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.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

A German-Swiss Styled house, 1869

A German Swiss Cottage.
THE accompanying design is different from any yet
published, and represents an example in the German
Swiss style, erected on the Hudson River, at a cost of
$7950. It will be seen that on this plan the house is
narrow and long; the position of parlor, dining-room,
and family-room is such that they all look out on the
river, that being the reason why the owner desired
the rooms placed as shown. Sliding doors may be
placed between dining and family rooms, the chim-
neys being placed elsewhere.

The piazza almost encircles the building and is ten
feet wide by the front door. The elevation being shown
as a front elevation, the effects in perspective are not
visible; it is a most decidedly picturesque example of
the style. To those who admire the effect produced by
a high pitch roof, this style is far more desirable than
the Gothic, which to carry out even in the very plain-
est manner, in wood, is far more expensive to produce
the same effect. Besides, Gothic such as we see used
for time construction of stone churches is not suitable
for tIme erection of a frame dwelling, as the details of
Gothic architecture require them to be executed in
On the second floor of this plan are six bedrooms
and over the main building is a small attic with two
servants rooms.
The first story is eleven feet, the second ten, and the
attic seven and a half feet. There is a cellar under
the whole building, the walls being of building-stone
eighteen inches thick; the frame is filled in within brick;
the siding laid horizontally and four inches to
weather; the roof is of slate in bands; the interior
neatly and nicely finished, with all the wood-
work varnished and oiled.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Cast Iron Railings for Mansards 1869 and a fence

Apparently, some felt that the new style Mansard roof was grotesque, ugly and in bad taste when it first reached the American landscape.
First, however, an example of a cast iron fence, for the front yard, 3 feet high. This fence was to be painted dark green, then bronzed.

Railings for Mansard Roofs.
The Mansard roof, when first adopted in this coun-
try, was frequently seen without any railing, the only
finish employed being a very light coping. This had
a very bare appearance, and tended much to impress
upon those who happened to be gifted with good taste
a strong dislike of this particular style of architecture.
This was peculiarly the case in the rural districts, as it
was difficult, if not impossible, to procure at the foun-
dries of our country villages such railings as were
adapted to the requirements of the case. Moreover,
the construction of proper patterns was rather an ex-
pensive affair, and although when once the patterns
were made, the railings could be duplicated to almost
any extent at a merely nominal cost for design, etc.,
yet it was found that few were willing to undertake
their first cost.

In the accompanying figures, we present a few de-
signs, selected from a very extensive series, which has
been prepared by Mr. J. XV. Fiske, of 120 Nassau street,
in this city. Railings of any of theso patterns may
readily be procured of Mr. Fiske, and transported to
any part of the country; and the adoption of these, or
some similar ornamental finish, will, we hope, become
so common as to redeem the Mansard roof from the
charge of bad taste which has hitherto been justly
made against it.


A Swiss Villa and Garden, 1869

This shows only the facade and a very small plan of the house on its lot, but it's rather interesting looking, and does show an idea of Victorian landscaping.


Great difficulty is found in adapting European styles of architecture to
American practice. The climate of this country is so different from that of the
greater portion of Europe, the habits of our people, their requirements and ways of living, and their general ideas, have so little in sympathy with those of most parts of the old world, that our architects, in adopting any special style, find it necessary to make great modifications in the established forms and modes of construction. Hence it happens that, in this country, specimens of pure Swiss, Italian, Grecian, or other styles of architecture are rare. It is not that our architects and builders are unable to follow closely the European styles, but simply because these styles are not adapted to our wants.
The accompanying design is that of a residence erected about two years ago on a commanding site at Flushing, L. I. The general style approaches that of the Swiss as nearly as was found possible. The climate of New-York does not admit of the low ceilings which characterize the Swiss dwellings, and neither is it necessary that our roofs should be held down by large stones, after the Swiss fashion, moreover, that arrangement of the rooms which is usual in Swiss houses does not suit the requirements of our people; and therefore, certain modifications in the direction of the Italian style were found necessary, in order to produce a suitable design.

