In designing a house—one would think—a knowledge of our past, that is, how we got where we are today, would be useful. Yet it seems many homebuilders rely either on "cookiecutter" designs, or on ill-conceived interpretations of past styles. Home, by Canadian architect Witold Rybczynski, provides a well researched, informative, readable, and sometimes critical account of where we began and how we have arrived in the modern period. Ostensibly Rybczynski is discussing building interiors, but his real topic is comfort—and how to achieve it. His subjects range from the popularity of "stylist" Ralph Lauren's creations, to the exceptionally narrow Dutch houses of the 17th century, to the failings of modern chair design, and a thumbnail tour of art history. Rybczynski's begins with
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