Oriental House Plans & Home Designs
Oriental style house plans in the architecture style of the Far East.
¶ We enter upon our series by the presentation of a design adapted to the wants of the man of fortune in any section, but particularly suitable for the home of the retired Southern planter. Aside from the novelty of the plan, it has every recommendation for convenience and utility that can be devised for a residence, where not only comfort but luxury is destined to reign. The occupants of such a residence are not only supposed to be wealthy, but fashionable people, and to possess, in common with all the real aristocracy of every section, a character for hospitality, exhibited in the frequent entertainment of numerous guests, and a liberal allowance of time and money for the purposes of social and convivial enjoyment.
¶ The choice of style in this example was less a matter of caprice than the natural growth of the oriental home designs ground plan adopted. The central room, designed as it was, not only for a thoroughfare by which all the adjacent rooms could be entered, besides being so favorably situated as a medium for light and ventilation, naturally suggested the domed observatory. Fancy dictated that the dome should be bulbiform - a remembrancer of Eastern magnificence which few will judge misplaced as it looms up against the mellowed azure of a Southern sky. In addition to this, the Moorish arch employed in the balconies and the foliated drapery of the verandas will fully sustain us in the application of the term "Oriental", or "Asian", despite the Italian details of cornice and window.
¶ A perusal of the plans with the following description will enable the reader fully to comprehend the internal arrangements of this design. A, picture 20, is the rotunda, octagonal in plan, its diameter being 24 feet. Its vertical dimension extends to the top of the observatory, and is finished by an internal dome. From this rotunda are the adjacent rooms entered on every floor, galleries being constructed for the purpose on a level with all the floors above the principal. Niches for statuary occupy the alternate sides of the octagon, thus affording an excellent opportunity for tasteful decoration.
¶ The room B, 20 by 34 feet, is the entrance hall, and contains the principal spiral staircase. The adjoining space K is the front veranda, 12 by 40 feet, and can only be entitled by this fact, and perhaps a superior finish in floor and ceiling finish, to any greater importance than either of the others designated by the same letter, (K), as their exterior finish is necessarily similar.
¶ C is the living room, 20 by 34 feet; D, reception-rOom, 18 by 24 feet; E, 18 by 24 feet, F, 20 by 34, and 11, 18 by 24 feet, are a suite of family rooms. G is the dining room, 20 by 34 feet; I, a breakfast room, 18 by 24 feet; M, M, dressing rooms to E and II. L is an entrance porch to the room F, and at the same time affords an opportunity for the admission of light and air; or it might be converted into an alcove for the room F, by changing the position of the windows and piers to the outer verge of the space, - this would render it easy, if necessary, for the occupant of the room F to gain the privilege of either of the dressing rooms, M, M; in many cases this no doubt would be desirable. The effect of this alcove, when duly decorated with pilasters and drapery, as viewed from the opposite side of the room, when admissible by the uses of the room, would be pleasant indeed; the same modification may be made on the bedroom plan.
¶ Turning our attention to the ground floor, picture 21, we find the room A retaining its octagonal shape and the same dimensions, the alternate sides or rather angles being occupied by closets; it is lighted through strong glass in the floor over it, aided by lights in the upper sections of the communicating doors. B is the billiard-room; C, staircase hall; D, smoking-room; E, office; F, play room for children; G, servants' hall; H, sewing-room; I, store room; K, areas beneath verandas.
¶ On the second floor, picture 22, A is the staircase hall; B, the communicating gallery; C, bedrooms; D, verandas; H, wardrobes; I, bathroom. It will be observed that a flight of private stairs on the rear veranda extend from the ground floor to this one; a flight from this to the attic floor is placed opposite to the bathroom, I.
¶ It would be difficult to conceive a plan in which the abstract elements of strength are more successfully embodied than in the one now under consideration. The walls, by their peculiar relative positions, mutually strengthen and sustain each other to such a degree as to defy the storms of a torrid clime. A residence, after this design, is now being erected for a gentleman in the vicinity of Natchez, Miss. The principal walls - by which we mean all the walls except those forming the minor divisions of bathrooms, dressing rooms, and closets - are of brick from the foundation, as no building-stone is found in that section of country. The foundation courses in the bottom are laid with hard-burnt brick, very wide, and grouted with cement, and gradually set off until the proper thickness of the wall is arrived at. This in the exterior walls is two feet, including a hollow space of three inches between the inner section of nine and the outer section of thirteen inches. Above the line of principal floor, each section in thickness of the exterior wall is eight and a half inches, with a hollow of five inches in width, so as to admit free play to the outside blinds, which, protected by a close casing, slide into the wall, a plan adopted to avoid the disagreeable appearance presented by a circular-headed blind when open.
¶ The fireplaces are bestowed on what would otherwise be waste space in the building; this led to the adoption of a manner of venting smoke seldom if ever before applied in home-houses. Four circular shafts, two feet and a half in diameter, into which the fireplaces vent, are carried up the full height of the building, furnishing at once an economical and thoroughly efficient mode of attaining the desired end. Dampers are inserted in the throat of each flue to regulate combustion, as more fully explained under the head of "warming and ventilation".
¶ The veranda doors may exhibit their timbers to good advantage, the lower edges of each piece and also the angles formed by the floor and timbers being muoulded, and the whole divided into sections, so as to have the effect of bold panel-work. Where a good quality of suitable wood, say yellow pine, cypress, or oak, has been used, oiling and varnishing on the natural color of the wood will be found to have a beautiful appearance; in other cases, painting in suitable chosen ceiling tints may be resorted to.
¶ On the principal floor encaustic tiles could be used with a very pretty effect in the rotunda. This could be best done by a special design embracing a center flower, of say 5 feet diameter, surrounded by regularly disposed patterns in bright but not glaring colors; the floor-lights for the room beneath may be inwrought with these without detriment to the appearance. The front veranda and also the entrance hall would be greatly improved by floors of marble, in which white should predominate: nor would stairs of white marble, and wainscoting of the same, both in hall and rotunda, be on any account, save that of expenditure, objectionable, but, on the contrary, desirable. In lieu of this, however, some of the hardwoods admitting of fine polish may be used for both the stairs and wainscoting of hall: we should give well-selected walnut the preference, and extend its application to the dining room.
¶ It would be superfluous to attempt the details of a building of this kind within our present limits; any person desiring to adopt the plan, would of course apply to a competent architect for the working drawings.
¶ It is very difficult to say, with any degree of precision, what would be the cost of this villa, without entering into a more specific description of the execution of both the interior and exterior. In this part of the Middle States, however, assuming the walls to be built of good brick, the exterior stuccoed, and the interior finished in a manner consistent with the general character of the design and hints we have given,-the height of the several stories being as follows: first story, nine; principal story, fourteen; second story, twelve; and attic, nine feet, - the total cost would not vary much from $40,000 (1861 price).
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