The first comprehensive consideration of the residential design of the back-to-the-land movement, “Handmade Houses: A Century of Earth-Friendly Home Design” exposes the roots of “green” architecture as it travels across North America and to the United Kingdom, Italy, Spain, France, and Australia. From deep in the redwood forests of Big Sur, California, to the craggy, pink-sand beaches of Sardinia, Italy, this book visits houses in which cost-cutting DIY improvisation, eco-consciousness, art, and craft harmoniously converge.
Author Richard Olsen shares the stories of how, starting in the early 1960s, these daring, boldly creative designers and builders—some of them architect/carpenters, some of them entirely untrained in design and construction, and many of them in their 20s and 30s—sought to create a simplified, down-to-earth kind of house amid a world of political and environmental upheaval and technological dependency. Using sea boulders, old barn wood, wine vats, stained-glass windows from churches, and a host of other treasures that were at one point bound for landfills, these designer-builders created deeply personal, one-of-a-kind dwellings—some for as little as $1,000.
As the book’s coverage moves through the 20th century and into the 21st, the architectural and design emphasis on rich texture and warm patina and the simple, handcrafted ways of old finds new applications and relevance. Here we see the source material for today's renewed fascination with architectural artifacts, the well-worn industrial look marketed by retailers such as Restoration Hardware, Anthropologie, and Ralph Lauren RRL Ranch. With a wealth of inspiration and practical ideas to be gleaned from more than 25 featured residences, Handmade Houses is an important and relevant volume for anyone interested in environmentally focused personalization in the home.