English Country House Design
A comfortable and convenient house design for the suburbs or the country in English country residences style.
¶ Believing as we do that the happiest and healthiest life is that in the country, we take especial pleasure in designing houses that are definitely meant to be surrounded by large grounds that slope off into the fields, meadows and orchards all around. Such a house has always the effect of taking all the room it needs, and this will be found important when we come to analyze the elements that go toward making the restful charm of a home. The sense of privacy and freedom from intrusion that is conveyed by English homes with their ample gardens and buildings placed well back from the street is a quality which we badly need in our American home life as a relief from the rush and crowding outside.
¶ Although the form of this house is straight and square, its rather low, broad proportions and the contrasting materials used in its construction take away all sense of severity. The walls of the lower story and the chimneys are of hard-burned red brick and the upper walls are of Portland cement plaster with half timber construction. The foundation, steps and porch parapets are of split stone laid up in dark cement and the roof is tiled. Of course, this is only a suggestion for materials, as the house would be equally well adapted to almost any form of construction, from stone to shingles. The coloring also may be made rich and warm or cool and subdued, as demanded by the surroundings. One feature that is especially in accordance with Craftsman ideas is the way in which the half-timbers on the upper story are used. While we like half timber construction, it is an article of faith with us that it should be made entirely "probable" that is, that the timbers should be so placed that they might easily belong to the real construction of the house. In a building that is entirely designed by ourselves we adhere very strictly to this rule, varying it only when the taste of the owner requires a more elaborate use of timbers, such as is shown in the cement house plan with half timber. Another feature of typical Craftsman construction is well illustrated in the windows used in this house. It will be noted that they are double hung in places where they are exposed to the weather and that caements are used when it is possible to hood them or to place them where they will be sheltered by the roof of the porch.
¶ The arrangement of the interior of this house is simplicity itself, as the living room and dining room, which have merely the suggestion of a dividing partition, occupy the whole of one side. The arrangement of kitchen, hall and staircase on the other side of the house is equally practical and convenient, as it utilizes every inch of space and provides many conveniences to lighten the work of the housekeeper.
¶ The entrance door opens into a small vestibule that serves to shut off draughts from the hall, especially as the entrance from the vestibule to the hail is at right angles to the front door instead of being directly opposite, making the danger from draughts so small that this opening might easily be curtained and a second door dispensed with. The broad landing of the staircase is opposite this opening from the vestibule and in the angle where the stair runs up a large hall seat is built. The vestibule jutting into the living room leaves a deep recess at the front, in which is built a long window seat just below the triple group of casements that appears at the front of the house. The fireplace is in the center of the room just opposite the hall, and another fireplace in the dining room adds to the comfort and cheer.
¶ In a recess in the dining room somewhat similar to that at the front of the living room the sideboard is built in so that the front of it is flush with the wall and three casement windows are set just above it. The china cupboards built in on the opposite side are shown in two ways in the plan and illustration. In one the cupboard is built straight with the wall and in the other across the corner. Either way would be effective and the choice depends simply upon personal preference and convenience.
¶ The tone of the woodwork would depend largely upon the position of the house and consequent exposure of the rooms. If they are bright and sunny nothing could be better than the rich nut-brown of oak or chestnut with its strong sugggestion of green, as this gives a somewhat grave and subdued effect that yet wakes into life in a sunshiny room and shows the play of double tones of green and brown under a sheen that makes them seem almost luminous. If the rooms are fairly well shaded so that the effect of warmth would be desirable in the color, the woodwork might be of cypress, as its strong markings take on deep shades in the softer parts and beautiful autumn tints in the grain when treated by the Craftsman process that emphasizes so strongly the natural quality of the wood and brings out all its color.
This is English Country House Design
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