THE terrace, - the exquisitely appointed, the beautifully designed, the wonderfully proportioned terrace, with its marble urns, its carved balustrades, its flowers, its statues, its fountains, the open-air living-room, the garden of delight, the wealth, as it becomes civilized, creates for itself, - such a terrace is beyond the reach of the multitude. To possess them, one must have land and space and many dollars. The wonder is only, that those with lands and dollars have built so few. Those which our country possesses, exquisite as some of them may be and are, have only been laid out within comparatively recent years. Somewhere in the late eighties they began to appear.

It should go without saying that an architect must be employed in their creation. Now and then only is a householder equipped by knowledge and observation to lay one out for himself.

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The balcony, the loggia, the veranda, are all within the scope of limited talents and means. The ugliest and simplest of balconies or porches can be made interesting and livable with awnings and flowers, a rug or two, and some comfortable chairs. But a terrace, that very acme of refinement and good taste on a country estate, to be beautiful, cannot represent the haphazard attempts of the amateur.

The simpler form of terrace is a paved court protected by a stone coping or balustrade surmounted with flowers; thus one may have a brick floor and coping, the only floral decorations being rows of geraniums in pots at regular intervals, and for shade large awnings of plain green denim. When these are rolled back, on cool summer days, the sun can reach and warm the paving. Another will be shaded by awnings or draped canvas in some one corner, while the steps that lead to the lawn may lead from either side of a projection set with stone seats covered with rugs. Or, again, the terrace will be protected by an arbor, over which the vine of the grape or the wistaria or the rose has been trained. These simpler forms run into elaborate creations of great beauty, in which marble and carved stone are introduced, and in which the art of the sculptor and the taste of the flower-lover are displayed in all their luxuriance.

Beautiful as these terraces are, their charm would be absolutely destroyed were they treated as parks, thrown open to every person who chose to ring at the front door. They represent a private domain. Like one's dining-rooms, they are reserved for the family and its invited guests. In this they prove their right to be regarded as flowers of civilized domestic architecture. It is only with this suggestion of privacy that the final stamp of excellence is given, and it is the lack of this suggestion which makes so many verandas objectionable. Curiously enough, we as a people have been a long time in learning this. Even new houses, costing several hundreds of thousands, will often show a huge veranda on which the family hammocks are hung, the tea-tables and lounging chairs set out. The worst of it is, that they are built around the only door to which visitors leaving a card can be driven, so that endless embarrassment ensues. The visitor, if she be young and shy, does not want to run the blockade of a dozen or more eyes all turned in her direction; neither, if she be sensitive, does she want to know that half the family have scampered away at her approach, because they were not attired to receive her, - though of this she may know nothing, as she catches a glimpse of retreating figures, or hears, as she draws near, ejaculations of surprise and hurried steps of departure. All of this makes the ordinary veranda of our country places absolutely objectionable, and the mental attitude of the householder a mystery. One can only wonder at it all, and why it is, with all the old-world examples to draw upon, so few people build loggias, or balconies, or upstairs verandas for lounging.

Country house after country house is constructed, and there is no sign of this out-door retreat on the bedroom floor, no place on which one can lie and be comfortable out of doors, can read or write, take one's morning coffee or nap at intervals, indifferent to the crunch of carriage wheels on the gravel of the driveway. To small houses these loggias add the same compelling note of refinement that the terrace adds to the larger and more elaborate dwellings, that indescribable air of refinement, indeed, which one is apt to find only among the more highly developed. If I had my way, I should not only have a loggia in every house, but a separate loggia for every bedroom, and especially for every guestroom.

And they are so easy to arrange, these loggias - a rug, a hammock, an awning, perhaps, a Japanese screen, a table, and flowers - always flowers, of course. Flowers are to loggias what a fireside is to a room or what logs are to a fire. Then when a bench or a chair is added, all is done. But the comfort of them, the seclusion, the security, the charm, and the good-breeding of them! No hurry-scurry when a visitor approaches, no apologies - only perfect freedom and absolute delight.

In certain places in the mountains the habit of sleeping on loggias has grown within the last few years. Even children of six are put to bed there, for unless the door into the house is open, there are no draughts on the loggia, which is only open to the air in front. There is no danger of cold, and with plenty of blankets one is even more comfortable than indoors. The thermometer can be as low as forty without discomfort to a child, and the most restless and wakeful of children, who toss all night in a nursery, will sleep without moving with the cool, crisp air of the hills all about them.

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