The Good Home
Author Dennis Wedlick Celebrates the Highly Personal Expressions of the American Dream Home
New York, NY – April 2001 – For Dennis Wedlick the leap from architect to author wasn’t such a big one to make. With the launch of his first design book in May 2001, The Good Home, Wedlick beautifully illustrates how the design of one’s home can be a process of empowerment, rather than a series of compromises. Having worked as an architect for the past 16 years, Wedlick had the opportunity to create ideal homes for many individual clients, as well as to design Dream Houses for publications such as Country Home and Life Magazine. Through this experience, he was able to research and test virtually every desired feature to create an ideal home.
To do this, Wedlick created a simple tool – the Wish List. Wedlick asks each of his clients to create a comprehensive list of things they want in a house, leaving nothing out. “I ask people to suspend all judgment about cost, attainability or significance, and for partners to make individual lists to avoid feeling pressured to make concessions or compromises.” Over the years, Wedlick collected dozens and dozens of lists from his individual clients, as well as from the editors and staff members at magazines that asked him to design their annual dream homes for publication. From these lists, he began to see certain patterns emerge. To his surprise, very few people wrote about the practical needs of modern life – cars, TVs, computers. Instead, they struggled to describe their own romantic visions of the ideal residence.
Putting It Into Words
It was this realization that became the genesis of The Good Home. “People yearned to discuss picturesque concepts, but did not know how to articulate their idea. This is what the book provides – an emotional language that demystifies the process and allows for more effective dialogue,” explains Wedlick.
The book is not an architect’s monograph, but an illustration of important ideas and techniques. It features over 230 pages of interior and exterior design elements and architectural concepts conveyed through beautiful photography and expressive text that brings to light the difference between a house and a home. “Many people in this country are well-housed, but to me, a “good home” is one that is imbued with soul; it arouses emotion and is intensely personal to its inhabitants.”
What Makes a Home “Good”
The book identifies the most sought after picturesque interior and exterior characteristics for today’s ideal home. Says the author: “People are seeking houses that are unique, playful, and expressive, but the today’s housing market offers too many cookie cutter solutions that are cold, cavernous and uninviting.” Wedlick identifies the essential design elements that repeatedly turn up on people’s wish list and labels them with appropriate architectural terms. The terms are accompanied with interior and exterior photography that beautifully illustrates how the elements can be used to create romance, drama, comfort and even whimsy.
The Interiors section begins with a discussion of Picturesque Techniques and Picturesque Details. Wedlick discusses five essential techniques – enfilade, focal points, transparency, shaped spaces and enticing stairs that can be combined with a few simple details to make the ordinary become sublime. From a country cottage to a ranch house to a New York loft, Wedlick’s message is simple: “A house should be expressive of not only our lifestyle, but also our sentiments and our personalities.”
With the Exteriors section of the book, Wedlick once again illustrates two key topics: Picturesque Elements and Picturesque Compositions. To create an expressive exterior, Wedlick focuses on six elements: roofscapes, dormers, columns, entryways, fenestration, and surfaces and shadows. Combined, these features create the overall composition of the home, the culmination of his picturesque approach. Again, Wedlick uses a wide and diverse range of homes to articulate his theory of expressive architecture. Whether the discussion is focusing on the renovation of an old home, new additions to an old structure or starting fresh from the ground up, he carefully guides the reader through each home, without ever sounding patronizing or pedantic. “There are enough things out there to read that are meant to be purely aspirational. But to me, having a “good home” is something that should be accessible to everyone, because it doesn’t come from size, number of rooms, grandness or monetary value. It comes from finding a way to allow your home to reflect you and your dreams,” says Wedlick. The Good Home promises to bring the reader one step closer to that worthy goal.
Dennis Wedlick owns a professional architecture firm in New York City. His work has been published in top design magazines such as Elle Decor, Metropolitan Home, Architectural Digest, and The New York Times House & Home section among others. Over the last five years he has been sought after to design Dream Houses for several leading national publications, including the 1995 Life Magazine Dream House, the 1996 Country Home Scandinavian Showhouse for the 21st Century, and the 1998 Country Home Liberty House at the World Financial Centre.