Nothing yet has been said about apartments or flats in which all the rooms are on one floor. The building of apartments is increasing rapidly in the large cities where land is expensive, because rents can be less for the reason that not so much must be charged for the ground rent. When hot water, heat, and janitor service are furnished, the complications of housekeeping are lessened and as there are no stairs to climb, energy is saved in the daily routine. In the planning of apartments the most difficult problem is to obtain sufficient light and air- - especially sunlight. Many of the rooms in a block of houses must, of necessity, be dark or only partially lighted - an unpleasant and unhygienic condition.
Many apartments are planned with a long, dark hall. The accompanying illustration shows an apartment in which such a hall is not present. The conveniences of a well-planned apartment are not to be gainsaid. The disadvantages are lack of privacy, an inability to have out-of-doors space, and lack of sunlight. These disadvantages are most objectionable when there are children in the family.
So much for the planning of the house. Whatever the style selected, the requirements of good building are great leading lines, good proportion, clear detail, and appropriate ornament. If the owner remembers this and that the structure must be adapted to location, environment, and purpose, with comfort and convenience, he is likely to have a house that is pleasing to the eve as well as convenient.
To some people originality and individuality in house planning consist in introducing an unusual window here, a strange cornice or ornament there, and an odd door at another place. As a result of this "freakish-ness" one finds a window which looks like the port hole of a vessel, a gingerbread cornice and a heavy castle door all heaped together in a small house, making it look as if it had been, made from an architectural scrap bag.
PLAN OF A FLAT WITHOUT A LONG, DARK HALL. GOOD CLOSET ROOM.
This quotation from "Decoration of Houses," by Codman and Wharton is one that ought to be frequently recalled. The author is discussing originality in architecture: "What is originality in art? Perhaps it is easier to define what it is not; and this may be done by saying that it is never a wilful rejection of what have been accepted as the necessary laws of the various forms of art. Thus, in reasoning, originality lies not in discarding the necessary laws of thought, but in using them to express new intellectual conceptions; in poetry, originality consists not in discarding the necessary laws of rhythm, but in finding new rhythms within the limits of those laws. Most of the features of architecture that have persisted through various fluctuations of taste, owe their preservation to the fact that they have been proved by experience to be necessary; and it will be found that none of them precludes the exercise of individual taste, any more than the acceptance of the syllogism or of the laws of rhythm prevents new thinkers and poets from saying what has never been said before. * * * All good architecture and good decoration must be based on rhythm and logic. * * * To conform to a style then is to accept those rules of proportion which the artistic experience of centuries has established as the best, while within those limits allowing free scope to the individual requirements which must inevitably modify every house or room adapted to the use and convenience of its occupants".