12 Great Reads About Homebuilding and Design

Building a custom home is a project never to be taken lightly and many people spend years planning their dream home before turning it into a reality. A large number of our customers would probably say the dreaming and planning was half the fun, long before the hard work started.

For many people, leafing through a book is a great way to find new ideas, pick up some top tips, and conjure up a vision of what your perfect, custom-built home might look like. Here are just a few of our favorite homebuilding reads.

What Your Contractor Can’t Tell You: The Essential Guide to Building and Renovating by Amy Johnston

This book by Amy Johnston takes you through how to work with the professionals that you are likely to be working with on your project. The most useful part of the book is how to work with your General Contractor. It teaches you how a GC runs their business and how they make money on a contract. Understanding the GC process will make the inevitable conversations and negotiations about things that come up in a custom build easier for you to navigate.

Get Your House Right: Architectural Elements to Use & Avoid by Marianne Cusato

If you’re building a home with a traditional style, this is a must have book. Marianne Cussato lays out all you need to know about all the details that go into a traditional home such as roofs, windows, doors, cornices, columns, arches, pediments….the works. It’s packed full of diagrams showing how NOT to do the details as well as how to Get Your House Right.

Home by Design: Transforming Your House into Home by Sarah Susanka

In this book, Susanka tells us about 28 concepts of home design that can be applied during the design process to inject character and beauty into a home. It’s a really accessible book with photos that illustrate the concept clearly. It will help you articulate ideas and make suggestions for what you want in your home design.

Inspired by Nature: Creating a Personal and Natural Interior by Hans Blomquist

This book is all about creating evocative interiors through the innate imperfections of natural materials.

As an established stylist, art director, photographer, and author, Hans Blomquist is recognized as the master of his aesthetic. Rustic edges, moody colors, and natural materials are blended with a warm, welcoming style, all visible in the book.

It explores his approach to interiors, encouraging the reader to see the world through his eyes to create painterly and thought provoking spaces.

Houses Architects Design for Themselves by Walter F. Wagner

What kind of houses do architects build for themselves? There are as many answers to that question as there are architects involved. In this case, there are 61 architects and 61 very different houses. This book is a unique and provocative source of design ideas and innovative solutions to typical design problems. The ideas are presented in a manner that is both informative and interesting because each of these architects explain not only why and how they designed their homes as they did, but how this home worked out for them and their families once they were living in it.

Home: A Short History of an Idea by Witold Rybczynski

Walk through five centuries of homes both great and small – from the smoke-filled manor halls of the Middle Ages to today’s Ralph Lauren-designed environments – on a house tour like no other, one that delightfully explicates the very idea of “home.” You’ll see how social and cultural changes influenced styles of decorating and furnishing, learn the connection between wall hung religious tapestries and wall-to-wall carpeting, discover how some of our most welcome luxuries were born of architectural necessity, and much more. Most of all, Home opens a rare window into our private lives, and how we really want to live.

The Architecture of Happiness by Alain de Botton

In The Architecture of Happiness, best selling author Alain de Botton explores one of our most intense but often hidden love affairs with our houses and their furnishings. He asks: What makes a house truly beautiful? Why are many new houses so ugly? Why do we argue about the sofa and pictures? Can differences in taste ever be satisfactorily resolved? To answer these questions and many more, de Botton looks at buildings across the world, from medieval wooden huts to modern skyscrapers; he examines sofas and cathedrals, tea sets and office complexes, and teases out a host of often surprising philosophical insights. The Architecture of Happiness will take you on a delightful tour through the history and psychology of architecture and interior design, and will change the way you look at your home.

Atlas of Interior Design by Dominic Bradbury

No matter what your design style is, there’s something for everyone in Atlas of Interior Design, a global survey of inspiring interiors from the last 80 years. Featuring projects from design icons like Axel Vervoordt, Peter Marino, Brigette Romanek, and Kelly Wearstley, this escapist read will transport you to over 400 homes across more than 40 countries.

Collected Interiors: Rooms That Tell a Story by Phillip Mitchell

How does one create a cohesive space using a varied collection of decor and art? That’s a question designer Phillip Mitchell strives to answer in his work, which is showcased in his debut work, Collected Interiors. Mitchell challenges himself to transform existing pieces into visually exciting treasures; his keen eye for texture, color, and scale are a trademark of his interiors. This new book is a must-read for design and antique lovers alike who hope to infuse the same level of personality and warmth into their own homes.

Collaborations: Architecture, Interiors, Landscapes: Ferguson & Shamamian Architects by David Masello and Margaret Russell

As architects, the team at Ferguson & Shamamian collaborate with creatives across the design industry to bring each of their projects to life. The aptly titled Collaborations recounts some standouts, including work from designers such as Bunny Williams, Michael Smith, and Victoria Hagan. From urban homes to country getaways, explore the craftsmanship of each unique space through a series of photographs and texts.

The Well Loved House: Creating Homes with Color, Comfort, and Drama by Ashley Whittaker

If you, like designer Ashley Whittaker, share the belief that a house is meant to feel lived in, add this title to your collection. Whittaker’s take on design is one of comfort, though she never sacrifices style to achieve it. Instead, her approach combines rich colors and classic patterns to foster a sense of understated elegance. In this book, you’ll witness this unique take on traditionalism through waterfront beach houses, city apartments, deluxe estates, and everything in between. Enjoy her expert advice to achieve the same feeling in your own home.

Through a Designer’s Eyes: A Focus on Interiors by Mathew Patrick Smyth

Ever wondered what exactly goes through a designer’s mind when they conceive a space? Mathew Patrick Smyth is here to share in a book that takes readers from initial inspiration through design process to finished work, all (as the title suggests) through the discerning eye of a talented creative.