Monday, November 12, 2007

Building Chimneys, 1870

Every chimney ought, if practicable, to extend clear to the bottom of the cellar, and rest there on a substantial foundation, covered with a broad, flat stone, to prevent the absorption of dampness by the bricks. There is always more or less danger from fire, when a stove-pipe is passed through the floors into the attic, and thence into the chimney. Stove-pipes must often be placed in close proximity to some joist, stud, or other wood-work. Then, in very cold weather, when hot fires must be kept up day and night, the thin pipe often becomes red-hot, so that heated timber even one foot from the pipe, will frequently take fire. But, if the stove-pipe enters the chimney in the same room where the stove is situated, all danger from fire will be cut off. Besides this, the expense of a chimney from the bottom of the cellar to the top of a house will be but a trifle more than the cost of six-inch pipe extending the same distance. Indeed, where bricks are cheap, a chimney will cost less than pipe. And when several stoves are to be connected with a chimney, were the pipes of each one to be extended to the attic story, the aggregate expense would be more than double the expense of a good brick chimney.

Another consideration in favor of the independent foundation of a chimney in the cellar is, that the great superincumbent weight may not injure the wall in any way. More than this, when a chimney rests on a foundation in the attic, or even in an upper room, during long and severe storms such a large volume of water usually falls directly into the chimney that the bricks at the bottom become thoroughly saturated. Consequently the surplus water soaks down through the wall below; whereas, if the chimney had extended to the bottom of the cellar, the walls would not have been injured by the great fall of rain.

When chimneys are built on a platform in the attic, or when they are carried up from the floor through upper rooms, they should always stand on a flat stone, or a wide, sound plank or board, which will catch the water that would otherwise work down and injure the wall. Such foundation stone or plank should slant a trifle, so as to carry the water down between the siding and the side wall, where it will do less injury than if it fell directly on the wall.

The size of a chimney is another important consideration. Flues should not be too large nor too small. If the smoke of only one stove is to be discharged into the chimney, a flue about the size of one and a half bricks or two bricks will be sufficient. If the smoke of four stoves is to pass out of one chimney,the flue should be equal to 160 square inches; or to a flue 12 inches by 13 square. Still, if the flue were twice as large, the draught would be about the same as if the flue were 12 x 13 inches square. But the most attractive form of a chimney-top is to make the flue twice as long as the width. The form of the chimney below the roof may be made square, or of an oblong form, to suit the taste or convenience of the builder, where space is an important object.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Residence, design 1232, 1897

I found a nice book of houseplans recently, HOW TO BUILD, FURNISH AND DECORATE, published in 1897. It's chock full of house plans. Some of them have been reprinted in Dover books, but most are ones I've never seen before.There are also some plans for stables, churches,and stores.Included is also a nice section towards the back of the book about interior decorating.
You can click on each of the following 4 images to view a larger picture.


Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Palatial Summer Residence, 1870


The accompanying design is one of two originated by Mr. Dudley Newton, architect, of No. 117 Front street, this city, (New York) by order of one of our prominent bankers, and is intended for a palatial summer residence on the banks of the Hudson. The house is designed to be built of stone in coursed rubble work, with window and door lintels and sills of granite, plane ashler. The main cornices and dormer windows will be made of galvanized iron, and will be painted and sanded to imitate granite. The steep parts of the roof will be slated, and the flats and piazza roofs tinned.

The walls on the inside are to be furred off with three and four inch studs, lathed and plastered. All the wooden floors throughout the house will be deafened in the following manner. First, over the naked floor joists a rough hemlock floor is to be laid; on this floor, directly over and running with the floor joists, inch strips two inches wide are to be laid, and between these strips the deafening is to be spread; over all, narrow pine floor boards will be laid; by this method we not only save the labor of cutting and fitting the boards between the floor timbers, as done in the old manner, but we have a much more solid and substantial floor, as the whole strength of the material is employed to bind the floor timbers together. The hall and vestibule floors will be laid. In marble in the usual manner, by laying brick, resting on plank, between the floor joists, and bedding in plaster.

