Many of Texas' most beautiful and interesting historic homes were built from designs published in magazines, books, and catalogues. Texas Houses Built by the Book provides an introduction to the use of published designs in Texas, examining how homeowners, carpenters, contractors, developers, and even architects took advantage of the unprecedented wealth of these designs available during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Few examples of Texas houses based on published designs can be found in previous publications about architectural history or Texas architecture. Margaret Culbertson's carefully researched study, including more than 150 illustrations that compare actual homes with the published designs they followed, confirms the widespread use of such designs in Texas.
In addition to identifying design sources actually used in Texas, Culbertson provides personal background information on several of the original owners, many of whom were prosperous and respected members of their communities. By providing such contextual information about the houses and their owners, Culbertson shows that using designs published in magazines and catalogues was socially and culturally acceptable during this period.
The book closes with an in-depth look at the use of published designs in one particular community, Waxahachie, and the place of these houses within the community and in the lives of their original owners.
Texas towns, neighborhoods, and rural areas have been enriched by houses that were "built by the book." Both scholars and enthusiasts of architectural history and Texas history will find this a fascinating and informative study of an important component of Texas architecture.