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The Elements of Style: An Encyclopedia of Domestic Architectural Detail [Hardcover]

Stephen Calloway , Elizabeth Cromley , Alan Powers
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Book Description

Sept. 8 2005

"An impressive reference work."
- Library Journal (on the 1997 edition)

A richly detailed and easy-to-use reference to 500 years of architectural details and styles.

Owners and potential buyers of period houses, restorers, architects, interior designers and historical preservationists will find this reference invaluable.

The Elements of Style is the most comprehensive visual survey, period-by-period, feature-by-feature, of the styles that have had the greatest impact on interiors of American and British domestic architecture. Compiled by a team of experts, this is the first book on architectural styles that is comprehensive, incredibly thorough, and accessible in its presentation of individual details.

This magnificent volume covers more than 500 years of architectural styles from Tudor to Post-Modern and includes American and British vernacular styles. First published in 1991 (with 150,000 copies sold), this new edition is expanded to include the most contemporary styles.

Detailed illustrations include 3,000 analytical drawings and historic engravings, 400 photographs in color and 1,000 in black and white.

The heart of The Elements of Style is a chronological survey of the primary styles and periods of architectural design. Each chapter begins with an illustrated essay, then covers in detail features such as:

  • Doors
  • Windows
  • Walls, floors and ceilings
  • Staircases
  • Ironwork and hardware
  • Woodwork and built-in furniture
  • Kitchen stoves and fireplaces
  • Essential period architectural details, and more.

The book also includes:

  • A useful system of quick reference, employing color-coded tabs showing how particular features evolved over time, and
  • A fully updated resource list with contact information for locating suppliers of those design elements illustrated throughout the book.

The Elements of Style is the essential reference for preservationists, architects, interior designers, owners of period homes, and historians.

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Product Details

Product Description


One of the most borrowed books in our library... Not sure which light fixtures complement a Craftsman? You'll find out here. (This Old House 2006-04-00)

An outstanding and economical single-volume resource... Summing Up Highly recommended. (R.T. Clement Choice 2006-05-00)

[Recommended title by the staff of Fine Homebuilding, Special Anniversary edition] (Fine Homebuilding 2006-02-00)

Visual feast of domestic architectural styles... It is truly a scholarly work, but also an accessible one that can be enjoyed by anyone who appreciates beautiful design or is intrigued by the domestic lives of past generations... extraordinary detail. (Jane Gadd Globe and Mail 2006-01-27)

An indispensable tool for architects, designers, historians, or indeed anyone interested in residential design and the history of domestic architecture... Domestic architectural detail can inspire with beauty and grace. (Western Roofing 2006-01-00)

Teeming with illustrations of representative doors, windows, fireplaces and other structural/decorative elements... capturing each period in lively and penetrating detail... an excellent reference. (David Soltész Library Journal 2005-12-00)

A welcome addition to the coffee tables or libraries of professional designers, architecture buffs and, for that matter, anyone who has even a passing interest in how homes have evolved over the centuries. (Globe and Mail 2005-12-10)

Great for someone restoring a period home because it tells what fits a certain style and what doesn't... would give someone planning a home a lot of looks and styles to consider. (Deborah Donovan Arlington Heights Daily Herald 2005-12-04)

Essentially a reference volume, but a pleasurable one to read... every page is peppered with color photographs, line drawings and black-and-white archival images that bring the architectural elements to life. (Cheryl Cornacchia Montreal Gazette 2005-12-03)

No detail is overlooked... A necessary reference work for those interested in residential architectural history. It's pleasurable eye candy for everyone else. (Peggy Mackenzie Toronto Star 2005-12-01)

A perfect gift for the architecture junkie in your life... color-coded tabs for quick reference to 500 years of architectural details and styles with illustrations and photographs. (Jenn Houlihan Style at Home 2006-01-00)

About the Author

Stephen Calloway is the author of Twentieth Century Decoration and Baroque Baroque and contributes regularly to a number of periodicals including: The World of Interiors, House and Garden and Elle Decoration. He is also a lecturer and consultant on architecture and interior design.

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Most helpful customer reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars the elemets of style by Stephen Calloway March 5 2009
By far the most valuable book in my collection. Whether one is in the building/design/restoration industry, working in theatre/film or a writer this book gives you definitive clear information. I've had my copy for years it goes with me to most most shows I paint, it gets pulled out regularly when I need detail for a story and is the one book I won't lend. I'm astonished no one has reviewed this book. It's also a great coffee table book or if you just adore buildings. It is a wonderful crash course in western architecture (I wish some one would write a similar book on eastern architecture). It was worth every penny.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.2 out of 5 stars  8 reviews
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Reference Book Detailing Period Styles Nov. 17 2006
By Antiques R4 Me - Published on Amazon.com
Great historical reference book detailing period styles of everything from windows to fireplace mantels. Lots of photos - many of them in color. Also includes useful drawings. I found this book to be EXTREMELY helpful, and I reference it often; worth every penny!
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful March 21 2007
By jojobean - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This book contains many beautiful pictures, which are key to defining period style furniture adn architecture. The chapters are clearly defined and arranged in a logical, easy to use manner. It is a must for anyone seeking a career in Historical Preservation.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent resource June 29 2007
By M. Brooks - Published on Amazon.com
This book is an invaluable resource for restoration work and new construction, where clients want something that 'authentic' to a particular era.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Best Feb. 12 2011
By Dylan - Published on Amazon.com
This book is amazing. It literally takes you through every single time era since Baroque and breaks down all the design aspects of interior and exterior design. It's an amazing buy if you want to see a lot of pictures and not as much words. They show both a drawn picture of everything and a real picture of everything to show how something might be seen on a blueprint. It's an amazing book for those who are just entering the design world but perhaps also those who have been in the world for a while and want to challenge themselves by recreating the perfect Tutor Arch or Gothic Vaulting. I highly recommend it.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Wonderful Reference Guide Dec 12 2008
By S. Ricker - Published on Amazon.com
This book is a wonderful reference guide that includes everything from architectural elements to interior decor. This is an invaluable reference as it not only has hundreds of high-quality color photos, but has many elements in the form of line drawings.
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