The villa was erected on a lot 75 feet front by 180 feet deep, and presents a front of 50 feet. The situation of the house and the arrangement of the grounds are shown in Fig. 2. The front has an entrance piazza, a large bay-window, and a side piazza. The windows of the second floor open on a balcony, and are protected by a broad projecting roof. There is also a rear piazza, as is seen in the small plan or diagram of the grounds, where also the arrangemeut of the roomswill be found.

A,.is the parlor;
B, the dining-room;
D, family room;
C, library;
E, dining-room pantry;
F, front piazza;
H, entrance piazza, fourteen feet square;
K, rear piazza.
The house faces the north-west, and the hall runs from front to rear.

The grounds are laid out with a lawn in front, and a separate entrance path. There is a carriage-road, ten feet wide, to a small stable, marked 4, for one or two horses in rear. The arrangement of the grounds of this small lot shows very well what can be done even in a place of somewhat contracted dimensions.
In the figure,
1 is a flower-bed;
2, grass plot;
3, vegetable-garden.
The position of the trees is well shown, they being mostly evergreens. We thus secure considerable variety in the shape of the walks and drives, at the same time retaining a lawn, and a garden large enough to grow all the vegetables required for a small family. Nothing indicates a greater want of taste than a plot of ground of this size laid out in straight lines and paths, or having neglected walks and overgrown lawns. Better not make the attempt to lay out the grounds tastefully, if it be not the intention of the owner to keep them neat and in good order. This residence is occupied by a party whose place of business is in New-York. No one having a lot of this size need fear that it is too large to be kept in order without outside help, if the leisure hours of afternoons and evenings after returning home be devoted to the work.
The cost of the lot was $1500; the house all complete in every thing, mantels, grates, etc., $6200, thus making $7700 for the whole. The small stable was built afterward, and cost $650.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

"Cheap City Houses", 1869


Cheap City Houses.
In the accompanying engraving we give plans and elevations of three frame dwellings, which form part of a row of seven now being erected on One Hundred and Seventh street, near Broadway, having been designed with the intention of getting seven houses on a lot having one hundred and forty-four feet front, the architect has sought to remove that appearance of sameness which would have been produced by placing the front of all the houses on the same line, and has therefore recessed each alternate building, thereby providing space for a piazza. Each dwelling is twenty-two feet wide by thirty deep, and is two stories, with attic and basement.

The object kept in view in erecting these dwellings was to provide the essential rooms required by small families, while the rate of rent might be kept low. The cost price is $2000 per house, this making the rent from $300 to $400 each. (this would be an annual rent)

the first floor contains.
A parlor, 14 x 16;
B, dining-room, 15 x 17, with fine pantry and dumb-waiter;
C, hall, six feet wide.
On second floor are found two bed-rooms, each l4 x 13; a bath-room, 6 x 7; linen-closet, and small room off hall in front.
In the attic one servants room and garret.
In basement is the kitchen, A, 15 x 20, with large pantry, sink, boiler, dresser,etc.
B is the cellar. There is a store-room (off the hall and a closet under the stairs. The houses are supplied with water, and the plumbing, such as bath, water-closet, pump and tanks, is very complete. Every part of the workmanship has been executed in the best manner, and the designs and general arrangement deserve the attention of those who contemplate the erection of similar structures.

A Country Villa in Orange, NJ 1869


Underneath the whole building there is a cellar, containing furnace. The kitchen and laundry are on the same floor with the other rooms. It was intended that the piazza should extend all around the house but a sitting-room was finally placed in the front part of it. The parlor is used as a family room not for show only, but for every-day use. There is a kitchen-pantry, store-room, back-stairs, and laundry in the rear well lighted and ventilated. On the second door there are five bed-rooms, a bath-room, water-closet, linen-closet, etc. In the attic there are two servants rooms and a large garret.

