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.
On the first floor there are five large bedrooms, besides a smaller room such as would be suitable for a housekeeper or as an isolation room for illness; but there is only one dressing-room, and no definite nursery suite.
The house at Caythorpe, designed by the same architect (Mr. Reginald Blomfield, A.R.A.), is of much greater importance, on account both of its size and of the many lessons to be learnt from its plan.
The site (see Fig. 47A) was of considerable area, near the top of a gently sloping hill which fell away towards the south-west, from which position the house is seen to best advantage. The location of the house was selected with great care, that it might command extensive views and be itself a prominent object, while to its south-east and south-west, in full view of the principal rooms, terraced lawns and flower gardens were arranged, in full sunlight, the main part of the house being L-shaped so as to take full advantage of the prospect over these and the surrounding country. The fall of the land and its careful terracing is shown in Fig. 47A by a strongly marked section.
On the north side of the house equal skill is shown the arrangement of the entrance drive, providing direct communication with stables and the back entrance, all laid out in direct lines, yet with careful screening where necessary; while a regularly disposed kitchen garden is readily accessible from the servants' quarters, and in full sunlight, adjoining the pleasure garden.
The principal feature of the ground plan (see Fig. 48) is a very large hall, from which the staircase is recessed on the south-west, so that sunlight streams in through the staircase window and lights up the northern hall through an arcade. The effect of "hidden light," as it is called, is always good, and in this case the whole plan of the hall lends itself to its enhancement. The three sitting-rooms are in ideal positions, and from one of them, a combined library and billiard-room, a large cloak-room for gentlemen is entered, with well-lit lavatory and w.c.'s.
Good lighting has throughout the plan been very carefully obtained by means of corridors against external walls, while the servants' quarters have been departmented in a manner which would count much in securing easy management. Thus both kitchen and pantry serve the dining-room with ease; yet the cook's and the butler's departments are each distinct, as is also what may be called the servants' living quarters, consisting of the servants' hall, housekeeper's room, and housekeeper's stores, and linen-room.
From a constructional point of view the great use made of straight walls and the simplicity of the roofing are very noticeable.
There are two back staircases, each of which leads down to a cellar. One cellar is provided with a lift to all floors, and contains the stores for coal, beer, and wine; while the other contains the heating chamber, which would be attended to by one of the outdoor staff of a big establishment. It will be noticed how easily he obtains access from the yard, under a staircase which leads up to a suite of maid-servants' bedrooms on the first floor.
There are several large bedrooms for the family and guests on the first floor, as well as two bathrooms and a complete nursery suite, one of the bath-rooms opening from the principal bedroom to serve as a dressing-room.
The second floor is reached by the middle staircase only, and is given up to servants' bedrooms and a bathroom.
A general view of this important house, which illustrates well its position in relation to the grounds, is shown in Fig. 49.
"Woodgarth" at Knutsford, designed by Messrs. Worthington & Son, is planned on the same idea, and for much the same aspect as "Caythorpe," though it is on a much smaller scale (see Fig. 50). The most has here been made of comparatively small grounds and greatly restricted views by contriving the drive round a circular pergola on the north, within an angle of the wood, from which it is separated by grass, while there is a screen of roses on the south-east, surrounding a sunken and sun-lit tennis-court, to which it imparts the needed shade, while a mass of blossom is seen from the house.
In this house the entrance is in the re-entering angle of the L, and an inner hall has to serve the purpose of a drawing-room, for which there is no provision. The kitchen is separated from the house proper by a serving passage large enough to be used as a pantry, and the scullery with its washing copper is again disconnected, though, by means of a covered way, both it and the coal-store and servants' w.c.'s can be easily reached under cover. Minor points, such as the supply of coals from the stable-yard, have been well considered, and the plan is worth a good deal of careful study.
A circular porch gives entrance to an irregular hexagonal hall, from which a study and stairs are reached, as well as the raised platform of a billiard-room at the western end of the house. The dining-room is, as is customary, in the south-east corner, the cloakroom and gentlemen's w.c. adjoining it, while the servants' hall is close to the porch.
"The Tower" at Pangbourne (Fig. 51), designed by Mr. John Belcher, A.R.A., is a house of a somewhat different type, being planned with one long corridor from east to west, which passes along the north side of the main house and the south side of the servants' quarters, thus providing absolutely direct communication, while the two parts are cut off from view of one another by intervening stairs, made possible by differences of level. A similar staircase at the west end of the main corridor screens the cloak-rooms. The billiard-room is on the north-west, with a top light, and the south-west corner of the house is occupied by a suite of business rooms having external as well as internal access. The terrace in front of the drawing and music-rooms, and the enclosed rectangular garden to the east, with its covered verandah, which the dining-room overlooks, are exceptional and beautiful features.
On the first floor a certain amount of departmenting is observable, rooms being arranged in suites in a manner which might, under certain circumstances, be of high value, especially when entertaining important guests, but the total number of bedrooms is not large for so evidently important a house.
Throughout the plans illustrated in this and the previous chapters it will be noticed that the system of separation or departmenting of the various sections has gradually developed. The necessity for this has perhaps not been always definitely recognised by architects, although those who are of the higher rank have at least aimed at it, and have almost always secured it. They seem to have done this instinctively, without actually knowing that they were department-alising, and the result is so good that it would be most unwise not to emphasise it, in order that others who have not recognised the system may adopt it, for the avoidance of confusion in their plans. It must, in fact, be always borne in mind that a house must be suited to its tenants. A cottage which is worked entirely by the owner, without the assistance of servants, is a self- contained unit which needs no departmentalising other than the usual division into living rooms and bedrooms, and this is generally accomplished by placing the working rooms on the ground floor and the sleeping rooms above. Next comes the small house, in the management of which the mistress takes a considerable part, though she has the assistance of one or two servants. In such a case the kitchen department needs to be cut off from the house proper; and this separation into two distinct departments becomes more and more marked as the house becomes larger, until in the largest type there are practically two houses side by side, the family knowing nothing of the life in the kitchen, and the servants scarcely penetrating into the house itself. The larger houses, too, admit of the introduction of a good many additional conveniences. Rooms are increased in size, and the planning may become more simple and direct. Systems of heating and ventilation may be introduced other than the open fire, and many problems are easily solved which are great difficulties in a smaller residence. Amongst the conveniences added are those of special service arrangements, with butler's rooms, on the ground floor, and the provision of plenty of dressing-rooms and bathrooms on the upper floors, approximating gradually to the American idea of supplying each bedroom with a separate bathroom, or at anyrate of having fixed wash-stands in the bedrooms, with hot and cold water supplied to them, in place of movable pieces of furniture.