Cement House Plan with Half Timber
¶ Cement house showing lavish use of half timber as a decoration.
¶ The house illustrated on this page was not only designed in The Craftsman Workshops, but built largely under our own supervision, so that Craftsman ideas as to plan and construction have been carried out with only such modifications as were suggested by the individual tastes and needs of the owner. It is definitely a suburban residence and its site is as desirable as it well could be for the home of a man who wishes to have plenty of space and freedom in his surroundings and yet be within convenient reach of the city. The owner, a New York businessman, is keenly desirous of making the part of Long Island which he has chosen for his home one of the most delightful places within the immediate neighborhood of New York: thus his interest has not been limited merely to the building of a desirable house, but has extended to the planning of its surroundings so that the place shall be beautiful as a whole.
¶ The site is large enough to allow for extensive grounds, which are being laid out with direct reference to the plan of the house. There is a slope of about fifteen feet from the rear of the lot down to the front. This slope is terraced at the highest part and the house is built well to the rear, allowing for a large lawn and shrubbery in front. The terrace at the back is used for a vegetable garden and the rest of the lot is left so far as is possible in its natural shape. The rising ground upon which the house is situated affords an extensive view over the hills and meadows of Long Island. The house faces directly southeast and at the west end is a terrace, covered with a pergola, which commands a view of the main road, a busy thoroughfare that is usually thronged with carriages and automobiles. At the opposite end of the house is a porch which looks directly toward the neighboring golf links. This porch is connected with the dining room by double French doors so that in summer it can be used as an outdoor dining room, especially as it will be protected all around with screens. In winter the screens will be replaced with glass, so that the porch may be used as a sun room or as a breakfast room on mild days. The small front porch serves to shelter the entrance.
¶ These porches and the pergola greatly relieve the severity of the plan. As the house is built of cement, the construction naturally calls for straight lines and massive effects but while these are preserved in their entirety, all sense of coldness or bareness is avoided by the liberal use of half-timber and by such structural features as we have just described. The floors of the pergola, the entrance porch, the dining porch, and the small kitchen porch at the rear of the house are all of dull red cement divided into squares so that they have more the appearance of Welsh quarries. All the exterior woodwork is cypress darkened to a warm tone of brown by the chemical process which is described fully in the chapter dealing with wood finishes.
¶ Long shallow dormers on either side of the house serve to break the straight lines of the roof. The roof itself has widely overhanging eaves supported on heavy square timbers which project slightly and the whole upper story overhangs at the ends of the house, the weight being supported upon the projecting timbers. The line of demarcation between the upper and lower stories is emphasized by a wide timber which runs completely around the house. Above this are the smaller timbers which divide the cement wall into panels.
¶ As the house is intended for a small family of three, with office accommodation for the owner, the interior arrangement is very simple. The entrance door leads directly into a central hail that opens into the dining room on one side and into the living room on the other, both openings being so wide that there is hardly any sense of division. The staircase is at the back of the hall, where a small coat closet is provided in a little nook taken off the space allowed for the butlers pantry.
¶ Both living room and dining room are closely connected with out of doors; the dining room, as we have already said, opening upon the screened porch and the living room upon the pergola. Just back of the living room is the den, which is the owners special retreat and workroom. For this reason, double doors divide it from the living room instead of the usual broad opening. The big fireplace in the living room is so placed that the cheery glow of the fire is seen from both the hall and the dining room, as it forms one end of a vista which goes straight through to the dining porch. The built-in bookcase fills the space between this fireplace and the corner on one side, and on the other side is the door leading to the pergola. The entire front of the dining room is taken up with a built in sideboard, flanked on either side by a china closet. Directly over this sideboard is the group of three windows which lights the dining room from the southeast. The woodwork in the hall, living room and dining room is all of chestnut, fumed to a rich brown tone and given the soft dull finish that makes the surface appear fairly to radiate color. The fact that the woodwork is alike throughout these three rooms emphasizes the close connection between them and makes them appear almost like different parts of one room that is furnished harmoniously throughout.
This is Cement House Plan with Half Timber
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