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.
In presenting to the readers of the Horticulturist a series of articles on, and designs of, country houses, embellishments, etc., I do not purpose giving an elaborate treatise on rural architecture, but simply a series of designs and plans, accompanied with such description of construction as may be necessary to convey a proper idea of the materials used, and the mode adopted of building the same together. In the present number I beg to offer the design of just completed in Essex county, New Jersey. It is situated in a beautiful and picturesque district, on the road leading from Orange to Milburn.
A CONCRETE HOUSE.
On reference to the plan, it will be observed that it approaches somewhat a square house. The parlor, however, is extended out sufficiently to afford a suitable termination for the veranda. The exterior is so treated as to present an entirely different appearance on each side.
Entering the house on the west front, you pass into a hall eight feet by nineteen feet. On the north side is situated the parlor and dining-room. The parlor, fifteen feet eight inches by nineteen feet six inches, with a bay window at the west end, commands a view of the high road and the western range of the Orange mountains; and on the south side is a window leading unto the veranda. The dining-room, fifteen feet eight inches by twenty feet four inches, has, on the north side, two windows leading unto a roofed balcony. This balcony makes a pleasant sitting-place as well as an ornamental feature to the north side of the house, which would otherwise have a somewhat plain appearance. On the opposite side to these windows are two doors, the space between making a convenient place for the sideboard. The pantry adjoins the dining-room, and is fitted up with dnmb-waiter, sink, supplied with hot and cold water, and ample drawers and closet room. This pantry is lighted by a window leading into a small veranda, serving as a covering to the outside steps to basement. The door from the pantry into the hall should be a sliding sash-door, glazed with figured or stained glass.
By this arrangement the door will be less in the way, and in the summer season can be left open so as to get a pleasant breeze through the hall. On the south side of the house are the sitting-room and library, with a side hall between, in which the staircase is placed, the sitting-room is fifteen feet eight inches by thirteen feet four inches, with one window on the south side, leading unto the veranda. On this south side is located the side entrance, coming convenient to the library (fifteen feet eight inches by twelve feet) which, in the present case, is purposed to be used by the owner as a room in which his business connected with his farm can be transacted. In this side hall, and under the stairs to the second story, are those leading to the basement, which is light and airy; the grade being in a slope towards the east, allows those rooms most used to be more out of the ground. The kitchen is placed beneath the dining-room, and is a large, well-lighted room; the fireplace is fitted with a range; on one side is a brick oven, and on the other a door leading to a commodious kitchen store, well provided with shelving.
At the back of the kitchen-range is a .hot-air chamber, connected with a register in the dining-room. This arrangement is a very good and convenient one, and is mure especially useful at those seasons of the year when it is not required to light the furnace, as the fire that is necessary in the range to prepare the meals will give sufficient heat to warm the dining-room, and it will further give the benefit of always having one warm room in the house, without the necessity of building a fire for the express purpose.
The space occupied in the first story by the pantry, is here devoted to a passage-way to the outside steps, and fitted up on each 6ide with shelved closets. The dumb-waiter, for hoisting' dishes, is also placed here, with an opening into the kitchen. The laundry or washroom is the same size as the sitting-room overhead, and is fitted up with wash-trays and closet-room. The remainder of the basement is devoted to milk-room, larder, and store-room. The coal-cellar being built under the front veranda, with a coal skute for the convenient storing of the coal.
The arrangement and sizes of the rooms on the second story can be seen by reference to the plan. The two chambers having no fireplaces are provided with iron stove-pipe rings built into the partitions and carried to the flues, so that in case of sickness, or its being necessary to have a fire in either of these rooms, a stove may be fitted up. In the bath-room is provided a water-closet, hip-bath and wash-basin, as well as the bath-tub, all arranged on one side of the room, and directly over the plumbing below. The tank being placed in the third story over this, brings all the plumbing very convenient.