It is a frame building, sided over with hemlock boards, covered with narrow pine clapboards.
The hip of the roof is covered with slate the deck with tin. The inside of the house is hard-finished, with cornices and centers. It has pine trimming around the doors and windows. The floors are of sound pine. The foundation walls are of brick. The cellar is concreted. A large cistern, cesspool, privy, etc., are included in the cost price.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

A Brick Villa in Orange NJ, 1869

An illustration representing a beautiful villa constructed of brick and situated near Orange, New-Jersey. The structure has a plain moulded water-table and a plain bevel sill-band to the second floor windows. The foundation walls are composed of brown rubble-stone, and neatly pointed on the outside face, from the ground to the water-table. The main walls are built of smooth bard brick and pointed with a dark-colored mortar.

The window lintels are made of spruce timber, covered over by the window trimmings, such as wood mouldings and the like. The walls of this villa are carried up hollow, the bond bricks having been soaked in coal-tar and dried previous to laying. The hollow spaces in these walls, are well ventilated at the top, and every precaution possible taken to have a thoroughly dry house. The main cornice, as well as the rest of the exterior woodwork, is made of the best of clear pine timber, and covered with three coats of paint. The roof is made of the best quality of Pennsylvania slate, and, in fact, every thing entering into the structure or the building is of the best quality and put together in the very best manner. Now, to refer the reader to the accompanying plans, it will be seen that we have, on the first floor

A, the parlor, 16 by 20;
B, the family-room, 16 by 16;
C, the library, 16 by 15;
D, the dining-room15 by 20, with two pantries, in one of which is found the dumb-waiter
E is a small school-room or study for the children.

On the second floor, there are five bedrooms and a bath-room with hot and cold water, while the attic furnishes opportunity for two servants rooms. In the basement, and underneath the dining-room, is found the kitchen.
The other basement-rooms are a store-room, laundry, and a large cellar. The building is warmed by means of a furnace, and has all the appliances that are now considered necessary to give completeness to a modern dwelling-house.

3 Cottages, 1869


In this view, we give in the present number three small cottage designs, each having its own peculiar style. The first is built with a flat, projecting roof; the second has a Mansard roof to the second story; while the third is built with the high-pitch projecting roof. It is the character of the roofs, their projection at the eaves, together with the style of the cornice-work, and the like, that give individuality to these cottage designs.

Design No. 1, with plan, shows the following rooms on the first or ground-floor:
No. 1 represents the hall, together with the stairway 8 by 12;
No. 2, the parlor, 12 by 12;
No. 3, the dining-room, 16 by 13;
No. 4, the kitchen, 12 by 12, together with a back entrance and dresser;
No. 5 shows a pantry connected with the dining-room.
There are four sleeping-rooms upon the second floor.
It will be observed that this design is well adapted to a lot forty feet wide, as the structure would have two fronts. The cottage as seen in this design is represented as standing upon a corner lot fifty feet in width, so that the entrance front is upon one street, and the side shown in the illustration presented to another.
The first floor is ten feet high between joists, and the second nine feet. The cellar is nicely walled with stone.

Design No. 2 represents a neat little cottage that can be built at less than two thirds the cost of No. 1
It has a slate roof, but is tinned on the deck. The rooms as shown in the plan are as follows:

No, 1 shows the parlor, 12 by 13;
No. 2, the dining-room, 10 by 13, within a pantry 4 feet square;
No. 3, the hall, 5 feet square;
No. 4, the kitchen, 10 by 13, within pantry, 6 feet square.
The division into rooms is the same
upon the second floor as upon the first. The whole makes a plan with a 30 foot front.

The third design is arranged upon the same plan as No. 2, and therefore has the same division into rooms.

Gothic and Italian cottages, 1869


Two beautiful cottages, both on the same plan; one being an imitation of Gothic, Elevation No. 1; and the other plain Italian, Elevation No. 2, with Mansard roof to the attic story.

