The Old Way of Seeing: http://search.barnesandnoble.com/The.../9780395740101
Back when we bought an old house, circa 1912 more or less, a former two story school house in the woods on the south end of town, we knew that even with progressive modernizations, electricity, sewer, water, foundation and the like that we would be making our mark on the structure to further it along on the planet.
I started in with the separate garage and went to work on the design of it so it matched the house as much as was going to be possible. When I had the permit and plans I set forth to reconstruct and rebuild. I spent a year on the cad drawings alone and knew that when they were in blueprint that was it, I had to build from there.
Somewhere between footings and some glulam beams I found a book that changed the way I see architecture and the way I was going to remodel. It was one of those ah ha moments. The lights when on and I realized what it was I liked about old buildings. I brought together a library of architectural books, the old masters, Vitruvius, the ten books of architecture, the classical orders, etc..
I soon realized what it was about the new houses in the new developments I didn't like. One was in the details and another was in the regulating lines. These two from many other elements were missing or just wrong according to the way the old builders designed and constructed.
The book describes it much better than I but this book explains why some new architecture is just plain ugly sometimes. The concept of regulating lines was new to me even though it was the main reason I liked or disliked an architecture. It may be new to you or maybe you know about it all ready but it relates to art and design and is in our lives each day. Look at some examples then look at your house or around your neighborhood, town or city.
It changed the way I finished the project, especially the windows, doors, trim, roof lines and returns.