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Handmade Houses: A Free-Spirited Century of Earth-Friendly Home Design [Hardcover]

Richard Olsen
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
RRP: 28.95
Price: 19.69 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

20 Mar 2012
Showcasing one hundred years of innovation and environmental sensitivity, "Handmade Houses" celebrates some of the world's most idiosyncratic homes from Big Sur to Sardinia. Author Richard Olsen unveils the components used for their construction, including driftwood, boulders, and even old wine vats.
The first study of the handmade-homes phenomenon since its inception in the late 1960s, "Handmade Houses" revisits the subject's roots and history, exploring how these homes and their owners paved the way for the architectural-salvage business and the reclaimed, industrial look ever-popular today. As fascinating as the structures are themselves, their owners--professionals and amateurs who personally designed and built each residence--offer their inspirations and stories behind the convention-defying homes. Design lessons are gleaned from each home--some examples of environmentally aware construction with applicable tips for use in more mainstream scenarios. "Handmade Houses" is an important and relevant volume to be appreciated by anyone interested in environmentally friendly design, craft, and the expression of personal style in the home.

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Handmade Houses: A Free-Spirited Century of Earth-Friendly Home Design + Tiny Homes: Simple Shelter + Home Work: Handbuilt Shelter
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Product details

  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Rizzoli International Publications (20 Mar 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0847838455
  • ISBN-13: 978-0847838455
  • Product Dimensions: 24.8 x 22.4 x 2.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 75,989 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


""Handmade Houses: A Century of Earth Friendly Home Design" (Rizzoli; $45), by Richard Olsen, a former editor at Architectural Digest, is a breezy history of the genre, tracing its roots from Henry Thoreau to Carl Jung, and from Helen and Scott Nearing, whose mid-century subsistence living experiment in Vermont and Maine prefigured the '70s-era back-to-the-landers, to Lloyd Kahn, once the shelter editor of The Whole Earth Catalog, and the dean of the hand-built movement." "New York Times

""What Richard Olsen has assembled is an attractive and engaging book, suitable for coffee table, bookshelf, or drawing board. Through interviews, research, and the collaboration of his photographers Lucy Goodhart and Kodiak Greenwood, he has created a beautifully tactile storybook about a passion to build." "New York Journal of Books

""This tale is a lot more than hippies and hot tubs, however. Olsen provides a thorough history of the owner-built, woodbutcher movement from places like Big Sur, California, and Prickly Mountain, Vermont. And he addresses the sources of handcraft construction: Buddhist architecture of Japan, Norwegians cabins, Sea Ranch in California, Gaudi, Maybeck, and Jung, to name a few). Works from Europe and Australia provide an international context." "Architectural Record

""If you are like me, interested in environmentally friendly design and unique style in the home, you will appreciate this book." Mid-Century-Modern.net

About the Author

Richard Olsen is formerly the architecture editor at "Architectural Digest," the author of "Log Houses of the World," and coauthor of "Malibu: A Century of Living by the Sea." Kodiak Greenwood's photographs have appeared in N"ational Geographic Adventure, Conde Nast Traveler, Patagonia, the New York Times," and "Travel & Leisure." Lucy Goodhart's pictures have appeared in numerous publications, including London's "The Sunday Telegraph" and "The Times," and in Bay Area publications "Monocle" and "Edible San Francisco."

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A beautiful book but 12 Jan 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I cannot really fault this book. It is near perfect for what it seems to be, an architects book about architectural achievements. Most seem to be on the west coast of the USA and all seem to be on "dream" sites that are not possible nor practical for 99.9 percent of the population. It can give you lots of ideas, but mostly these look like ideas for those with friendly bank managers, or having independent means. Its well written and beautifully illustrated, but I suspect if you tried to build one of these houses in most parts of Europe you need a father who is chairman of the planning authority. If not you could be going back and forth to their offices with revised plans every few months for years while you continue to live in a caravan.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lovely book 3 May 2013
By Kevin
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
It's always a delight to pick up this book and spend time with it. Great ideas - some of them adaptable, with a little imagination, to more traditionally built homes.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars ideas for extra space 31 Mar 2014
gave me a few ideas of what was achievable to put in my back garden! just have to decide which design to go for.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.7 out of 5 stars  36 reviews
26 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing & inspiring book! 18 July 2012
By A. Bower - Published on Amazon.com
This book was sent to me in France as a gift, by my father, Henry "Sandy" Jacobs, whose home is featured in it. I find paging through it to be as soothing as listening to a favorite song, or sitting on the side of a stream peacefully flowing by. This images are remarkable, the quality of the paper of high quality for those (like me) sensitive to the subtleties of texture, and the creativity in the home designs and writing are just extraordinary. I grew up in Marin County where many of these homes are located, and seeing many of them here, including my fatherls and those not in Marin, on such an intimate level makes me feel like I am actually there breathing in the color, the harmony, the peaceful aesthetics and energy of each location. I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in design, nature, creativity, aesthetics, art, or who just would like a little mini-vacation and inspiration.
18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome Book.. 26 April 2012
By Miguel Verde - Published on Amazon.com
I am a builder by profession and by passion... this book is a collection of tiny houses which really classify as art.. representative of many insanely creative people, and wonderfully photographed.. highly recommend if you are interested at all in living off the grid or for ideas to include in your own projects..
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Eco Escapist Fantasy Come True 25 April 2012
By Susie Bright - Published on Amazon.com
Is there anything better than sitting back with a glass of red wine and oogling the finest in handmade-house-porn? -- it's like disappearing into another world where beauty, light, and organic design are your only concerns.

What I didn't expect-- and what Olsen delivers in full-- is that this a story about people, about the men and women who've created these worlds. I honestly wish I could meet every one of them. These are makers, these are dreamers who do things, characters who didn't fit in anywhere else and so they created a world that inspires everyone from the inside out. I was blown away... and I haven't looked at my own abode the same way since.
15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Truly Inspiring 9 April 2012
By Juniorsuki - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I recently read a positive critique of this book in the New York Journal of Books that inspired me to pick up my copy. I have to agree with Gordon Grice. This coffee table book not only has great photography, but is enjoyably comprehensive in it's individual stories of the Handmade House in all their unique forms. Each house has a heartfelt and thoughtful portrayal of how it evolved. I appreciated the author's tenacity at capturing the spirit, dedication, and innovation to build each home. The images are rich and it was a pleasure delving into each house. Surely, in this age of ecofriendly responsibility, we should continue to be resourceful with the materials around us while expressing our individual style. Cheers to the next 100 years of the Handmade House!
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Handmade Homes 3 Nov 2012
By A. Anderson - Published on Amazon.com
In a time before building inspectors roamed the earth, when dogs rode in the back of pickups, you impressed your neighbors with the quality of your compost and not what was in your portfolio. You offered tea you just picked, not one you bought online. To me, this book brought up memories of my first time hitch hiking up the Big Sur Coast, discovering the Big Sur Inn and Esalen by accident not because of a Yelp review. If your idea of a finished floor is recycled from forest storm fallen trees or an old building full of old stories about to end up in the landfill, installed by your own two hands and not from an un-named box store then this book has your name on it. If you find it appealing to complete your own home in a short time with your own hands instead of paying over lifetime for the dreams of realtors then the dream starts here.
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