of Private Life. Riveting stuff.

u/RaikaCreations · 1 pointr/Bushcraft

A lurker here...

Might I recommend the book "Mongolian Cloud Houses" for ideas for this? It's about living in a Yurt, but you could take good lessons from it on how to live in a cabin.

I own a copy, and it put me pretty far into building a yurt, before I wound up with an apartment. By pretty far, I mean literally that I only had to finish the roof and wall materials, the compression ring, and cut out the poly-carbonate sheet, then I was done.

It's a good design for a cabin, too, if you can pull it off. A sun dome would provide perfect lighting in winter(Or, alternatively, an old fashioned dome that can be pushed up for a stovepipe to work, would work fine too). It also has good methods on jury rigging furniture, arranging furniture and belongings, and how to ensure you're going to stay warm.

u/Dj_White_Gold · 1 pointr/HomeImprovement

Here are some of the books that I learned a lot from:

General Knowledge



Additions (I don’t like this book as much as the rest as far as individual tasks go, but it’s value comes from teaching more about project management than anything else)


There’s a couple more that I can’t remember the names of right now, I’ll see if I can find them this weekend and make a post for other diyers

These aren’t really books for pros (except for The Very Efficient Carpenter), but I’ve found they’re very good guides for diyers. They’re what got me started, and I think I’ve reached a pretty high skill level with their help

u/mercurial_zephyr · 1 pointr/centerleftpolitics

The House of Government: A Saga of the Russian Revolution

u/daysonatrain · 1 pointr/OffGrid

Id say get several good books. (I learned by experience so cant recommend specific titles sorry). Read up on it, timber framing is a way to go about it but probably easier is general '16'' on center' framing. Like I said, there area a lot of aspects to carpentry that seem really complicated but are generally easy to figure out. Books with good physical drawings would be the most helpful. It seems like you dont have a concrete plan as of yet so, to me, the best thing would be to really study up. Id also recommend Lloyd Kahn books as pretty cool inspiration, as far as unique/hippy type buildings go-- --they were and are one of the most inspirational building books Ive seen.

u/ekofromlost · 1 pointr/history

Bill Bryson's "At Home" covers it. And other stories, like why we still have buttons on our jacker sleeves, since they have no purpose.

It's not better than "A short History of Everything" but It's a very nice read. We learn a lot and have a blast.

u/TheSlovakMeatCannon · 1 pointr/Carpentry

You're right, there is no one right way to do anything.

All I'm going off of is your first comment about your dad being disappointed in you for buying a book. And my point was that it was the most basic of starting points.

With an example of hammering a nail, the book would tell you how to grip the hammer, how to hold the nail, where to place the nail on the material, maybe offer a tip of blunting the tip of the nail to prevent splitting, the mechanics of the swing, and the steps to start and complete the process.

Of course it's up to you to do it and figure out what works for you and how to get better at it. Same thing for someone offering tips and help.

In the end though, a book is a respectable place to get that foundation of knowledge and it's nothing to be ashamed of.

Oh, and Larry Haun also wrote an autobiography, too.

u/GuySmileyPKT · 1 pointr/architecture

The Most Beautiful House in the World

  • Gives an interesting perspective on space, intention, and what makes a house a home (to me, your mileage may vary).

    Invisible Cities

  • Can't really explain it other than pure imagination fuel.
u/Thisishugh · 1 pointr/The_Donald

Matthew Lasner, the aggressive thug who bullied Ivanka Trump and her children on a Jet Blue flight until he was forcibly removed is getting his book, "High Life: Condo Living in the Suburban Century" trashed on Amazon.

Go there and contribute before they stop allowing reviews without a purchase. When they do, contribute to the comments!


His book on Amazon:

u/urbanezed · 1 pointr/architecture

This is probably a dead thread, but there actually is a coffee table book on this subject—I know because my father's house is featured in it.

u/[deleted] · 1 pointr/wikipedia

Bill Bryson talks about Biltmore a goodly amount in his excellent At Home: A Short History of Private Life, which is well worth reading.

u/Ask_Seek_Knock · 1 pointr/Random_Acts_Of_Amazon

Item which would most make you seem like an old posh Englishman.. Because the posh always like to have smart books about, it reflects well on them. Even if they haven't read them. Located on my Books wish list.

