I have wanted to publish a list of ‘must have’ architectural books for a long time. Since I am not an architectural historian, I asked my friend, Michael Mesko, if he would help me assemble a list of interesting and useful books that would help all of us better understand buildings by observing them with a more educated appreciation and critical eye. Michael is a Notre Dame educated architect who specializes in Classical and Traditional design. He has worked for many of the most important classicists we know and read about; Robert A. M. Stern, Gil Schafer, David Easton, Franck & Loshan, Ferguson and Shamamian and many others.

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Last week I wrote about cement tile. I wanted to continue that post with some images to demonstrate that one pattern often equals many design opportunities with a simple change of color and a quarter or half turn of the tile to disrupt the pattern flow.

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I love cement tile. An early version of it is documented in the dwellings and public buildings of Pompeii and Herculaneum; archeologists found small chards of glass or stone embedded in cement-like floors. During the Renaissance, cement floors were meant to be an intricate works of art. Interest in the material all but disappeared for centuries.  But during the late 19th century, it was rediscovered and used during the French Belle Epoque and Art Nouveau periods. It was often found in restaurants and vestibules valued for its durability and decoration. The manufacturing revival of the cement manifested itself in the form of tiles; they were easy to manufacture, install and readily available.

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Small is good,  especially when done well.  That means that every detail is carefully thought out and executed, the materials are strong, the design and architecture reflect the rest of the house and, of course, everything functions flawlessly.

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