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Product Description

This landmark book celebrates a rich and time-honored tradition in American architecture: the vernacular farmhouse. And nowhere in America is this tradition more evocative and venerable than in New York and New England, where Dutch, English, French, and Scotch settlers created an extraordinary legacy of simple one- and two-story structures dating from the seventeenth century.

The houses portrayed here — forthright, sturdy, and built by carpenters and masons rather than architects — stand as enduring tributes to pragmatic, handcrafted design and the resourceful use of local, natural materials. They also stand as cherished, comfort-giving homes to current generations of owners, many of whom have sensitively adapted them for life in the twenty-first century.

With striking color photography by Trevor Tondro and insightful text by William Morgan, this book documents 19 outstanding examples of this folk idiom. The structures featured here were built over the course of a century of American history, with each property expressing its own personality through regional traditions, period styles, building materials, and the imprint of caretakers past and present. While the style of these farmhouses show wonderful diversity, they are all eloquent meditations on a common theme: the intrinsic beauty and value of that which is old and true.

A Simpler Way of Life is a book for architects, designers, historians, preservationists, and anyone who wishes to learn more about this classic American genre. This volume is a compelling reminder that the old, honest country house is not only as inviting and beautiful as the grandest of homes, but is endowed with a grace and humanity unmatched by any other form of domestic architecture.

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