Most "oh god, I would never be seen with this in public" looking item.. It just looks weird, that's all. Located in my >$8.00 with shipping wish list.

Most phallic looking item. Located on my Knitting & Crochet wish list.

Most geeky item. Which is on my Entertainment wish list
Or this on my Misc list.

Or this from my Dream List
Maybe even this which is on my Books I have a lot of them :D

Item which would most help you achieve a goal. We're designing and building our own home over the next couple of years so the book would be very helpful in achieving that goal. It is located on my House Design wish list.

Best item to bring to a deserted island. Eating is important, being able to cut things is important for eating. On my Cooking & baking list.

u/DilloInPDX · 1 pointr/Portland

Actually, if built right, straw doesn't have a problem here:

The thing about being off the grid and using rammed earth tires is you end up with off-gassing issues for years. The whole angle of sun, thermal walls and enclosed biome isn't a bad idea but you need sunshine and a good diurnal(sp?) swing. Meaning that the temp needs to swing a decent number of degrees every 24 hours for it to be really useful. Daytime sun warms up those thick earthen walls to be gradually radiated over a cool night. Wouldn't be helpful in our cloudy/rainy winters. You can design, by using lat/long, such that you maximize the sun you do get, and minimize in summer, but that is an important part of the earthship design philosophy.

And OP, you don't need to spend $7000 on plans. As far as code, typically as long as you aren't in a municipality, there isn't much inspection or code enforcement happening. Earthships were meant to be built and designed by you. The three originals will give you most if not all the info you need: amazon. If I had my copies I'd give them to you. The concept is solid, just saying the whole tire containment system is bogus, no need for it. To be honest, you'll have a hard time finding used tires suitable I'd bet.

But seriously, good luck on going off grid. Look into an all dc system with battery backup. AC (alternating current) is costly as it is VERY inefficient. There are DC fridges out there but aren't cheap. If done right the only other electrical you'll need is for lighting and possibly pumps. I don't know if they still do the solar composting toilets but that will probably take some getting used to.

u/workpuppy · 1 pointr/booksuggestions

Fiction or non-fiction?

My favourite "happy" non-fiction is Bill Bryson. I just finished At home and it was the sort of book that made me laugh out loud, and also want grab random people and read out cool little passages about random things.

Nice little piece of popular science, The Red Queen is a well written and interesting book about the evolutionary basis for sex.

I love David McCullough...He's like Bryson, except where Bryson would spend 5 pages on something, McCullough will spend a thousand, and leave you feeling like you know the person he's writing about better than you know your family. My favourites of his aren't the biographies (he wins a Pulizter for damn near every one), but the stories of buildings and events. The Johnstown Flood, The Great Bridge, The Path Between the Seas...All great, though the Pulitzers were for his Truman biography, and his John Adams biography.

For fiction? Hmmm. Intellectual and not depressing is tricky. I like Michael Chabon, but he flirts with depressing on a regular basis. The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay is amazing, and so is The Yiddish Policeman's Union.

u/asciiaardvark · 1 pointr/yurts

When I was constructing my yurt, I found this book to be helpful. IIRC, that guy used a lot of free/harvested wood/parts -- so his was super cheap, but I wanted something more durable for being moved very frequently & stored compactly.

Changes I'd make in my next yurt:

  • rivets instead of bolts on the lattice - my nuts keep falling off
  • spend the extra for canvass, it looks way nicer than vinyl tarp
  • lighter weight door, something in door-frame to "catch" the edges of lattice so they don't impinge on the door opening
  • 2 doors - my roommates got a back door on their yurt & it's been useful more often than not
  • build lighting into roof-ring, as we often set up just before dark - so it'd be nice to have lights up before we even finish pitching the yurt.


    What sort of yurt are you thinking? Is this where you're going to live? A temporary accommodation while building a more permanent house? Something for camping/events?

    How big do you want it?

    What's your budget? Experience with woodwork/sewing?
u/euric · 1 pointr/books

Malcolm Gladwell or Bill Bryson spring to mind. Entertaining, engaging and light hearted, yet still packed with good content.

If you were looking for fiction recommendations, have you thought of short stories? Gabriel Garcia Marquez has quite a collection - I'd recommend Strange Pilgrims.

Edit: Added links.