during the last two or three years there has been a decided tendency toward built-in furniture. This comes from the fact that the cost of modern home building is so great that when the average young couple is finished with their home they have practically nothing left wherewith to buy furniture. There is an old saying to the effect that practically everything in this life compensates; and in all honesty it must be said that the progress made in the built-in furniture line has completely offset the increase in cost of portable furniture.
A careful check of the cleverest ideas which have been developed for small houses during the past few years shows that it is possible to furnish your entire house with built-in furniture for as little as one-third of the cost of the ordinary, orthodox furniture which we are used to looking at. It might also be said that the construction of this built-in furniture is such a simple matter as to really cause one to wonder why the trend has not reached greater proportions.
Specifically, what we mean is simply this - say you have a bedroom which is 12 x 18 ft. square; it is possible to build two built-in beds in one corner of the room with a night table at the head. In other words, you simply construct two frames in accordance with the attached diagram, at a total cost of probably fifteen dollars for both lumber and material. When you are through with this operation, you simply have to have two box springs and two mattresses in order to have complete, comfortable sleeping accommodations. As a matter of fact, if your finances do not permit of the purchase of two box springs, it is perfectly simple to have two sheets of plywood laid over the slats and to have a mattress put on top of that. (It is rather interesting to note that during the last few years people have been paying five dollars for so-called
Built-in furniture is both easy and economical to construct. There is a decided trend toward furnishing houses in this manner.
"beauty-boards," which are supposed to keep one's spine in an horizontal line and do away with the curvatures that are said to result from a too-soft bed.)
It is a positive fact that the lumber necessary to construct one bed of the type shown in the illustration would not cost more than five dollars; and the time of a mechanic to cut and assemble the unit would most certainly not exceed one hour.
Now - finished with the beds - the home owner should realize that the building of a very attractive dressing table is another idea which merits consideration. Fortunately, plywood is so easy to use and has such wonderful possibilities that an entire top, apron and sides are easily constructed over a light frame, which will result in a unit such as the one illustrated. Stock drawers can be bought from any mill; and the frame of your dressing table need only be so constructed as to accommodate the number of drawers you want.
Done with the beds and dressing table, you might be interested in a corner settee. Certainly there is nothing easier than the construction of this unit of furniture. One glance at the illustration shows exactly what is involved, and, providing that you have sufficient sense to build it so that it will take a standard cushion, there is nothing involved which will prevent your having a corner settee in your bedroom at a cost of a very few dollars.
When you have a bedroom equipped with two single beds and a night table, plus a dressing table and a settee, you actually need only a rug and a floor lamp in order to have a completely furnished bedroom.
If you had to buy twin beds and a night table, a boudoir chair and a chaise lounge, you would probably have to invest about three hundred dollars. The cost of your built-in furniture would honestly not be more than fifty dollars.
All of the above will probably give the homeowner something to think about, and that is precisely what we would like. Nevertheless, as built-in furniture is a particular hobby of ours, we would like to continue along the same lines with a few more suggestions.
You have already been told how very easily you can make or have made built-in beds, settees and dressing tables; but there are other rooms in the house which can be handled in the same manner. We all know that living room furniture is costly, in fact you can spend two months' salary on a rug, a set composed of sofa or couch and two chairs, and still have a rather bare-looking room. Frankly we would prefer to do our own living room in ultra-modern manner, and have a better-looking room at about a third of the price. The idea that it is an impossibility is ridiculous, because you might take one item as an example and figure it out for yourself. Most smart living rooms are equipped with or have what is known as a credenza. This is a break-front piece of furniture from four to ten feet in length, and has open or grilled shelves on which books may be stored in line, and has a top upon which you may place ornaments or vases of flowers. The average credenza is about all the furniture that you might want to completely fill one wall and furnish it thoroughly. With a mirror or a good picture above, you can arrive at a distinctly good-looking wall.
To build a credenza is really a simple matter. The first step you take is to decide how long the piece should be. Finished with that you decide upon the height. When these two measurements are established you proceed to build. Step number one consists of nailing a piece of furring-strip (1" x 2" rough strip) along the wall, for both the length and the height of the credenza you want to build. This establishes a starting point, and incidentally a starting point is the only thing that bothers an amateur carpenter, plumber or stone-mason. You next take a sheet of plywood, and lay out exactly the size of the top that you want on your credenza. You saw this out with considerable care. From here on you just have the job of making a frame which can be covered with plywood, and which will enclose the front of the credenza on both sides. You can set your shelves in as you want them, or as they will accommodate the size of books you have. If you have the ability to use a six-foot rule or measure, and have the patience to cut, and try, and fit your pieces, you are bound to end up with a decent job. The whole point is this, and believe us we have been through it many a time; that when you have established that strip on the wall, and cut out that top piece, you are three-quarters along with your job. Believe it or not, we stopped in a house at Westport, Connecticut, a few months ago, to look over a very unusual house which had been bought by a friend, and we saw one of the most beautiful cre-denzas we have ever laid eyes upon. It practically covered a wall from end to end and from floor to ceiling. Made by a fashionable decorator (or his contractor) it would probably be worth a thousand dollars, because it was massive; but looking at it, and knowing the business, we could hardly keep from making a mental estimate of how much it would cost the average tool-handy man to make himself. The lumber probably was worth twenty dollars, the metal-mesh another twenty, and the time frankly was unestimable because there was no way of knowing how good the local carpenter was. Judging by the joining, and the nicely-sanded ends, he was very good, but there was nothing about the whole assembly that could not be duplicated by someone with the will to do it.