A most useful adjunct to the kitchen, not so common in modern houses as one would wish, is the butler's pantry. There glass and china ware may be washed and put away in the cupboards without going through the ordeal of association with the heavier delf, a fruitful cause of breakages.
The sink should be lead-lined, but if it is enamelled, there should be a wooden grid at the bottom. These are precautions against breakage.
One has only to experience the convenience of the butler's pantry to realise its value. Its presence or absence should be noted when weighing up the relative desirability of the several houses that may be under consideration.
A house without a bath-room is impossible to most people, yet even in London and other large cities one may meet with many such.
The discriminating home-seeker will avoid not only the houses that fail in this detail, but also those in which the bath obviously has been squeezed into some inconvenient corner as an afterthought.
The bath-room should be roomy, well-lighted, and well-ventilated. It should also be readily accessible to the occupants of all the bed rooms.
In point of size the majority of bath-rooms err in the direction of smallness. A bath-room 6 feet by 4 feet, a not uncommon size in small villas, is ridiculously inadequate in cubic space. A hot bath taken in such a room with the usual inefficient ventilation, brings one near to asphyxiation. Moreover, the energetic bather is apt to receive un-looked for damage to his elbows in the towelling stage. A minimum size consistent with comfort is, say, 7 feet by 8 feet.
In some houses the bath-room opens out of the principal bed-room, as shown in the accompanying diagram. This is very convenient for the occupant of that bed room, but is not very desirable if there is only one bath-room in the house.
There are things that one had rather keep out of sight - e.g., travelling trunks, the baby carriage no longer required, spare items of furniture, and a dozen things the catalogue of which will vary with each household.
These intermittently useful articles do not add to the comfort of the home, nor have they any decorative value when displayed to view in passages and bed-rooms.
Therefore see that your choice falls upon a house with at least one spacious box-room The Linen Cupboard
Again, the value of the linen cupboard should not be overlooked. It should be roomy, well provided with shelves of open rack-work, ventilated, and heated by a coil of piping connected with the hot water system.
It is usual to find the quality of the house fittings a close match to that of the house itself.
The house of jerrydom is jerry-built all through. If the walls are damp, the floors, doors, and windows draughty, the roof leaky, and the ceilings cracked, it is more than probable that the door fastenings will be defective, the Water-taps leaky, the grates flimsy and badly set, and the cold and hot water systems inefficient.
The little screw that will drop out.
An obsolete type of door knob
The door that bangs all night and deprives us of our well-earned rest could explain its misbehaviour by pointing to its cheap and flimsy latch. The wet patch on the bedroom ceiling is an outward and visible sign of a leaky cistern in the roof.
Safety-Catch for sash windows. Note the cam that prevents opening with a knife blade
House fittings may be considered under the following headings:
Fastenings, the water system, lighting, heating, ventilation.
To those who know just how cheaply the speculative builder buys his bolts, locks, and other fittings, it is not surprising that many prove unequal to what is demanded of them.
Door locks usually are of the "mortice" variety, sunk into the woodwork, and thereby concealed from view. But it is not difficult to detect the cheap and flimsy lock.
Push the door to, allowing it to shut by its own momentum.
It should do this with just a suspicion of a click as the catch glides into the socket.
The cheap latch will either fail to catch, or will shoot home with more noise than is pleasant. Its working parts are roughly finished and carelessly adjusted.
Another annoying defect of the door furniture is that the latch handle becomes detached. This is particularly the case in old houses dating from a period when door knobs were fixed by a little headless screw" ever ready to jump out of its socket and lose itself in some obscure cranny in the floor.
Modern ingenuity has abolished this ineffective device, and all up-to-date door knobs are secured in a way which prevents them from being detached" except by sheer violence.
One may generally judge of the quality of a lock by its key. The better the former the better the design and finish of the key.