'A Pattern Language' by Christopher Alexander
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A Pattern Language
By Christopher Alexander

When I bought my house, I couldn't afford an architect. I was overwhelmed, but I had read a quote by Alexander that I liked, so I tracked down this book. He believes that people should design their own homes, streets and communities based on certain patterns. I used his theories a lot when I was working on my house. For instance, window seats: He thinks they've got to be a certain width or people won't sit in them. My window seat was 16 inches, and that wasn't working.

I had to make it 18 inches. The book is full of recommendations—a big kitchen, windows, waist-high shelves—really basic, simple things that make an immeasurable difference in how we live.

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