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By-the-book approach to house design

Learn the New Luxury Playbook at Luxury Connect | October 18-19 at the Beverly Hills Hotel

Can you glean useful information from books that have no direct relation to your new home project? I would have to say yes. After reading several recently published books that included a survey of American homes built between 1775 and 1840, a monograph on modern houses in a small Connecticut town, family houses in a part of the country where I don't live, and elegant colonial furnishings from a part of the Caribbean that I have never visited and probably never will, I concluded that a broad brush, "liberal arts" approach to planning a new house can be invaluable. Looking at houses and furnishings that are not even close to what you intend will actually get you closer to the house you want because you will have a broader base from which to develop and refine your ideas. What did I learn while pursuing the seemingly irrelevant? With "The Harvard Five in New Canaan," (Norton), William D. Earls presents 36 houses designed by 16 distinguished architects, five of whom taught or studied at H...