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.
Rural Architecture is a branch of the profession that may be considered as having more latitude in fancy and design than any other, - requiring greater thought, taste and judgment to compose the parts of which it consists, and demanding a more correct eye for the picturesque, to design an edifice that will harmonize with its intended locality and with the surrounding scenery or local objects.
In a country residence we rarely find that which suits one location equally appropriate for another. Consequently it is often the case that the same design, much admired in one spot, is passed without inviting the least interest in another; showing very plainly that the surroundings in one instance add to, while in the other they detract from, its intrinsic beauty.
Many have the idea that a square house with a hall through the centre can be made more convenient than one of irregular shape; this is decidedly a wrong impression, as I shall endeavor to show. If confined to four straight lines, forming a parallelogram for the outward boundary of our house, of course we are necessitated to place the rooms in certain positions, whether that be desirable or not; but on the contrary, the outward boundary of the house not being confined, how much better a plan can be made by going on to the ground where we purpose building, and staking out the rooms so as to command all the different pleasing views the selected spot may afford, allowing some rooms to project beyond the others, thus obtaining a side view, and placing those rooms but little used in the least desirable portion of the house.
Another objection is often raised against irregular shaped houses compared with square ones, on the score of the cost. This is also an error. In a square house with a hall through the centre, I have almost always found there is considerable space lost in passages made necessary from the fixed position of the rooms, whereas, in an irregular house, this may be avoided by placing your different apartments so as to be entered from one small hall.
But perhaps the most important item of reduction, or rather set-off, between the cost of irregular and square houses, is the veranda. If we take a square house and require to have a veranda from all the rooms, it becomes necessary to continue it entirely around the house. On the contrary, in an irregular shaped house, if the plan be judiciously contrived, one veranda may be made to answer for several rooms.
It must not be understood from these remarks, that I maintain that an irregular house is in all cases cheaper than a square one, but 1 do say, that when properly arranged it can be built as cheaply, and be decidedly more convenient in its arrangement, and in every way more pleasing and picturesque in its appearance.
Accompanying these remarks I offer a design of a house that was built last year in New Jersey. It is situated in a beautiful and picturesque district, on the slope of the eastern range of hills, and midway between North and South Orange.
Its southern and western rooms look towards the western range of the Orange Mountains, which are studded with country villas and grounds, making this portion of the house the part where the best rooms should be situated.
This handsome villa is of greater pretensions in reference to style, and of higher cost, than either of the preceding designs I have illustrated.
Its carriage porch, its verandas and plant cabinet, its fine bay window and balconies, its handsome gables and ornamental cupolas, give to this house an expression of elegance, combined with all the comfort and convenience that a villa residence can well afford; and I am much deceived if this does not prove a favorite among the readers of this magazine.
The principal entrance to the house is on the south side and under a wide and lofty carriage porch, from which double doors lead into a vestibule, paved with encaustic tile. The hall is 90x26 0, from which ready access is had to the parlor, sitting-room and dining-room.
The staircase is placed in a side hall which also answers the purpose of a passage way to the kitchen portion of the building; - under the principal stairs is provided a closet for hats and coats.
The parlor is on the west side of the hall, and, with its embayed window, forms a noble apartment.
On the east side of the hall are located the sitting-room and dining-room - wide double doors are provided to these three rooms - and on reference to the plans it will be seen how the parlor, dining-room, sitting-room and hall may be used together, should occasion require it.
Connected with the sitting-room by means of a sliding-window is a plantcabinet, which is supplied with heated air in the cold season from the furnace in the basement. The other window in the sitting-room leads to a balcony.
The dining-room is provided with three windows, one of which opens upon the veranda. This room communicates with the kitchen through the butler's pantry, in which are provided closets, shelves and other conveniences.
The kitchen is a large, well-lighted room, and, having windows on two opposite sides, can be kept thoroughly cool and ventilated. In the kitchen arc fitted up a sink and dresser. The fireplace is of large size, fitted with the metropolitan range and boiler complete. Communicating with the kitchen is a wash-room, storeroom and kitchen-closet: - the wash-room is provided with fireplace and wash-trays as shown in the plans.
In connection with the wash-room is a water-closet for the use of the servants.
It is a pity that the plan of providing a water-closet in the main building is not more generally adopted instead of the unsightly outbuilding we so often see; for do what we will to conceal it, by either making it an ornamental structure, or endeavoring to hide it by means of planting shrubbery, we still have it there, and cannot deceive ourselves as to its use. As to the objection on the score of expense, it actually costs less to put this convenience in the house than in a separate building, - the slight additional plumbing really requiring a less amount than the extra outlay required to build an outbuilding, and afterwards surrounding it with latticework and shrubbery, or some other cunning device.
The back staircase is provided between the main portion of the building and the kitchen, and is carried up from the cellar to the third story. In this back staircase hall is provided the garden entrance, leading into a veranda, which communicates with a water-closet for the use of the family.
The arrangement of th chambers in the second story is very convenient, each room having a separate entrance from the hall. The small rooms over the hall may be fitted up with closets and converted into dressing-rooms if deemed desirable. The principal chamber is placed over the parlor, and is provided with ample closet room, and dressing-room attached. The window on the west side opens on a covered balcony, which is shown on the picture of the exterior.
The servants' chamber and bath-room are provided over the kitchen portion. The bath-room is fitted up with bath, wash-basin and water-closet, and is heated by a register connected with a hot-air chamber back of the kitchen-range. The tank is placed over the bath-room.
The third story is floored and left unfinished; there is, however, in the main portion of the house, ample room for three good chambers with closets and storeroom.
The cellar extends under the whole building, thus providing ample accommodations for the storeroom, milk-room, root-cellar, coal-cellar and furnace. That part of the cellar under the storeroom and wash-room is enclosed up solid in cement, and is made to answer the purpose of a cistern to receive the rain-water from the roof, - thus saving the expense of building one outside.
The height of the cellar is seven feet. The principal rooms on the first story are twelve feet; the kitchen portion eight feet six inches. The principal room on the second story ten feet, the servants' chambers eight feet.
The walls of the cellar are built of stone. The walls above the cellar are constructed of wood and filled in with an inner coating of lathing and plastering. The outside of the frame is smooth, sheathed with one and a quarter inch tongued and grooved white pine plank, only two and a half inches wide, and joined in white lead. The roof is planked, and covered with best quality of slates, laid in mortar. All the work throughout is done with the best materials and in the best manner. All the rooms on the first and second stories are finished with cornices.