The house will be finished throughout with hard wood in the best and most complete manner, each room being fitted in a style suited to which it is designed. The windows will all be fitted with inside shutters to fold in pockets; windows opening on the piazzas in first story and on balconies in second story, will open to the floor, and will slide up high enough to clear the head of a tall man. All the principal doors on the first floor will be five feet six inches wide; made in two parts, and folding so that the whole lower floor may be thrown open very readily for an entertainment.
There are piazzas shown on all sides of the house, which will be made of wood, and are to be painted and sanded to imitate granite.

The plan of the interior may be explained as follows: The front entrance is protected by a carriage porch, corresponding in finish to the piazzas, the vestibule is large and well lighted, the window on the left opening to the floor; the main hall is 18 by 35 feet, and is free from stairs or any obstruction; on one side will be an open grate and mantel; on the left of the hail is a library 18 feet square, and a drawing-room 21 by 33 feet, and connected with the latter is a large conservatory, which in the winter may be used as such, and in the summer, the sash being removed, may be used as a piazza. Opening from the end of the hall is a billiard-room, 18 by 29 feet; on the right is a dining-room, 20 by 30 feet, communicating with the staircase hall, and a reception-room, 18 by 20 feet; the staircase hall runs at right angles with the main hall, and connects, through a door under the stairs, with a passage leading into the butlers pantry, from which starts a private staircase to the basement, and one to the second story, thus making direct and easy communication between the kitchen and dining- room, and the various domestic offices in the base- ment with the second story. On the second floor we have six large chambers and ample closet, bath- room, and water-closet accommodations. The third story may be arranged in nearly the same manner, and the rooms will be equally if not more desirable. The halls will be lighted by a large skylight over the well-hole of front stairs. A building like this will cost from $80,000 to $100,000, according to finish.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Iron Clad Dwelling, 1870


Iron-Clad Houses.
To the late great war we owe the origin of iron clad war-ships and steamers; the succeeding peace has originated iron-clad houses. A building of this kind has just been erected for the Hon. E. A. Moore, in New York City, on the southwest corner of One Hundred and Seventeenth street and Avenue A, (Harlem.) The house stands by itself, detached from other buildings, and is represented in our engraving. It is built on a lot 75 by 100 feet, and has a space of 20 feet on each side, which is to be used as a flower garden and court-yard. The main entrance, with brown-stone steps, Ionic portico, with heavy balustrade, and balcony above the portico, is on the avenue. It is the first instance in this city where cast-iron has been used for the front of a first-class dwelling-house. The designs and details were arranged to give it the same homelike appearance which we find in our first-class brown-stone residences. They were prepared by Mr. John Alexander, the manufacturer, of Greenpoint, L. I., and executed by Mr. S. D. Hatch, architect, of this city.

The mode of securing the plates to the walls is seen by the accompanying section. The iron was thoroughly painted before being set, and a space of two inches was left between the iron and brick. The quoins, antes, cornices, sills, etc., were all executed from full-sized details furnished by the constructor, and arranged to provide against expansion and leakage with the necessary laps, washes, drips, etc.

The iron ashlars are made with slightly beveled joints, and laid in courses 14 to 15 inches high, with 12 and 8-inch brick walls carried up on the inside, to which each of the plates is anchored as shown in the section. The antes have sunk and moulded faces, 8- inch reveals with ornamental trusses, and handsomely-moulded cornices with dentil courses. The quoins on the angles project two inches with beveled edges, and raised panels on the faces ; the basement ashlar plates were made with a channeled rustic instead of beveled, as in the first and second stories; the sill courses to the basement were of brown-stone, as well as the door-sills, steps to the first story, ashlar under the ends of steps, area facings, copings, etc. The front court-yard was excavated to the depth of the basement floor, which gives a well-lighted basement and cellar.

The interior arrangement of the house is illustrated in the accompanying plans. The main building is 35 feet front by 40 feet in depth, and has 2 stories, cellar, and basement, with extension 17 by 85 feet, the latter ro containing the dining-room and butlers pantry in the first story, kitchen and laundry in the basement, and furnace-room in the cellar. On the corner, in the basement, is located the library, with private entrance from the avenue. It also contains the servants hall, bath-room, private stairs, servants entrance, kitchen and laundry, store-rooms, etc. On the first story we pass through the portico into the vestibule and a spacious hall; from here we enter by sliding doors into the reception-room to the left 9 ½ by 19 feet, and on the right side of the hall into the parlors, one of which is 14 ½ by 16 feet, and the ether 14 ½ by 20 feet.

