This section is from the book "Modern Buildings, Their Planning, Construction And Equipment Vol1", by G. A. T. Middleton. Also available from Amazon: Modern Buildings.
In Fig. 37 the same type of plan as in Figs. 34 and 35 has again been used, but under less circumscribed conditions as to frontage and ground area, permitting it to be altered almost out of recognition. The principal change is the enlargement of the wash-house, the partitions between the rooms on ground and first floors now coming over one another; but this small constructional advantage is counterbalanced by the living room having become more of the nature of a mere passage room, which would only be occasionally used, meals being generally cooked and eaten in the wash-house, now Cottages near a Town called the kitchen. Three tolerably good bedrooms have been obtained on the first floor, and consequently it has not been thought necessary to carry the building any higher. An entirely different elevation naturally results, the eaves being kept low so as to economise walling, and the windows gabled in consequence. The walls are shown to be built of stone, while the roofs are of tile.
Borry Parker & Raymond Unwing.Archts.
Fig. 38. Bedroom Plan.
An entirely disconnected shed is generally to be found in conjunction with such a plan as this, to serve for fuel stores and e.c.'s; an arrangement for which much cannot be said, unsightly at the best of times, and forcing the aged and the infirm to traverse the open in all weathers.
So much attention has been devoted to one type deliberately, in order to show that under changing conditions the same type of plan may often be employed with success, provided that the necessary modifications be made; but yet each type has its limits. The type which suited a narrow frontage and small ground area has been shown to fail comparatively when applied to a more open site and a larger area. Yet a better and not a worse result should be possible under such circumstances, and so it is. Fig. 38 illustrates a pair of two-storey cottages designed by Messrs. Parker & Unwin, primarily for a site having both frontage and view to the south, yet equally well adapted for easterly or westerly main aspects. Each cottage has a frontage of about 25 feet, but the depth is only some 20 feet, so that the ground area covered is still small.
A long and narrow living room is entered directly from the porch, and extends right through from front to back, having windows at each end and at one side also. In this way all the sunlight possible is obtained, and so far as this room is concerned the aspect is not greatly material, save that what best suits one house will not necessarily suit the other so well. The fireplace is recessed in a deep ingle-nook, forming an exceedingly comfortable corner in the winter, and a little light is admitted by a small window at a high level to enable any one to read or work while sitting in the ingle-nook. The staircase is in full view of the room, yet sufficiently screened off it to prevent draught. The scullery (or wash-house) has been placed in the front, for the sake of the southern sunshine, and the coal store, w.c, and ashes are all contrived to be reached under cover through the open air, all being self-contained within the outline of the main walls - as would be scarcely permissible if there were no drainage system.
Fig. 38A. Block Plan.
The space allotted to the stairs is not screened off, it being almost a canon with Messrs. Parker & Unwin that the stairs, the only feature of real beauty in a small house, should be exposed to view from the living room, the air space being thus made available for breathing purposes, and the staircase, and thus the whole cottage, warmed from the living room fireplace. Certainly the room as planned in this instance would be both comfortable and pleasant to live in.
Three bedrooms and a boxroom are obtained on the first floor, with no waste of space whetever; and the large boxroom could obviously be thrown into the principal bedroom if desired.
It will be noticed that these cottages may equally well be entered from either back or front, and this was done to meet rather exceptional conditions. An estate was to be laid out for cottages on the slope of a hill facing south, and instead of placing the cottages in rows, face to face and back to back, with sordid outlooks in every way, Messrs. Parker & Unwin conceived the idea of bringing the roads closer together and building the cottages in pairs, alternately abutting against the road in front and the road behind, each being contrived so as to have an open garden in either front or rear and no direct outlook on to a neighbour's cottage without both road and garden intervening, as shown in Fig. 38A. From whichever side the cottages were entered, however, the main outlooks were all down hill towards the south, the fullest possible advantage thus being taken of the site.
It will be noticed that there is a space between the back of one cottage and the front of another to allow a current of air to pass freely through and keep the garden plots always fresh and sweet.
