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 it may be generally acknowledged that the style or design employed in many instances fix the materials which shall predominate in the exterior or shell of the house, yet this selection is affected also by other facts. For instance, certain localities seem almost to demand certain materials. In mountainous or rough countries, where boulders and field-stone are plentiful, no more suitable constructive material for a portion or the whole of the body of the house could be found.
Plate II. Good Types of Detached Houses.
Plate III. The Frame House with the Shingled Exterior.
How entirely incongruous would a brick house appear in such a locality! The reverse is also the case, were the boulder or field-stone house set upon a city lot. The frame house, with the exterior walls of clapboard or shingles, is adaptable to almost any situation, given, of course, a fitting design for the site. With either of these, an exposed foundation of brick or stone is correct, though sometimes difficult to harmonize with the desired color scheme of the exterior, thus, it becomes frequently desirable to mask this foundation work by extending the wood finish on the outside of the brick or stone to within a few inches of the grade line, battering from the ground by a gentle sweep for its lower twelve or eighteen inches. This gives the same effect of solidity that is seen in the trunks of forest trees, the house seeming to rise out of the lawn as a completed whole and not as if placed on the site in sections, one upon the other.
Plate IV. A Fitting Design for the Site.
Plate V. Mask the Foundation Work by Extending the Wood Finish to within a Few Inches of the Grade Line.
Solid concrete, as well as the stucco finish on a wooden frame, lend themselves successfully to particular styles of architectural work. As a rule, it may be stated that buildings simple in form and rather massive in design and detail are best suited to the employment of a stucco finish or construction in solid concrete. Of this type many Spanish and Moorish examples might be cited, one of which is selected for reproduction here. On the other hand, Italian Villas and French country houses are built from these materials, and in design are at once graceful and full of beauty of a refined character. To the so-called "Mission Style" evolved in the far West by the adaptation to residential requirements of some of the more characteristic forms and details of the Old Mission Churches - planned and built by the Spanish Fathers - these materials are most eminently fitted.
Plate VI. Solid Concrete and Stucco Lend Themselves Successfully to Particular Styles of Architectural Work.
Plate VII. A Suggestion of Spanish Architecture.
The stone or brick house may, with propriety, have either a slate, tile, metal, or even a shingled roof, according to its style or design.
Plate VIII. Adapted Italian Villa.
A frame house should have a roof of shingles or slate, while one of stucco finish, or a concrete house, should preferably be roofed with tile in complete harmony with the design of the house. The primary purpose of the exterior finishing materials is for protection, but they are more or less subject to the action of the elements and must, therefore, be protected from such action in every possible way. Materials are made for the special treatment of all exterior work. Special paints for all metal work, such as gutters and down spouts, flashings, etc.
The floors of porches require a paint of one character while the ceilings of porches demand a finish of a very different nature, but both must withstand the weather conditions. Shingles should be dipped, before laying, in a stain of great penetrating power, and afterward a brush coat of the same material should be applied. While all exterior wood finish, such as window frames, cornice work, etc., require most careful attention, it should be stained or painted with the best materials, so as to afford adequate protection and at the same time accentuate the architectural beauty of the house, therefore proper surface conditions for such work is essential. Special finishes are made for the stucco and cement work, which, while covering and fully protecting, does not fill and destroy the artistic texture of the rough cement, the projecting particles of which cast tiny shadows which render such surfaces so soft in tone and quality when properly treated. Further details of this subject are given in Chapter XV (Proper Protection For The Exterior).