This section is from the book "Your Home And Its Decoration", by The Sherwin-Williams Company. See also: Nell Hill's Feather Your Nest: It's All in the Details.
WHILE houses embodied in the above category may vary largely in some respects, notably, in design, size, and cost, they still possess sufficient underlying features of similarity to enable us to consider them in the same chapter.
To-day the small house is more seriously considered in this country than at any other period. In the suburbs of the great cities and in many of the smaller towns this is forcibly illustrated by the character and style of the house which, during the last decade or two, has superseded the cottage of earlier times. In the new towns of the Middle and Far West this is especially noticeable, each locality developing distinctive characteristics in its architecture.
The man of small means, who, until recently, had no thought or ambition for his home other than to secure the most desirable location and a cottage in the best repair for his $20 a month, has now realized that for a like sum in monthly payments the property may become his own. With this realization has awakened the ambition to make of his house, however small, a real home. This, in a measure, explains the change in the architecture of the small house of to-day.
When an architect plans for the individual the result is, or should be, characteristic and much more interesting than where one design serves for dozens of houses.
It is the part of wisdom, in building a home, to consider site, environment, and the proposed floor-plan relatively, and design the interior decoration, and even furnishing, with these points well in mind.
Fortunately, with the passing of the jig-saw work and grills from the standing woodwork of the interior, the brass and onyx table, and plush-covered patent rocker, and all the attendant horrors in furniture and decoration which these stand for, are fast disappearing.
Dignity, suitability, and simplicity of line and treatment, well-handled masses of color with values carefully considered, are the points that make for success in the finish, decoration, and furnishing of a small house. However inexpensive the wood chosen for the standing woodwork, it is possible to obtain beautiful effects upon it through the medium of the stains and soft natural finishes which are now made.
The idea of a best room reserved wholly for state occasions is also passing. The stiff and uninviting parlor found in most cottages twenty years ago is, fortunately, almost obsolete, the living-room having superseded it. No waste spaces are found in the well-planned and compact little houses of to-day, and all rooms are so arranged that they open together, giving an idea of spaciousness which is very attractive.