From identifying your home’s period to selecting era-appropriate plants for your traditional garden, a wealth of reference books are available to inspire renovators. Here are a few of our favourites
By Richard Apperly, Robert Irving and Peter Reynolds
Paperback, Angus and Robertson
This easy-to-read reference book belongs on the bookshelf of every heritage architect, builder, renovator and enthusiast looking for authentic, well-researched information on specific architectural styles. Covering 66 different individual styles of house, from Old Colonial Georgian through to Late Twentieth Century Immigrants’ Nostalgic in the 1980s, photographs and summaries convey the specifics of each major architectural style.
How to Restore the Old Aussie House
By Ian Stapleton
Paperback, Flannel Flower Press
This is the guide you’ll keep in your toolbox when planning the practical aspects of a heritage restoration. Including 180 illustrations and specifications for a range of materials, from cornices to flooring substrates, the book is full of expert advice from Australia’s top conservation architects. It is a wealth of information on the evolution, terminology and construction of Australian houses from about 1800 to the 1930s. A must-have for anyone looking to restore an older home.
Building Your Own Home: A Comprehensive Guide for Owner-Builders
By George Wilkie
Paperback, New Holland Publishers
A practical and extremely useful guide to building your dream home, this best-selling reference book covers every step of the process, from choosing land, working with subcontractors, preparing working drawings and minimising the environmental impact. It focusses on the regulations particular to owner-builders, including dealing with local councils and heritage authorities. Heavily illustrated and concisely written, you will keep coming back to this book for explanations of trade jargon and information specific to Australian buildings.
Grand Designs Handbook: The Blueprint for Building Your Dream Home
By Kevin McCloud
This book is an invaluable resource for anyone planning to build or renovate their dream house. Author Kevin McCloud is a renowned architecture and design guru and host of long-running British television show Grand Designs. In this easy-to-read handbook, he gives readers tools to ensure that their dream becomes a reality. The book is divided into three main sections – ‘Thinking’, ‘Dreaming’ and ‘Doing’ – and takes us through each stage of the self-build process, from working out what you really want, to finding suitable land, obtaining planning permission, commissioning and briefing architects and builders, and implementing the build itself. McCloud also presents some of his favourite homes from the television series, including a reinvented violin factory, a converted barn, and a spectacular loch-side house in Scotland.
Getting the Details Right: Restoring Australian Houses 1890s-1920s
By Ian Evans
Paperback, Flannel Flower Press
This book is the result of countless hours of fieldwork measuring, recording and documenting some of the most important details of old Australian houses. It contains working drawings with necessary dimensions for almost every detail of heritage homes, from chimneys and parapets to windows and garages. The drawings are linked by descriptions of conservation and restoration information.
Cottage Gardens in Australia
By Peter Cuffley
Paperback, The Five Mile Press
This book traces the history of Australia’s cottage garden from early colonial times through to the first suburban sprawls and the present cottage revivals. Peter Cuffley has published several books on historical gardens, antiques and houses, and his considerable knowledge on the subject is evident in this handy book. Perfect for the traditional gardener, it includes garden plans, plant lists and useful research to assist in the restoration of old gardens, illustrated with diagrams, prints, paintings and photographs.
Gardening Australia’s Flora: The Gardener’s Bible
Hardcover, ABC Books
This bestseller is the bees knees of gardening encyclopaedias. While not strictly about heritage or traditional gardens, this tome features material written by top gardening authors and horticultural experts. It covers everything from Australia’s different climate zones to information on over 20,000 plants. Stunning colour photography complements the dense but readable text. A must-have for every keen gardener.