They exhibit a very compact dwelling, with the kitchen on the first floor as it should be for most all country-houses the sites sometimes allowing a basement for this purpose, where the building is situated on a side-hill.
The size of the building will be found to measure 34 feet front by 29 feet deep

ground floor
A, Parlor, 13 by 15
B, library, 13 by 12, with small closet
C, dining-room13 by 15, connected with the kitchen by a passage
D, kitchen 13 by 11,
between the kitchen and dining-room
E, the pantry 3 by 9, with shelves and drawers complete.
G is the hall, 6 feet wide, with stairs well in the rear.
The kitchen has a range and a boiler, a sink and drain-shelf, a cupboard, and other appurtenances; a pantry, F, and a back-door opening out on a back-stoop.

On the second floor, there are four bedrooms; a bath-room, 6 by 7, with bath-tub, water-closet, and wash-basin, each bedroom having large closets; a large linen closet off the hail; and a small room in front of the hail.

Elevation No. 1 has no attic; while in the attic of No. 2 there is only one bedroom at present, though there could be more if desired. The rest of the attic floor is now open garret.

These two houses are erected in the best manner, with stone foundations, narrow weather boarding on diagonally rough siding, slate roofs, hard finish, inside cornices on first floor, and inside trimmings, doors, etc, all of clear pine.
The outside of Nos, 1 and 2 is painted three coats; the inside, two coats shellac with darker shades to mouldings, etc. This finish to inside woodwork, where the same is of pine, is one of the best methods of producing a good effect at little expense; and in case of shrinkage of the joints, there will be the best of grounds for graining in black walnut, if desired; instead of painting in black walnut first, and having the effect marred by the shrinkage of the door-panels and other mitres.

In explanation of the details to No. 1,(on left)
Fig. 1 represents the barge-boards and pendants to gables;
Fig. 2 is the pinnacle to top of gable;
Fig. 3 is the section and fascia of bay-window cornice, having no gutter;
Fig. 4 is the detail of the front entrance porch, and detail of the
The details of No- 2 (on right) are represented by
Fig. 1, the main cornice ;
Fig. 2, the cornice to slate roof;
Fig. 3, the cornice to bay-window, and caps to the
pilaster of same ;
Fig. 4, the detail of the front porch.

Monday, September 10, 2007

A Country Villa on Long Island, 1869


A country villa on Long Island, architect, Laurence B. Valk.
House is 39x38 feet, 2 stories with basement and attic.
1st story, 11’6” high
2nd story, 10’ high
Attic, 8’high
Basement, 8’ high

The frame is spruce timber filled with brick. The walls are sided without with diagonally laid pine boards, then covered with tarred paper and ½” thick weather strips showing 4” to the weather. Exterior boards are of best clear white pine. The roof is slate.
Interior is plastered in 3 coats, with cornices on the 1st and 2nd floors.

A ..parlor
B…..dining room
D…..the hall, 9’ wide
The dining room has 2 closets, one is furnished as a dumb-waiter

Windows on the 1st and 2nd floor are to be double thick plate glass with exterior blinds.

The second floor plan includes 5 bedrooms,a water-closet with wash basin and all proper fixtures.
The attic affords 3 rooms for servants.
The cooking-range and laundry are directly beneath the dining room. There are 2 cellars and a store room completed with concrete floors. The cook-room has two closets, one of which is the dumb-waiter.
The building is painted 3 coats of paint without and grained.
The interior has every detailed carried out in the best manner.

The accompanying illustration for cornice work is represents a plain cornice for a country villa to be used with the mansard roof. Brackets are to be 4” face, with ½” scroll side-pieces, simply nailed on. Moulded circular panels, with ½” scroll ornaments inserted, accompany. In each bracket two rosettes are to be inserted, No carving is needed, handsome scroll-work answering the purpose equally as well and costing less. The cornice of the cottage is to the cottage itself what real lace trimming is to a lady’s bonnet, and too careful attention can not be given to the study of the subject, with a view to secure the utmost in gratification of taste at the minimum of cost