At the head of this chapter is a sketch of what may be properly called a Christian house; that is,a house contrived for the express purpose of enabling every member of a family to labor with the hands for the common good, and by modes at once healthful, economical, and tasteful.
In the following drawings are presented modes of economizing time, labor, and expense by the close packing of conveniences. By such methods, small and economical houses can be made to secure most of the comforts and many of the refinements of large and expensive ones. The cottage at the head of this chapter is projected on a plan which can be adapted to a warm or cold climate with little change. By adding another story, it would serve a large family. Fig. 7 shows the ground-plan of the first floor, the proportions being marked in the drawing. The piazzas each side of the front projection have sliding-windows to the floor, and can, by glazed sashes, be made greenhouses in winter.
In a warm climate, piazzas can be made at the back side also.
The leading aim is to show how time, labor, and expense are saved, not only in the building, but in furniture and its arrangement. The conservatories are appendages not necessary to housekeeping, but useful in many ways.
The entry has arched recesses behind the front doors, (Fig.
8,) furnished with hooks for over-clothes in both - a box for overshoes in one, and a stand for umbrellas in the other. The roof of the recess is for statuettes, busts, or flowers. The stairs turn twice with broad steps, making a recess at the lower landing, where a table is set with a vase of flowers, (Fig. 9.) On one side of the recess is a closet, arched to correspond with the arch over the stairs. A bracket over the first broad stair, with flowers or statuettes, is visible from the entrance, and pictures can be hung as in the drawing.
The large room on the left can be made to serve the purpose of several rooms by means of a movable screen. By-shifting this rolling screen from one part of the room to another, two apartments are always available, of any desired size within the limits of the large room. One side of the screen fronts what may be used for the parlor or sitting-room; the other side is arranged for bedroom conveniences. Of this, Fig. 10 shows the front side; covered first with strong canvas, stretched and nailed on. Over this is pasted panel-paper, and the upper part is made to resemble an ornamental cornice by fresco-paper. Pictures can be hung in the panels, or be pasted on and varnished with white varnish. To prevent the absorption of the varnish, a wash of gum isinglass (fish-glue) must be applied twice.
Fig. 11 shows the back or inside of the movable screen, toward the part of the room used as the bedroom. On one side, and at the top and bottom, it has shelves with shelfboxes, which are cheaper and better than drawers, and much preferred by those using them. Handles are cut in the front and back side, as seen in Fig. 12. Half an inch space must be between the box and the shelf over it, and as much each side, so that it can be taken out and put in easily. The central part of the screen's interior is a wardrobe.
This screen must be so high as nearly to reach the ceiling, in order to prevent it from overturning. It is to fill the width of the room, except two feet on each side. A projecting cleat or strip, reaching nearly to the top of the screen, three inches wide, is to be screwed to the front sides, on which light frame doors are to be hung, covered with canvas and panel-paper like the front of the screen. The inside of these doors is furnished with hook for clothing, for which the projection makes room. The whole screen is to be eighteen inches deep at the top and two feet deep at the base, giving a solid foundation. It is moved on four wooden rollers, one foot long and four inches in diameter. The pivots of the rollers and the parts where there is friction must be rubbed with hard soap, and then a child can move the whole easily.
A curtain is to be hung across the whole interior of the screen by rings, on a strong wire. The curtain should be in three parts, with lead or large nails in the hems to keep it in place. The wood-work must be put together with screws, as the screen is too large to pass through a door.
At the end of the room, behind the screen, are two couches, to be run one under the other, as in Fig. 13. The upper one is made with four posts, each three feet high and three inches square, set on casters two inches high. The frame is to be fourteen inches from the floor, seven feet long, two feet four inches wide, and three inches in thickness. At the head and at the foot is to be screwed a notched two-inch board, three inches wide, as in Fig. 14. The mortises are to be one inch wide and deep, and one inch apart, to receive slats made of ash, oak, or spruce, one inch square, placed lengthwise of the couch. The slats being small, and so near together, and running lengthwise, make a better spring frame than wire coils. If they warp, they can be turned. They must not be fastened at the ends, except by insertion in the notches. Across the posts, and of equal height with them, are to be screwed head and foot boards.
The under couch is like the upper, except these dimensions: posts, nine inches high, including casters; frame, six feet two inches long, two feet four inches wide. The frame should be as near the floor as possible, resting on the casters.