I love taking walks around Manhattan and looking for eye-catching architectural details. I draw so much inspiration from the beautiful homes around the city, and I love looking for elements that identify the home as part of a certain tradition. Placing architectural styles within their historical contexts is admittedly tough, and I recently came across a book that provides me with all the information I'm missing when I try to place a style on my own.
The first edition of "A Field Guide to American Houses" came out in 1984, and has remained in print since its earliest publication, but this November, the second edition will be released, and I was so excited to check it out in advance. It's an amazing guide of architectural types with pictorial keys that identify certain styles (like Mission or Colonial). Once you've figured out that the home you're looking at is in a traditional Neoclassical style (or Folk, Romantic, Victorian, French Eclectic, Ranch, etc.), you can find sections in the book devoted to each style that describe its characteristic elements as well as its history and evolution. The new edition expands upon the original, bringing the information up-to-date with contemporary styles from 1940 to the present. This book will definitely be an asset when I'm strolling through the city and I think it's a great resource for anyone interested in learning about American homes.
Pick up your copy here.