This section is from the book "The Principles And Practice Of Modern House-Construction", by G. Lister Sutcliffe. Also available from Amazon: How Your House Works: A Visual Guide to Understanding & Maintaining Your Home.
The housekeepers room in large establishments is the sitting-room and business-room of the housekeeper, and the dining-room of the upper servants; the lady also is enabled to give her directions there. In smaller houses where there is no separate housekeeper, it may still keep the name - or preferably that of housekeeping-room - and be a business-room and special store-room, and even a working-room for a thrifty mistress. In either case, the leading feature is the series of closets or cupboards which contain the groceries and dainties, china, glass, and table-linen in use. In yet smaller houses the store-room takes its place: while in larger houses there will be a store-room besides the housekeeper's room, taking the supplies of chandlery and the like. Sometimes a china-closet may be provided for the purpose implied by the name, and occasionally a still-room for making the tea and coffee etc. All these offices ought to be well lighted, if only to avoid breakages and confusion.
The servants' hall is the living-room for the lower servants, - or for all, if few in number,- used for their meals and evening accommodation, also for miscellaneous work, and for the reception of visitors' servants and other persons of the same rank; the housekeeper's room and the butler's pantry being similarly utilized in their own way. In small houses the kitchen has to serve for all such purposes, supplemented by the housekeeping-room if there be one. A typical servants' hall ought to be situated near the back entrance, also near the kitchen for service of meals, and sufficiently near the butler's pantry. It ought to have a comfortable fireside, and be cheerfully lighted.
A "maids pantry" is the name often given to a butler's pantry on a minor scale where no men-servants are kept. A housemaid's closet however, is a small place on the bedroom floor, containing a sink and accommodation for brushes, dusters, pails, cans, and so on, with water-supply. It ought to be placed near the back stair if there be one, and at any rate in a sufficiently sheltered position. A brushing-room is a small place in a superior house for brushing garments. A lamp-room in a country house is a place for keeping and lighting the lamps; not a cleanly place, although not to be kept dirty.
A laundry suite in a country or suburban house is a special set of offices consisting of a wash-house, a laundry, perhaps a hot drying-closet, and perhaps a closet for soiled linen, with a drying-ground attached. The whole group ought to be kept well-separated from the bulk of the house for obvious reasons, with abundant light and air. The fittings are well known.
A linen-room is a small place amongst the bedrooms in which the stock of bed-linen may be kept, and perhaps table-linen for convenience. Dryness is here especially desirable, and the hot-water piping of a bath-room may be carried through it with advantage, even if it be only a cupboard.
A bath-room is now recognized as an indispensable supplementary in every house above a certain standard of moderate importance, and in larger houses several are required. Even in small suites of residential rooms such as are called "Hats", and sometimes, indeed, in the ordinary bedroom-suites of family residences, a separate bath-room is provided. It is generally a small place, containing a reclining bath and little else; but if to be used by persons who must dress there, not only a wash-stand and a dressing-table, but a fireplace or gas-stove may be required. A water-closet ought to be accessible.
A lavatory is a wash-hand room for gentlemen, attached to the cloak-room of a good house, or very gent rally incorporated with it. It is simply provided with one or more wash-basins, towel and pin-rails, and a dressing-table; and the light must be duly considered. A water-closet is usually attached. The proper position is near the entrance-hall, so that visitors may have access to it; and a fireplace is desirable in important cases, if only for occasionally drying a garment. Fig. 14 represents a convenient arrangement.
The English water-closet with its sanitary apparatus is an institution of world-wide repute. The common faults of plan which have to be avoided are these: - It ought not to be insufficiently lighted, and certainly not inadequately ventilated; it ought not to be placed anywhere that may happen to offer, but invariably against an external wall; and especially ought the risk of flooding some important ceiling beneath to be avoided. Unquestionably the best plan is to place all water-closets, bath-rooms, housemaids' sinks, and wash and water places of every kind, one over another by themselves, so that in case of accident they shall only damage each other, and also so that the plumber shall be able to work his will without disturbing the house at large.
The question of the number of water-closets required for an average house stands thus. In any case there will be one for the servants and one for the family. In larger houses one will be provided on the ground-floor for the use of gentlemen, and one or more for the bedrooms upstairs; then special ones for bedroom suites, nurseries, cloak-room, bath-rooms, billiard-room, school-room, business-room, and so on, as the establishment expands; and when the house is large enough, the servants of each sex have to be separately provided with a sufficiency properly distributed. The rules for position may be stated thus: - The English feeling of delicacy dictates privacy throughout, and therefore the principal thoroughfares of the house must be avoided as much as possible; in every case there ought to be a window in an external wall; sky-lights are objectionable; well-holes or interior lighting-shafts are worse; and borrowed lights are not to be thought of.
Fig 14 - Lavatory and Closets.
Fig 15 -Internal Water-closet: Bad Example.
Fig 16. - Internal Water-closets in Vertical Series: Bad Example.
Fl*. 17 - Water-cloaet at Garden Door: Bad Example.
Fig. 15 represents one form of an arrangement which still prevails in some of the highly-rented neighbourhoods of London; it is difficult to imagine a more objectionable make-shift. The staircase-landing adjoining the principal bedrooms is partly appropriated to the water-closet, which thus occupies a position in the very midst of the house; and the object of so placing it is to get a borrowed light (on hinges) towards the staircase as the nearest equivalent for the open air.
Another mistakenly ingenious plan is shown in Fig. 16. Several closets are placed in the interior of the house one above another, and a small shaft if formed at the hack, increasing in size to a sky-light in the roof, so as to afford such light and ventilation to them all as can be gained by means of small hinged sashes over the seats. The arrangements shown in figs. 15 and 16 appear to have been devised in order to avoid occupying part of some external wall with the windows, which were considered an eyesore, but more modern planning gets over the difficulty in other ways.
The very common custom, in medium-sized houses, of putting a water-closet under the stair at the door which leads to the garden in the rear, shown in Fig. 17, is so objectionable in several respects that argument upon it is needless.
The dust-bin or ash-pit is capable of being made either a nuisance or not, and even its precise situation becomes in most cases a matter for careful con-sideration. It ought to be far removed from all windows, and all that the designer of a plan can possibly do in the direction of avoiding air-pollution and facilitating cleanliness must be done. Is it too much to suggest that a few glazed bricks might effect a great improvement?