Has today's economy
made you put off your dreams of a new home? The new book,
Prosperity Plans, published by architect Donald J. Berg,
might get you dreaming again.
Berg's idea is that
today's architects, builders and prospective homeowners can
learn from a series of fascinating "Growing House" designs
created in 1934. That was the time of the Great Depression
and Dust Bowl droughts, when Americans faced economic
horrors that make today's problems seem mild.
The designs, first
published in the U.S. Department of Agriculture's booklet,
Farmhouse Plans, show how low-cost, small houses can
be planned to grow into larger, more comfortable homes, over
time. The idea was to help homeowners spread the cost of
construction over many years as houses were expanded in two,
three or more stages.
The Growing Houses all
started with attractive cottages, each with a kitchen, bath
and one or two multi-purpose rooms. Carefully planned
additional stages of construction added more bedrooms and
more formal living spaces with very little demolition and
little or no disruption of family life. Each stage created a
new home that looked as good or better than the one before
includes a complete reprint of the original 1935 booklet
with forty home plans, a new forward by Berg, and photos of the
homes and the times.
Softcover copies are
available at Amazon.com.
Donald Berg is a
member of the American Institute of Architects and the
Society of Architectural Historians. He has published
fifteen books on American building and landscape design. His
designs, articles and interviews have appeared in Home
Magazine, Better Homes and Gardens, Country Life,
Traditional Building, The Old-House Journal and many
other publications. He was a guest on and consultant for
The American Farmhouse.