The front has fully the appearance of brown-stone, but costs only half as much, and it is to be expected that, as soon as a longer experience in the adaptation of iron to the construction of house-fronts is at our command, a decrease in the expense of building and an increase in the beauty and utility of dwellings will be the result.

The entire cost of the house was about $16,000, an amount much below the cost of building entirely of stone or iron. The walls may be built of common cheap brick, such as otherwise could not be used for a front, and in place of building the exterior part of the wall of the more expensive stone, the cast-iron plates are used as described. In this connection we suggest the use of plates for facing the beton buildings described in this paper on a former occasion. By this combination the cost of building is likely to be still more reduced.

Thus far, when common cheap brick was used, the fronts were often plastered with cement, and painted in imitation of brown-stone. This may look well at first, but affter a few years the plaster comes generally off in patches, and the building looks very dilapidated This may be seen in some brown-stone imitation fronts of certain very pretentious houses in Philadelphia. The lining of such buildings with the iron plates here described would cause an increase in cost, which would however be fully covered by this durability and security against the otherwise necessary replastering, not to speak of the absolute ugliness of a house thus patched.

Another advantage we must not omit to mention. This is the fact that the cost of the iron used for such fronts is not only infinitely less than that of buildings constructed entirely of iron; but the cost saved in transportation is also a large item, when the building has to be sent any considerable distance. An elegant front may now be ordered in New-York, boxed up and sent to any part of the world. Any builder can then connect it with the outside of the coarsest walls, while they are in process of erection, and in this manner a residence of metropolitan aspect may be constructed almost anywhere.

Design for a Suburban Residence, 1870


The design is of a clapboarded building, fifty-three feet front by fifty-one feet deep. The height from the ground level to the top of the first floor is four feet. This gives sufficient space for light and ventilation for the cellar, which is under the whole house. The height of the first story is eleven feet, and that of the chamber story is ten feet.
The main roof, as well as the roof of each tower, is slated, and has wooden corner strips and coving. The latter is surmounted with iron crestings, as shown in the cuts.
The interior arrangements of the house are so clearly shown in the accompanying plans that no further explanation is deemed necessary.

The design contemplates the finishing of the interior in soft and hard pine, black-walnut, cherry, oak and chestnut, in the following manner: The hall in black-walnut and cherry; the entry in chestnut, with a hard pine floor; kitchen the same; dining-room in cherry, with a cherry and chestnut floor in alternate strips, three inches wide. It is estimated that the design, finished in this manner, will cost not far from $15,000. If the interior be finished plainly in pine alone, the cost could be reduced to the neighborhood of $10,000.

We are indebted for this design to Mr. James V.
Taylor, architect, No. 17 Joys Building, Boston, Mass.

Sometimes I'll look to see if I an find anything about the architects. I found an interesting little article about the nasty divorce of a Boston architect named James V. Taylor. This same man was mentioned elsewhere online, and I didn't come across another Boston architect of the same name in the same era. Could this be the designer of the above home?
New York Times ,1878

Saturday, October 6, 2007

An Italian Villa With Cupola, 1869


There is no style of domestic architecture for country villas that presents so much expression as the Italian; none that conveys ideas of more elegant comfort and picturesque effects where opportunity is given to produce a diversified outline. The style admits of much greater comfort to the interior of the second floors of country dwellings, as in almost every instance it requires that the ceilings shall be level, while the Gothic style, with its high pitch roof; gables, etc., almost invariably has the second floor ceiling a part of and cut off by the roof, a fault that is avoided in the example of which we give an illustration. This villa was erected at Portchester, on the
New Haven Railroad, is built of wood in the best manner, and at a cost of $13,000 for every thing complete,except mantels and furnace.

The dwelling is forty feet front and thirty feet deep, with a wing twenty-two feet deep in rear of main building

The hall is 8 feet wide;
the parlor, 15 x 30;
15 x 13;
dining-room, 15 x 10; with pantry and pas-
sage to kitchen.
The back-stairs are placed in the
rear hall.
The kitchen is 17 x 15, with pantry.

