On a five thousand dollar wooden frame house - a small dwelling, as prices run now - the various items of the contract would average about as follows:
Foundation and Chimney ........
Lathing and Plastering ..........
Exterior Fnish ..................
Architect (5% of the cost)........
Of course hard digging or gravel on the lot would increase or lower the cost of this item, while the sum set aside for "finish," inside and out, depends altogether upon the design of the dwelling. While this schedule will vary somewhat in its different items in almost every instance, still as it was compiled from averages obtained from a number of small houses of about the same size and cost, but of different styles, it should prove approximately correct, sufficiently so at least, to act as a guide for obtaining the preliminary estimates.
The above tabulation is based solely upon an approximate size of house with the average corresponding quality of finish and architectural treatment that would ordinarily be expected to accompany an American dwelling of that size. It must be remembered however, that these figures merely offer a mean basis for comparison. If expensive systems of plumbing and heating are installed, if hard wood is used largely for finish and oak for floors, if the mantels are elaborate and the rooms are finished with beam ceilings and dados, the expense can be run up very quickly to far beyond these approximate figures; while on the other hand, by keeping the finish down and with an economically arranged plan and disposition and installation of plumbing, heating, etc., it is oftentimes possible to obtain an attractive and modestly designed home at a corresponding reduction from the estimates given.
It is always possible, for instance, for the architect to use a porch finish - as on the cottages A and B, - that will be both simple and effective, for a sum which will be considerably less than a finish much the same in appearance, but requiring heavier stock and more workmanship; and this depends largely upon the judgment and training of the architect as well as his disposition and judgment of his client's actual desires. The finish on the first cottage (A) is simpler in effect but in reality about as costly as the columns and simple rail shown on the second small dwelling (B). Such balustrades and columns as on the porches of the Colonial house at Wellesley, however, will cost more than double the simpler porch finish of those cottages.