How did the oldtimers design so many beautiful buildings? What did builders know 100 years ago that we have since forgotten? What rules were they following? What guidelines did they refer to?

Simple Rules is a collection of 25 of the basic concepts, design principles and rules of thumb that builders and architects used throughout history in the making of beautiful buildings.

simple rules



Simple Rules – an unconventional design guide for the modern builder.

Inspired by long forgotten resources, this beautifully illustrated guide blends timeless composition principles and elegant proportional systems to give builders and designer’s techniques and specific formulas for creating aesthetically pleasing and impeccably designed buildings that offer a reverent nod to time-honored design elements.

Incorporating salvaged pieces and architectural relics, the concepts detailed in this guide have been resurrected and abridged for practical use by the 21st century architect and homebuilder. Using the same classic principles of making the once familiar and meaningful into something sensible and beautiful is the concept behind the designs illustrated in this builder’s guide.

Each design concept in this guide is intended to serve as an archetype for a new modern architecture to free builders from the need to replicate old styles and to forge their own paths in today’s world.


Additional unformated rules will periodically be added and will hopefully be revised and formatted into additional editions.

Simple Rules No.2 is now available on Amazon and other ebook formats, including Itunes and Kobo.




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Simple Rules, a new kind of builder handbook/design guide can be purchased on Amazon, and other bookstores like Barnes and Noble:


Kindle versions of both are also available, and are on sale 40% off for the month of August.








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roof framing: 3 pitches in common use that look best





simple RULE Roof Framing: Three Pitches in Common Use


Fig. 40 shows the three pitches in common use.

“The pitch at e is called the square pitch, the slant of one side of the roof being at right angles to the slant of the other side, the pitch of the roof being 45 degrees.  [12:12 pitch]

The pitch at d is 2/3 pitch, the length of the rafters being 2/3 of the width of the building. [12:9 pitch]

The pitch at c is called 1/2 pitch, the rise being 1/2 of the width of the building…” [12:6 pitch]


do not waste your ornament



“Do not waste your ornament.”




There are three ways of wasting ornament:

By making it of a kind unsuited to…

the material in which it is to be executed;

what will be required of it, and

the position it is to occupy.

“The man who specifies a machine-made piece of ‘stock’ is unconcerned as to whether it be plastered up in a place where it is useless or not. But the artist, who has spent himself on a bit of detail, is as unhappy at the thought of its desecration as is the mother whose child is carried away captive by barbarians.”

A Discussion of Composition, Especially as Applied to Architecture               John Vredenburgh Van Pelt



Amazon Bestseller (Kindle)


simple rule: three greek orders of architecture

proportions, detail and meaning


The universal function:

“from the absolute unities, whether endued with a masculine, or a feminine form, various orders of beings flow into the universe”


The orders, and their universal function, according to Proclus:

“Since the cause of stable power and identity, and the leader [choregos] of being, and that which invests all things with the first principle of conversion, is comprehended in the masculine [Doric] order…

But that which generates from itself, all various progressions and partitions, measures of life and prolific powers, is contained in the female division [Ionic]…

Since the motion of the heavens imparts particular properties and powers, to particular things. But on the other hand earth receiving the celestial defluxions, becomes pregnant, and produces plants and animals of every kind…

[Thus] from the absolute unities, whether endued with a masculine, or a feminine form, various orders of beings flow into the universe.”

Orpheus, Thomas Taylor



 “Other orders have elegance, have magnificence, but sublimity is the characteristic of the Doric alone.”

—E. Aikin  Modern Architecture


Origins of the Corinthian capital, as relayed by Vitruvius:

“A Corinthian virgin of marriageable years, fell a victim to a violent disorder; after her interment, her nurse, collecting in a basket those articles to which she had shown a partiality when alive, carried them to her tomb, and placed a tile on the basket for the longer preservation of its contents. The basket was accidentally placed on the root of an acanthus plant, which, pressed by the weight, shot forth towards spring its stems and large foliage, and in the course of its growth reached the angles of the tile, and thus formed volutes at the extremities. Callimachus, …happening at this time to pass by the tomb, observed the basket, and the delicacy of the foliage that surrounded it.

Pleased with the form and novelty of the combination, he constructed, from the hint thus afforded, columns with capitals of this species about Corinth, and arranged their proportions, determining their proper measures by perfect rules.”






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