WoodCentral's Book Reviews
The Distinctive Home

The Distinctive Home
by Jeremiah Eck

Taunton Press: 2003
hb, 234 pp., $40
ISBN 1-56158-528-9

     Acclaimed Boston architect Jeremiah Eck claims, "Distinctive homes are always a balance of past and present." This full-color coffee table book of comfortable, beautiful, lived-in homes offers a concept based not on size, or museum quality impressions, but on livability. I would call this 'livability with grace,' because there is nothing spartan in Eck's designs and examples. They are gracious, well planned, livable spaces set in a considered landscape.
     Eck is a proponent of compostion. The building site, plan and exterior appearance are segments of a whole. He gives equal importance to details: stairs, chimneys, eaves, pattern, texture and color.
     The author also has an enlightening solution to designing rooms for the way we really live. He suggests we rename them. What is the purpose, he asks, in having a 'living room?' Don't we 'live' in all of them? He suggests we might do better to think in terms of private or public rooms, formal or informal living spaces. How many of us have front entryways little used, and back doors where friends and family create traffic patterns with constant gridlock? Eck has solutions for just such problem areas, and reading his insight is a revelation in design options.
     The 'new' architecture is full of ideas on transitional spaces between outdoor and indoor living areas. The author discusses the importance of finding a balance when considering walls and openings, porch surrounds and connecting entryways.
     This book is full of beautifully photographed, inspirational home designs…a real pleasure to browse through.

. . . Barb Siddiqui