Country - Houses, are those ereted in the country, for the use and convenience of private individuals, as opposed to the splendid villas and mansions of the nubility, and more opulent gentry.
It generally happens, that most of the houses burnt in country places, take fire in the roofs, while the family is from home, on a visit, or gone to church. On such occasions, children or servants begin to examine with lights the closets and lofts, which are usually filled with combustibles; or flakes of burning soot not unfrequently fall on the shingled roof. Country-houses are in most instances detached from the immediate assistance of neighbours ; hence, in creeling them, security against fire is a point deserving particular attention. In order to promote this truly desirable object, we have annexed a cut of a country-house, founded upon certain principles, adopted by Mr. Bordley, the ingenious American farmer.
The floor of the basement story should be of brick, or flag-stone, raised about a foot above the sur-face, of the ground, but by no means laid on joists over cellars ; as these confine the damp air under them, lender it pernicious, and there produce a mouldiness and smell, which are communicated to the air of the rooms above, so as to become perceptible. The floor of the second, or best story, should be laid with rough strong boards, or planks, not more than three or four inches wide, nailed down across solid stiff joists, and covered with a thick bed of strong cement. The whole may be spread over with caipets, and the wash-boards and surbase be of cut stone, or marble. The floor of the third story ought to belaidwith thick narrow boards and cement, and the wash-boards of cement rounded off. - The cellars should be under a detached building, or under the staircase of the principal house. It will also be necessary to strengthen the joists of the floors, by inserting pieces of plank between them, which will prevent their being shaken. The utmost care ought to be taken to avoid the use of wood as much as possible. For this purpose, the door and window-frames may be of stone or iron, and the doors faced or lined with the sa metal. The joists and boards for the platform-roof and floors, and also for the stair-case, if the same be of wood, should be protected from the contact of fire by cements. No outside cornice is requisite for a platform-roof, which may be constructed in the following manner : Joists, 12 or 13 inches deep at the big end, are to rest on the middle wall, and to be sloped thence 2-10ths of an inch per foot, to the smaller end on the exterior wall. These joists should likewise be from 2 to 3 inches thick, and from 12 to 14 distant from centre to centre; or they may be throughout of an equal depth, and sloping battens affixed to them, in order to give the platform-roof an oblique direction. At every 5 or 6 feet between the joists, pieces of plank nearly of the same depth with the latter, should be inserted at right angles, which will augment their strength. Stout, rough, narrow boards, 3 or 4 inches in breadth, and 1 inch thick, are next to be nailed down across the joists, with large rugged nails; which ought to be covered over with the following cement, 1 or 2 inches deep : Take one part of burnt, pulverized lime-stone, to which add two of clean sand and brick-dust ; let the whole be well mixed together, and only such a quantity slacked, as can be worked up with the trowels, and laid on while it is hot. When the cement is dry, it should be coated with a mixture of three parts of tar and one of fish-oil, by means of a brush, on a hot sun-shine day. After this, a composition of tar and fish-oil, boiled down to a consistence between tar and pitch, should be laid on, and coarse sand, or small pebbles, sifted over the whole. Then another layer of tar only, of a similar cou similar consistence, should be applied, adding likewise small pebbles, but without any mixture of sand. By this process, the roof will acquire such a degree of hardness as to be impermeable to water.
In the annexed design, is a main partition-wall across the place where the chimney is eroded, and whence the joists extend 21 feet to the exterior wall. The stair-cases will be most conveniently placed in the corner rooms, or passages. These principles, and the form of the house here represented, being adhered to, the size may be proportioned to the ability and intention of the proprietor. In this design, there are
2 Passages, in the clear 21 by 9 5/10 each 200, both
4 Rooms, the corners 12 by 12
2 Ditto, - - - - 20 by 21
'Whole area -
The cut consists of an elevation and plan, fronting the south. The entrance is either on the east or west sides, which require but little light. Between the cieling of the uppermost story, and the plattorm roof, there should be a clear space 2 or 3 feet deep, with holes through the opposite walls. The hot air will thus be carried off, and a void space left for inspecting the state of the lower part of the platform. These air-holes may be 3 or 1O inches in diameter, with lattices of wire, or twine, well soaked in the composition of tar and oil, in order to exclude birds ; and, during the winter, they should have close shutters on the inside, to keep out the snow.
Dimensions of the Height.
Basement elevation of the walls - - - -
9 + 1 = 10 feet.
Second story ........................
12+ 1 — 13
Third story ...........................
9+1 = 10
Vent space ..........................
2 + 1= 3
The thickness and strength of the walls should be proportioned to their height. A three-story house would have a wall 36 feet above the ground; one of two stories, 26 feet; and that of one story, 15 feet: so that if one story require a wall one brick thick, two stories may have the basement one and a half, and three stories two bricks thick. The foundation-wall should be 3 feet deep in the ground, that it may acquire stability, and be out of the reach of severe frosts. For some families, it may be sufficient, and perhaps more convenient, to have only one or two stories of rooms. The lower the walls are, the greater will be their strength and durability. The basement and second stories may be divided according to the views of the builder, rather than the annexed Plan. The third story, having the four square recesses at the corners of the design thrown into closets about 2 5-10th feet deep, will leave an area, that may be divided into four roomy bedchambers. The middle wall, which crosses the passages, and divides the large rooms, will support the greatest part of the weight on the roof, and should, therefore, be particularly strong. The joists of the platform extend from this wall, in both directions, north and south, to the exterior walls. The recesses should.be as shallow as possible
1 arid c o w
1 and 5/10 a foot, if clear of wall, will be fully sufficient; for, ifthey be deeper, they will retain or concentrate heat, and harbour vermin.
The last, and most important point to be considered in the building of a house, is the structure of the chimnies ; but as we have already discussed it, and pointed out the best and most improved mode of building them, we refer our readers to that article. - See vol. i. p. p. 510, and following.