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Publishers WeeklyFrom the first spread, of ceramicist Henry Chapman Mercer's Fonthill, a Pennsylvania castle built, of reinforced raw concrete, around an existing farmhouse, it's clear that Gotkin and Freeman's collection of unique residences is more than a fawning photo shoot. The duo's study 13 artist residences, from the warm homestead and workspace of California woodworker Sam Maloof to the sprawling, cave-like Arizona compound of Paolo Soleri, with its massive display of windbells, to the ornate and austere Olana, home to painter Frederic Edwin Church. Though the 15-room White Pines-part of the Byrdcliffe art colony near Woodstock-built by the late Ralph Radcliffe Whitehead and Jane Byrd McCall hasn't been truly lived in for decades, a workroom cluttered with unglazed pots suggests that the couple have just stepped out for a walk. Freeman's ability to capture details like these, coupled with a good eye for scale, gives the reader a true sense of place; Gotkin's insightful text is an added delight, deepening readers' appreciation of the design that makes each home so unique. Though few readers will be able to find much to emulate-Soleri's ceramics studio looks like something from the set of Star Wars, for example-this is still a stunning appreciation of creativity, thrift, and ingenuity.
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