Off the rear hall is store-room, and from the rear hall is a door leading out on to rear piazza. It will be seen that the hall extends from front to rear, with the rear end shut off from rear hall by a sash-door with side lights, to prevent cold draughts and unpleasant smells from the kitchen. The laundry is in the basement, and is provided with tubs complete. On the second floor are six bedrooms and one bath-room, and on the third floor three servants rooms.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

A Convenient Dwelling, 1869

How to Plan a Convenient Dwelling
Why is our country so full of large, costly, and inconvenient dwelling-houses? The answer is so obvious that every intelligent person will understand and appreciate the reason as soon as it is announced, namely, those who planned such edifices did not understand the requirements of the occupants.......

We will suppose, for example, that a cozy and convenient villa is required for a small family, where the wife is expected to perform the duties of a servant in the kitchen; to be the chambermaid, the lady of the parlor, and, in fact, keep house alone, without the aid of servants. Now then, in order to have a convenient house, and to avoid an endless amount of unnecessary and irksome “running” from room to room, the pantry, the main sleeping-room, the dining-room, and the cellarway and stairway, should be near the kitchen. The kitchen may be considered the great centre of domestic operations. The frugal housewife must necessarily spend more of her time in the kitchen than in any other apartment of the dwelling. When she has started the fire and put certain articles of food to cooking, she needs to have the sleeping and toilet-room as near the kitchen as it can consistently be located, so that she may step in, for a few moments, and still be where she can supervise the operations of the kitchen. If her toilet and sleeping-room be up-stairs, or beyond another apartment, the practice will be adopted of combing and dressing the hair in the kitchen, which neat housekeepers never will allow. Besides this, the main sleeping-room, which is to be occupied by the united head of the family, should open into the kitchen, or so near the kitchen as to be convenient of access in case of sickness. Then, in cold weather, the sleeping- room may be warmed, little or much, by the fire in the dining-room, or the fire of the kitchen. Besides this, the dining-room or the living-room should be contiguous to the parlor, without a broad hall between them; and the parlor and living-room should be so conveniently arranged that guests may be introduced into either room from the front door, without passing through one of the other rooms. As the mistress of the kitchen must necessarily go frequently into the cellar, from the kitchen, to carry articles of food, and to return the same to the kitchen, it would be a very unsatisfactory arrangement to have the cellar door at the further side of a room that joins the kitchen. Economical housekeepers often experience the inconveniences of such an arrangement of rooms. In many dwellings, the pantry can not be reached from the kitchen without passing through some other room, which every intelligent housekeeper will acknowledge is an unsatisfactory arrangement. There should be also a back stairway, where those in the kitchen may reach the upper story without passing through other rooms, and thence up the lobby or parlor stairs. We have now, in a brief manner, the chief and fundamental requirements of a small dwelling, such as a newly-married couple, with limited means, actually need for their future comfort.......
..We herewith lay down the ground-plan of both the upright part and the kitchen, in which, it will be perceived, the arrangement of the different rooms and doorways will fully meet all the requirements of a small, cheap, and commodious villa, having the various appendages alluded to, all in close proximity to the kitchen.

The annexed ground-plan will exhibit, at a glance, the entire arrangement of all the apartments, doors, windows, and stairs. It will be perceived that on entering the front door into the lobby, E, a door opens into the parlor, and one also into the living-room, D. This is an excellent arrangement. Then, if a person were to call at the kitchen door, which opens on the side veranda, he can be welcomed either into the living-room, from the same veranda, or into the kitchen. Every ambitious housekeeper will be pleased with such a convenience in the plan of a house. Now, while the stranger or friend may be either in the living-room or parlor, one can go from the kitchen to any room in the house, except the library, without passing through either of the rooms where callers or guests may be waiting. Such an arrangement will be in perfect accordance with the wishes of every female who must be equipped for the wash-tub one hour, and the next hour be performing the duties of a chambermaid. The main sleeping-room, C, opens into the living-room and the parlor; and, if desirable, a door may be made to open into the kitchen. The living-room and parlor are joined in a very satisfactory manner. From the kitchen, one can go up-stairs, and down cellar, out of the kitchen, beneath the stairs. These are very rare
conveniences. I represents a small clothes-room opening into the bed-room. K shows where a china-closet may be made, with door opening into the kitchen and near the dining-room. In case such a closet is not desired, the space may be employed as a closet for clothes.

