In The BNOTP Library: A Field Guide To American Houses

I used to get so frustrated when I’d see a house and couldn’t figure out its architectural style or design. Some homes are pretty obvious, I can spot a Greek Revival a mile away and I bet you can, too. But some are a blend of architectural styles and can be difficult to pin down.

This is one of those books you’ll find yourself using again and again. I keep mine about two feet from me here on my desk. It’s the book I used the other night when I was writing the movie tour post for the home in the movie, Stepmom, and I was trying to figure out the exact style of the home.

BNOTP Library Logo for Posts


In the BNOTP Library: A Field Guide to American Houses: The Definitive Guide to Identifying and Understanding America’s Domestic Architecture
Author: Virginia Savage McAlester
Hardcover: 880 pages
Book size: 10.3 x 7.8 x 1.8
A Field Guide To American Houses by Virginia McAlester

3 Things I Like About This Book:

  • Will help you quickly and easily identify the architecture style of  the American homes you see everyday online, in your area, on trips, in the movies, wherever you see them.
  • Pretty much a must-have book for anyone who loves houses and loves studying their architecture and design
  • Breaks down architectural elements of a home into the smallest parts and labels them so you know exactly what to call them. Lots of diagrams and lots of photographs to help with identification.

I have the original 1984 version of this book (A Field Guide to American Houses) and have enjoyed it for around 15 years now. The one I’m featuring today is the newly released and updated version.  I’ve enjoyed the original book so much, I ordered the latest version this evening. I noticed it’s 880 pages long! My old one is just 525 pages long so I can’t wait to see what they’ve added to it. Great book and one you’ll want to have if you love being able to identify a home’s design or architecture style .

You can read more about this book, A Field Guide to American Houses: The Definitive Guide to Identifying and Understanding America’s Domestic Architecture at Amazon where I normally buy my books, via the picture link below.

You’ll find previously featured books from the BNTOP library here: In The BNOTP Library or just click below.

In the BNOTP Library


*If a post is sponsored or a product was provided at no charge, it will be stated in post. Some links may be affiliate links and as an Amazon Associate, I may earn from qualifying purchases. *

 Never miss a Between Naps on the Porch post! 

*Subscribe to have updates delivered to your Inbox. 


  1. Loving this book… & I always enjoy seeing your 4th of July decor. Have a good week end.

  2. Susan, I picked up the book Tabletops from the library yesterday, it is lovely.

  3. This book adds to the spectrum of your design interests, and I am rather impressed with your library.

  4. Thank you for suggesting this book, Susan. Working as a realtor in Charleston, SC, I really need materials such as this to help me be better equipped for my work. Maybe this will help me describe to my clients better the properties I represent, especially those in downtown Charleston where many of them are located. I have always enjoyed reading your posts, because they are either interesting or helpful, or even both. Thanks, again!

    • Thanks, James! The original one was a great book so I can’t wait to get the new one! If you end up needing a copy in your car, too…you may want to buy the 1984 one in paperback. I was just noticing you can get “Like New” and “Good” used copies of it at Amazon for less than $3. It would be a little more portable than the latest version that’s not available in paperback form, yet. Just thinking out loud. 🙂

I'd love to hear from you! Please leave a comment!