How Buildings Learn (Stewart Brand)
This is a fascinating book in which Brand demonstrates how buildings suggest ways they “want” to grow and change. It can teach you how to listen to the wisdom of your house.
Wabi-Sabi for Artists, Designers, Poets and Philosophers (Leonard Koren)
Don’t be deceived by the title. This is a very short book that is quite accessible. The aesthetic concepts it explores are eye-opening and corrective medicine for a culture obsessed with the new and a penchant for throw-away culture. Anyone who owns an old house or is growing older every day will appreciate this book.
The Elements of Style: A Practical Encyclopedia of Interior Architectural Details from 1485 to the Present (Stephen Calloway)
Whatever period your house falls into, this book provides line drawings and descriptions of a wide variety of design details that are appropriate to that period.
Dover Prints Books (publisher)
Are you looking for Art Deco stained glass patterns? Victorian patterns and designs in full color? Arts and Crafts stencils? Dover Prints publishes a book on it. They’ve got an amazing array of books on a wide range of architectural styles. And the prices are typically quite reasonable!
The Flame of the Candle (Gaston Bachelard)
If you’ve got a penchant for poetic insight into architectural details, Gaston Bachelard is your man. This is a short, accessible book filled with poetic meditations on the domestic fire. If you are more adventurous, you might wade your way through The Poetics of Space. That’s his study of the house “as a metaphor of the soul.” You’ll never think about the attic of your house in the same way, after you’ve read what Bachelard has to say about it.
An article by Jeffrey Ediger, published in West Suburban Living, 2005