Few books about interior woodwork make sense of traditional design styles as well as Traditional American Rooms by Brent Hull and Christine G.H. Franke. The first 27 pages alone are worth the $35 book price (from Amazon and others) for their concise encapsulation of the history of traditional architectural styles and lucid translation of the language of classical architecture. This language is what finish carpenters use to describe classical trim and period house styles, and what I, for one, haven’t always used accurately. Any of us who ever refer to “colonial” house designs, or invoke Georgian and Federal style, or discuss the parts and pieces of the cornices, wainscot, and baseboard that we install, owe it to ourselves to read the informative explanations that Hull and Franke provide.

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