In the recess, P. at the end of the pantry, there may be a sink and a cistern-pump. Or the sink and pump may be placed at some other part of the kitchen, and an outside door be placed where a window is indicated If it were desirable, a veranda might be made on the other side of the wing; or a veranda may be provided for both sides. In case a well is to be dug, let it be sank close to the end of the veranda, so that by one step down, one may come to the “old oaken bucket that hangs in the well“, or to the pump.
A door is indicated to open from the kitchen into a wood-house. In case there should be no apartment on that end of the wing, a window might be made where the door is indicated; and the one in the recess may be dispensed with. It will be perceived that the library may be warmed satisfactorily by the fire in the living-room; and if desirable, the library may be occupied as a small bed-room for one person.
Now, in case this plan were thought to be too large on the ground, it would not be difficult to reduce the size of every room, except those in the wing, and still have rooms quite as large, or even larger, than the rooms of a great proportion of the dwellings in small villages and in the country. But the actual expense between the size here indicated, and a similar edifice, four feet shorter and two to four feet narrower, would not exceed forty or fifty dollars. And no ambitious family in possession of such a convenient dwelling of the dimensions indicated, would be willing to have the size of the rooms reduced for three times the amount of the actual expense. Spacious sleeping apartments ought always to be provided, whatever may be the size of other rooms. Contemplate, for a moment, the available extent of the sleeping-room indicated in the plan. By opening the doors, all the space and fresh air of the parlor, the living-room, kitchen, lobby, library, the second story, and cellar can be made to contribute to the requirements of fastidious sleepers, who never like to inhale air that has been in the lungs and mouths of others. It will be exceedingly difficult to arrange a system of family rooms in a more satisfactory manner than this, in order to secure perfect ventilation of the sleeping apartments during the hours of repose, when the pure breath of heaven is quite as desirable as at any other time. With a window at one end, and a door or two at the other, one can ventilate his sleeping apartment so perfectly that the room would always appear as pure and sweet as a mountain spring house. The most satisfactory place for a chimney will be in the corner of the sleeping-room, C, where it will be entirely out of the way, and where the stove pipes can enter it from both the parlor and the dining-room. If the chimney be carried straight up to the roof from this point, stove-pipes can enter it from the upper rooms also, which will be a satisfactory arrangement.

The arrangement or disposition of the rooms on the second floor may be varied somewhat, to suit the convenience of the occupants. The different apartments will require but little explanation. The stairs in the lobby, as will be perceived, should be made on a circle. The landing-place is at the end of the dotted line. Beneath the lobby stairs there can be a small clothes-room, which will always be a convenient place for overcoats, overshoes, and umbrellas. A clothes room may also be made between the rooms A and B, if it is desirable. A narrow hall-way may be constructed at the head of the back stairs, or the stairway may open into the room. There can be two or three windows to light the room A, or only two. Then there can be a window in the lobby, and another on the front side of D, or not. The roof of the veranda is shown front, a few feet shorter than the house. And it can be made simply like a lean-to roof, or of the hipped roof style, as represented. The roof of the rear part is also represented by the parallel lines. The foregoing suggestions will be sufficient for explaining the plan.....

