Good House Parts

Renowned Residential Architect Dennis Wedlick Shows Readers How to Create Their Dream Homes . . . One Good House Part at a Time

New York, New York – July 2003 – Ask a dozen architects, designers, or builders what goes into a good home and you’ll likely get a dozen different answers – most of them likely to confuse and intimidate an inexperienced homeowner. Ask architect Dennis Wedlick and the answer becomes refreshingly simple: a good house is made up of good house parts. In Good House Parts: Creating a Great Home Piece by Piece, Wedlick breaks down the design process, both literally and figuratively, illustrating his point with images of homes designed by some of America’s leading architects. The book divides good house parts into those that achieve Character, Comfort, Harmony, and Quality, and then illustrates each with crisp photography and careful sketches.Good House Parts, published by The Taunton Press, will be in stores in November 2003.

A good home has character. A good home blends comfort with practicality. A good home is personal and expressive. And because of this, its creation cannot follow any one formula. The design of a good home, or the renovation of an existing one, must be considered piece by piece, pulling together individual house parts that answer the functional and emotional requirements of the homeowner. Only the right combination of good house parts makes a good home.

Good House Parts is about helping people to articulate what they want in a home,” said Wedlick. “For first-time homeowners especially, it can be difficult to describe something as complicated as a house. But people know what kind of a doorway they want to walk through every day, they know if they like peaked roofs or spiral staircases, if they like hardwood flooring or ceramic tile. Once they start naming the house parts they’re drawn to, it’s up to the architect to combine them in a well-balanced design.”

Wedlick has been building good homes piece by piece since he founded Dennis Wedlick Architect LLC a decade ago. To facilitate the creation process, Wedlick developed a tool: the Wish List. In their first meeting, he asks every client to create a list of what they want in a home. They are to omit nothing. This give-and-take has given Wedlick an extraordinary sensitivity when it comes to designing houses. And it only reinforced his conviction that, as they craft a vision of a dream home – as they construct the image in their minds – people view it as the sum of its parts.

Creating a Great Home Piece by Piece

Like the design elements it describes, Good House Parts is broken down into sections designed to facilitate the thinking-through of a good home design. The first section, Good House Parts for Character, addresses shapes (roof profiles, overhangs), details (exterior trim, beams), openings (windows in all their variety), and picturesque parts (whimsical elements like porticos, dormers, towers, and chimney tops) and how they combine to tell the story behind a home. Section two,Good House Parts for Comfort, is about how you inhabit a space; it includes parts on entryways and hallways, storage, stairways, nooks and niches. Good House Parts for Harmonyis concerned about the way parts come together to reconcile the indoors and outdoors with the placement of windows, porches, steps, terraces, and the finishes on outside walls. Finally, since a good home must stand the test of time, the book ends with Good House Parts for Quality, a section devoted to flooring options, special surfaces, interior details and hardware.

Good House Parts is overwhelmingly visual – its 224 pages contain 400 color photographs as well as sketches and renderings. To illustrate his points, Wedlick drew from his own body of work as well as that of architects and firms across the country he holds in particular regard: Charles Warren, Michael C. Imber, Bohlin Cywinski Jackson, and Centerbrook. These architects work in different styles, but Wedlick shows that their similarity lies in the quality and strategy of their design – all of it originates in distinct parts combined in diverse and evolving combinations.

The publication of Good House Parts comes at a high point in Wedlick’s career. His firm is thriving in Lower Manhattan; known for eclectic, picturesque, and soulful home design, Dennis Wedlick Architect LLC has just celebrated its 10-year anniversary. Wedlick is currently a featured designer in the National Design Triennial at the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum in New York. His first book, The Good Home, has just been re-released in paperback and he is currently at work on a sequel.

“The work we’re doing now is possible because the design community is finally accepting that everyone deserves a good home. Design should be accessible, take inspiration from life and then inspire more expressive living. If Good House Parts helps more people to describe – and then demand – the home of their dreams, I will be perfectly content.”