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Paperback | $39.00 Short | £26.95 | ISBN: 9780262570763 | 304 pp. | 9.375 x 10.5 in | July 1989

The Comfortable House

North American Suburban Architecture 1890-1930


Between 1890 and 1930, more houses were built in the United States than in all its previous history. The Comfortable House provides the first full treatment of this large body of domestic building. More than half of the book is devoted to classifying these houses into categories that can help guide preservationists, architectural historians and homeowners through the great profusion of "post-Victorian" styles—Bungalow, Saltbox, Shingle, Tudor, Gothic, and the like.

Aided by over 200 illustrations taken from contemporary catalogs of ready-cut houses, and photographs of actual houses, The Comfortable House classifies each style, notes its vintage, and documents its source.

Alan Gowans is Professor of History of Art at the University of Victoria, British Columbia and he author of 15 previous books.


"The Comfortable House is most valuable as a guide to suburban styles... Gowans covers them a11 including the many variations of the Colonial Revival style and the ways that Frank Lloyd Wright's Prairie House influenced popular architecture... Best of all, the book opens our eyes to the rich architectural variety found in older suburbs."
Michael S. Durham, Americana

"A serious, thoughtful and eminently readable inquiry into the plain everyday residential architecture that filled the suburban towns and villages of North America in the years between 1890 and 1930... Many readers are likely to find the house they they grew up in within this book."
Paul Goldberger, The New York Times Book Review