Lord Bacons advice to beginners, when they were about to choose a site for a dwelling-house, was to avoid ill ways, ill markets, and ill neighbors. In addition to such excellent suggestions, it is proper to add that there are other considerations of quite as much importance as any that have been alluded to. Location, in all its phases, should be studied for several days, or, at least, until one is entirely satisfied that he has decided upon the most desirable location that is available. In latitudcs where cold, northerly storms prevail, it has been affirmed that none but a ninny will ever erect his dwelling on the summit of a hill, unless there should be another hill at the windward of the location, to shield the dwelling and out-buildings from the cold and furious storms of winter. In contradistinction to such a quaint maxim, it has been contended that he who builds his dwelling in low, flat ground, by the side of a river, furnishes custom for the apothecary and physician, employment for surgeons and coffin-makers, and frequent jobs for grave-diggers.
If the sunny side of a slope is available, or the south side of a ridge or hill, such a locality will be exceedingly desirable. In case the farm should extend back over one fourth of a mile from the highway, it would be a matter of great convenience and economy, in many respects, to locate the dwelling and out-buildings near the middle of the cultivable land. It is bad, in many respects, to choose a location near the highway, simply because the custom is prevalent of erecting the dwelling and all the out-buildings near some public street, when there are other locations far more desirable near the centre of the farm. Another point of no small importance on many farms is to choose a site, when it can be done conveniently, where water can be conveyed from some fountain to the out-buildings and to the house.

Touching aspect, no rule can be given that will hold good in all localities, as a northern or eastern aspect, in some sections of the country, will be found uncomfortably cold and cutting in winter; while, in other latitudes, a southern and western aspect will be disagreeably hot and wet. Every person must decide for his own locality, what aspect will coincide most satisfactorily wth his particular site. In many sections of the country, the coldest and most severe storms always come from tile north and west. In such places, a southern aspect will be found decidedly preferable to any other, as a kitchen and living-room would be more pleasant and comfortable on the south than on the north side of the dwelling, during cold weather. By such an arrangement, the pantry will appear on the north side of the kitchen, which will be a more desirable place in the summer than if it were on the south side. In localities where furious storms prevail in winter, the aim should always be, if practicable, to locate the buildings behind some hill or forest, where the dwelling-house and abodes of domestic animals may be screened from the chilling blasts and pelting storms. A great many beautiful rural residences are constructed entirely according to the direction of the highway, rather than the aspect. But aspect should never be sacrificed in a dwelling-ilouse, and in the arrangement of farm-buildings, to the variable direction of a public street. Let locality and aspect always be chosen without any regard to the highway, even if one corner of a dwelling, rather than the front, or side, be presented to the street. Above all, let the common practice be avoided of squatting a dwelling-house so near the borders of the highway that every passer-by can peep into the front windows. In the country, it is always desirable to provide for a spacious door-yard. Half an acre or more ground between the front door and the street will not be lost, as it can be appropriated to the production of grass.
The perspective...which was originally engraved for Moore’s Rural New-Yorker, represents one style of finishing a structure that corresponds with the ground-plan and the plan of the second floor, which are given in the present number of the MANUFACTURER AND BUILDER. It will be perceived that the boards are put on vertically. But the same frame could be covered with clap-boards, if such a covering were preferred to vertical siding, with battens over the joints. The form of the roof may be varied to suit the taste of almost any person. In case plastic slate or tin were employed, (plastic slate was a term for tar roofing) the roof might be nearly flat, as represented by the skeleton of a portion of the frame preceding the elevation. In case a steeper roof or even a Gothic roof were desirable, the style that might suit most satisfactorily could be adopted. If two windows only were made in front above the veranda, a pediment over each dormer, window could be grafted into the roof. The front veranda could be made the entire length of the dwelling; or, which would appear more tasty, six feet shorter than the front. In case the roof of the upright part were flat, the roof of the veranda should also be flat. If the main part of the structure were finished with a bracket cornice, a bracket cornice of corresponding proportions should be made on the veranda.

In the perspective a tower is represented, the cost of which was not computed in the bill of materials, and which may be ommitted or adopted, as ones fancy may dictate. The cost of the tower will depend, of course, entirely on the manner of finishing the inside
and the roof. If winding stairs, built around a centre pole, were adopted, the expense would be very much less than if winding stairs were made with a hand-rail and a well-hole. A neatly-finished tower wouid give a very attractive appearance to such a villa, especially if the roof were finished with a well proportioned cornice. Such a tower should be made about eight feet square. Then, at the top, a charming little room could be finished off as an observatory or a cool sleeping-room for a student in the summer. Such a tower
should be supported by four corner-posts, about 4 to 6 inches square, and the studs need be only 11/4 x 4 inches in size. In case corner-posts 6 inches square were employed, the inside corners of each post should be cut out square to receive the ends of the latter.