One of the exciting parts about American home styles and architecture is learning about them! There are a variety of different books about American architecture to pick from, so I thought I’d highlight my four favorite reads. The four house architecture books highlighted below have helped me learn about historical homes, and I hope it does the same for you.
Sometimes I get asked about which am book is my favorite. Truthfully, it would be hard for me to recommend just one, since I love them all. You can take a look at each below and see what you think.
I hope you enjoy this list of four of the best books about American home styles.
Top Books on American Architecture
A Field Guide to American Houses, by Virginia Savage McAlester
This outstanding book goes into great depth about architecture and house styles in America, starting with the Native Americans dwellings to the present modern-day homes.
A pictorial key is included at the beginning of the book that has drawings of roof forms, railings, porches, windows plus more of almost every house built in America. This is a great way to identify a home style in research, house hunting or more.
Each chapter of home styles starts with an introduction of how to identify the selected home style, the subtypes and variant details. It also includes drawings to help you identify features of the house style you are studying, such as windows, etc. Plus, Virginia lets you know where the location of the type of style you are researching is likely to occur with a map.
American House Styles: A Concise Guide (Second Edition), by John Milnes Baker
This book starts with a two-story house with four bedrooms. From it, the author shows how the historical style of each house variety is developed. Such as the steeply pitched roofs of New England Colonial houses to the grand spindle porches of the Queen Anne style and more. This way this book is presented makes it easy for the reader to start down the path of fully understanding American home styles and architecture.
The drawings included in the books, each with a floor plan, exemplify the details of each home style clearly. The beginning of each chapter also includes a historical background of each house style, so a better understanding is fully developed.
Great American Houses and Their Architectural Styles, by Virginia McAlester + Lee McAlester
This book showcases American architectural building landmarks ranging from colonial times to now.
You can explore twenty-five houses, all of which are illustrated with more than 350 color photographs of interior and exterior views, 125 black-and-white line drawings and floor plans, historical paintings, and vintage photographs.
American Homes: The Landmark Illustrated Encyclopedia of Domestic Architecture, by Lester Walker
You’ll LOVE this wonderful book from award-winning architect Lester Walker while he examines hundreds of styles of homes.
He will help you understand the history behind each style as well as provide drawings of each style and how they developed. Explore over 1,000 different house plans + illustrations to help expand your knowledge of American homes.