Perhaps an outline will afford the simplest method for suggesting some of the points to be considered in the construction of the house.
(1) Structure adapted to Location, Environment, Purpose of the owner.
(2) Preparation of the soil for, includes Removal of the top soil, Grading, Drainage.
(3) Foundation Walls Materials, Size, Manner of laying, Height above ground.
(4) Cellar Structure, floor and walls, Drainage, Divisions, Inner finish, Ventilation, Lighting.
Before considering the superstructure, we will stop a moment to amplify some of the points suggested.
The adaptation of the structure to its intended uses has already been considered.
The removal of the top soil prevents it from being mixed with the lime, sand, and cellar dirt, and leaves it ready for use in the growing of the grass later. If this precaution is not observed it may be necessary to bring good soil from elsewhere.
The materials of the foundation will be either brick or stone, according to the expense. Stone is usually more expensive and is generally considered better than brick, but owing to the difficulty in securing good stone masons to lay the stone properly, brick has grown into favor and is preferred by some good builders, especially above the ground line. Neither brick nor stone should be laid in freezing weather and only cement mortar, to keep out dampness, should be used for walls below ground. The thickness will depend upon the kind of superstructure. F. C. Moore says in "How to Build a House," "Foundation walls should not be less than twelve inches if of brick, nor less than eighteen inches if of stone." The part of the walls above the surface of the ground should not be less than eighteen inches in thickness.
One feels inclined to beg that special emphasis should be given to the construction of the cellar, for out of it issues so much that makes for health or disease. Probably it will never be known how much of the low state of vitality found in some families is to be charged to an illy ventilated, badly lighted, poorly drained cellar used as a storehouse for decaying vegetables and sending its foul germ-laden air to every part of the house.
It is more sanitary to have the cellar under the whole house and adds very little to the expense. Its ceilings should not be less than seven feet high, plastered if possible on metallic lathing. The side walls should be whitewashed. The floor made of concrete. It should be well drained, well lighted and partitioned into such rooms as have definite uses. The vegetable room should be separated and fitted for its purpose.
PARLOR IN NEW ENGLAND COLONIAL STYLE Frank Chouteau Brown, Architect.