When a working man's income is sufficient, as is generally that of the skilled artisan, to justify his affording the luxury of two fires in his house during winter-time, it is reasonable that the scullery or wash-house should be enlarged to the dimensions of a kitchen and provided with a cooking range, in order that meals may be partaken of in a place apart from that of their preparation. The problem thus presented is one of common occurrence, and can be fairly met by such a scheme as that prepared by Messrs. Parker & Unwin for a pair of semi-detached cottages which have been built for Messrs. Rowntree & Co. Ltd., near York (see Fig. 39). They have been planned for a southerly aspect, with pleasant views to both east and west over well laid-out front gardens and a winding road, and the living rooms are consequently placed in the front, with large bay windows from which full advantage may be taken of the views, while they admit sunlight throughout the day. The seats by the sides of the fireplace give the effect of a deep ingle-nook, but there is no reason why they should be permanent fixtures, and their omission would make it possible to place a large table in the body of the room, which is cleverly screened from any draught from the outer door by means of a short projecting wall. The staircase is again in full view, and the end of the room out of which it rises would form a passage way between the front door and the kitchen, which, without being screened off, is sufficiently defined to prevent the disturbance of the whole room by constant passing to and fro.
The sink would now be placed in the kitchen, which in such a house as this would be in constant use, so that some method of screening off the bath, when required, would be necessary. This is done by means of a folding screen, with openings for light and ventilation at the top, so that the screen can be thrown back and the bath opened to the kitchen, and either covered by a table top or utilised as a washing trough.
The kitchen has a door leading directly into the back garden, and so out to the e.c. and coal store, which are both within the house walls, while the pantry opens out of the kitchen.
On the first floor three rectangular and comfortable bedrooms are obtained without waste of space, while the simple grouping of the chimneys into one stack is very noticeable, all the fireplaces being in the corners of the rooms. This is often the best possible arrangement, very little space being occupied and the heat being radiated directly over the whole room.
It may, in parentheses, be here remarked that 9 by 9-inch flues are quite large enough where coal, and not wood, is the fuel burnt, and that fireplace openings 13 1/2 inches wide are quite sufficient for small bedrooms if fireplaces of modern form are used.
The simple way by which such a building may be roofed is sufficiently indicated by the elevation, which has been carried out with rough-cast on brickwork, the roofs being of red tiles.
There is yet another class of cottages in which, either for subletting or for use as a workroom or office, or for some other purpose, a second sitting-room, kept apart from the kitchen, is a necessity. Such a parlour must above everything be private, and in no sense form a passage way to other rooms, - and a new type of plan is at once recognisable in Mr. A. M. Peart's solution to the problem, shown in Plate IV., which is, besides, an illustration of the method of producing a sketch design for submission to a client in pencil and colour.
The street door opens into a small lobby from which the parlour is entered on one side and the kitchen on the other, thus securing the necessary privacy, the occupants of either room being able to enter or leave without disturbing those in the other; while both rooms are well screened from the street and well shielded against draught.
The kitchen, necessarily occupying only a small area, as so much space has to be given to the parlour, is planned for spaciousness rather than to provide cosy nooks; but if the houses did not front directly upon a street it would be possible to add a bay window in front with considerable advantage. The only recess is used for a dresser.
The scullery is small, with no room in it for a bath, and through it the w.c. can be reached under cover, but with open-air disconnection. The pantry (or larder) opens out of the kitchen, and coal would be stored under the stairs, which open out of the kitchen, of which they are in full view.
On the first floor there are three good rectangular bedrooms, two of which are large enough for double beds (though only single beds are shown), while there is no waste space whatever in landings or passage.
As in the other examples given in this chapter, the chimneys have been carefully grouped, mainly for the sake of economy, but also with satisfactory results in elevation. Angle fireplaces have been used to a considerable extent.
The external treatment is sufficiently indicated by the drawings as of the simple homely type which is so suitable to the English cottage in a village street. The walls, of brickwork, are tarred for the first few feet, and then whitewashed up to the top of the lower windows, above which level they are rough-cast. The roof, which is of the simplest possible form, is covered with tiles, and has little waste space in it, the eaves being kept quite low.