This section is from "The Horticulturist, And Journal Of Rural Art And Rural Taste", by P. Barry, A. J. Downing, J. Jay Smith, Peter B. Mead, F. W. Woodward, Henry T. Williams. Also available from Amazon: Horticulturist and Journal of Rural Art and Rural Taste.
Before venturing to contribute another design to the Horticulturist, it may be well to say a word of apology for my last little, contribution (April), which was so unfortunate as to be "walked into" by the formidable "Jeffreys".
"Jeffreys" expresses his anxiety lest our "house architects" should ran into extremes as to the quantity of outside wall employed to inclose a given amount of inside accommodation, and asks: "Why not have the outer walls inclose double instead of single rooms?" thus "getting much more space at far less cost," etc. If Jeffreys will look again at the plan, he will perceive that there is provision for doable chambers over the parlor. On the other side of the hall, there are only two ways to get a double instead of the single room; first, by adding a room above, and one below stairs, retaining the back-building, and, secondly, by omitting the back-building, and making a doable room in place of the single one, the rear half doing duty as a kitchen, thus drawing the kitchen into the main building. Is It possible that " Jeffreys" would recommend the latter coarse to any one who could afford the comfort of a back-building kitchen? There would, undoubtedly, be a saving thus effected, but it would be emphatically one of the description known as "dear savings." I am perfectly willing to admit that the rooms generally would be "warmer" (especially in summer) by this arrangement. . I will go further, and grant that they would be much more odoriferous.
But I cannot sop-pose the people of America so far behind the age as generally to build in a mode obsolete in this vicinity for twenty years, and now only used in the cheapest farm-houses, and must, therefore, suppose that "Jeffreys'" saving is to be effected in the first-mentioned way - that is, by adding two rooms, one above, and one below stairs! Really, the economy of such a procedure by a family who didn't want the two extra rooms is difficult to appreciate. Every one who has the slightest acquaintance with building of coarse knows that these extra rooms would be obtained at a less proportional cost than the rest, and this no doubt, is what "Jeffreys" intends to convey, but, if he had read the descriptive article (I am perfectly aware of, and do not wish to infringe the time-honored privilege, the almost prescriptive right of eritics, not to read the productions they select for the exercise of their acumen, but still, I say, if, as an act of condescension entirely,., he had read the article), he would have found that the house is therein described particularly as an attempt to obtain, at a minunum cost, accommodation for a small family requiring only the given number of rooms, for whom to have increased that number, and with it (though in a less proportion) the cost, would have been like the economy of the boy who fills his pockets with cheap things he does not want, BECAUSE they are cheap.
As for the flat cornices (which "Jeffreys" comically calls "water-tables!" and which, he informs us, "subject the roof-water to detention and frost, and, in consequence, to leakage, which will stain and injure the walls 1"), is it possible he can be ignorant that this description of cornice (with a sunk gutter formed in it just outside the wall, and below the rake of rafters) is universally in favor for use with flat tin roofs,for the express purpose of preventing the leakage which is apt to occur in such roofs with the ordinary roof-gutter, owing to its backing the water up on the roof. Further on, he expresses his disapprobation of the "reform in architecture," and his belief that, in ten years, the public will return to the "old-fashioned square house." I hope "Jeffreys" is not going to embark his ability and information, as an architectural critic, in a crusade against the reform in architecture, and undo the earnest labors of Downing, and many others, by throwing us back to the old-fashioned square house.
* See Frontispiece of August number.
† This article was intended for the last number, to accompany the engraving, but was crowded out. - Ed.
As to the plan in the last number, there is little. to remark in it beyond the attempt, by the peculiar dormers (which are uncommonly pleasant internally), to give a picturesque variety to the stale outline of the "old-fashioned square house." The roof-water, from the bay between the dormers, is conducted by a lead-pipe built into the wall down to the veranda-roof. That from the comer bay, by the usual corner conductor, to the ground. The rest of the roof-water is collected in a cistern, which gives a head in every room in the house. The plan is a slight variation on the "old-fashioned square house," and ought, therefore, to propitiate "Jeffreys." The proportions of the rooms are not quite as I could have wished to have had them, the plan being, in some measure, imposed upon me by the circumstance of the house having been already commenced when I was called to superintend it. It possesses, however, the compactness, and a certain dignity, which "Jeffreys" rightly ascribes to the old square form of house. The want of length in dining-room is somewhat compensated by its capability of being thrown into one with the library; the bay-window is uncommonly effective; internally, the pantry is convenient, and it is altogether a very enjoyable house.
It might be built cheaply, or moderately, for from $5,000 to $8,000. As executed, it stands on a noble ancient manor, near Philadelphia.