Large House & Floor Plans
¶ A large cement house plan that shows the decorative use of concrete as a framework.
¶ One or the other of the more massive forms of construction seems to be called for by the design of this house, which was meant to be built either of concrete or of hollow cement blocks, and so is planned especially with a view to the use of one or the other of these materials, although the design would be equally well suited to stone or brick. Believing that a house built of cement or concrete should be exceedingly simple in design, with plain straight lines and unbroken wall surfaces, we have carried out this idea as consistently as possible.
¶ No timber is used on the outside of the house, but the form of the framework is revealed in the heavy corner posts, uprights and horizontal bands of smooth concrete which span the walls and break up the broad plain surfaces. As the walls are given a rough pebbledash finish, this framework of smooth concrete, which projects slightly from the surface of the wall proper, gives a contrasting effect which adds much to the interest of the design. The concrete may either be left in the natural gray, or the coldness of this tint may be modified by an admixture of coloring which will give it a tone of deeper gray, a suggestion of green, or one of the buff or biscuit shades, according to the color effect that harmonizes best with the surroundings. If the house should be built of stone or brick, the color effect, of course, would be much more decided.
¶ The roof is of slate not the smooth, thin, lozenge-shaped slates with which we are so familiar, but a much more interesting form of this durable roofing material. The slates we have in mind are large and as rough on surface and edge as split paving stones. They come in very interesting colors, dull red and slate-color with green and purplish tones which are much like the varied colorings found in stone. If red slate should be chosen for the roof, a pleasant repetition of the color could be obtained by flooring the verandas with square cement blocks of a dull brick red, which give the same effect as the much more expensive Welsh tiles.
¶ Ample provision is made in this house for the healthful outdoor living that is now regarded as so necessary. A wide veranda extends across the entire front and at the back is a large square recessed porch that looks out over the garden at the rear of the house and is used as an outdoor living room where meals can be served if desired. This porch is exposed to the weather on one side only and this can easily be glassed in for the severest days of winter. With a southern exposure, though, it might be open nearly all winter, except on inclement days, for a sun room is pleasant when a room completely walled in is chilly and gloomy and in this case the warmth of the sun would be supplemented by the comfort of the open fire, for the veranda is provided with an outdoor fireplace big enough to hold a pile of good sized logs.
¶ As this veranda has so much the character of a living room, the walls are treated in a way that connects it closely with the interior of the house. A high wainscot of cypress runs around all three sides and built-in fireside chairs of the same wood afford a comfortable place for those who are minded to enjoy the fresh air and the warmth of the blazing logs at the same time. A fairly large table placed out here would serve all requirements for both living room and dining room out of doors, and a few comfortable easy chairs would make it a most inviting lounging place. The red cement floor would best be covered by a thick Indian blanket or two, or any rug of sturdy weave and primitive color and design. The wooden ceiling of the porch is heavily beamed and from the beams hang lanterns enough to make the place cheerful by night as well as by day. The color of the floor is repeated in the massive fireplace of hard-burned red brick and the plain mantel shelf is made of a thick cypress plank.
¶ Just above the sun room is an open air sleeping room of the same size and general arrangement, except that it has no fireplace. On this upper porch the balustrade is replaced by a solid parapet made of the wall of the house. Like the sun room, this sleeping porch can be glassed in when necessary for protection from driving storms. But under ordinary circumstances no protection from the weather is needed even in winter, as nothing is better for the average housed up human being than sleeping out of doors under plenty or covers.
¶ The plan of the interior is an excellent example of the Craftsman method of arranging the divisions so as to secure at once the greatest possible amount of space, freedom and convenience within a given area and also to keep the construction as inexpensive as possible. The only fireplace is in the living room and is so placed that it may use the same chimney as the veranda fireplace. The arrangement of the rooms, however, is so open that both dining room and reception hall share the benefit of the fireplace. Draughts from the entrance are cut off by a small vestibule which opens into the reception hail and the space beside it is occupied by a coat closet which receives wraps, overshoes and all those articles which are such a problem to dispose of in a hall that is part of the living room.
¶ Ceiling beams are used only to indicate the divisions into rooms, but around the ceiling angle runs a broad beam and all three rooms are wainscoted to the height of six feet with oak paneling. We have suggested oak for the interior woodwork in this house, as the effect of it is both rich and restful and the color mellows with every passing year. Our idea would be to finish it in a rich nut-brown tone, which has much to do with adding a mellow sunny effect to the whole decorative scheme, for color goes far toward creating the cheery atmosphere that rightly belongs to a home. The rough plaster of the shallow wall spaces above the wainscot might be done in a warm tawny yellow and the whole decorative scheme developed from this foundation of walls and woodwork.
¶ The structural feature that is most prominent in the living room is the fireplace. With the bookcase built in on either side. These bookcases are about four feet in height, so that the upper panels of the wainscot show above them. One decorative structural feature that is seen in all these rooms is the use of spindles wherever they would be effective. They appear in the balustrade of the staircase, in the open spaces above the panels, in the little partitions, in the continuation of these into grilles above the doors, in the built-in seats and even in the furniture.
¶ On the second story there are three large bedrooms in the front of the house and the open air bedroom at the back. The staircase with its well occupies the space at one side of the sleeping porch, and the bath room is at the other. The upper hall, though not large, is so designed as to give a feeling of open arrangement and free communication, and the closets are concentrated at the center, where they are easy of access and do not interfere with the space required for the sleeping rooms. The plans of this large house, as well as its decoration and interior arrangement, admit of very free interpretation and may be modified greatly to meet personal tastes and requirements.
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