Must-Reads: 7 Recommendations by Local Architects and Designers

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Must-Reads: 7 Recommendations by Local Architects and Designers

While there are seemingly limitless sources of inspiration only a click away, there are also certain tried-and-true titles architects and designers still pull off the shelves for reference. We asked a few local professionals for their must-have design books, and here’s what we picked up:


1. “Big House, Little House, Back House, Barn”

“Big House, Little House, Back House, Barn” by Thomas C. Hubka is an exploration of the rural regional structures that are tied to New England’s cultural history.  “While the book primarily focuses on New England farmsteads and their expansion over time, its examples of scale, connection and sequence are applicable across multiple architectural styles,” says Michael Tartamella, Senior Associate at Patrick Ahearn Architect. (Published by University Press of New England, 1984.)


“Although I have driven past some of the same well-preserved connected farmsteads hundreds of times, I am still struck, as I was for the first time, by the unified, forceful, even self-confident expressions. Their builders had a powerful vision of their farming prospects, and it is this vision that is still evident in the imposing configuration of their connected farmsteads.” —Thomas C. Hubka



2. “Form, Space, and Order”

“Form, Space, and Order” by Francis D.K. Ching, a “straight meat-and-potatoes book for design principles.” “This was the first book we were handed in architecture school,” says Tartamella. “It demonstrates the timelessness of basic architectural elements and principles over time.” (Published by Van Nostrand Reinhold, 1979; John Wiley & Sons, 1996)


Seeing is a vigorous, pattern-seeking process.” —Francis D.K. Ching



3. “The Big Book of Chic”

Vani Sayeed, principal at Vani Sayeed Studios, chose “The Big Book of Chic” by Miles Redd. The book is a collection of bold, colorful and sophisticated designs by Redd, an internationally celebrated designer. (Published by Assouline, 2012.)

“This is a book about dreams coming true; the curiosities in the rooms I have decorated; and the people, artists, and places that have inspired me. When all is said and done and I am long forgotten, maybe someone will find this book in a dusty library—if such a thing still exists—and glimpse a bit of the pleasure my life has given me. I want them to have the sensation of dancing across an MGM soundstage, silhouetted in a klieg light, because that was my intention with this book, a very personal blend of work and fantasy.” —Miles Redd



4. “History of Interior Design”

Sayeed also selected “History of Interior Design” by John F. Pile and ‎Judith Gura, which travels back in time to design’s early meaning in ancient Greece through the Renaissance and over to Colonial and present-day America. The authors survey roughly 6,000 years worth of personal and public space. (4th edition published by John Wiley & Sons, 2013.)


“Interior design, whether professional or not, is an aspect of life that is impossible to escape.” —Judith Gura



5. “The Not So Big House”

David Andreozzi of Andreozzi Architects believes Sarah Susanka’s “The Not So Big House” needs to be on your shelf. First published in 1998, the book, now a series, started a design revolution to focus on quality over quantity when it comes to space. (Published by Taunton Press, 1998.)


“A Not So Big House feels more spacious than many of its oversized neighbors because it is space with substance, all of it in use every day.” —Sarah Susanka



6. “Edwin Lutyens Country Houses”

Andreozzi also selected “Edwin Lutyens Country Houses” by Gavin Stamp in which he studies the architectural career of Edwin Lutyens from his Surrey-vernacular style and early arts-and-crafts houses to his carefully composed classical houses. (Published by Aurum, 2001; The Monicelli Press, 2009)


“There will never be great architects or architecture without great patrons.” —Edwin Lutyens



7. “Quintessential Kitchens” 

“Quintessential Kitchens” by Matthew Quinn is Downsview Kitchens Design Manager Heather Kahler‘s book of choice. “It is filled with an inspiring collection of beautiful kitchens that showcase innovative elements of design,” says Kahler. “Matthew is a genius on making the space not only functional, but look unique with his amazing selection of materials and design.” (Published by Parrish Press, 2016.)