The third story has four large chambers of the same size as the rooms on the first story. They are four feet high on the walls, and rise with the slope of the roof to eight feet six inches in the centre. All these rooms are well lighted and provided with closets. The space occupied by the bath-room below is devoted to a store-room, in which is placed the tank, as before stated.
The height of the basement is eight feet; the first story, eleven feet; the second story, nine feet; and the third story, as before described.
The mode of building all the external walls of this house, and the principal partition walls of the basement, is one that I think only requires to be known to be more generally adopted. .The walls are built up of concrete, which is formed and laid up in the following manner:
Having marked out the line of your walls, place up some rough boards, forming a trough, the width of which should be the proposed thickness of your walls, which may be sixteen inches in the basement, and fourteen inches for the other stories. The trough or box should be about one foot deep, so that the workmen can reach the bottom. Then take stones, varying from three inches and smaller to say six inches cube. The stones forming the foundations may be larger, but it is not advisable in the upper walls to have larger stones, as the smaller the stones the better they bind; indeed some parties recommend breaking the stones up the same as for a macadamized road, but this is not necessary or advisable. These rough stones are built up in this trough with cement, lime and sand, made up in the following proportions. Take four measures of sand and one of cement - mix these together with water that has had lime added to it sufficient to make a whitewash. The sand should be sharp coarse sand, free from earthy matter; if the sand be fine, it is necessary to add a greater proportion of cement. This mortar is then thrown into the trough and the stones laid up with it, taking care to let the stones have as good a bed as possible, and to well bind together.
The mortar should be used wet, and when fresh-mixed.
The windows and openings should have stone sills, and to the window-frames secure rough boards so as to make the box a trough complete for building up the walls. When you have filled the trough leave it to get properly set, and then shift your boards higher and continue the wall. Over the doors and windows it is advisable to have the arches formed in brick and cement, although in the present case, the concrete wall is only used; but the mason who did the work, having put up several houses of the same construction, knew better how to construct these arches in concrete than those who have not had experience in this mode of building.
The advantage of this style over the ordinary mode of building a stone wall is, its cheapness, dryness, and strength. It is less costly on account of the facility with which the work is done, there being no trouble in facing up the wall on two sides, and cutting the quoins or corner stones for the angles and openings. It is perfectly impervious to the weather, being built solid in cement, and its strength is indisputable, as can be proved by reference to houses built.
'After the wall has been built up, it is necessary to cement it over on the outside so as to fill up all unevenness. Where projections are required, such as the architraves and arches to the windows, as in this design, they can be formed in cement; and to break up the plainness of the surface, it can be marked off into blocks, as shown in the illustration.
The wall being impervious to moisture enables you to dispense with inside furring and lathing, and one coat of plastering, thus making another item of reduction in cost; it being only necessary to put on the brown coat of plastering and then the hard finish.
In the house under consideration all the inside partitions above the basement are stud partitions. The rooms on the first story have moulded cornices. The general finish of the interior is of a simple character. All the woodwork throughout is of white pine - that to the first story is oiled and varnished instead of painted; this plan is not quite so cheap as painting, on account of its being necessary to be more careful in the selection of the material and in the workmanship, but it has the advantage of showing the natural grain of the wood, and as time wears on it increases in richness of appearance.
The amount of finish to the exterior is readily understood by reference to the illustration; it is therefore needless to go into details.
The Carpenters' work to this house was contracted out for $3,550. This included the slating and finishing, and all the painting. The outside cement having three coats, the same as remainder of work. The entire cost of the Mason work was $2,700, which included the carting the stone to the building (nothing having to be paid for the stone, it being gathered from the farm), and the necessary cisterns, cesspools, and drains. The total cost therefore of the carpenter and mason work was $6,250. The house being equal to 64,500 cubic feet, brings the cost of this house to about 9 1/2 cents per foot for every cubic foot of space it occupies. For explanation of this mode of calculating the cost of a house, see page 504 of last volume. In addition to the above outlay has to be added the cost of the furnace, mantles, grates and plumbing.