Architecture April 24, 2012 By Nalina Moses
Scott Newkirk House, Yulan, NY / Copyright 2012 Kodiak Greenwood

Scott Newkirk House, Yulan, NY / Copyright 2012 Kodiak Greenwood

From all my interview with the designers and builders in the book, I heard repeatedly about the subject of avoiding overindulgence. When you handle the task of building for yourself, you’re going to be more responsible. These days, too many of us are in too much of a hurry, involved in too much multi-tasking, to see the wisdom in this philosophy. The late Carmel Valley, California sculptor and handmade house builder Alexander Weygers said it best: “There’s a fine line between what we want and what we need. If you make what you need, you may find that it’s also what you want.”

Many of the houses you visited are thirty or forty years old, and built with unconventional materials and methods. How are they holding up?

Part of my agenda with the book was to go back and visit some of the the houses that appeared in those 1970’s books on handmade houses. As with all houses made with wood, there’s upkeep that’s part of ownership. But as the book shows, forty years later these houses are in very respectable shape.

Can city dwellers embrace the handmade house movement?

Absolutely, they can. By the 1990’s, the handmade house aesthetic had become a decorative style, and any city dweller who is using architectural salvage in his home is embracing the movement.

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